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Ratings Talk is Back!

Rob always brings logical insight to any topic, regardless of how often it’s brought up in the IWC. Sit back and give this a read, they don’t call Rob a genius for the t-shirts.



OK, I know, I know, I’ve been saying it over and over for a very long time, ratings talk is dumb.  So why on Earth am I bringing it back?  Because now that some, ahem, developments have transpired I think I have a better case to make.  I don’t expect any of you who are obsessed with the subject to let it go, but you should at least hear me out here.  Now that the worm has turned a little, maybe the things that I and others have been saying all along will sink in a bit.

What am I talking about?  In short, AEW’s live audience numbers have taken a bit of a dip over the past couple of months, and this week even Dave Meltzer couldn’t say anything other than it was disappointing.  They haven’t gone over a million viewers for Dynamite in almost two months and Rampage slipped under five hundred thousand last week.  If this kind of thing was happening on the other side of the street then there would be some hot takes flying for sure.  So, are we going to get some of those now?  You know what I mean, things like:

  • AEW in the mud!
  • Worst ratings since (pick whatever date works for you)!
  • At what point does TNT start making demands on how the show is booked?
  • The ratings are obviously going down because the shows are unwatchable now!!
  • (Insert name here) is not a draw!
  • That title match in two weeks is hotshot booking to pop a rating!

Sound familiar?  We’re gonna see these soon, right?  No?  Why is that?  Are you trying to tell me that wrestling media doesn’t call this stuff the same on both sides of the street?  Seriously though, here are some other familiar things for you to chew on:

  • Dynamite is the highest rated non-NBA show on TNT, and it’s not close
  • Even on a disappointing night, it finished third in the ratings on cable
  • Rampage is the next highest rated and watched show on TNT after Dynamite
  • Fewer people watch TV now than before

Those are the kind of things a lot of us would say every week after people on the internet waxed doom and gloom about Monday Night Raw, of course.  And we were summarily dismissed as E drones or whatever.  But now that the falling numbers have struck AEW, the same rationalizations have begun.  But here’s the truth in both cases:

Everyone is doing fine.  RAW, Smackdown, NXT, Dynamite, and Rampage are all leading their respective channels for the day they air.  They all are among the top shows for their respective channels, even the much maligned (for their live audience numbers) NXT and Rampage.  There is literally nothing to see here folks as none of these shows are in any danger of getting cancelled.  No one is actually in the mud, guys.  The networks all know that Nielsen is suspect at best when it comes to measuring audience numbers, and they act accordingly.  There is no reason to rush to Shobuzz Daily every day at 4:30 unless you are just a numbers nerd like me but even then save the pontificating, ok? The numbers exist and that’s about it.  They serve no purpose for us as fans beyond goofy talking points.

But doesn’t it mean SOMETHING?

Well no, it doesn’t.  There are things you can derive from looking at the patterns over time but trust me when I tell you that your entire  narrative can be blown up in a matter of two weeks.  So don’t bother.  As I and many others have said before, a good rating does not mean a good show and vice versa.  There was a lot of trying to figure it out in the replies to Meltzer’s ‘disappointment’ tweet, and while there were reasonable takes there was also a lot of nonsense.  Which has been par for the course with RAW since like…….2002 at least.

So why do we keep doing this thing?

Well, it was a talking point that Eric Bischoff used to show how he was kicking the WWF’s butt over those 83 weeks.  But once that ended it became less and less relevant over time.  And then once TV viewership made the shift to streaming and DVRs it’s relevance was all but dead.  And it should have ended entirely once WWE signed two $1 billion TV deals in the face of nonstop ‘what about teh ratingz?’ talk on the internet.  That should have totally killed the conversation, but your friends Meltzer and company kept it going even though they (should) know better.  And they did it for traffic.

‘Fed bad’, ‘Fed down’, and ‘Fed in the mud’ has been selling Observer subscriptions for almost 40 years now while it has spawned a whole cottage industry of podcasts, YouTube channels, and websites over the last decade.  There is little to no truth to what any of these people are telling you when it comes to ratings, because if there was then they would be firing off the same takes about AEW that they’ve been using about WWE right now.  But they aren’t and that should be a tell.  If you ever needed proof that it was nonsense the last two months should be it.

Here’s a dose of reality for you:  Nielsen numbers are not accurate.  Several networks have already announced that they aren’t relying on them, Nielsen itself has lost it’s accreditation as an information gathering service, and the company itself has begun a shift to overall impressions from traditional audience measuring via Nielsen boxes.  What you read every day at 4:30 or on some wrestling website is by all accounts an inaccurate at best and dishonest at worst representation of how many people are watching these shows.  And the recent reporting of Fast Nationals, aka Overnights has only made it worse because those are a hastily gathered version of an already inaccurate report.

Here’s some more reality for you.  Regardless of what Nielsen says the live numbers are both WWE and AEW are going to get a nice bump in TV rights fees when they negotiate their new TV deals.  Other sports with smaller audiences just got more, and the NFL and NBA continue to get price hikes even as their numbers aren’t what they once were.  And your favorite internet loudmouths will continue to spout the same factually challenged gibberish that they’ve been saying for decades now.  None of it will matter unless you guys keep giving them money and traffic every month.

I’m going to make a bold statement here:  there is not a single thing that ratings talk has done to help the fan experience and in fact it’s only made things worse.  But it has made money for a lot of bad faith actors out there, many of whom want us to treat them as if they are reporting on Watergate or the Civil Rights Movement while they spout off takes based a change up or down of 100,000 people watching a wrestling show on TV.  At this point anyone writing serious essays or going on rants about ratings is not someone you should take seriously.  Just go do what you should have always been doing.  Watch the shows, enjoy the shows, go to the shows, talk reasonably about them with your friends, etc.  Anything else is just dumb.

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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #114: Return of the Reverend



Bandwagon Nerds
Bandwagon Nerds #114: Return of the Reverend

The Reverend Rey Cash returns to the Bandwagon just in time to discuss all of the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe news and rumors surrounding the upcoming Dr. Strange, Fantastic Four, and Black Panther Films! Patrick figures out why Dave doesn’t care for The Witcher season 2 in the Bandwagon’s review of season two, episode 5.  And finally, are there problems between Disney and Pixar brewing?

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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Eliminator – Ancient Light (2022)

YO! The JAR tends to like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. This band is inspired by that 80s sound and it shines brightly! Check it out!



YO! The JAR tends to like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. This band is inspired by that 80s sound and it shines brightly! Check it out!

Now this is not exactly a unique band name since I’m aware of at least two other “Eliminators”, but this one is from England and been around for about a decade. Similarly as to the first review of 2022, I was clicking around looking for something that struck my interest early on in this new year.

They are from England and stick in that Iron Maiden/Judas Priest New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. I’m interested to see if they stick in the classic Heavy Metal sound, or if they put their own spin on it. Let’s get to the album!

  • Artist: Eliminator
  • Album: Ancient Light (2022)
  • Label: Dissonance Productions
  • Total Track Time: 50:43

Arrival it definitely strikes you in the face with that Iron Maiden kind of vibe. But the fun this about halfway through, they solo out the bass to lead into a great dueling guitar instrumental section. It doesn’t have the Maiden Gallop but it feels more like old Kill ‘Em All Metallica in the approach to how they put that together. Really rocking opening song with great guitar parts. Silent Stone opens with a very prominent Bassline complimented with just a quick guitar flair and then into more of that Maiden-esque sound. I really appreciate that the dual guitar parts are more harmonic and less lead trades. They complement each other very well and the rhythm section ties it all together beautifully. So far these first two songs feel like they were ripped out of time from Iron Maiden’s cutting room floor, but that’s not really an insult; because I’m referring to good Maiden. Like Somewhere in Time, No Prayer for the Dying, Fear of the Dark; that era. So not the 80s peak, but still notable Maiden.

Ancient Light starts a little more erratic and then goes into a slower ballad like delivery before the guitars start to drive the tone and tempo back up to the established energy level of the album. While the instrumentation really does stay in league with the band I keep referencing, the vocal tone the singer takes feels more like Geoff Tate from Queensryche until we get to a breakdown and he turns up the head voice and vocal fry usage like 80s Bruce Dickinson. Goddess of Life is the first song to really utilize that Maiden Gallop in the instrumentation. It does flip the arrangement from the last song where it starts off heavy and galloping and then really slows down to this epic moment when the guitars kick in for their duel and reignite the tempo. Only real complaint is they stay in that gallop for so much of the song, the tempo change is the only really intriguing part of the song, and the rest almost becomes a metronome boring me just a little bit. The Sculptor of the Stone Lady well they got their naming conventions from either Iron Maiden or Nightwish. So this is at least very on brand. One of my favorite aspects of these first few songs, is how audible the basslines are. They keep things moving, lock really well with the drum for the rhythm section and too often do bass parts get lost in the mix (I’m looking at you And Justice for All). This song also has a little flamenco guitar break similar to Marty Friedman’s in Holy Wars. The difference is the break actually bridges into a verse with the adjusted tempo, they come out and adjust the tempo again to the swaying almost rock anthem sounding instrumentation. I’m not gonna lie, all of the small changes really had me feeling some Dream Theater vibes, but it was all done really well. They’re just this great building flourish to one final line and then the song ends after a little more noodling. Damn fun song.

Lord of Sleep, Dreammaster someone call Dokken, we need the Dream Warriors! Not really a lot of places to go with breaking this down, the lyrics play in this high fantasy section, so it’s cool and it has many of the similar elements from previous songs with tempo changes, guitar duel and stays driving but the drummer does a much better job with fills to keep the song engaging and not hypnotizing. The Library immediately, I got some King Diamond vibes. From the simple yet ominous title to a quicker opening before steering back into the ominous haunted feeling. But the guitar tone while still very Maiden, reminds me more of like a Welcome Home. And when it picks back up about 2/3rds of the way through the song, again that Maiden/Diamond mixture really just resonates with me. It’s a well put together song and paints great imagery. Mercy definitely using much more vocal fry technique, this sounds more like later 90s Dickinson where it’s going for a heavier tone instead of the grandiose epic vibe. While not bad, the lyrics not being overly enunciated for the sake of using fry and the instrumentation not being anything creative, it falls into that ‘kinda boring’ vein.

Foreverless so a made up word is either going to be a poignant song, or irritating. While it takes about 50 seconds for the lyrics to kick in, it switches things up 2 or 3 times and then goes into a straight Iron Maiden epic sound. We mean like more current Maiden, Benjamin Breeg comes to mind. But they keep the rhythm rocking, the drum crashes and fills mixed with a proper amount of falsetto and fry actually do drive this song well. It’s pretty cool when we get about halfway to a small guitar solo before the story of the song switches to more of the Maiden gallop and what could be interpreted as a glorious resolution. The Nightmare of Aeon let’s see if they are using Aeon to mean life or if they’re just really big fans of Final Fantasy 10. This takes a demonic almost approach, with church bells, a trudging tempo and what sounds like drowned out choral backing vocals. So it’s really hammering down on the dark and foreboding vibe. We get a nearly listless feeling from the guitar solo as it bridges the verses together. We go from an implied spiral to slowly picking up steam back into the Maiden-esque gallop and power, even with an audible fret slide. Hitting the last line if “Nightmare of aeon…” as the song just fades is a nice touch.

So I’ve seen a couple comments and I can’t help but agree; that this album is what Senjutsu could have been. We get the Iron Maiden album we deserved last year. Eliminator does a great job at not dragging on too long, even songs that had that longer epic feel, quickly came to fruition with the longest song being Foreverless at 6:31. That may not sound short, but when current Maiden likes 9+ minute songs…6 and change is short as hell. But what does this all mean? The album is really damn good. I may have started to get a little bored at times, but nothing was egregious or terrible.

With all that said, if you like Iron Maiden you’ll love this band. Give it a spin!


Final Judgment: 8.1/10

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