CM Punk’s return to Raw outdrawn by Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Seth Rollins in minute-by-minute viewership, but end of show placement a factor

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


C.M. Punk’s promo at the end of Raw last week did not come close drawing the peak viewership of the show, based on minute-by-minute ratings information supplied to PWTorch from a TV industry source.

The Randy Orton promo at the start of the show peaked at 2.294 million viewers 19 minutes into the first hour when Orton was interacting with Rhea Ripley. There was an 18 minutes stretch, strating in the fifth minutes, that Raw drew more than 2 million viewers.

There was a six minute stretch late in the first hour for the Tag Team Turmoil match that also topped 2 million viewers.

The Cody promo at the start of the second hour also topped 2 million for the first eight minutes. It bobbed above 2 million another roughly ten times in the second hour, but pretty scattered including Seth Rollins’ ring entrance during the last two minutes of the second hour.

The first eight minutes of the third hour topped 2 million viewers, with a peak of 2.229 million five minutes in. It dropped to 1.374 million at minute 12 during the commercial break. It didn’t cross into the 2 million viewer level again, even with the frequent plugs that C.M. Punk was coming up later.

Viewership ripped to 1.370 million during the last commercial break before Punk came out. When Punk came out, viewership was at 1.731 million 52 minutes into the hour. It grew to 1.756M, 1.904M, 1.940M, 1.942M, 1.932M, 1.875M, and closed at 1.905M.

The third hour of Raw is typically viewed by a small number of viewers than the first hour. The average drop this year between the first and third hour viewership is 200,000. The dropoff was actually higher for this episode of Raw than average at 232,000. So a lot of viewers who tuned in to see Punk didn’t stick around through the three hours to see him. WWE might second-guess that placement of Punk, since had they scheduled him at the start of the show or the start of the second or third hour, there’d have been more people seeing him.

Last Monday’s Raw with Punk was the fifth-highest rated Raw of the year, although that was also buoyed by the return of Randy Orton and coming two days after Survivor Series, so it’s difficult to surmise Punk’s full influence so far.

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