CM Punk returned to pro wrestling Friday night on AEW Rampage, and he brought a bunch of viewers to TNT at 10pm ET.
According to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, Aug. 20’s “The First Dance” drew an audience of 1.129 million. That’s a whopping 52.57% jump over Rampage’s premiere the previous week. 692,000 of those viewers were in the 18 - 49 year old demographic, giving the show a .53 rating. That’s an almost 70% jump from Aug. 13.
The show’s opening quarter hour was, of course, its strongest. Thurston says Punk’s entrance & promo was watched by 1,341,000, with 842,000 (a .65 rating) in the key demo.
If you’re a really optimistic AEW fan who was hoping they’d beat SmackDown... sorry. While Rampage was within spitting distance of WWE’s .57 in the demo, it was well behind the 2,102,000 viewers the blue brand drew on FOX from 8 - 10pm ET. Same story when compared to last Monday’s Raw.
Still, Rampage’s rating last Friday is the second best number AEW’s ever pulled, behind only the premiere of Dynamite in 2019. CM Punk’s debut was a huge success for all but those with unrealistic expectations. Tony Khan’s partners at TNT are certainly thrilled.
Now we’ll see what happens for Punk’s second, and fourth, and twentieth appearances. He’s got the time, and he’s not going anywhere.