While we brace ourselves for another round of the Wednesday Night War #discourse, here’s AEW Executive Vice-President Cody Rhodes declaring his approach to the ratings is different from the one taken by his boss Tony Khan, or the legendary Chris Jericho.
Rhodes told Alex McCarthy of TalkSport:
“I think early on we were looking at it, and there’s really that specialness with X amount of wrestling fans tuning in on a Wednesday night. As a big wrestling fan, what does that mean to me etc.
I think now with where we’re at and as we’re gearing towards our next big pay-per-view, and we’re gearing towards Fight for the Fallen, we really have to put our focus on having the best show.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the weeds with like ‘for X amount of weeks we beat WWE in the ratings’ or get into this wild demo discussion – if you ever catch me tweeting about the demos, please just delete my account.
And it’s not wrong, I respect everyone that is bringing it up. And I don’t make the top 50, that’s the thing.
People spam me and the management core; Showbuzz Daily, they make the top 50. We don’t make the lists. So, if we’re ahead of your favorite or your favorite shows, spam them! [laughs]. I don’t know what to tell you!
I think instead of romanticizing about the amount of people that are watching, I think the show has to be about getting better. I think there’s only been twice where I thought ‘I didn’t like the end of that show.’ I don’t think we ended better than last week.
And that’s the goal, having the absolute best wrestling show we can possibly have with a disciplined and non-hot shot approach, but keeping the spontaneity, keeping the fire there and focus on longterm plans and things of that nature which we’ve done.
I’m so proud of everybody. The Bucks, Kenny and Tony, of course. Jericho has been a really wonderful leader behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Then you’ve got guys now entering their second year of the company, the Jungle Boys and MJFs, they’re no longer these freshman on the varsity squad, they’re growing. And I love seeing that.
But my focus, I don’t get caught in the weeds. Thursday is the day all that data comes down and you look at everything. Minute-by-minute, did someone tune out here? You have to ask yourself, why did they tune out? Is it an anomaly? Is it a pattern?
Again, we have great people flanking us who put this all in black and white on a grid for us so that we can be accountable. if you’re not drawing viewers, you have to at least address the problem.
That’s the one day it gets really analytical and looking into the data. But for me, creatively and as a competitor and artist, it’s about having the best show, something that people talk about evokes emotion, creates memories and brings them joy during this period.”
It’s a solid answer, sounding the right notes about focusing on creative, and using the numbers to see what is connecting with the audience as opposed to strictly as a competitive yardstick.
Cody’s been known to play up the WWE rivalry on occasion, so it’s understandable if you think this has an element of PR-speak to it. He’s careful to not disparage his colleagues or fans who do obsess about the ratings, too.
Just some background information before we start talking ratings, and who’s tweeting about them, tomorrow afternoon.