Last week's episode of AEW Rampage scored the highest viewership and ratings in months, with 528,000 viewers and a .17 in the 18-49 demo. The boost put the show back in the top ten on cable for the night. A lot of wrestling pundits have offered theories on why, like the excitement of Quake by the Lake, a Star Wars movie lead-in, and a decent card. But one factor has been overlooked: the Jersey Shore bump.
Greetings, comrades! It is I, you El Presidente, covering the news and hot goss from only the finest television shows: pro wrestling and reality TV! And that made last week's episode of Rampage a perfect one for your humble leader, as it was an intersection of both when Zack Clayton, heeling it up as a "reality TV star," challenged Hook to a match for the FTW Championship.
"But Your Excellency," you say. "People didn't know Zack would be on the show until it aired!" But that's not true. Though Clayton's appearance was unannounced, the show received promotion via the social media accounts of two stars of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation: Clayton's fiance, J-Woww, and friend and wrestling aficionado The Situation.
In my opinion, comrades, the synergy between AEW and Jersey Shore is unfairly overlooked. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation continues to be a ratings winner for MTV, and was in the top ten shows last Thursday with a .21 in the demo. The Situation has a million Twitter followers and J-Woww has three million, which is comparable to some of AEW's top stars. Bryan Danielson has over four million Twitter followers, Chris Jericho has over three million, and CM Punk has over two million. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks have half a million each, for comparison.
So promotion from the Jersey Shore cast can be a big deal, and even more so because, number one, the crossover appeal of pro wrestling and reality TV is far greater than fans of either genre are likely to admit, and because despite AEW's success, many people think of wrestling as synonymous with WWE. 3-4 million Twitter followers (plus more on Instagram) being told to check out AEW Rampage could very well make a substantial difference in viewership by appealing to an amenable but untapped audience.
It will take more than one popped rating to prove the theory true, comrades, but I believe that both Jersey Shore and AEW would benefit from increasing their involvement with each other. AEW has been featured on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation before, but only to show Clayton himself. Why not push for more wrestlers to appear on the show? And for the Jersey Shore cast to get more involved in AEW? Snooki, after all, wrestled at WrestleMania, and you know how Tony Khan loves an ex-WWE star. Haw haw haw haw!
In all seriousness, comrades, if AEW and Jersey Shore can get over the fact that they are broadcast by competing media empires — Warner Bros Discovery and Viacom respectively — they could bolster each others' success to an even greater degree. Wrestling and reality TV have long been stigmatized as low-brow, but that attitude has been slowly changing in recent years. Both AEW and Jersey Shore would be smart to take advantage of it together.
Zack Clayton will take on Hook on AEW Rampage this week, airing at 10PM Eastern on TNT. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation will air on Thursday on MTV at 8PM Eastern. Until next time, my friends: socialism or death!