The WWE and Vince McMahon could be headed for trouble as sinking viewership has reportedly brought about some desperate measures.
Pressure has been growing on McMahon since early this year, when a failed launch of the WWE Network, along with a sinking stock price, hit the company hard. At the time, it was reported that shareholders were planning to oust McMahon, but the rumors have since died down, and McMahon appears to be keeping his job — at least for the moment.
For the WWE, the uncertainty has continued on through the summer. This week’s episode of WWE Raw saw a slip in viewers, falling 4 percent from the previous week to 3.826 million. That was due in part to the return of the NFL, as the Monday Night Football game between the Eagles and Colts drew away 14.891 million viewers, but it comes at a time the WWE needs to be growing its viewership rather than shrinking.
Many wrestling insiders sensed a bit of desperation from Vince McMahon in the latest RAW episode, which featured Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins — a match that is already scheduled to play out on pay-per-view.
Joe Marsalis of Rappler noted the following.
“I also don’t understand why Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, a match already scheduled for this Sunday’s Night of Champions event, was given away in full and for free on TV. If you think this is a joke with an impending punchline, unfortunately, you’re wrong—they’re already billing the PPV match as a rematch. Is the WWE truly so desperate for ratings that they’d throw away what they told us was gonna be a special match? Never mind if shenanigans are going down in that same slot on Sunday — why would people tune in now?”
Rumors indicate that Vince McMahon could already be scrapping the idea behind the WWE Network, which was supposed to bring a major online presence to the company with streaming video of events. McMahon is reportedly considering putting the network on cable television, abandoning the premise behind the online hub in the hopes of raising television numbers.
There had been rumors in May that WWE advisers were telling Vince McMahon to pull the plug on the WWE Network in light of its disastrous debut.
“The mood is so bad… that some people within WWE were even openly speculating that Vince McMahon may have to pull the whole plug on the WWE Network soon, to stop the bleeding before it gets out of control,” noted Mike Johnson of PWInsider.
For now, Vince McMahon and the WWE appear to be staying the course, but insiders believe big changes could be on the way if ratings continue to slide.
[Photo via OWW]