WWE Raw ratings rebound, but how much of a difference did Orton-Fiend fire angle at TLC make, plus key demos and 20 years ago comparison

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown star reportedly set to move to Monday Night Raw
Raw Thunderdome


Monday’s (12/21) episode of WWE Monday Night Raw drew a 1.21 rating, rebounding from a series all-time low of 1.12 last week, the match the rating from two weeks ago. They headlined with Drew McIntyre & Keith Lee & Sheamus vs. Miz & Morrison & A.J. Styles. The first-to-third hour dropoff was higher than usual at 310,000, above the ten-week rolling average of 235,000.

If WWE was anticipating a big ratings surge coming off the buzz generated by the controversial finish of TLC with Randy Orton setting The Fiend on fire and ending the show with the apparent body of Fiend/Bray Wyatt being burned to death, they didn’t get it. The ten-week rolling average going into this week was 1.24, so this week’s number coming out of TLC was below that despite the over-the-top angle the night before.

In the 18-49 demographic, Raw drew a 0.53 rating, typical for the show. Raw’s three hours finished no. 4, 5, and 6 behind only ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Monday Night Football game.

Raw drew a 3.4 in the male 18-34 demo (up from 0.20 last week) and 0.65 in the male 18-49 demo (up from 0.46 last week). Last week’s AEW Dynamite drew a 0.15 rating in the male 18-34 demo and a 0.43 rating in the male 18-49 demo, well behind Raw’s numbers this week.

One year ago this week, Raw drew a 1.35 rating, down from 1.51 the prior week. Two years ago, Raw drew a 1.22 rating, down from a 1.71 the prior week (that aired on Dec. 23, 2018, an ominous sign for Dynamite’s ratings tomorrow night). Three years ago, Raw drew a 1.69 rating, down from 1.95 the prior week. There is typically a season drop this time of year, and Raw avoided that this week, which makes the 1.21 rating more impressive than it appears at first glance.

For context of how different ratings are today, 20 years ago this week in the Pro Wrestling Torch Weekly Newsletter (available to read in its entirely for PWTorch VIP members HERE), the ratings report noted “concern” for Raw ratings dropping from their peak, yet the rating was nearly six times higher than this week’s Raw rating. I wrote:

While there is no cause for alarm, there is cause for concern that Raw’s ratings aren’t hitting the same highs that they were six and twelve months ago. Last week, without competition from Nitro, Raw drew a 5.8 rating. That was nothing special, but it was higher than usual. In other words, some viewers who normally watch Nitro watched Raw. Those viewers didn’t come back this week. Nitro returned to to its average rating of 2.3 while Raw drew a 4.8, down 0.3 from its recent 10-week average. One year ago Raw drew a 6.1 rating. The ten-week average one year ago was 5.8. This year the last ten weeks have averaged 5.1. The 0.7 gap is more significant than it appears since the 5.8 average a year ago was drawn with Raw facing competition from Nitro for both hours and the overrun, not just the first hour.

-The overrun rating this week for Vince McMahon’s advertised match-up against Kurt Angle was 5.4, nothing special. Earlier this year the WWF would often jump substantially in the overrun period, sometimes above 7.0, now the ceiling seems to be in the mid-fives for any segment. The audience builds throughout, and jumps substantially after Nitro ends, but there aren’t big jumps above the core audience during the main events anymore.

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CATCH UP… WWE Monday Night Raw drops to record low rating, nearly losing to AEW in key 18-49 adult demo

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