WWE Monday Night Raw suffered its lowest rating this past week and there is one WWE superstar that is being blamed for the drop in viewers. While many point to Roman Reigns’ absence as a big reason for the fall in ratings, there was another person who was out of action when Raw was on the air this last week: Braun Strowman.
Wrestling News World reported that this past week’s episode of Monday Night Raw only brought in 2.87 million viewers, which is only the third time in 2017 that the WWE flagship show brought in less than 3 million viewers and the first time since Jan. 9.
Roman Reigns’ absence surely hurt, as he has been out with storyline injuries to sell a beating by Braun Strowman that included Braun tipping over an ambulance that Roman was in. Reigns missed two weeks before the Payback WWE Network event, and also was off the Monday Night Raw episode the night after his match with Strowman at Payback as well.
However, while Roman Reigns was out before Payback, Monday Night Raw brought in 3.346 million viewers and 3.07 million viewers. The one big difference between those shows and last week’s episode was the absence of Braun Strowman.
There might be no one who has caught fire in the WWE in 2017 and is burning hotter than Braun Strowman. The Strowman attack on Roman Reigns infuriated fans of the Big Dog so much that there was even an online poll asking the WWE to fire Braun for hurting Roman.
When a professional wrestler like Braun Strowman can rile up a crowd like that in the WWE in 2017, they are doing something right. Not only did Braun have fans wanting him fired, but Strowman played it as only the best professional wrestling heel could do. Braun shot back at them on Twitter by saying that he can do what he wants when he wants and a “stupid petition” won’t stop him.
Braun Strowman looked dead in the water when he suffered his first clean loss of his WWE career to Roman Reigns at Fastlane, less than one month before WrestleMania 33. Braun then faced off with the Undertaker, but then turned and walked away without fighting. It looked like the WWE was neutering Braun Strowman.
That all changed after WrestleMania 33. A huge percent of the fans turned on Roman Reigns after he beat the Undertaker at the event, joining those fans who already booed Roman for not being who they wanted at the top of the WWE. The fans booed Roman Reigns for 10 minutes the night after WrestleMania. It set up Braun Strowman for some huge moments.
That Monday Night Raw episode on April 3 was the last time fans saw Roman Reigns in a WWE ring on television. The next week, Roman Reigns was backstage for an interview when Braun Strowman attacked him and destroyed him in an event that ended with Braun tipping over the ambulance.
With Roman Reigns off television the next two weeks, Braun Strowman beat up everyone who stood in his way. Braun dumped Kalisto in a dumpster, destroyed Goldust and R-Truth backstage, and then Strowman was the only man to walk away from the ring without help after his match with the Big Show ended with the ring collapsing.
What the WWE found was their first dominant monster heel in many years. Braun Strowman went from a green wrestler who was just beating jobbers, to a man who took out the mighty Roman Reigns and the fans, most importantly, believed in him. A true heel like Strowman brings in viewers more than a generic face in the WWE.
Without Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman on Monday Night Raw last week, the WWE was left with its lowest audience of the year. The numbers were expected to be down since the NBA playoffs are experiencing great ratings. However, losing someone like Braun Strowman makes Raw a little less of a “must-see” event each week if the ratings are any indication.
[Featured Image by WWE]