After a disappointing go-home rating, many expected big things the night after all of the excitement surrounding the final moments of WWE Money in the Bank 2011. Unfortunately that excitement didn’t translate into big numbers.
If there was ever a RAW rating to watch, it was the July 18 RAW rating. As excited as most of the hardcore pro wrestling fans were about the CM Punk angle at Money in the Bank, all were left stunned when last week’s rating hit the newswire. How in the world could anyone not be into this angle?
The July 11 “Go-Home” RAW generated a 2.9 rating. Even as cynical as I was about this angle working, I was surprised the number was so low. The Punk defenders immediately came out and laid out their excuses for the number. Home Run Derby, summer television viewing patterns, DVR, or anything other than the angle not clicking with the mainstream WWE audience.
[adinserter block=”2″]One week later and 24 hours after what was arguably the most exciting WWE pay per view in history, analysts expected a huge bounce back for the number. Most expected at least a 3.5, while others were looking more towards a 4.0. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tune into RAW to see what the heck is going to happen now that CM Punk left the WWE with the WWE championship and John Cena was fired?
Apparently not a whole lot more than tuned in last week.
The RAW rating came in at a 3.22. The rating was up from last week’s 2.9. The show averaged 4.84 million viewers between hours one and two. This is hardly the number anyone expected and a disappointment no matter how you slice it.
But not all is lost. There are some positives here. This was the highest RAW overall rating in the last eight weeks. Not that I want to make excuses, I also think that was not really a show designed to hot shot ratings. This was a pro wrestling heavy show and as much as I hate to say it, fans tend to tune out during the matches. Plus, and I know this is a huge stretch here, maybe fans really thought John Cena was fired. Cena tweeted that he had been officially “future endeavored” before the show. If Cena is the biggest ratings draw currently in the company, and he is, than it would make sense for people to tune out.
Same goes for CM Punk. CM Punk told the world that he was leaving. Punk tweeted that he was at a Chicago Cubs game on Monday night. So here you have a situation where fans were told that the two key money players in the company’s hottest angle weren’t even going to be on the show. In hindsight, I don’t know if that was a great idea. Especially Cena, since he wound up appearing anyway.
There is a revolution going on right now in the WWE and it is a good thing. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have been elevated, The Miz is being primed for a babyface run, and Christian is the SmackDown champion. These are all very good things and there is a fear that the WWE may pull the plug on this new experiment due to the disappointing ratings. I hope not but with the obsession that the WWE has with ratings, it is certainly a logical fear.
Like most of you reading, I am a big fan of what is going on right now in the WWE. I would caution the WWE to be patient here. It will take patience to re-educate the audience and integrate the new stories and pushes properly into the product. It also takes a few weeks for word of mouth to spread and “water cooler talk” to take effect. Nothing and I mean not even the biggest pro wrestling angles were immediate hits in the ratings.
[adinserter block=”1″]I’ll leave you with a look back at what some are calling the greatest angle in pro wrestling history, the formation of the New World Order. Even Hulk Hogan turning heel and the alliance with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had minimal impact initially on the Nitro ratings. Remember, this was WCW and this wasn’t what the fans were used to seeing. It took over a month for the storyline to have any real impact on the numbers. Was the wait worth it for WCW? I think we could all agree it was.
Last year the RAW ratings were around the same but saw slight increases week to week during the John Cena vs. Nexus angle. The WWE remained patient and the angle eventually paid off in the ratings. I hope the company keeps that in mind during this slow build before they pull the plug on one of the most exciting RAW summers in recent memory.
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