That explains things. The Wednesday Night Wars have been an interesting study to follow as NXT and AEW Dynamite have been going head to head once a week. Fans have been curious to see which show draws the higher audience and ratings. That was the case during the original Monday Night Wars from 1995 until 2001, when Monday Night Raw defeated Monday Nitro. That was a long time ago, and things have changed a good bit. Now we may know why.
There is no secret to the fact that the television audience for wrestling has gone consistently down over the years. The Monday Night Wars saw millions of fans watching the shows at once, while now it is rare to see anything other than Monday Night Raw or SmackDown regularly draw over a million fans. There is something to be learned there, and someone has tried to find out why.
YouGov has released a poll, courtesy of the Variety Intelligence Platform, which looked at why wrestling fans have stopped watching. The poll was conducted with 471 people over 18 years old who previously watched either Monday Night Raw, SmackDown, NXT or Dynamite, all of whom were asked why they no longer watch wrestling. The responses were as follows (multiple answers could be given):
It seemed more cartoonish than when I liked it: 30%
Storylines were not as good/interesting: 29%
Characters were not as good/interesting: 28%
Matches were not as good/interesting: 26%
The content was more geared toward children: 14%
Not sure: 12%
Announcing was not as good: 9%
The show wasn’t listening to the fans: 7%
In addition, a group of 658 people, all of whom were 18 years old or older and said that they no longer watch wrestling, were asked which shows they previously watched (multiple answers could be given):
WWE RAW: 55%
WWE SmackDown: 55%
WWE NXT: 10%
AEW Dynamite: 3%
None of the above: 28%
The shows are still around. Check out what the fans have been missing:
Opinion: Is this really all that surprising? This is the kind of thing that fans have been complaining about for years: wrestling is treated like something for children rather than a serious product. I can completely understand the idea of WWE wanting to cater towards children and their finances back up the theory, but at some point the older fans are not going to be as pleased. Something needs to be changed, but at the same time, it may not be so easy to get even a lot of those fans back because they’re long gone.
Do you still watch wrestling? What has been its biggest problem in the last five years? Let us know in the comments below.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!