In the WWE, Brock Lesnar is said to be good for business, if you go by the theory proposed by Vince McMahon, but if that is the case, then why is he not doing regular matches? A black hole must have formed somewhere in the WWE Universe, since something is sucking away viewers from Monday Night RAW, which has sports writers speculating about why the ratings continue their downward trend.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, with Brock Lesnar MIA, Paul Heyman is rumored to have been told to put a sock in it, since any time Heyman speaks, it’s a constant reminder that the Beast will be a continual no-show for the rest of 2014, with some reports claiming Lesnar may not return until Royal Rumble 2015. The rumors also state that Vince McMahon is holding back Brock from showing up due to his high per-show cost, which only causes problems at time when the WWE Network is suffering budget problems, and can’t even break even financially.
When The Rock showed up at the Monday Night RAW taping in Brooklyn, there was a definite pop on social media, with everyone speculating what this appearance might mean for the upcoming WrestleMania season. While it was fun to see Dwayne Johnson smack around Rusev, the reality of the situation is that The Rock sustained abdominal and abductor tendon tears during his match against John Cena at WrestleMania 29. Although fans would love to see something like Roman Reigns Vs. The Rock, never mind a match against Brock Lesnar as Vince McMahon wants, Johnson has a commitment to Hollywood and multiple movie contracts. It’s doubtful the movie producers would like to watch their star risking messing up a production schedule with a new injury.
WWE fans know this, which might explain the Monday Night RAW ratings drop to a certain extent. Despite the appearance of The Rock, RAW reached a new 2014 ratings low of 2.63, which is a drop from the 2.68 posted two weeks ago. The biggest drop in popularity was in the 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 age demographics. The only demographic that didn’t slide was the teen males ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old, who probably haven’t seen much of the Attitude Era, nor would they have the background to compare the current WWE creative story lines against the old.
Jordan Bass recently completed a scientific research study at the University of Kansas that focuses on what makes WWE fans tick. He notes that “wrestlers now also have to act, good enough that they make their story line believable.” Obviously, that explains some of the bad reactions to Brock Lesnar, who has to rely on Paul Heyman, but there’s better examples like Roman Reigns Monday Night RAW interview.
While stating that wrestlers have to act is a “no duh” statement for the average WWE fan, according to The Wichita Eagle, Bass also claims that WWE creative is trying to pay close attention to what fans want — and then adjust their story lines accordingly.
“Their public perception has to be spot on,” Bass said. “If you’re a fan of the show ‘Breaking Bad,’ you might know that they did the same sort of thing as what the WWE does all the time. In the first season, they were going to kill off the Aaron Paul character – until they realized how popular Aaron Paul had become. So they kept him. WWE does the same thing. … They pay attention to fans. They even know whether a wrestler is going to be popular in one part of the country but not so much in another part of the country … and they adjust accordingly.”
If that’s the case, then WWE creative must feel that fans don’t want to see Brock Lesnar too often, otherwise they are simply not listening to the fans.
Writer Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier believes the latter option is correct, claiming the “problem is that talent is either underutilized or not booked properly, with repetitive matches and storylines being the order of the day.”
Jim Ross is quoted as saying, “Longer matches on Raw should not be interrupted by a commercial break which would not only give the show a different feel but also would allow the match to tell a non-interrupted story.”
Mooneyham also believes the scripted reality TV show storylines of Total Divas creates “confusing storylines on WWE television,” although he also notes the TV show has “the worst acting this side of remedial grade school drama class.” In the end, the conclusion is that the WWE “writers appear to be producing programming that they — not the fans — want to see.”
Do you think the absence of Brock Lesnar from RAW can explain the Monday Night RAW ratings drop? Or do you think the WWE story lines are the reason people are tuning out?