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A Change in the Way Wrestling is Watched

A change in the way Wrestling is watched.

During the last WWE investors call WWE said something that I have found very interesting, They said the way fans view the product has changed and viewership numbers no longer matter as much as more fans are interacting with the product via social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube). This got me thinking, is this true? With viewership numbers constantly in discussion and being compared let us look to see if the way we view wrestling is changing.

For this I will be comparing Likes/comments and YouTube views verses actual reported views on the show. All numbers come from the official channels only and are based on the time of writing.

I will be looking at the most recent RAW, SmackDown, NXT and AEW episodes to see how they stack up.

RAW (March 1st, 2021) this episode of Raw had a TV viewership of 1.884 million.

WWE posted 16 videos from the official show to their YouTube channel, let us say each view was a different person (Which it most likely is not) but with all 16 videos the total views were 13,729,000 views. The video with the most views was the Miz vs Bobby Lashley lumberjack match that did 3,800,000 views on its own. The Miz was the standout with three of the videos he was in all doing over 1 million views. The lowest video had 173,000 views on it which was the Rhea Ripley hype video.

There were a lot of comments on each of these videos with a total amount of comments being 25,131. The video with the most comments was The Miz vs Bobby Lashley lumberjack match with 10,000 comments. The lowest comments on a video was 295 and that was Elias wants to Collaborate with Bad Bunny video.

The total run time of 16 videos was 45 minutes and 99 seconds. The longest video lasted 5min 2 seconds The Miz has a request for Drew video, the shortest lasted 0.43 seconds and was the Rhea video package.

The top video of The Miz vs Lashley had 3.8 million views, 10,000 comments and lasted 3m 11 sec

So, if we look at the total view’s vs the total length of all the videos, we get 298,521.41 views per minute of video posted to YouTube. This is a crazy number.

To be honest, starting this review I thought it would not be such a huge gap between numbers, but this shows us a clear picture that more people are interacting via YouTube then actually watching the show. WWE’s YouTube is currently sitting at 74.1 Million subscribers and the fact RAW on its own had 13,729,000 views mans that this number could grow massively.

Now Let us have a look at NXT and compare the numbers in the same way as did for Raw and see if this trend continues.

NXT (March 3rd, 2021) This episode did 692,000 views.

WWE posted 13 NXT videos to their YouTube channel for this episode. The total amount of views for these video’s was 1,808,000 which is more than double their network views. The video with the most views had 505,000 views nearly beating the network on its own this was the Women’s tag championship video. The lowest viewed video sits at 36,000 views and was the video of Kayden calling out Xia Li.

The total amount of comments for all these videos was 4,986, with the Women’s tag match sitting on 1,200 and the highest and 117 comments being the lowest which belonged to the Bronson vs Grimes match. Interestingly the next highest number of comments was 616 on the Austin Theory’s breakthrough video.

The total run time of all 13 videos was 35 min 77 sec with the longest being 4.59 and being for Austin Theory’s breakthrough video, the shortest was 0.59 and was the video of Kayden calling out Xia Li. The best video of the night was easily the Women’s tag which had 503,000 views and 1,2000 comments and ran for 4min 44 sec. Now if we average the views over time, we get 50,545.14 views per minute of video.

Again, I am incredibly surprised at how the YouTube videos are doing and the views/comments vs time watched.

Alright time for us to dive into Smackdown, now technically I am writing this as Smackdown is airing however I will be using the episode from February 26th which had 2,051,000 views. This is because this will give maximum time for us to look at true numbers.

So, let us start, WWE posted 10 videos from the episode, there was a total of 6,332,000 views across the 10 videos. The video with the highest views was 1,400,000 Bryan challenges Roman for a match at Fastlane. The lowest sits at had 288,000 views and was Apollo channelling his past.

The total comments across the videos were 12,863, the most comments were on the Bianca challenges Sasha video that had 2,900 comments. The surprising one was Apollo channelling his past which despite having the lowest views had the third highest number of comments with 1,700.

The lowest number of comments was 505 on the Street Profits vs Corbin/Zayn video.

Now we look at the total run time of the video’s was 28 minutes. The longest video was Bryan vs Jay at 5min 08 sec and the shortest was 1min 58 seconds Tensions rise between Bryan and Edge.

If we now look at view’s vs total time, we get 226,142.85 views per minute.

This means that on YouTube only WWE had a total of 21,869,000 views, Total comments 42,980 total run time of all videos 109 minutes and 76 seconds. This means 199,243.80 views per every minute of YouTube content and they did this with 39 videos. I am incredibly surprised that RAW nearly doubled Smackdown in total views and comments and they only had a difference of 18 minutes of content. Smackdown out drew them by 167,000 only as well.

Time to have a look at AEW and let us see if they also reflect these numbers.

First the AEW channel has 2,010,000 subscriptions. I will be using the 3rd of March 2021 episode as well which drew 934,000 views on TNT. For this episode they have posted 13 videos from the episode on YouTube.

The total views for AEW on their YouTube was 3,183,000 views. The most views for a single video was 1,000,000 for the Shaq gets knocked out by Cody video. The lowest was 46,000 and was for the conclusion to the Eliminator Tournament video. The second highest was 692,000 and was Paul Wight’s announcement.

The total number of comments on the video’s was 11,066. The highest amount being 3,400 on the Shaq gets knocked out video and the lowest of 204 being on the Vance 10 vs Max Caster video.

Across all the videos the total time was 47 minutes and 05 seconds. The longest video was 5:38 and again was the Shaq v Cody video and the shortest was 0.58 which was also a Shaq video called Aftermath.

This means that AEW gets 67,723.40 views per minute for their video’s. If we have a direct look at NXT. They have a total view number of 1,808,000 with 4,986 comments and a total run time of 35 min 77 sec, they get 50,545.14 views per minute of video.

This will be an interesting topic to investigate in the future and I probably will because based on this single week we can see clearly that Wrestling is watched more via social media then on the actual networks.

Now I have not included like/dislikes into this which could add even more numbers and interactions. Next article I will investigate Twitter and see what the numbers of interactions via that form of Social media and if it continues to show these sorts of numbers.

Starting this, I thought there was no way the social Media would be this massive and the difference would not be this far apart. So, I guess this shows that the ratings mean nothing the true test is YouTube performance.

By Anthony Bennett


Rass Lin
Rass Lin
Apr 06, 2021

Really interesting analysis. I love AEW and currently really only watch their stuff, but I would be interested to see more about how AEW stacks up in a week where you don't have Shaq (as that presumably brings in some views which are not "regular"). Also, I wonder how Dark and Dark Elevation should factor into this conversation; They are obviously youtube shows that garner youtube engagement, but hardly comparable to anything in WWE that I am aware of.

Anthony DownUnder
Anthony DownUnder
Apr 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you for the support, I was really nervous about this one. It took so much work. I wanted to see if more people were watching via social media then TV. But I think that sounds like a great idea, so after mania is done i'll look at a week to week growth of AEW on Youtube :) (AB)

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