The world of professional wrestling is still drawing in millions of fans every single week, but there could be some serious changes on the way in the coming years. TNA Impact Wrestling has switched networks and seen countless other issues, but they’re still hanging on. Some have thought that WWE was always going to be untouchable, but falling ratings could lead to a world where both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live are no longer on television.
Just this past week, Raw recorded the second worst cable rating in the history of it being on the air, as reported by the Inquisitr. According to Cageside Seats, the ratings for SmackDown Live were up slightly, but not in a way that the company really has anything to get excited about just yet.
Ever since WrestleMania 33, the ratings have been extraordinarily awful for both brands with Team Blue fairing only slightly better. Some believe this could lead to changes needing to be made and Monday Night Raw moving back to a two-hour format in the future, but even more may need to be done.
Yes, if cable ratings continue to fall as they have, it could lead to WWE being off of TV entirely by 2019.
According to Dave Scherer of PW Insider, the status of WWE’s contract negotiations with NBC Universal was discussed on their latest investors conference call and things aren’t looking good. Right now, their current contract ends in 2019 and if NBC Universal chooses not to renew it, both shows could be off of the USA Network.
Well, the subject of their contract negotiations came up during that call but WWE didn’t say anything regarding them. Vince McMahon has previously stated that they expect TV viewers to double this year since fans would rather watch Raw and SmackDown as they air live and not DVR them.
With ratings continuing to fall, it has become obvious that McMahon’s mindset isn’t really coming true.
One of the possible contributors to the drop in ratings is the fact that many homes have gotten rid of cable TV entirely. A lot of people are working only with streaming shows on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus which means they don’t have the means to watch WWE shows.
This leaves them without Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live which can eventually be watched in clips online. Knowing this fact to be true, WWE is looking at a couple of options per PW Insider and rumor has it that it could take their product off of TV entirely.
If Vince McMahon really wants to keep his product on TV, he could work out a deal with NBC Universal or another network for a much lower offer. If that doesn’t end up working out, he could move both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live to the WWE Network and work out a new pricing level.
Moving the shows to the WWE Network could greatly cut the profits for the company as TV ratings bring in the biggest amount of money. Despite having some of the hottest new stars headlining both brands, it is obvious that WWE needs to make some serious changes.
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor, and The Hardy Boyz are headlining Raw. Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The New Day are the focus of SmackDown Live.
Most of those names sound like what real wrestling dreams are made of, but they’re just not working.
2019 is still a full year-and-a-half away which means anything could happen in that span of time, but WWE knows that things are already quite serious. The ratings falling as they have for Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live have brought about serious concerns which means changes will likely be made, but what if they don’t work? If they don’t, fans may have to subscribe to the network as they could end up with WWE-less TV.
[Featured Image by WWE]