Wednesday Night Dynamite ratings have remained healthy for AEW over the summer despite missing top stars, but CM Punk’s return to the promotion’s flagship show popped numbers in a very real and tangible way. That’s great news for Tony Khan and co ahead of the All Out pay-per-view, which is set to take place on September 4. Punk being healthy enough to work that show wasn’t a given, as just a few weeks ago, he told fans at the San Diego Comic-Con that he’d shattered his foot and needed to reteach himself how to walk.
However, he wasn’t in a walking boot at the Chicago Comic-Con this past weekend, seemingly indicating that he was closer to being ready than he’d let on. After clearing the ring, the AEW World Champion had a stare-down with interim World Champion Jon Moxley. The Blackpool Combat Club leader gave Punk the bird before hitting the ramp. Punk hopped around on his injured foot to show that he was back and 100 percent, leading the commentary team to state that he looked healthy and ready to go. All Out is in The Voice of The Voiceless’ hometown of Chicago, so the importance of getting him back in time for that PPV can’t possibly be overstated. Especially not with how much he moves the ratings needle in a day and age where virtually no one besides John Cena does that.
In the most recent edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer provided some context for Dynamite‘s ratings. “Moxley vs. Jericho first half did 968,000 viewers and 432,000 in 18-49. The Moxley vs. Jericho second half with the JAS, BCC and CM Punk run-ins after did 1,003,000 viewers and 444,000 in 18-49.” AEW has been struggling to crack that one million viewers mark, and Punk managed to do it even though he wasn’t advertised for the show. The segments before the main event did 926,000 viewers, which means that CM’s surprise return added more than 70,000 sets of eyeballs.
CM Punk Has Proven To Be AEW’s Biggest Draw
Give credit where it’s due to Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho, who put on a great match in Dynamite‘s main event. The champion had his earring ripped out at the beginning of the bout and bled profusely, while the Lionheart version of Jericho was opened up the hard way during the fight. It reportedly took seven stitches to close his wound. They made the crowd want to stick around, and when Punk’s music, the floodgates opened.
Driving 70,000+ people to their television screens at 9:55 pm ET on a Wednesday night is a big deal. Not even Bryan Danielson’s highly-anticipated return to action on Dynamite a few weeks ago popped a number that landed more than a million people. It’s an arbitrary number, but crossing the one million viewers mark is an essential milestone for AEW. The flagship show has pulled those numbers before, but doing it consistently has been difficult for Dynamite. Meltzer noted that the show beat WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown in 18-34, which is a significant victory given the network edge.