Going Broadway: Why Ratings Matter, but You Shouldn’t Care

It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…

Much like every week, ratings came out for AEW Dynamite on Thursday. To the pleasure of many WWE trolls, they dropped below a million viewers coming in at around 936,000.  All Elite Wrestling continually hits high marks with 18-49 demos and was ranked the #1 show on cable last Wednesday. However, many chose to laugh at the expense of one week where ratings dipped a little.

Are you this person? Be honest.

Perhaps you aren’t sure, yet. That’s okay. Lets dive into whether or not you’re an uneducated leech or a legitimately good human being.

Why TV Ratings Matter

According to an article in the New York Times: 

How are ratings used? Ratings provide an objective measurement to determine the prices of commercial slots, meaning they matter most to advertisers and cable companies.

So let’s take a step back and ask this question: As a wrestling fan, how does this affect you even one iota?

Do you wait for the ratings for Raw, NXT, or AEW to come out the day after to determine whether or not you enjoyed the show? Are you rooting for NXT to climb that 18-49 demographic so you can cheer on potential advertisers to the product? Do you think your social media wrestling opinion matters so much that you’re qualified to comment on something like a TV rating?  Does financial success of a brand equate to your enjoyment of it?

If any of the above apply to you, perhaps we don’t collectively need you as a wrestling fan right now…

If you want to call yourself a legitimate wrestling fan, then you want ratings to be high for all shows. I haven’t watched a full episode of Raw in years, and generally do not enjoy the product. But I still want them to achieve high ratings. A dip in the ratings doesn’t help anyone.

TV ratings are helpful for advertisers and corporate mouthpieces to generate as much revenue as possible for said brand. It has nothing to do with you. You aren’t that important.


Why TV Ratings Don’t Matter

News sites report weekly ratings because they’re news sites. They are sources of information. It’s their sole purpose, and they will continue to report on ratings whether or not you care to read.

You don’t have to read, or comment negatively, on these news articles. In fact, you don’t even have to care. Because at the end of the day, TV ratings don’t (or shouldn’t) affect your enjoyment of the brand you prefer.

With the continued rise of streaming services, ratings become a little harder to measure, but as a fan, they mean even less. You never know how many fans are actually watching via DVR, YouTube highlights, illegal wrestling hosting sites, or even on FiteTV with a U.K. VPN. *wink, wink, nod, nod*

All-in-all, they shouldn’t be that important to you…

Why Match Ratings Matter

It seems like so many people hate Dave Meltzer for some reason. He’s only the reason why dirt-sheets and “insider” wrestling news exist in the first place. He’s only the most decorated and recognized wrestling journalist in the sports industry. He’s only an encyclopedia of wrestling/MMA knowledge and history.

So many scoff at his match rating system, especially the notorious 7-star match between Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada. As if wrestling ratings have to max out at 5-stars and there’s no room for anything better…

The point is that measuring the quality of wrestling matches define what the business is and isn’t. What makes a great match? You can argue great storytelling, ring psychology, in-ring athleticism, high-spots, etc…

But it defines it. It’s what separates a match like Yokozuna vs. King Mabel at In Your House 1995 (awful) and any of the Samoa Joe vs. C.M. Punk matches in Ring of Honor (amazing).

On the other hand…


Why Match Ratings Don’t Matter

Perhaps you enjoyed King Mabel vs. Yokozuna. Perhaps you enjoyed the “worst worked match of the year” in 2003 between Triple H and Scott Steiner.  Maybe you can’t decide which is TNA Knockouts match is better, Shelly Martinez versus Rebel or Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca?

They’re both really bad. No disrespect to Rebel who is a joy to watch in AEW.

The point is that a ratings system shouldn’t affect what you like or don’t like. Amazingly enough, you can disagree with a rating given to a match without shitting on the critic. You even have those rare matches where they’re so bad they’re good, much like a good bad movie (The Room, Troll 2).

Notable examples: 

-Warrior vs. Hogan | Halloween Havoc 1998
-Pat Patterson vs. Gerald Brisco Evening Gown Match | KOTR 2000
-Chamber of Horrors Match | Halloween Havoc 1991
-Scott Steiner vs. Triple H | Royal Rumble 2003 (this match is gold, serioiusly)
-HBK vs. Hulk Hogan | Summerslam 2005


Going Home

It’s best practice to not pay too much attention to ratings of any kind, but use them as a way to reflect on your own opinion. Do I agree with Melzter that Omega vs. Okada III was 7-star match worthy?

Not really. But was it still one of the best matches I’ve ever seen? Yes, hands down.

Match ratings and TV ratings have little to do with your personal enjoyment of the product, so why let it get in the way? Why even comment or troll social media about a show’s decreased rating?

It just makes you look like a sop, and it doesn’t help literally anything. Collectively, if we spent more time applauding high ratings of other shows, and just ignoring the lower ratings of others, we’d be a much better fandom for it.