Daniel Bryan Struggles Again In The WWE RAW Ratings

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Daniel Bryan is a hot topic in pro wrestling social media today and the debate continues as to whether he is truly over or not. Bryan had a golden opportunity to prove naysayers wrong on WWE RAW and unfortunately all he did was reinforce their criticisms.

[adinserter block=”1″]I love watching Daniel Bryan, always have. I think he is the most entertaining character in pro wrestling today bar none. I continue to laugh every time he yells a “No!” or “Yes!” but as much as I am rooting for him I can’t help but ignore the pink elephant in the room. He’s not over.

I have been having this debate on podcasts and on Twitter for the last couple of weeks. There is a big difference between someone being over with the live audience and someone being over with the mass audience. Hulk Hogan could walk out on RAW Monday and get a standing ovation but are people going to go out of their way to watch him in six weeks after the initial pop wears off? No but if you turned on television you’d probably still see the same pop from the live crowd for him. This is where the waters get muddied regarding Daniel Bryan.

Bryan is certainly over with the live crowd but he is struggling badly to get over in terms of drawing money and eyes. The only real test these days are ratings. Ratings are broken down by quarter hours so it is easy to see who the casual audience wants to watch and who they don’t. I am not a big John Cena fan but when you look at the ratings he still draws the best numbers for a reason. Daniel Bryan on the other hand is having a difficult time connecting.

I started this conversation a few weeks back when Bryan headlined RAW against Randy Orton. Bryan opened and closed that show and while his segments were great, his ratings were terrible. That is why I was fascinated to see this week’s rating. Bryan wrestled three matches to close the show. How much more of a chance would he ever get to prove himself as a ratings draw? It was almost as if Vince McMahon wanted him to go out there and prove critics wrong by giving him three matches in the final segment.

Or was Vince setting him up to fail?

The ratings are in and they aren’t good. The third hour declined in viewership according to a detailed report on PWTorch.com. The show took a steep decline in the third hour from 4.162 million viewers to 3.933 million viewers. That is huge! The quarter hours aren’t out yet so it’s hard to get a real gage on exactly when the viewers left. Regardless no matter how you cut it it’s not a good sign for Daniel Bryan.

But is it his fault? I think that’s a tough question to answer. Personally I don’t think Bryan has been booked to succeed. He is portrayed as a goof, an idiot, and an over achiever. You have Brad Maddox in the beginning of the show mocking his size which amazes me. In 1984 you couldn’t make fun of Hulk Hogan’s hair for a reason if you were a WWF heel. Yet in 2013 it is perfectly acceptable to accentuate the weakness of one of your top stars?

[adinserter block=”2″]While Bryan has booked relatively strong in recent weeks I still don’t think people buy him as a title threat and with good reason. Here is a guy heading into SummerSlam to challenge the champ with a perception problem and they can’t even give him three clean wins on RAW? That DQ finish against Ryback is everything wrong with the way Bryan is booked. He can’t beat Ryback but he is supposed to beat Cena? Either don’t book the match or give the kid the win! Until they stop booking scared Bryan is going to continue to struggle.

I want Bryan to succeed, I really do. Yet the facts are the facts and the numbers don’t lie. He’s struggling and while I don’t necessarily blame him at some point we all just have to come to the conclusion he is not a draw.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I think you hit it right on the head, Eric. Bryan's babyface run has been book as a comedy act instead of a serious contender. Wrestling fans love the idea of Bryan being in the main event but WWE fans don't have enough faith in the beard, yet, to throw down their $54.95.

  2. Here are the quarter hours:

    Q1: 3.0 rating – Brad Maddox hosts the John Cena and Daniel Bryan contract signing, Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus teaser

    Q2: 2.7 rating – Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus in a non-title match, two commercial breaks

    Q3: 2.9 rating – Del Rio vs. Sheamus continuation, Booker T and Teddy Long backstage, Christian entrance, two commercial breaks

    Q4: 2.9 rating – Christian vs. Titus O'Neil, Ryback backstage promo, Mark Henry promo

    Q5: 3.2 rating – Mark Henry calls out The Shield, The Uso's save Henry, John Cena and Daniel Bryan talk backstage, Dolph Ziggler vs. Darren Young

    Q6: 3.1 rating – Ziggler vs. Young continuation with Big E Langston and A.J. Lee out post match, MizTV with the cast of Total Divas and Jerry Lawler

    Q7: 2.9 rating – Maddox, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon backstage, Wyatt Family video, Fandango and Summer Rae entrance, two commercial breaks

    Q8: 2.9 rating – Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango with Damien Sandow on commentary, C.M. Punk promo

    Q9: 3.1 rating – Punk continuation with Paul Heyman on the big screen, Rob Van Dam vs. Wade Barrett

    Q10: 2.8 rating – RVD vs. Barrett continuation, Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger

    Q11: 2.8 rating – Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro, two commercial breaks

    Q12: 3.0 rating – Bryan vs. Cesaro continuation, Maddox and Alex Riley backstage, Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback

    Overrun: 3.2 rating – Bryan vs. Ryback continuation, John Cena saves Bryan, Vince McMahon talks with Maddox backstage, Bryan in-ring celebration

    Jason Powell's POV: The Bryan segments performed well. Quarter 11 doesn't look all that impressive, but the two commercial breaks clearly drove the number down. The growth for the final quarter and the overrun are to be expected. So while the Bryan segments didn't pop huge numbers, they seem to be in line with what Raw would normally draw in those quarter-hours. For those who missed it earlier, Raw delivered a 2.94 rating with 4.005 million viewers.

    source – http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/WWE/ar

  3. Eric, I think that the ratings are not as bad as it appears. Raw is still in the top 10 most watched shows on cable on Mondays. The only show that beat Raw was Love & Hip-hop Atlanta.

    Also, Daniel Bryan is reported to be a top merchandise seller.

  4. Eric, this is where I must ask: is Daniel Bryan over with the core audience and not the mainstream audience? I feel like the WWE spends too much time getting a superstar over with the general public, someone that can appear in magazines, talk shows, crappy Nickelodeon TV movies, and when they book someone that the wrestling community loves, the mainstream audience doesn't seem to care! Once in a while I might see someone on the street in a John Cena shirt, but the only time I see a Daniel Bryan shirt is when I walk into Hot Topic at the mall for sale.

    Aside from possibly booking Bryan to look bad or to fail, I don't know what the problem could be.

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