SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw drew a 1.61 rating on USA Network among live and same-night-DVR viewers, the lowest non-holiday rating ever. Viewership began at 2.262 million, grew to 2.399 million, and then dropped to 2.196 million over the course of three hours.
This is down from the year-ago rating of 1.96 and the two years ago rating of 2.08. That’s a 23 percent drop from two years ago.
With the departure of Roman Reigns after positioning him for years as the top star could be playing a role, as could Braun Strowman’s surgery sidelining him. Perhaps it’s going back to having an “absentee Universal Champion” whom the company had convinced viewers didn’t care about WWE and had no pride in his job performance. At some point, though, it’s not the absence of stars but who is being pushed in their absence that could be at play. Ronda Rousey was supposed to be a big-name insurance policy against this kind of erosion of fan support, but she’s at best propping up what could be even worse ratings or at worst making no difference.
Check out Wade Keller’s new podcast covering last night’s episode of WWE Raw…
PWTorch editor Wade Keller is joined by cohost Rich Fann from the PWTorch Livecast “Deep Dive” to discuss WWE Monday Night Raw from Houston, Tex. including an on-site reporter along with live callers and a lot of mailbag feedback on Ronda Rousey wrestling, Drew McIntyre turns on Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose addresses fans, Sasha & Bayley Q&A with Alexa Bliss, Baron Corbin’s power trip continues, Lucha House Party rules, and more.
Editorials will be written on websites and rants will be spoken on podcasts, but all that matters is when Vince McMahon decides to point the finger at himself and his team and insist on producing better shows that listen more to fans and stay away from heel general manager authority figures and cheesy sit-down talk segments and get back to promoting a show resembling pro wrestling where popular athletes are engaging in battles inside the ring with perceived high stakes. If McMahon can bring some sense of authenticity back to the characters and what they’re saying and if he can get more in step with the demographic he’s chasing with edgier characters, things could get better quickly.
The ten-week rolling average for Raw headed into this week was 1.96, and this week marks 12 weeks in a row where the rating was below 1.80, indicating a new all-time-low water level of viewership and interest in the product. While there are other ways for WWE to draw revenue, and comparing ratings today to 20 years ago requires qualifiers and adjustments before drawing too much judgment, it’s not good that fewer and fewer people at a rapid rate are deciding that settling in for three hours of Raw on a Monday night is worth their time anymore.
The only bright side is that the first-t0-third hour drop-off last night was only 66,000, the lowest in four weeks and well below the 321,000 average for the year, indicating that fans stuck around for Rousey’s tag match later in the show.