Raw ratings were up this past Monday night to approximately 300,000 viewers, and many are attributing that to the main event, which featured “The Boss” Sasha Banks regaining her WWE Women’s Championship over Charlotte.
While the two women are some of the most well-regarded Superstars on the roster, their climactic confrontation isn’t likely to be the savior the show needs as seen in recent rumors that Vince McMahon is planning big changes to the brand following several weeks of low Raw ratings.
— Slice Wrestling (@EntSlice) October 7, 2016
Cageside Seats didn’t have any particulars on what McMahon has in mind but did mention the changes will be big, and as most longtime WWE fans know, that’s rarely a good thing.
It generally means Vince reverts back from something new to go with the tried-and-true. Just look at the trajectory of John Cena’s career.
While Mr. Never Give Up hasn’t worked too many wonders for Raw ratings over the years — they’ve been on a steady decline since the end of the Monday Night Wars in the early Aughties — he has been the go-to for Vince any time things started to slip, hence Cena’s status as a 15-time world champion.
Fans have frequently complained that Cena holds other talents down by always getting the better of them in feuds, but this hearkens back to the booking.
McMahon will try a new guy out, and when the new guy — Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk — doesn’t get the immediate pop he’s looking for, the honors go back to Cena.
Here’s how it’s worked out over time. Cena came into the company in 2000. That year, Raw ratings reached a high of 7.4 on May 1. The high in 2001: July 30, 5.7, already a 1.4 drop.
Over the next decade, Raw ratings would consistently decline, falling into the 2.0s by 2006 before buoying back up to the 3.0-4.0 range.
Never did Raw ratings return to their days of prominence. Since the new decade arrived, the numbers have spent more time at the low end of that 2.0-4.0 range than the high end. (Hat tip to 2xZone for keeping tabs on the historical record.)
This last Monday night, the recovery was but a blip, especially compared to the previous week’s all-time low of 2.4 million viewers (a 1.75 rating).
So yes, there was some interest in the Sasha-Charlotte match, but very little when compared to even earlier this year when Raw ratings reached a high of 2.93 on Jan. 25 and April 4, the latter of which was the episode following WrestleMania 32 — a historically higher-rated show as viewers tune in to see the fallout from the previous night’s pay-per-view.
With Charlotte and Sasha headlining, Raw ratings rose to a 1.92, the fourth worst-rated show of the year, according to the numbers at Gerweck, or No. 37 of 40 shows aired thus far in 2016.
— Slice Wrestling (@EntSlice) October 6, 2016
Of course, there are some out there trying to spin it as seen in the tweet above, but it’s important to keep the one-year, five-year, and even 15-year Raw ratings trajectories in mind when doing so.
Yes, viewer habits are changing. There are more WWE Network subscribers, more next-day streamers, and more views on YouTube that have to be taken into consideration.
But with Raw ratings important to the overall relationship between WWE and USA Network — its best advertising platform — it will be interesting to see how sustainable the sports entertainment company is moving forward.
What do you think, readers? Do Raw ratings need more experimental main events like the one Monday night, or is the company still a long way from righting the ship? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by WWE]