This week’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw saw a new women’s champion and the end of the bromance between Kevin Owens and his BFF, Chris Jericho. Few would argue that the WWE network has provided some epic entertainment over the past few weeks. We have seen John Cena win his 16th world championship at the 2017 Royal Rumble, only for him to lose it again, to Bray Wyatt at Sunday’s Elimination Chamber PPV. Samoa Joe has made his official Raw debut, and seemingly put Seth Rollins out of WrestleMania 33, and Roman Reigns has set up, what should be an epic heel turn.
On this week’s Monday Night Raw we saw the end of the bromance between WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and his long-time pal Chris Jericho. When the official WWE website told us that Owens and Jericho were set to take “their unbreakable bond to a whole new level with WWE’s inaugural ‘Festival of Friendship,’ many in the WWE universe guessed that something was afoot.
On Monday Night Raw we saw Jericho shower Owens with a plethora of seemingly expensive gifts. Owens responded by giving Jericho, a list. Jericho was confused until Owens explained that it was a “KO” list and that Jericho was on it. Owens then launched an attack on Jericho, beating his former friend to the floor, and smashing his gifts in the process. It was a great, if somewhat predictable, piece of WWE theater, and one which has set up what will become an interesting rivalry between the former friends.
Monday Night Raw also saw Bayley take the women’s world championship from Charlotte Flair, and Samoa Joe attack Sami Zayn at the end of his match against Rusev. With all of that added to another win for Braun Strowman, this time over Mark Henry, you would be forgiven for thinking that Raw was set to bounce back from the recent slump in ratings. Sadly, that was not the case.
The End Of The Chris Jericho And Kevin Owens Bromance Fails To Boost Raw Ratings
Recent ratings for the WWE network’s flagship Monday Night Raw program have hardly been impressive. During the week beginning December 26, SmackDown drew more viewers than Raw for the first time. As reported by the Inquisitr last week, Raw’s poor performance in the ratings may well cost Raw General Manager Mick Foley his job.
Foley won’t be happy to see that the viewing figures for Monday Night Raw are down again this week. Top Rope Press reports that this week’s Raw attracted just over three million viewers. This may represent a fall of just one percent on the previous weeks figures, but the WWE network will be increasingly concerned, as the falling numbers are a trend.
The fact that Monday Night Raw’s main event and the “Festival of Friendship” were heavily publicized will be a major concern for Foley and the WWE network. The world title match between Charlotte and Bayley has been building for months, the “Festival of Friendship” was heavily hyped, and yet viewing figures were falling as the show neared its climax. This may suggest that viewers were turned off by a less than stellar undercard.
Of course, this week’s Monday Night Raw came just a day after the Elimination Chamber PPV. The 2017 Royal Rumble is not too far in the past, and the WWE Fastlane PPV is just around the corner, so it may be that over-exposure is hurting Raw’s viewing figures.
Many in the WWE universe will be wondering if the WWE networks decision to split the brand is what is really hurting the viewing figures. Both the red and blue teams have been hurt by injuries, and by the number of WWE superstars who are sidelined because of other commitments. This restricts the number of top matches that can be arranged.
Few would argue that Bayley and Charlotte’s world title match deserves top billing on the weekly Raw show, but we have seen them face off five times in a couple of months. This reveals the lack of depth in the women’s division, and arguably shows a lack of imagination, on the part of the Monday Night Raw creative team. It’s clear that the WWE network needs to up their game if the brand split is to be a success.
The latest set of viewing figures suggests that the WWE universe is losing interest in the networks weekly shows. Viewers are voting with their remote controls, and the news is not good for the WWE Raw brand.
[Featured Image by WWE]