In the first-ever Friday Night Wars, Friday Night SmackDown defeated AEW Rampage. Per fast nationals, Friday Night SmackDown garnered an average viewership of 793,000 while AEW Rampage drew 549,000. SmackDown’s viewership was down 63%, though the show was on FS1 due to preemption from the MLB playoffs. FS1 is available in approximately 10 million fewer homes than TNT. TNT’s Rampage ended its seven-week streak of record-low viewership as its live broadcast from Miami was up 9%
Both broadcasts faced stiff competition with a slate of NCAA college football games featuring ranked teams the University of Oregon (No. 9) and San Diego State University (No. 24), while the MLB playoffs kicked off the ALCS with the Boston Red Sox traveling to the Houston Astros.
SmackDown vs. Rampage Overnight Ratings | October 15, 2021
- Friday Night SmackDown Total Viewership on FS1—793,000
- AEW Rampage Rating in 18-49 Demo—549,000
High drama surrounded both shows with tensions rising as WWE countered a struggling Rampage show by going head-to-head against its first half-hour. The 2.5-hour SmackDown on FS1 advertised top stars Brock Lesnar, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns. AEW countered with a commercial-free half-hour of its own featuring CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal and a six-man tag team match pitting The Inner Circle against The Men of the Year and Junior Dos Santos.
In addition to countless quotes by AEW President Tony Khan about everything from competitive spirit, to WWE’s reported internal thoughts about him to his bank account, Roman Reigns himself fired shots at AEW’s CM Punk. The Universal champion claimed he felt the returning star “lost a step or two” in a combative-by-design interview with Complex (h/t Wrestling Inc).
“On a personal level, it doesn’t do anything for me,” said Reigns about Punk.
“That’s not going to elevate me at all. He’s older now. I haven’t really seen a full match. I’ve seen a clip or two. And to me, a step or two has been lost. Then, also, he got his whooped in the UFC.”
“I don’t think anybody really believes someone 200 pounds soaking wet with no explosive bone in their body could ever really do anything to me. I’m 6’3”, 265 pounds, a legitimate athlete who can throw some weight around and has been on the gridiron at the highest level. D1. All ACC. I probably would’ve maintained in the NFL if my health issues didn’t happen when I was 22 years old,” Reigns explained. “So, I mean, when it comes down to it, I’ll throw him and pretty much the rest of that roster out the club no problem. They’re just little brothers, you know?”
Not to be outdone, rising star Top Dolla of Hit Row released a diss track aimed at The Young Bucks after the legendary tag team used their dubious sneaker collection to take a shot at the NXT roster. The Young Bucks may have bitten off more than they can chew as Top Dolla ethered The Young Bucks in an impressive and entertaining diss track entitled “A Hit Dog Will Holla.” The track cleverly employed “Let Me In” by former G-Unit