Note: all numbers were as of January 1, 2020.
It's time to turn the page on 2019....even though 2020 has sucked.
WWE released a comprehensive top ten list of videos that outperformed their field from Raw and Smackdown this year on Youtube. Fightful regularly includes these figures on our ratings and viewership posts, and did some tidying up on the list and gave you some numbers associated with them.
WWE has several other platforms, including Twitter, Youtube, the WWE on Fox channel and more. However, we're going to take a look at which clips from Raw and Smackdown (and technically NXT and 205 Live since none charted) did the best.
- Strowman vs. Lashley arm wrestling (38M)
- Braun Strowman flips limo (18.9M)
- Reigns and Rollins save Dean Ambrose (17.2M)
- Brock Lesnar attacks Rey Mysterio & his son (15.3M) - additional 6M on WWE on Fox
- Rousey, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair brawl (14.7M)
- Undertaker helps Roman Reigns (13.9M)
- Roman Reigns storms Shane McMahon's VIP room (12.8 M)
- Cain Velasquez debuts (11.4 M)
- Goldberg and Undertaker meet face to face (9.7M)
- Roman Reigns Returns (9.2M)
Several of WWE's list was out of order for whatever reason. Also, an off-air exclusive of The Shield saying goodbye to Ambrose hit 19M. WWE Playlist is a major success on WWE's Youtube platform, with several videos over 10M views.
WWE on Fox also has a channel doing excellent numbers, and has seen a few standouts of their own, though none hit the 9M threshold to break the top 10 overall. The top viewed video is a 6 million viewed NXT & Raw invasion of Smackdown. Several Cain Velasquez/Brock Lesnar clips are close by.
As mentioned on our Fightful Select service, several people within WWE have told us that they use Youtube figures as a soft gauge to see what people are going out of their way to see.
Ring Of Honor
It would appear that Rush in Ring of Honor has at least been a success digitally.
The former ROH World Champion took the top two spots in the company's most viewed Youtube moments of this year. That's not exactly saying a lot, as despite a solid subscriber count of 418,000, ROH didn't have a single current video hit 265,000.
Below is the full top 6 list, from moments that happened in 2019.
- Rush vs. Matt Taven (full ROH Title Match) (261k)
- Rush vs. Bandido (150k)
- Lifeblood forms (119k)
- Allure vs. Jenny Rose & Kelly Klein vignette (87k)
- Ladder match set for G1 Supercard (82k)
- Lifeblood challenges Jay Lethal (56k)
Much like New Japan, ROH doesn't post a lot of current match footage, instead relying on promos that are filmed outside the setting of the ring. In fact, the two matches that topped the list were actually posted months, if not weeks after they actually happened as "throwback videos."
Twelve of Ring of Honor's top 15 videos of all time come from the Women of Honor division, two feature Kevin Owens, and the other shows current WWE talent Maria Kanellis in the thumbnail. However, this year, only one Women of Honor moment cracked the top list, and none had more than 90,000 views.
All in all, it was a miserable year for Ring of Honor's Youtube presence. Since then, they've acquired outside help and are doing much better.
All Elite Wrestling
AEW made some big signings that are kicking up some big buzz for them.
The company launched in 2019, and plucked a fresh Jon Moxley from WWE, and Kenny Omega from New Japan. Coupled with many other familiar faces, AEW had a steady digital footprint when it came to Youtube.
The top segment saw The Elite, The Inner Circle, MJF, Jon Moxley, all brawl to end the go-home episode of AEW Dynamite that led to Full Gear.
These numbers are a little bit different from any other promotion we've covered, as show clips are posted to AEW, B/R Live and TNT's channel. We have not added the view counts cross-brand, instead only relying on individual video view counts.
You can see the top 10 clip listing below.
- Full Gear Go-Home Segment (5.4M AEW)
- Cody asks Dustin to be his partner (3.5m B/R Live)
- End of Moxley vs Pac; Omega & Hangman (2.5M AEW)
- Moxley drops Pac in tag match against Omega (2.49M AEW)
- Jake Hager's debut (2.4M TNT)
- Moxley puts Omega through a glass table (2.2M TNT)
- Casino Battle Royal Double or Nothing (1.6M B/R Live)
- Crazy ending to Moxley vs. Spears (1.5M AEW)
- Orange Cassidy at Double or Nothing (1.2M B/R Live)
- Aja Kong confronts Awesome Kong (1.1M B/R Live)
An interesting trend that was noticed was that all three of AEW's top viewed videos featured Jon Moxley in the thumbnail, while three of the top four had Kenny Omega, and ALL of the top four featured one of those two or PAC.
Also worth noting that the "Backstage at Double or Nothing" episode of Being the Elite garnered 1.1M views on their own channel, being the first video of theirs to hit that mark. On the "Nightmare Family" channel, Road to Double or Nothing Episode 15 landed at 995,000 views. As of now, that's the only episode on that channel to hit 450,000.
The first two episodes of AEW Dark have hit one million views, while an online exclusive of Cody vs. a child dressed as Orange Cassidy hit 1.2M
Jon Moxley is working out just fine for New Japan Pro Wrestling, as is Jushin Liger's retirement tour.
Before Liger hangs it up this weekend, English-speaking fans seem to be taking well to his retirement tour -- specifically his battles with Minoru Suzuki. Along with Jon Moxley, a video of the two was the only current clip to break the one million view barrier on New Japan Pro Wrestling's English-language Youtube.
Elsewhere, Jon Moxley dominated the list, with his backstage promo with a loopy Shota Umino blowing everything else out of the water. The clip landed at 3.6M views, which is as much as #2-8 on the list got combined, and as many as the top six videos on the list not featuring Moxley.
Below, Fightful has compiled the top 15 videos of New Japan's year.
- Moxley and Shota's backstage promo (3.6M)
- Minoru Suzuki bows to Jushin Thunder Liger (1.1M)
- KENTA Joins Bullet Club (799k)
- Okada wins, Jericho speaks (525k)
- Moxley wants Umino to give him lines (446k)
- Moxley's post-title win (416k)
- KENTA wants in the G1 (408K)
- Liger and Suzuki won't quit (362k)
- Jay White wins, Goto, Okada, Ibushi, Tanahashi hit the ring (359k)
- Kishin Liger unleashed (332k)
- Moxley remains undefeated (306k)
- Hiromu Takahashi returns (300k)
- Moxley still undefeated (276k)
- Suzuki demasks Liger (273k)
- Liger says he and Suzuki will kill each other (266k)
It should be noted that the New Japan channel is still growing, and they don't usually post footage in the way WWE, AEW or IMPACT do. Most of their content is from post-match interviews or scrums.
The company's Japanese channel posts categorically different footage. There are plenty of highlights, news update videos and the like to better garner a localized interest in certain topics. The Suzuki/Liger feud maintained the interest of viewers, and Takashi Iizuka's retirement even landed on the top 15. There was some solid parallel between the two channels -- KENTA, Moxley, Liger, but plenty of differences along the way as well. The content is way different on New Japan's channel, even though many of the highlights could theoretically be posted on their US channel as well.
Below is a top 15.
- NJPW News Flash October 2 (639k) Kishin Liger thumbnail
- New Japan Cup 2019 Highlights (477k) Logo thumbnail
- NJPW News Flash August 12: KENTA In Bullet Club (441k)
- NJPW News Flash February 21 Iizuka Retires (424k)
- New Beginning In Sapporo Feb 3 Highlight (406k) Iizuka thumbnail
- New Beginning In Sapporo Feb 3 Highlight (395k) Okada/Tanahashi thumbnail
- NJPW News Flash September 20 (366k) Suzuki/Liger Thumbnail
- Jon Moxley Interview (364k)
- New Beginning In Osaka Feb 11 Highlight (342k) Jay White thumbnail
- NJPW News Flash November 3: Hiromu Takahashi returns (326k)
- Road to New Beginning Jan 28 (325k) Taichi/Naito thumbnail
- New Japan Cup March 10 Highlight (324k) Ibushi/Naito thumbnail
- G1 Supercard Highlights (313k) Okada thumbnail
- New Japan Cup March 24 Highlight (308k) Okada thumbnail
- Suzuki vs. Liger VTR (307k)
IMPACT Wrestling saw plenty of changes in 2019, including an enhanced focus on their Knockouts division.
It seems it's with merit, too. The division had a presence in four of the top five IMPACT-related clips on Youtube this year. Jordynne Grace, Tessa Blanchard, Taya and Scarlett Bordeaux were all represented as well.
You can check out the top 5 list below.
- Jordynne Grace vs. Alexa Nicole (8.4M)
- Sami Callihan attacks Tessa Blanchard with a baseball bat (6.6M)
- Taya Valkyrie breaks Knockouts Title record (2M)
- Mahabali Shera returns (1.9M)
- Scott Steiner gets a lapdance from Scarlett Bordeaux (1.6M)
Grace continues to be a well-pushed name in the company, and Callihan vs.Tessa figures to be a top program leading into IMPACT's next PPV. Just this week, Taya becomes the first person to hold the Knockouts title for a full year.
Jordynne Grace's video in particular hit #16 all-time for Impact/TNA.
It may be surprising to some that Mahabali Shera appeared on the list, but geographical traffic has treated he and Great Khali both well in many of their posted clips in the past.
IMPACT Wrestling's digital presence is much higher than that of ROH and NJPW, but still far behind that of WWE. The promotion has also done well with several classic pay-per-view shows being re-aired.
Beyond/Limitless/Title Match Wrestling
Beyond Wrestling is an anomaly in the wrestling Youtube world, as is Title Match Wrestling.
Beyond primarily posts free matches and clips focusing on intergender wrestling, which do amazingly well on the Youtube platform. While in other breakdowns, we focus on clips that were filmed this year, most of the Beyond channel's releases aren't nearly as time sensitive.
Below are the top 10 videos released by Beyond Wrestling on Youtube (as measured by views) in 2019.
- Punjabi Pride (Samara & Robo) vs. Team Spicy (7.6M)
- Jordynne Grace v. Brian Cage (5M)
- Tessa Blanchard & David Starr vs. Penelope Ford & Joey Janela (3M)
- Joey Ryan vs. Anthony Greene (2.8M)
- Jordynne Grace vs. Wheeler YUTA (2.1M)
- Kimber Lee vs. Donovan Dijak (1.3M)
- Chris Dickinson vs. Addy Starr (1.3M)
- Jordynne Grace vs. Kris Statlander (1.2M)
- Leyla Hirsch vs. DL Hurst (1.2M)
- Kris Statlander vs. Maria Manic (1.1M)
In addition to these, Orange Cassidy vs. Kylie Rae, and Chris Dickinson vs. Willow Nightingale both hit 1M views
In the same vein of Beyond is Title Match Wrestling. However, in addition to matches and clips, they also feature shoot interviews. However, none of those clips cracked their top ten. All of their top 8 were also intergender matches, and a few of them were warehouse-produced matches with wrestlers serving as the audience.
In recent years, Title Match has started producing the Ladies Night Out series, as well as Queens of the Ring.
Below are their top ten viewed videos from 2019.
- Joey Ryan vs Miranda Alize (58.8M) (3.4M more for IPPV version)
- Tessa Blanchard vs Anthony Bowens (14.1M)
- Allie Kat vs MV Young (10.6M)
- Ashley America vs Ari Alvarado (3.5M)
- Shotzi Blackheart vs Matt Macintosh (3.2M)
- Miranda Alize vs Ricky Starks (2.7M)
- Scarlett Bordeaux vs Jack Jameson (2.5M)
- Corrine Mink vs Coach Mammone (2M)
- Mercedes Martinez vs Thunder Rosa (1.6M)
- Su Yung vs Laynie Luck (1.3M)
Limitless Wrestling follows much of the same formula as the previous two. Angel Sincalid of the Platinum Hunnies specifically found a ton of success. Below are their top 10 of 2019.
- Kris Statlander vs. Christian Casanova (40.2M)
- Angel Sinclair vs. Channing Thomas (8.8M)
- Davienne vs. Channing Thomas (7.3M)
- Anthony Greene vs. Sierra (5.9M)
- Brett Domino Doesn't Get His Smooch From The Platinum Hunnies (3.7M)
- Angel Sinclair's Bootyful Offense (3.5M)
- The Platinum Hunnies vs. Brett Domino (1.8M)
- Allie Kat vs. Shazza McKenzie (1.8M)
- Davienne vs. Sierra (1.5M)
- Sierra vs. Bobby Orlando (943K)
Other channels under the searchable tag "Intergender Wrestling" that garnered major numbers include:
- Penelope Ford vs Randy Summers (9.8M) Richard Ruiz Productions
Kris Statlander vs Alex Reynolds (7.4M) Outlaw Wrestling
Joey Ryan vs Double R Rose (7.2M) RISE
Corrine Mink vs. Ty Alexander (3M) A Matter Of Pride
Our look at Youtube in wrestling, how it drew and how it performed in totality in 2019 continues with a look at two fairly independent, but visual companies in MLW and NWA.
MLW has a presence on BeIN Sports, and a cult following, with their entire program airing on a delay on Youtube. This has resulted in pretty definitive numbers as it pertains to which shows gain the most interest, by far being their "special events." Of the top 8 videos all-time on their channel, five are Battle Riot or War Games/War Chamber events or matches.
- 2019 Battle Riot (219k)
- War Chamber 2019 (120k)
- Kings of Colosseum (114k)
- MLW Superfight (101k)
- Intimidation Games (91k)
- MLW Fusion Ep 50 (90k) LA Park v. Mance Warner
- Von Erichs visit the Sportatorium grounds (89k)
- MLW Fusion Ep 61 (83k) MJF vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
- MLW Fusion Ep 78 (79k) Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Austin Aries
- MLW Fusion Ep 68 (77k) Von Eichs vs. CONTRA
NWA Powerrr emerged on the scene in 2019, after the Ten Pounds of Gold series already had a steady following for almost two years. Early episodes drew more viewers than others, though outside of the top 5, that starts to switch up a little bit.
1. NWA Powerrr Episode 1 (600k) Aldis/Kamille thumbnail
2. Briscoes confront Rock N' Roll Express (364k)
3. NWA Powerrr Episode 2 (346k) Aldis/Kamille thumbnail
4. NWA Powerrr Episode 3 (257k) James Storm/Eli Drake/ Aldis/Cabana thumbnail
5. Scott Steiner's debut (268k)
6. NWA Powerrr Episode 6 (244K) Aldis/Kamille thumbnail
7. NWA Powerrr Episode 3 (243k) Tim Storm/Eli Drake thumbnail
8. NWA Powerrr Episode 5 (234k) Colt Cabana/James Storm thumbnail
9. NWA Powerrr Episode 10 (231k) Marty Scurll thumbnail
10. NWA Powerrr Episode 7 (229k) Aldis/Murdoch thumbnail
As showcased, some of the top draws featured familiar names appearing. It's worth noting that a James Ellsworth vs. Nick Aldis match from February 2018 is the top drawing video on the channel at 1.1M views, the only video to eclipse 600k+ at the time of producing this list.
AAA mad its impression felt on Youtube, but primarily at TripleMania.
The Mexican wrestling company isn't quite the Youtube juggernaut of its American counterparts, but consistently performs better than that of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Three of their top five clips from 2019 were from their major TripleMania XXVII event, the biggest of their calendar year.
- What LA Park Did At The End Of TripleMania XXVII (2.8M)
- Mixed Tag Match (Scarlett & Sammy) TripleMania XXVII (2.6M)
- Dr. Wagner Jr. Vs Blue Demon Jr. (2.3M)
- Cain Velasquez's debut at TripleMania XXVII (1.4M)
- CONQUISTA TOTAL en TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ (1.1M)
The only other clip of AAA's year that crossed the one million view mark was a match for the top contendership to the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship back in May featuring Chik Tormenta, Lady Maravilla, Faby Apache and La Hiedra
The Cain Velasquez business seemed a good one to be in for AAA. While his debut only landed at number four on this list, he was also featured in the thumbnail of the top drawing video. It's hard to really decipher how much of an impact that made if any.
Scarlett Bordeaux far away holds the record for the most viewed video on the channel at 34 million views -- over five times more than #2 all-time. Her mixed tag match with Sammy Guevara at TripleMania hit the #2 spot in 2019, continuing her hot streak before signing with WWE this past year.
AAA rival CMLL has nowhere near the Youtube presence of AAA. In fact, they've only had two videos all-time crack the one million mark, while AAA had six in the last year alone.
The most watched videos from CMLL were full on events, specifically their 86th Anniversary show that topped out at 340,000 views. Of all major promotions, CMLL is probably only ahead of Ring of Honor in Youtube presence.
There are some indisputable draws as far as eyeballs are concerned, and it's not tough to determine that the most pushed people in WWE usually reach that accolade. WWE landed another in Cain Velasquez, though we saw that interest wane as his run continued. Considering three of AEW's big acquisitions were Jon Moxley, PAC and Kenny Omega, the performance in which they put forth has to be seen as a big success. Based on everything we've seen, Jon Moxley could quite possibly be the biggest American draw on Youtube outside of the WWE.
Intergender matches aren't going anywhere. In addition to it being convenient and an attraction for indie promoters, it's big money if the right video hits. Fightful was told that one video on this list cost less than $80 to produce from paying the talent, filming and uploading the video, and posting/promoting it. Almost entire lists are comprised of intergender matches.
IMPACT Wrestling and ROH are night and day. In 2018, it was hard to dispute ROH as the number two company in the United States, but they weren't even top 6 in the country on Youtube in 2019. That's inexcusable based on the hurdles they face, and they library they own. One Youtube expert told me that he believes Ring Of Honor is leaving six figures on the floor simply from ContentID matching third-party videos alone. With ROH's roster, library and resources, there's no reason a dedicated person should not be hired to run their Youtube full-time, as the position would likely pay for itself. If it does that, the company effectively gets free promotion from their own material.
When doing research for our year-end Youtube, Fightful was able to learn some additional tendencies and things that were put into play in order to gain traction. Some of them are concentrated efforts, while others are a bit more generic, or even lazy.
- No NXT clips came anywhere close to WWE's top list.
- AEW's channel was started on October 23, 2018. So the wheels were in motion as of then, at least, to make preparations digitally for the new promotion.
- AEW already has eclipsed and will soon double ROH's subscribers. ROH started their channel in May 2006.
- NJPW uses very generic tags for all their videos. "Jay White, Jon Moxley, Phantasmo, Bulley Club, NJPW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Recount, Zack Sabre Jr, Kazuchika Okada, Kenta, Guerrillas of Destiny theme, Wrestle Kingdom, G1, Chris Jericho NJPW, History of Bullet Club," but interestingly they still use "Kenny Omega, Shinsuke Nakamura," and also use "WWE."
- AEW uses some tactics that are in no way related to their roster, including "Ric Flair," though "Dean Ambrose," and "The Shield" are also used.
- CMLL barely tags anything at all on their videos. CMLL, lucha libre, Arena Mexico and the name of the event is about the extent.
- MLW's tags are pretty broad, utilizing their own promotion, but also including NJPW, TNA, ECW, WWE, NWA, AEW and the like.
- The John Oliver expose on WWE and Saudi Arabia hit 8.9M views on Youtube. There were a couple of other Youtubers that had major Youtube clips playing with toys, or playing with videos games, but weren't necessarily personality driven there.