Monday marked the 21st day of what history may remember as the most important and landscape-changing month in pro wrestling history.
Monday was also bittersweet in that it ended a three-week streak of declining viewership across all weekly television from WWE and AEW.
October 2019, for better or worse, will forever go down as the first month of a national pro wrestling scene that boasted two billionaire-backed promotions, something many wrestling fans and analysts assumed they may never see in their lifetime.
But October has been far from a celebration of the pro wrestling business and more of an indictment, namely from a viewership standpoint. AEW Dynamite, WWE Raw WWE NXT and Friday Night SmackDown all seem to be fighting over the same audience that loyally consumed the product pre-AEW.
In fact, of the 11 WWE and AEW flagship shows that have aired through October 21 headed into Raw, none of them saw week-to-week increases. That daunting pattern finally changed Tuesday afternoon when Raw’s viewership number increased, albeit a moderate bump of 2.76% with 2.342 million viewers Monday night.
Though AEW has held strong at just over one million viewers in each of its last two weeks, the low ceiling for pro wrestling viewership—despite the onset of competition that has widely (and unfairly) been compared to the wildly popular Monday Night Wars—suggests anything but a similar pro wrestling boom period.
WWE Raw benefited from having no competition from the Major League Baseball postseason and a non-competitive Monday Night Football game as the New England Patriots continued to feast on a cake schedule with a 33-0 victory over the New York Jets.
AEW and WWE NXT will not be so lucky with stiff head-to-head competition from Game 2 of the MLB World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. The Fox broadcast figures to eat into viewership for both AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT, which are each likely to fall under one million viewers in the same week for the first time since the start of the Wednesday Night Wars.
With the return of the NBA further co-opting the busiest time of the year for major sports (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA are now all in season), October and beyond figures to be a long fall for what was supposed to be a pro wrestling renaissance.