AEW rolled out its first ever “Saturday Fight Night” special on TNT on Jan. 8 with Battle of the Belts. It capped a week of big shows for Tony Khan’s company, but was missing one of his biggest stars due to Cody Rhodes’ COVID quarantine.
Whatever the factors involved, the numbers look good. Showbuzz Daily reports the Britt Baker-headlined show drew 704K viewers at 8pm ET, with a .27 rating in the 18-49 year old demographic.
Both are better than what AEW’s other hour-long weekend show Rampage usually does, and better than it did on Saturday night when it aired there on Christmas. It’s also a little better viewership number and a much better rating than WWE NXT’s loaded “New Year’s Evil” show did the Tuesday before.
Even more impressive is that Battle of the Belts was going up against NFL games which aired simultaneously on ABC and ESPN. The 8:15pm ET Dallas Cowboys/Philadelphia Eagles game was watched by more than 20 million people on the two channels, pulling more than a 5.0 rating in the demo. That game & related coverage, and the Hallmark Channel’s 8pm ET movie premiere The Wedding Veil were the only things that finished ahead of AEW in the ratings on either broadcast or cable in primetime on Sat. Jan. 8.
Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston notes Battle of the Belts had slightly fewer viewers than TNT has recently been drawing on Saturday nights in primetime, but did a better demo number:
Battle of the Belts went against Cowboys-Eagles simulcast on ABC and ESPN, watched by a combined 20.2 million viewers and a 5.17 total P18-49 rating (=6.7 million viewers in the demo) from 8:14 to 11:22pm.— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) January 11, 2022
The last month TNT at 8pm Saturday averaged a 840k and 0.24 demo rating. pic.twitter.com/SxzGMhhLAt
Seems like a promising start for AEW on Saturday nights, no?