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The AEW Wednesday Night Dynamite Thread


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Right people, right time, just the wrong location.

Fucking hell who’s arsed. Let people get excited about things.

For a TV Guide photoshoot promoting a new wrestling show, this is what you want to see. Not you brothers wedding reception, like those cunts above. You're selling professional wrestling. Nothing else.

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For all the constant talk about ratings, I don't think there's much of a story to tell overall. A few minor things to pick apart some weeks but on the whole there's no significant shift or constant rise or fall etc. Not that I can tell anyway.

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I think there’s a story when AEW use shaq and Mike Tyson and get absolutely nothing from it. In a similar regard, we are told how much of a huge star Bady Bunny is yet he is worth just as much as you are to ratings.

It just shows how meaningless wrestling is and that it seems impossible for anyone to get out of their base level no matter what they do. The old tricks don’t work anymore.

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3 hours ago, WyattSheepMask said:

AEW: 934,000
NXT: 692,000
 

While they were close, and it was up from last week, you’ve got to think that AEW were hoping to crack 1million with Shaq on the show

AEW drew a 0.33 rating in the 18-49 demographic while NXT drew a 0.20 in the same demo this week. Last week’s AEW show drew a 0.35 rating while the NXT episode drew a 0.18 in that demographic.

AEW viewership was up 12.4% this week, but down 5.7% in the 18-49 key demo rating. This was the best Dynamite audience of the year, and the third-best 18-49 rating of the year.
 

I would also like to see the breakdowns. But also, I think the table spot, which was all over my Twitter feed this morning, will probably get people to watch on catch up

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2 hours ago, Yakashi said:

I think there’s a story when AEW use shaq and Mike Tyson and get absolutely nothing from it

That its pointless to use celebs whose fame peaked decades ago?

If Lady Gaga tweets that's she's turning up next week to get revenge about the dog walker line, a lot of her hardcore fans who don't watch wrestling will probably check it out. Shaq retired from basketball 10 years ago and Tyson peaked 20 years ago(?) They don't have thousands of hardcore fans who will watch absolutely anything they are involved with anymore. (Shite booking wont help either.)

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Posted (edited)

Yup, and the last time basketball fans saw AEW when the playoffs were a lead in twitter was full of "What is this shit?" and laughing at Chris Jericho's tits and calling him cringeworthy.

Wrestling is the least cool thing in the world right now and the only people watching it are people like us who've watched it forever, and even then we're watching it less than ever. I've been watching this tripe since 1989 and I'm down to just a speed watch of Impact a week. I'll probably have it entirely out of my system soon. So I dun o how they're going to get those casual fans back. In fact I wonder in general where the next fans will come from. Kids font seem to guva as much of a shite either. My 4 year old nephew couldn't give a toss about anything wrestling but is super hero obsessed. Has the likes of Spiderman and that overtaken it so far? 

Edited by PowerButchi
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I'm guessing the logic behind guys like Tyson, Shaq etc isn't so much about popping an immediate rating (although that would be nice), but rather more mainstream exposure for the company on sports shows and the news etc.

Granted, guys like that aren't going to get nearly as much as they would have in their prime, but then I suppose they were far less likely to be getting involved at that point too.

Not sure it really works these days though in terms of bringing on board new fans for the long haul. But wrestling and celebrity have been intertwined for years now so clearly they see something in it.

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Celebs and other stuff is great for exposure and brand recognition. AEW is new and WWE has been the only real game in town since 2001. This stuff is important to make people aware that other wrestling even exists. They want people to hear "AEW" and know it's wrestling, not reply with "what's that?".

But as for getting in the "casual fans" I don't know what they can do to do that other than putting on consistently entertaining television every week? If there is an untapped casual fan audience then they should eventually come. I'm not convinced there is though. AEWs best bet is to bring over as much of WWEs current audience as they can.

As for the whole boring "they need to appeal to the mainstream rather than the hardcore wrestling fan" argument I've seen a million times...but no one ever has any suggestions or ideas on how to do that.

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Also, Shaq is a TNT sports analyst. This was as much to do with corporate synergy as it was mainstream exposure.

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Bit of a pointless musing here, but I've always found talk of "casual fans" a little odd - it's not a concept you really hear people talk about in other forms of entertainment. I'm not saying they don't exist - I would consider myself a fairly casual fan of football, for example - but surely the very nature of being a casual fan of anything is that you're only ever going to dip in and out, so you're a very temporary thing?

Their aim should surely be to create new fans, or, even better, new hardcore fans. 

Whatever the case, I'd imagine one thing holding AEW - and indeed, WWE back - is the fact they're on television. When it comes to shows aimed at younger viewers (people aged under 30), the big success stories of the past 5 years have almost all launched on streaming services - Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, Wandavision, The Tiger King etc. 

Until AEW or WWE is delivering first run main show programming on a major streaming service regularly - and by "major", I'm not talking about the WWE Network or Fite TV - it'll be tough for them to changes perceptions about what they are, or even attract the younger fans they seemingly need. 

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TNT is owned by WarnerMedia who also own HBO. With the big upcoming HBOMax push it'd be really interesting if the AEW library ended up on there. With all the new content (ugh) AEW are looking to produce they must have some ambitions to end up on a streaming service at some point. 

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The only other form of media you really hear talk of casual fans about is videogames, especially with the initial rise of the Wii and mobile games. Both brought in a whole new side of customers around the same time.

And a big majority of those people dipped out as soon as the Wii wasn't the cool kid any more.

Edited by Merzbow
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14 minutes ago, LaGoosh said:

With all the new content (ugh) AEW are looking to produce they must have some ambitions to end up on a streaming service at some point. 

It's a weird spot. There's more than enough content for a Patreon/OF-style deal with two years of TV in the can, yet nowhere near enough for something akin to WWE Network. In terms of time with four hours per week (is the new Youtube show 1hr?) they have just enough talent for roughly-even exposure, and if they're not hiring to fill the hours they have to bloat out the main-event hype.

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5 minutes ago, Merzbow said:

The only other form of media you really hear talk of casual fans about is videogames, especially with the initial rise of the Wii and mobile games. Both brought in a whole new side of customers around the same time.

And a big majority of those people dipped out as soon as the Wii wasn't the cool kid any more.

I wouldn't say they necessarily dipped out - as you say, mobile games took off around the same time, and I'd be surprised if the people won over by the Wii or the DS aren't playing Candy Crush or whatever else on their mobiles and tablets now. Even my Mam plays puzzle games, and she's as tech-averse as you can get. So much of the "casual gamer" criticism I've always found to be people wanting to gatekeep/police "gaming", so they're just constantly revising the definition to exclude the games (and by extension, the people) they don't think "count". If you decide that "playing video games" is the tenet of your personality, and then 95% of the population are doing the same, I can see why it would be tempting to not want to share your toys.

 

In my experience, the people who talk the most about what an imaginary casual fan does or doesn't want from wrestling tend to be the furthest off the mark - the same people likely to answer the question, "what wrestling match would you use to introduce a new fan to the genre?" with either an interminable Triple H melodrama or an hour long mat wrestling display. They're the people who think that the slightest hint of comedy, or anything remotely meta, is going to "embarrass" a first-time or casual viewer - not realising that the only people who think that wrestling should be expected to be deadly serious and never poke fun at itself are, invariably, already wrestling fans of the most tiresome, tedious type.

There's been a lot written about how AEW are doing well at reaching multiple people in households in a way WWE hasn't really for a while, and - as I've said plenty of times before - that rings true in my experience. Within the first few weeks of Dynamite starting, I got a text from a friend who hadn't watched wrestling in years telling me how much he loved the Young Bucks now, and a ton of messages from a friend who had never watched wrestling before outside of maybe one or two shows I had worked, saying that during lockdown she had started watching AEW because her boyfriend was watching it, and her favourites were Orange Cassidy, Marko Stunt, and Jungle Boy. All the kinds of people that gatekeepers will try and convince you will put "casual fans" off. Similarly, one of my best friends is a big MMA fan, and really struggles to get into watching wrestling because he finds too much of it unintentionally funny when they present nonsensical or ineffective techniques as legitimate - but he loves Orange Cassidy. 

 

The same is true from my experience of working shows that, for the most part, haven't been sold to "wrestling" audiences. I've probably only worked one or two shows where I would describe the audience as predominantly made up of "wrestling fans", rather than kids, families, or people out for a night out. The first show I worked, the opening match started with some chain wrestling and was played completely straight, and was met with awkward muffled laughter from the audience. Because it was the first wrestling show most of them had ever seen, most of them had just brought their kids along, and wrestling is inherently a bit naff and silly. Every show I've had a hand in putting together since then, I've always argued that the opening match should be funny - not a full-blown comedy match, but with enough heel stooging and slapstick to tell the audience, "it's okay, we're in on the joke". That way they start to laugh with you rather than at you, and once you've got an audience laughing, they've already opened up, and it's so much easier to get them cheering, booing and heckling. Similarly, I find "Lucha Libre" shows outside of Mexico tend to sell themselves as either a cultural event or a night out, positioning themselves as something other than "a wrestling show", which sidesteps the whole "it's all fake, though, isn't it?" barrier that still prevents a lot of people getting into wrestling.

 

Basically, the best way to win over "casual fans" is by making them feel welcome. At live shows that means catering for audiences beyond black T-shirts and neckbeards, and booking the card with the assumption that for a significant percentage of the audience this is their first show. On TV, it's much the same - Stan Lee said that every comic book is someone's first, and the same is true of wrestling TV; you have to assume that there's always someone watching for the first time, and give them enough to not alienate them with too much "wrestling logic" or assumed knowledge, while also giving them enough to keep them entertained. That's where the three-ring circus approach comes in - if you can get the curiosity-seekers who tuned in for the Shaq match, and the people who will be wowed by a big Rey Fenix high spot, and people who will be compelled to watch a Jon Moxley promo, then you're laughing. And, honestly, I think the last episode of Dynamite did a better job of all of that - as well as giving plenty for longer term fans and "hardcore" fans - than any wrestling TV show I've seen in years. I think, to a first-time viewer, any main roster WWE product would be considerably more alienating and confusing at the moment than anything AEW are putting out.

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Totally agree on the live shows. The number of live indie shows I've been to in London where you can see the casual/non fans in the crowd who will love and be totally hooked by the first match and taken in by the excitement of it all but by the third match have completely checked out because they've just been given more of the same with the focus on wrestling rather that stories, character and crowd interaction.

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