WWE Raw Ratings have been in a downward spiral since Roman Reigns captured the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32, and the weekly sports entertainment show is still working to find its bottom.
Following a year-to-year drop of one million viewers from the post-WrestleMania Raw of 2015 to 2016, Raw ratings continued to decline the following week and have reached a new low with the April 25 broadcast.
WrestleView reports that all three hours were down from last week by the following numbers.
Hour 1: 3.263 million viewers (down from 3.486 million viewers last week).
Hour 2: 3.184 million viewers (down from 3.541 million viewers).
Hour 3: 2.938 million viewers (down from 2.98 million viewers).
The three-hour average was right around 3.34 million viewers. More importantly, the WWE flagship program lost to Love & Hip Hop Atlanta 5, the NBA Playoffs, and Black Ink Crew 4 in the coveted 18-49 demographic, further devaluing its future bargaining power with USA Network.
While the company isn’t assigning blame at this time, many fans are pointing to the specter of Roman Reigns as the blame, and it’s difficult to argue with that considering the tumble that Raw ratings have taken since his main push to the top of the card was initiated at WrestleMania 31.
And as you can see from the hour-to-hour breakdown, the show this week was ranked the lowest during the third hour when Reigns was featured in the main event.
As low as Raw ratings have gotten in recent years, they rarely drop below three million viewers, so for the Roman Reigns match to have drawn just 2.938 million viewers — lowest for the night — seems to indicate that his matches and interactions with other wrestlers are not enough to get viewers to stick around from the top of the broadcast.
A look at the new record ratings low for Raw https://t.co/9LMn63q3gV
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) April 28, 2016
Raw ratings’ final Nielsen score was 1.12 (down from last week’s 1.19). To put that number in further perspective, during the Monday Night Wars of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Raw hit as high as an 8.4. But even going back to just 2009, long after the company’s most popular time, the April 25 broadcast was around one-third of the Jan. 5, 2009, show’s 3.4.
Most fans and industry analysts understand that Roman Reigns isn’t the cause, but, rather, the symptom of a greater problem. However, the point is, his championship run and status as a main eventer is off to a rough start.
WWE is hoping to fix that by placing him opposite AJ Styles and involving him in an angle with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the coming pay-per-view; but at present, most fans realize that a title change one card after WrestleMania 32 is highly unlikely, and since those other wrestlers are so over with fans, the feeling is that Roman will be featured prominently over them, thus adding to the boos that he is currently getting during live shows.
For WWE to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak, they will likely have to do something significant with the Roman Reigns character in the coming months — likely a heel turn — to capitalize on the heat that he is getting from fans.
The present course and the sharp downward trajectory of Raw ratings are demonstrating that as many fans are booing him at the WWE shows, more are simply tuning out until the company does something different.
But what do you think, readers?
— Jo Anne Dresbach (@JoDresbach) April 27, 2016
Is Roman Reigns partly, majorly, or not-at-all responsible for the significant dip in Raw ratings that is now being seen from week to week in the fallout from WrestleMania?
And if Raw ratings do not improve soon, do you think the company should consider putting the title on someone else? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via WWE]