Live event analysis of pro wrestling in the United States (non-WWE/AEW) for Q1 2022

Wrestlenomics subscribers got early access to this article on Wednesday, April 6.

With no notable social distancing restrictions as compared to 2021 and Covid vaccine requirements only depending upon the state, city or county, 2022 continued the progress made in 2021 in the regular running of pro wrestling shows across the country since a general restart on or around July 2021.

What follows is an analysis of pro wrestling shows run in the United States between January 1 and March 27, 2022. (I cut-off the date prior to March 31 to avoid WrestleMania weekend craziness and any shows that are trackable will be included in the mid-year report.)

This report excludes WWE and AEW and focuses on promotions outside this spotlight.


In the sections that follow, we focus on some of the national or international promotions and how they drew. As evidenced below, there are legs left in local promotion when several elements align: right talent, right town, right niche. Outside of the notable Game Changer Wrestling event at the  Hammerstein Ballroom (detailed later), the shows below outdrew any standalone GCW, NWA, Impact, New Japan Pro Wrestling or MLW shows in most cases by a wide margin.

  • Big Time Wrestling drew 3,000+ in Chillicothe, Ohio on March 12.
  • NEW (Northeast Wrestling) showed it can still draw for its biggest events even after all these years with 1,622 on hand in Poughkeepsie, New York on January 22 and 2,234 in Waterbury, Connecticut on March 27 for the Hardys.
  • Mucha Lucha Atlanta quietly drew another big house of 1,300 on March 6.
  • Big Time Wrestling drew 1,200 in the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, South Carolina on January 22, with some reports listing 1,000 and even up to 2,000.
  • Prestige Wrestling in Portland, Oregon drew a reported 1,000 on February 20 for a sellout in Portland’s Roseland Theater, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.


Game Changer Wrestling ran 12 shows in the first quarter of 2022 in advance of “The Collective” series of events in Dallas, Texas at the end of March and early April.

GCW’s most visible event was, of course, the show at the Hammerstein Ballroom on January 23, drawing a sellout 2,025. The total attendance was higher than previous wrestling sellouts in the venue due to the seating arrangement.

As the promotion moves to run larger venues, other notable events included drawing 800 in attendance at Harpos in Detroit on January 14 and about 600 at Center Stage in Atlanta on March 12 (about a 75% full house).

The promotion ran its first double shot in Los Angeles on February 25 and 26. The event on the 25th was its usual sellout at The UCC, with 800 fans. However the event on the 26th was the first time the promotion did not sell-out at the venue, with 50 short of a sellout.

A show planned at The Roxy in West Hollywood, California on March 24 immediately sold out its initial allotment of 175 seats and sold out the remaining 50 general admission seats by the afternoon of the show for a total of 225 in attendance.

The show in Hoffman Estates, Illinois on January 15 sold out rows 1-5 with Standing Room Only available.

Not everything was rosy for the promotion. Quick returns to Houston on February 4 (with 250 in attendance in a 300 seat setup) and Dallas on February 5 (in a new venue and down 75 tickets sold from the last show in that city) yielded lower attendances.

A show on January 1 (the later half of a New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day double-shot) and another double-shot in February on the 19th and 20th  in Atlantic City reflected slower advance sales. The Atlantic City event’s performance may be attributable to fewer marquee matchups than in the past rather than just overexposure. In correspondence with GCW promoter Brett Lauderdale, he attributed the February shows’ attendances to a potential “hangover” following the Hammerstein excitement. Lauderdale chalked up the winter shows drawing lower attendances overall to the limited appeal in the beach town during that season.


On January 8 and 9 Impact ran a double shot at The Factory in Dallas, Texas. In my hand count of the map, the “Hard to Kill” pay-per-view event on the 8th sold-out with 455 tickets distributed. The television taping on the 9th had 400 in attendance, or 88% of setup capacity.

Impact ran a double-shot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Charles Dodge Center. The venue can seat up to 3,200 generally and was set up for 275 reserved seats. My hand count revealed 214 and 223 tickets distributed in a two night stand on January 21 and 22.

On February 19 and 20, the company ran the Alario Center in Westwego, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans. The Observer listed 500 and 200 in attendance, respectively, for the events. I had a hand count of 392 reserved seats initially available with 158 and 56 distributed, respectively, each night.

Impact ran Paristown Hall in Louisville, Kentucky on March 5 and 6. The venue can seat up to 2,000 and I had a hand count of 251 of the 268 reserved seats made available the first night.

The company returned to the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on the evenings of March 18 and 19. On the morning of the 18th, I hand counted the ticket map as having 265 and 358 tickets distributed, respectively, for each night.


With a big show to close out pro wrestling at the Odeum falling in the second quarter of 2022 on April 16, the first quarter was relatively quiet for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

A collaboration with DEFY in Washington Hall in Seattle yielded a sellout of 600 fans on January 15.

A taping at The Vermont Hollywood in Los Angeles on February 17 drew a few hundred fans according to the Observer.

A show on March 20 in St. Petersburg, Florida, at The Coliseum was yielding an advance of under 250 tickets distributed a few weeks out. Seat kills made it hard to determine the final number but ticket sales were a struggle nonetheless. The Observer reported the attendance as 700.


Major League Wrestling returned to Dallas in a new venue, Gilley’s, on January 21. WrestleTix listed 734 of the 934 reserved tickets distributed. The Observer reported the event drew 908.

The February 26 show at The Grady Cole Center in Charlotte drew 850 according to the Observer. PWInsider listed between 900-950 in attendance.


The National Wrestling Alliance partnered with Tried-N-True, an independent pro wrestling promotion based in Tennessee, on February 12 and drew a sellout of 450 in Oak Grove, Kentucky.

The Crockett Cup was held  on March 19th and 20th in the rebuilt Nashville Fairgrounds and a hand count of the map the morning of the first show revealed 366 and 312 of 522 reserved seats distributed, respectively, for each night. There were three days of studio tapings that followed at Skyway Studios from March 21st to 23rd (a venue also used by Impact on July 17th through the 19th of 2021). The first night of tapings was listed on the ticket sales page as sold out.


With Ring of Honor going dark for an initial reimagining (only for an announcement that Tony Khan of AEW was buying the company), no shows were run in this quarter by the company formerly owned by Sinclair Broadcasting. The Supercard of Honor took place outside of this report on April 1st.


  • Maryland Championship Wrestling drew 800 on February 5 in Hollywood, Maryland.
  • Warrior Wrestling expanded outside of its usual venues with two shows. On January 22, it ran the Bendix Arena in South Bend Indiana with the Observer listing 550 in attendance and Cagematch listing 300. Its show in Cicero Stadium in Cicero, Illinois on February 12 drew 600.
  • Southern Honor Wrestling drew crowds over 500 on January 7 and February 4 in Canton, Georgia.
  • TERMINUS drew 275 on January 16 and 350 on February 24 in Atlanta.
  • PWG drew its usual sellout of 600 to the Globe Theater in Los Angeles on January 30.
  • Championship Wrestling presented by Carshield drew a sellout of 550. PWInsider reported that 75 to 100 were turned away.
  • Beyond Wrestling drew 400 to FETE Music Hall in Providence, Rhode Island on February 4.
  • CZW quietly ran shows once again. There were events on January 22 and February 6 in Havre de Grace, Maryland, drawing 40 and 100, respectively.
  • Control Your Narrative drew 150 at the Tin Roof in Icon Park in Orlando, Florida.


A total of 105 shows were tracked for this report. Of the 86 shows with an attendance available, the average attendance was 399. This mirrors almost exactly the 395 average attendance found in the second-half 2021 report.

Given that there were probably 10 to 15 times more events domestically, this is just a snapshot and shouldn’t be applied to any trend overall or meant in any way as a representative sample. Additionally, Georgia Wrestling History provides several local results per week so those may skew a wider analysis of attendance lower based on the volume of small Georgia shows.


In addition to confidence in my own abilities to hand count ticket maps, credit is due to WrestleTix, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Cagematch, PWInsider, The Wrestling Estate, Georgia Wrestling History, local media coverage, correspondence with Brett Lauderdale of GCW, as well as self-reporting by other promoters.

All information provided was to the best of my knowledge. Any factual errors are unintentional and will be corrected in future editions. Please reach out at any time with a concern or correction via

Disclosure/disclaimer: I am currently a shareholder of WWE stock. I have held stock in Sinclair Broadcasting Group in the past but do not currently hold any shares.

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Google web search trends for Q1 2021: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Impact, Stardom, ROH, and more

Q1 2021 just ended, and WWE still has about 10x the Google web search volume of any other pro wrestling brand.

But let’s dig deeper into Google Trends.

First, an explanation of the data we’re looking at:

  • We’re measuring topics, not strings. In all cases here we’re measuring search topics that Google Trends creates, not individual search strings, which would be less all-encompassing and probably less informative. For example, in the case of WWE, we’re not measuring how often the string ‘wwe’ was searched for but rather we’re measuring all searches Google Trends purports related to WWE, the wrestling company (or as GT identifies it, the “media company”).
  • These are relative values, not absolute. The values you’ll see below in the tables on the left are relative values. GT does not provide the absolute number of queries in any form; all its data is relative to the peak for the parameters you enter. I collected monthly data, which is the granularity that GT allows when you’re collecting data beyond a span of five years. A 100 value in this case equals the month with the highest search volume. I’ve made the decision for comprehensibility sake (and because Q1 2021 just ended) to average months into quarters, so you won’t actually see any instances of 100 below.
  • Below, a given value in one table is not equal to the same value in another table. Because the values are relative and standardized against the peak volume for that topic, the values below are not comparable between wrestling companies. For example, below, a 50 for WWE is not equal to a 50 for AEW or any other company. You can put multiple topics on the same scale, but that’s not what we’re doing in this article other than in the above bar chart.
  • This data is volume adjusted. But hasn’t Google search volume in general increased over time? How can we measure activity from 2004 on the same chart as 2021? The data is volume adjusted over time. It’s a measurement of searches as a percentage of all search activity. For more info, read the Google Trends FAQ.


WWE’s worldwide search volume declined again in Q1, for the seventeenth consecutive quarter.

If this was the stock market, we would say WWE’s search volume has been in recession since Q2 2017. That period is roughly when ticket & merchandise sales, and Network subs began declining.

But what about WWE’s domestic market? Maybe that’s different.

In the U.S., WWE’s search volume has been down 17 of 18 consecutive quarters. The exception was when volume was up 1% in Q2 2019.


All Elite Wrestling finally got a search topic in Trends this year.

Worldwide searches for AEW were up in Q1 by 4%. The U.S. trend is similar, up 7%.

Q2 2019 and Q4 2019 were big debut periods for AEW, when the company had its first pay-per-view and first Dynamite episode, respectively.

We’re only now getting into a “steady state” time for AEW where these comparisons are becoming meaningful.

New Japan

New Japan is up 15% worldwide in Q1, which is probably skewed by the fact the company shut down for the pandemic at the end of February 2020. That’ll be a factor through Q3 comparisons as New Japan didn’t return to running events until July.

Queries in the U.S., though, are still falling. This was the ninth consecutive quarter of decline in U.S. volume, which notably began with the Q1 2019 launch of AEW, when former New Japan stars Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks signed with the new promotion.

But domestically for New Japan, searches remain strong. For Japan, Q1 2021 approached the quarterly high of Q1 2019.


Impact Wrestling search volume is a fraction of what it was in the early 2010s. But Impact has seen quarterly gains in three of the last four quarters. That lines up with the beginning of the pandemic, actually.

U.S. trends for Impact are comparable.


The Japanese-based women’s promotion Stardom continues to climb and outpace Ring of Honor and Dragongate in worldwide Google web search volume.

This is even with Stardom’s May 2020 data point excluded as volume was exceptionally high coinciding with the passing of Hana Kimura.

Note the above chart uses a logarithmic scale. AEW, NJPW, Impact are in a separate stratosphere relative to the other companies shown (and WWE in a stratosphere above that).

Google web search is suggestive at best, and other important metrics like ticket sales are hard to take any meaning from in the pandemic era, but it’s probably past time to start including Stardom in conversations when we consider, say, the fifth biggest pro-wrestling company in the world.

If you’re wondering where U.S-based brands like Major League Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance fall in this comparison, Stardom is ahead of either by about 3x over the last twelve months, globally.

Stardom has grown in worldwide search for 20 consecutive quarters, since Q1 2017.

In Japan, volume for Stardom has doubled in many recent quarters, including Q1 2021.

In this U.S., though, the recently ended quarter put an end to twelve consecutive quarters of growth.

Ring of Honor

Ring of Honor searches appear to be at an all-time low. Could searches for ROH be lower now than in 2004? Google Trends also shows 13 consecutive quarters of decline, worldwide.

Searches for the Sinclair Broadcasting subsidiary peaked in 2015.

U.S. results for ROH are similar.

Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also worked as an independent wrestler and trainer.

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