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Friday, January 27, 2023

AEW Rampage has become “skippable” programming – Daily DDT

AEW
August 13, 2021, marked the launch of AEW Rampage. The show brought professional wrestling back to TNT for the first time since WCW Monday Nitro which ended 20 years prior. All Elite Wrestling had its second weekly show, and another opportunity to build on its blossoming position in the professional wrestling industry. However, a little more than a year has passed since its launch and Rampage is in a completely different place. In many ways, Rampage has become a show that wrestling fans, even the staunchest of AEW fans, can skip on a weekly basis without missing major moments.
Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics frequently dives into the business side of professional wrestling. His analysis brings forth perspectives backed by data on a variety of topics in the industry. On November 27, he and his guests dug into the topic surrounding the continued decline of Rampage ratings. Rampage is already in a tough spot, coming on Fridays at 10 p.m. This is prime time for those that makeup AEW’s key demo to experience their social life, pulling them away from their television to watch professional wrestling as the numbers reflect. But what about AEW? Where does their blame come into play for how AEW Rampage is presented as a “skippable product?”
Two recent examples stand out.
Death Triangle versus The Elite is one of the primary feuds going on in AEW. The six men are battling for the AEW Trios Championships in a feud that will have long-term implications for the teams and individuals. Their Best-Of-Seven series will not appear on Rampage in any capacity. What does it say when six of the most important men on the roster are rarely if ever booked on one of the two shows? Especially when the situation is not due to an intentional brand split.
The November 25 edition of AEW Rampage featured a main event segment where 10 from the Dark Order turned on the group. Out of the six men in the match, Rush is the only individual who has competed on AEW Dynamite in recent months, with that match occurring back in October. In the month of November, only four men appeared in a Rampage main event while also having a match on Dynamite in that same month: Wardlow, Samoa Joe, Eddie Kingston, and Orange Cassidy.
AEW fans and viewers love many of the men and women throughout the roster. But that doesn’t mean they will stay in to watch any of those “lower-level” names any day of the week. Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, and MJF are three of the most important men on the roster. However, match data from Cagematch shows an interesting trend.
Moxley, who many would consider the company workhorse, last appeared in a match on Rampage back in October. Jericho hasn’t competed in a Rampage match since October 2021. MJF, current AEW World Champion, never has competed on Rampage in its existence.
The same trend carries true in the women’s division. Take Jamie Hayter, Toni Storm, and Britt Baker for example. Storm’s last match on Rampage was back in June, well before she started her run as champion that helped elevate the entire division. Baker competed in a match on Rampage in November. The most recent prior to that was in July. Current AEW Women’s Champion, Hayter was also in that same November match with Baker, and her most recent match beyond that was on the September 28 episode.
One thing will always remain true, AEW fans love nearly everything about the promotion – as they should. But data continues to show those booking decisions that present Rampage as “less than” is having an impact on the show’s performance. If AEW Rampage isn’t skippable content every week, it’s time for those in charge to prove that point.
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