Friday, April 19

Why “Edge” Adam Copeland Hasn’t Helped AEW’s Business


  • Adam Copeland’s debut in AEW generated a positive reaction from fans and he expressed his excitement about the fresh roster and new talent.
  • However, Copeland’s presence has not translated into an increase in TV ratings for AEW Dynamite, with viewership dropping in recent episodes.
  • While Copeland may be drawing for AEW, the overall product and weak storylines might be turning fans away and preventing sustained growth in ratings.

Adam Copeland, the man formerly known as “Edge” in WWE, made his debut AEW at WrestleDream a couple of weeks ago. The initial reaction Copeland received at WrestleDream by the fans in attendance was overwhelmingly positive. The crowd in Seattle was white-hot to see Adam Copeland become a member of the AEW roster. Has the “Rated R Superstar” brought any change to the company in terms of TV ratings?

Adam Copeland’s Enthusiastic Outlook For AEW

At the AEW WrestleDream MediaScrum, it was easy to see just how happy and excited Adam Copeland was to be part of the AEW roster. Here is an excerpt from his comments during the press conference:

“Those feelings came across loud and clear, as spoke about feeling “free” for the first time in over 25 years. I look at an entire fresh roster of faces, and so many talents that I’ve never laid hands on before, and that — that to me, as a person who is driven by challenges, that for me was the biggest thing. I’ve never been in a ring with Samoa Joe. I’ve never stood in a ring with Sting before tonight. After 31 years in the industry, that’s never happened.

Then I see a guy like Nick Wayne, or I see Swerve. There’s just so many possibilities here, and for me at this stage of my career — that is so enticing, that is so exciting, that is so… I said it out there, after the fact when I came back out there tonight, I felt free. That’s just the word that popped — I felt free. And it felt fun. I felt almost like the same feeling I would have when I would come out for my indie shows, back when I was either ‘Adam Impact’ or ‘Sexton Hardcastle’ or something, and it was this brand-new thing I always wanted to do. That feeling, I felt it out there tonight.” (h/t: Cageside Seats)

Adam Copeland Hasn’t Moved NXT Ratings

AEW - NXT: Tuesday Night War
Image via Pro Wrestling Bits

Focusing on AEW Dynamite, Adam Copeland made his debut for the program on October 4th, cutting a promo with a desire to team with Christian Cage and reform the magic they once had years ago in WWE. Christian had other plans, as he told Adam to “go f*** yourself”. The ratings for this episode of Dynamite drew 800,000 viewers, which was extremely low compared to the 855,000 the week prior to Copeland’s AEW debut.

RELATED: Adam “Edge” Copeland Gives In-Depth Interview About Why He Left WWE For AEW

If things couldn’t get any worse. The following week during the “Tuesday Night War” which pitted AEW Dynamite going up against a stacked NXT card featuring guest appearances from Cody Rhodes, Asuka, John Cena, Paul Heyman, and The Undertaker. Copeland made his in-ring debut in the main event against Luchasaurus, which ended with Copeland picking up his first victory following a spear.

Despite airing on a different night and going head-to-head with WWE (NXT), unfortunately the ratings were extremely poor. Dynamite drew a dismal 609,000 viewers, and dropped in the 18-34 key demographic, going from a 0.28 rating a week before to 0.26.

Is Adam Copeland Overexposed In AEW?

An enraged Adam Copeland during one of his final matches in WWE

In addition to Dynamite, Copeland has also appeared on AEW Collision and was involved in 2–3 segments per show, including the match he had with Luchasaurus. On paper, this is a great strategic move on AEW’s part. If you were to view the ratings’ breakdown Dynamite (10/4/23), you can see that when Copeland is a part of a segment, the numbers are generally good. This shows that, in essence, Copeland is drawing for AEW, but the problem seems to lie in the rest of the AEW product that has fans not tuning in or better yet, sticking around for the show(s).

RELATED: Analyzing Why AEW’s TV Ratings Have Become Stagnant

Why Hasn’t Adam Copeland Helped AEW’s Ratings?

Adam Copeland during his debut for AEW at WrestleDream

After a little over two weeks of Adam Copeland being part of the AEW roster, you can see that he has made an impact for AEW, even if that’s not reflected by the ratings. While Copeland can still draw and be a powerhouse name for AEW, it’s subjective and debatable if he will make the same impact that CM Punk had before, despite Punk’s issues within the company.

To be fair, it’s still a bit too early to tell how big of an impact the “Rated R Superstar” will have on AEW in the long term. Will the numbers grow, or will they remain neutral or decline? That is ultimately up to the wrestling fans to decide. The biggest issues AEW has are the weak storylines (overall), lack of new stars being created, and over reliance on the established marquee talent from WWE.

Will Adam Copeland move the needle for AEW? In a sense, yes, he has already. But, from a week-to-week basis, so far the “Rated R Superstar” has a long ways to go.

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