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Thursday, October 8, 2015

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The WWE Ratings Decline

By @Cool_Calm_Chris 

As reported by TVByTheNumbers.com, September 28th’s edition of Monday Night Raw drew a 2.33 rating and an average of 3.330 million viewers. This rating is lower than the 2.47 rating Raw received for last week’s episode and is currently the lowest number of viewers Raw has seen since the switch to the three hour format. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, with the exception of a Christmas Episode back in 2012 these are the lowest ratings Raw has seen since an episode back in 1997. So why exactly are less and less people watching WWE’s flagship show? Well it would be hard to pinpoint one exact issue as to why the ratings are depleting, however there are a number of issues that you can look towards for the drop.

*Three Hours is Too Long
Fans have been complaining about the three hour format of Monday Night Raw ever since it was announced they would be switching to this format back in 2012. Three years later and many of the fans complaints haven’t really silenced, as the product has become very stale and difficult to sit through. With three hours being difficult to fill even the staff seem to have problems with the switch. On an episode of The Stone Cold Podcast on the WWE Network Triple H was interviewed by Stone Cold Steve Austin and when asked about what he would change about Monday Night Raw he specifically stated “I’d love it to be two hours”, so clearly the choice for it to be three hours goes directly to the boss Vince McMahon.

*Nobody is Getting Over

With the issue of three hours being prevalent issue there is an even bigger issue at hand as well, WWE is overcrowded with nothing but mid card talent. With the exception of John Cena, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar, everyone on the roster is treated as though they are just another wrestler and not like a top superstar. As much as Vince McMahon will not admit it wins do matter, wins help a wrestler get over. If a wrestler goes out and loses every match he is in, then he is going to look like a loser in the fans eyes, and if two superstars are trading wins back and forth in a rivalry, then who is going to get over as the winner of the rivalry? A great example of this would be Dean Ambrose, in 2014 he was one of the hottest superstars on the roster, fans wanted to cheer for him as he was chasing Seth Rollins and feuding with Bray Wyatt. However, his 0-6 record on PPV after the Shield split as well as his numerous losses on Monday Night Raw made the Lunatic Fringe quickly blend into the pack as just another wrestler on the roster. Why book everyone to be a loser if you want people to care about the product?

*Excessively Long Promos
With three hours to fill and “too many wrestlers” for the over 20 writers to give a story the writers have to fill most of the three hours with promos. Promos that run about eight minutes long and take forever to get to the point of why the superstar is speaking. This has hurt a number of superstars on the roster because it is difficult to fill this time and not lose the audience. One major example of this is Bray Wyatt, who is without question one of the best talkers on the roster. His presence and character make fans want to see what he has to say, however often he does not say anything in his promos. Imagine how difficult it would be for Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock to get over with the crowd if they cut promos that just ran on and said nothing?

*Relying on Old Stars for Ratings

With the ratings for Monday Night Raw getting worse, Brock Lesnar made an appearance on the October 5th edition of Monday Night Raw. Of course it is to set up his match with the Undertaker at Hell in A Cell, but it is also to help the poor ratings. This is a problem that has been going on since 2011 in WWE, they rely too heavily on their usual stars and legends to draw ratings. Instead of creating new stars, WWE goes out of their way to bring back the legends that older fans are familiar with and it does not help the ratings for the long term. They look for that cheap pop of bringing back a legend like Ric Flair or Stone Cold Steve Austin (who is supposedly are going to be on the October 19th edition of Raw). This is going to hurt WWE in the long run, because how are they going to thrive if they cannot draw ratings without Chris Jericho making his 56th surprise return?

With Monday Night Raw well into the autumn season, obviously they are going to see a ratings drop while in competition with Monday Night Football, but this trend of ratings continuously dropping speaks to an even bigger issue. The WWE is clearly losing members of the “WWE Universe” at what should be an alarming rate and it is not getting any better. With John Cena taking time off, it is only a matter of time before Raw’s viewers go into two million viewers. It is a shame to see how far the brand has fallen after reaching eight million plus viewers in the Attitude Era.



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