Despite WWE’s recent efforts to revamp its product and listen to its fans, the company continues to deal with the issue of historically low ratings for both of its primary television programs, Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. With that in mind, the latest rumors suggest that it’s possible WWE will bring back three of its biggest draws in recent years — The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Bill Goldberg — as a short-term solution to both main roster shows’ similar declines in viewership.
Citing Sunday’s edition of Wrestling Observer Radio with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez, Sportskeeda wrote that Meltzer speculated about the possibility Goldberg, Lesnar, and Undertaker will all be appearing on Raw and SmackDown Live in the lead-up to WWE’s June 7 show at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All three superstars have primarily been used in part-time roles in recent years and were recently confirmed to appear at the Saudi event, though WWE has yet to advertise them for any television appearances.
“I think if they build it up, if they get before the Saudi show they’ll probably have a show where they bring in Undertaker, Lesnar, and Goldberg to television,” Meltzer was quoted as saying. “I think that maybe that will help for like a week or two.”
As pointed out by Sportskeeda, most fans were not surprised by the upcoming returns of The Undertaker, who did not compete at WrestleMania 35 last month, and Brock Lesnar, who recently retired from mixed martial arts despite widespread speculation of a UFC return this summer. However, Goldberg’s inclusion in the Saudi Arabia show “[caught] the WWE Universe off guard,” as he had seemingly retired from pro wrestling on the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania 33 two years ago.
On the other hand, Fox Sports noted that Goldberg ended his unscripted retirement promo with the words “never say never,” which left the door open for a potential comeback in the near future.
WWE Could Bring Goldberg, The Undertaker, & Brock Lesnar Back To Television In Ratings Hail Mary https://t.co/Nwnt8OA4e2— PWStream (@PWStream) May 5, 2019
Meanwhile, a recent report from Forbes illustrated the seriousness of WWE’s ratings/viewership problem, as last week’s episodes of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live were the lowest rated for the entire calendar year. Viewership figures for both shows were down 30 percent and 25 percent respectively on a year-over-year basis, and also represented WWE’s lowest non-holiday totals in company history.
To further show how bad things have gotten for WWE as of late, Forbes’ Alfred Konuwa noted that Raw’s average viewership experienced a 32 percent decline over a five-year period ending in 2018. He added that these numbers could get “very embarrassing, very quickly” as postseason play heats up in the NBA and the 2019 NFL season draws closer.