WrestleMania 40 Sets Viewership, Attendance Records for WWE

WWE struck gold with Cody Rhodes-Roman Reigns storyline, plus the return of The Rock.
Cody Rhodes’s destiny at WrestleMania 40 has been fulfilled.
Cody Rhodes’s destiny at WrestleMania 40 has been fulfilled. / (via WWE)

1. The WWE's decision to have Roman Reigns beat Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39 in 2023 to set up a year-long storyline that saw Rhodes finish his story this past weekend at WrestleMania 40 paid off in a huge way.

The company says that viewership on Peacock for Nights 1 and 2 of WrestleMania 40, which took place at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, was up 41% from WrestleMania 39, which had set a viewership record.

In addition to WWE fans wanting to see the payoff for the Reigns-Rhodes storyline, WrestleMania benefitted from The Rock wrestling in his first match since 2016. The Rock's return led to the company having must-watch main events each night, with The Rock teaming up with Reigns to face Rhodes and Seth Rollins on Saturday night, followed by the Reigns-Rhodes singles match on Sunday.

The WWE says WrestleMania 40 is the most successful event in the company's history. Other highlights:

• WrestleMania 40 broke the previous attendance record set byWrestleMania 39 by 78 percent, with 145,298 fans filling Lincoln Financial Stadium over the two nights.

• The WWE’s YouTube channel saw its most-viewed day in channel history on Sunday with more than 67 million views in 24 hours.

• WrestleMania 40 became the most socially viewed WrestleMania of all-time, with more than 660 million views consumed over the two days.

As I wrote in Monday's Traina Thoughts, the Sunday night main event between Rhodes and Reigns couldn't have gone any better thanks to a wild match, surprise returns and Rhodes finishing his story.

The combination of the successful payoff in and out of the ring made this as good a weekend as the WWE has ever had. If you don't believe me, just look at these guys.

2. The WWE wasn't the only organization that experienced crazy ratings growth over the weekend. The 18.7 million viewers tuning it for the Iowa-South Carolina NCAA Women's Tournament final was an 89% increase from the 2023 title game and a 285% increase from 2022.

3. I'm not sure there is a more exciting play in sports than an inside-the-park home run. We had one Monday night from Reds star, Elly De La Cruz. Just as thrilling as De La Cruz's home run, though, was the call by Reds play-by-play man John Sadek. You can't do it any better than this.

4. On his show Monday, Dan Le Batard asked JJ Redick about the difficulties that an athlete goes through when he retires and how hard it is to transition into a post-playing days career.

Redick's nearly five-minute answer was a powerful and insightful look into the life of an athlete that fans don't often get.

5. The most impressive thing about UConn winning back-to-back NCAA titles was that it covered the spread in every single one of its games.

6. Of course, Charles Barkley had an opinion on the eclipse.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: HBO released a must-watch behind-the-scenes look at what happened immediately after Curb Your Enthusiasm filmed its final season ever. If the video below doesn't appear in your browser, click this link to watch.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter,Instagram and TikTok


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Jimmy Traina

JIMMY TRAINA

Jimmy Traina is a media writer and podcast host for Sports Illustrated. A 20-year veteran, he’s been covering the media industry for seven years and writes a weekly column at SI, Traina Thoughts. Jimmy has hosted the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast since 2018, a show known for interviews with some of the most important and powerful people in sports media. He also was the creator and writer for SI’s Hot Clicks feature from 2007 to 2013.