WWE: Changes Made to Fri.’s SmackDown Plans Over COVID, Cavinder Twins Update, More on NXT July 18, 2023 Viewership

WWE Reportedly Made Several Late Changes to Plans for Friday’s SmackDown Show

PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that WWE officials made several late changes to their original plans for Friday’s SmackDown show in Orlando, Florida.

Johnson reported that these changes included WWE had originally planned for Adam Pearce to officially reveal Asuka’s opponent for her WWE Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam 2023 during the show. WWE ended up announcing Asuka’s opponents prior to the show on social media instead.

Another change reportedly included WWE dropping their plans for a match between IYO SKY and Zelina Vega in favor of SKY vs. Charlotte Flair instead. Johnson reported that Flair was not originally planned to compete on the show.

In a follow-up report, Johnson reported that his sources stated that the reason for the changes was due to medical-related issues affecting several talent. One source spoken to stated that several talents were pulled from the show due to them either testing positive for COVID-19 or had been in contact with someone who had recently tested positive.

The Cavinder Twins WWE Status Update

As noted before, the June 6th NXT show featured WWE NIL signees The Cavinder Twins, Hanna and Haley Cavinder, making a surprise appearance and official NXT on-screen debuts.

Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that the Cavinder Twins have made around $1.7 million each from their NIL deals with WWE.

Meltzer reported that due to the high cost of their NIL deals, the current belief is that if the Cavinder Twins were to sign potential NXT developmental deals, it would be for a monetary amount that is much higher than a typical NXT contract.

One person spoken to within WWE reportedly stated that the current belief is that the Cavinder Twins will either end up as big stars or as big disappointments for the company with no in between due to the large sums of money WWE would have spent on them.

More on NXT Week 197 Viewership – July 18, 2023

The July 18th episode of WWE NXT saw NXT gain a large increase in overall viewership and a slight increase in key demographic ratings.

NXT drew 746,000 viewers and a 0.21 key demographic rating on USA Network.

Detailed viewership and key demographic breakdowns were not available in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Dave Meltzer reported that the main reasons for NXT’s increases this week was due to the large gains from their younger male key demographic viewership and older key demographic viewership groups, which were up 37.2% and 32.7% respectively compared to last week’s show. Another reason reportedly was due to the very large gain in viewership for their final quarter hour and overrun featuring the Dominik Mysterio vs. Wes Lee match for the NXT North American Championship which drew 844,000 viewers for a gain of 145,000 viewers compared to the prior quarter. This reportedly offset the decline from their younger female viewership, which was down 31.6% compared to last week’s show.

In terms of key demographic viewership, NXT had 279,000 viewers. NXT’s Males 18-34 had 59,000 viewers (up 37.2%), Females 18-34 had 26,000 viewers (down 31.6%), Males 35-49 had 129,000 viewers (equal), and Females 35-49 had 65,000 viewers (up 32.7%). Meltzer reported that the male/female viewership split was 188,000 male viewers (up 9.3%) and 91,000 female viewers (up 3.4%) for a split of 67.3% in favor of males.

In terms of yearly comparisons, NXT was up 31.3% in overall viewership and up 72.2% in key demographic viewership. Meltzer reported that NXT’s 18-34 viewership was up 36.5% compared to the same week last year.