The ratings are in for Mar. 18, where the major curiosity was on what impact the NCAA Tournament would have on the wrestling numbers — especially for the show that got bumped into late night by its networks coverage of March Madness.
First, the show that only had to compete with college basketball. SmackDown was down in viewership; the 2.147 million a 3.5% decline from Mar. 11. However, it rose slightly (1.75%) to a .58 rating among 18-49 year olds.
Rampage is the show that was moved from its usually bad 10pm ET time slot all the way to 11:30pm ET. There was some hope it might benefit from having one of the most popular hoops nights of the year as a lead-in, but it didn’t work out that way. The show had the worst numbers in its eight month history. It drew a total audience of 398K, down 24% from the previous Friday’s non-preempted edition. The demo number also plummeted to a .13 — a 41% week-to-week decline.
Wrestling will be head-to-head with the Tournament again next week. WWE will hope to benefit from being one week closer to WrestleMania. Being back in their regular timeslot should help AEW though, even as they go against a marquee game in UNC vs. UCLA.
Numbers via Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston