WWE hasn’t had the best of years, with a less-than-stellar rollout of its WWE Network product and a number of criticisms on the creative front. The company has also had to deal with a thinning roster due to injured personnel.
Following the highlight of WrestleMania 30, there have been some ups and downs, but this latest bit of news has people in Stamford worried.
The numbers are in for the follow-up show to TLC, and despite the fallout from that pay-per-view as well as the promise of Brock Lesnar, Raw reported its lowest rating since late 2012.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rawscored 3.51 million viewers, “the lowest rating for a show since a Christmas Eve show in 2012.”
“It was the lowest non-holiday audience for Raw since December 3, 2012, a show that did 3.43 million viewers, and one of the lowest rated non-holiday episodes since 1997,” the site added.
While the WWE tends to blame some of its faltering ratings on NFL Monday Night Football, they didn’t have that to fall back on this week because the game’s 11.07 million viewers were “a below average number.”
“Plus it was the day after a PPV show, when the audience, in particular for the first hour, should be way up,” the newsletter states.
While the first hour did manage to attract 3.7 million viewers, there was a steep drop-off in hours two and three, going to 3.48 million and 3.39 million viewers, respectively.
That last number is particularly troubling because Raw typically saves its main event for the end of the show and Monday was no exception as John Cena took on Seth Rollins in a steel cage match with Brock Lesnar in the building.
All the main event players were on display, in other words, and interest waned.
Some are blaming TLC, which many wrestling critics from around the web are noting was one of the weaker shows, but many believe the problems run much deeper.
The Squared Circle subreddit, which WWE has been said to rely on for feedback to their shows, struck a particularly discouraging tone.
“The fact that the main champion of the show wasn’t injured and was able to make a surprise return is a problem in itself,” said one commenter.
“The fact that he’s that expensive of an attraction and they give him the biggest monster heel push possible, while undergoing budget cuts and money trouble is another major problem. That’s like having two mortgages on your house and deciding to buy a boat because why the f**k not.”
While 3.51 million fans are still nothing to sneeze at from a business perspective, the WWE can’t be anything but disappointed that they’ve failed to move much beyond 700,000 subscribers.
They’re clearly having difficulty monetizing their fan base, mostly due to creative missteps, and that’s not a good place to be heading into the company’s WrestleMania season.
Do you think WWE is in serious long-term trouble, or were these low ratings just an anomaly? Sound off in our comments section.