• AEW Dynamite scored one of its highest rated episodes of 2020 with 932,000 viewers and a score of 0.35 in the 18-49 demographic
  • WWE NXT had one of its lowest rated episodes of the year with 542,000 viewers and a 0.16 in the 18-49 demographic
  • AEW treated fans to an empty arena show from Florida while NXT profiled four of its biggest stars

AEW Dynamite continued its ratings dominance in Friday’s report while WWE NXT scored its lowest viewership of 2020.

Despite Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite lacking a crowd, it still drew one if its highest ratings of 2020 with 932,000 total viewers, up from 766,000 viewers on March 11. The rise was reflected in the 18-49 demographic with a 0.35 score compared to 0.26 the week before.

To fall in line with the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines, Dynamite was relocated from Rochester, New York, to Jacksonville, Florida, for an empty arena show at Daily’s Place amphitheater. A handful of AEW wrestlers filled the role of the audience, watching the show from what would have been the front row.

The show opened with Cody, Kenny Omega and Matt Jackson addressing fans about the company’s current situation because of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty it has caused for the near future. They reassured fans they would do whatever they could to continue delivering the show to which they’ve become accustomed.

Fans were then treated to the long teased debuts of Brodie Lee, formerly known as Luke Harper at WWE, and Matt Hardy.

Lee was revealed to be the leader of the Dark Order, referred to previously as the Exalted One. He surprised SCU as they verbally attacked the rest of the Dark Order over the identity of the Exalted One and claimed it was all a ruse. Lee and the Dark Order then beat down SCU after Lee formally introduced himself.

Hardy closed out the show following a six-man tag team match between the Inner Circle and The Elite. Hardy, who has reverted to his popular “Broken” character from his time outside WWE, was revealed to be the fifth man on The Elite’s team for the upcoming Blood & Guts match against the Inner Circle as a replacement for the injured Nick Jackson.

Other matches on the show were a tag team match between Best Friends and the Lucha Bros. to follow the opening promo, a second tag match with the Jurassic Express battling The Butcher and The Blade, and a four corners match featuring Riho, Penelope Ford, Hikaru Shida and Kris Statlander. Fans also got to learn more about the newest member of the AEW roster, Lance Archer and his penchant for violence.

While AEW saw a notable bump in the ratings, NXT saw a notable drop in the ratings from 697,000 viewers on March 11 to 542,000 viewers on Wednesday. It didn’t do well in the 18-49 demographic either as it scored a 0.16, not even breaking into the top 50 cable programs for Wednesday.

Despite already having episodes of Raw and SmackDown with no crowds at the WWE Performance Center, the latest edition of NXT chose to focus on a handful of its biggest names with special profiles and highlights of their careers in WWE.

The rivalry between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa was the first piece and took up most of the show. It began with the pair’s first WWE tryouts at the Performance Center in 2015 that led to the two being brought in as a makeshift tag team. From there it followed the pair’s rise as the popular team #DIY, their first match in WWE during 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic, the series of matches in 2018 after Ciampa’s first return from injury, and ended with the brawl that ended the March 11 episode of NXT.

NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley was then given the spotlight to talk about her meteoric rise in popularity. She spoke about her first official WWE TV matches during the 2017 Mae Young Classic, how she changed her look to reflect her actual personality, her success since the 2018 Mae Young Classic, and her upcoming Wrestlemania match against Charlotte Flair.

Finn Balor was the final profile of the episode and focused more on his return to NXT in 2019. He said he wasn’t satisfied with where he was on Raw or SmackDown and decided to go back to where he experienced some of his biggest successes in WWE. All this was said while continuing to tease a match with NXT UK Champion WALTER, though it’s not clear when that match could take place.

Two NXT superstars debuted in WWE on Tuesday night. Pictured: Bin Wang of China is deadlocked by opponent Wesley Blake during a taping of the WWE's NXT show at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, Nov. 30, 2016. Reuters