CM Punk fans predicting a big WWE Money in the Bank 2011 buyrate may want to think again. If the RAW rating for the final show before the event is any indication, this angle is nowhere near as hot as we thought it is.
The July 11 RAW rating is in and the news is not very good. The show generated a 2.9 rating with an average of 4 million viewers. It was 11% below the June 27 RAW Roulette broadcast that kicked the Punk angle into high gear. I guess the WWE Universe wasn’t nearly as excited as Punk’s fans were to see what he was going to see next.
The PW Torch reports that the RAW 2011 average of views is five million, a 13 percent drop below the norm.
[adinserter block=”2″]This is not good news in any way for CM Punk fans or fans of the angle in general. There is nothing positive to take out of a declining trend of interest in your show the week before a pay per view. Summer ratings typically dip for RAW for all of the obvious reasons. Yet that was supposed to be difference once Punk cut the promo on RAW Roulette.
I questioned from the start on the Still Real to Us podcast the timing of the angle. Yes I know Punk is leaving, but the WWE picked a terrible time to kick off the angle. You had the July 4 holiday the week after the CM Punk promo was cut, meaning far less eyes on RAW that at any time all year. On top of that the show was taped, so you had spoilers all over the place. It just seemed like any angle cut the week before July 4 was doomed to fail.
But this was different right? You had mainstream coverage and an onslaught of talk on the Internet about CM Punk’s promo and what would happen at Money in the Bank. At least that is what we all thought. So what is the problem? Why people be tuning out of an angle that we all thought would have a million more people tuning in?
I think the answer is real simple and it is something that worried me all along. This is an angle booked for hardcore fans in front of a casual pro wrestling audience. Unfortunately those hardcore wrestling fans are the minority of the wrestling landscape. Equating a thread of five pages on a discussion forum to the overall popularity of a WWE angle is just silly.
In the grand scheme of the WWE audience, hardcore fans don’t matter because they are going to watch anyway. That is why up until now they have been taken for granted. That is why you don’t hear WWE superstars cutting shoot promos on each other every week. The same hardcore fans who spend their time reading blogs, participating in forums, reading tweets, and posting on Facebook are watching the WWE whether it is CM Punk or the Great Khali in the main-event. Unfortunately that is the harsh reality here.
Have you looked at a WWE audience lately? More than half of the crowd is made up of kids in those goofy John Cena t-shirts and caps. That is the WWE Universe in 2011. I don’t necessarily like it but it’s not my company. Those kids and their families have seen CM Punk jobbed out for the last year doing nothing of significance. The topics that likely popped you and me during the Punk promo fell on deaf ears, when it came to the majority of the WWE audience. But don’t blame CM Punk for this ratings disappointment. What would you expect after the way he’s been booked the last year?
This is whole escapade is epidemic of exactly what I have been criticizing WWE creative about on this blog for the last year. The lack of planning when it comes to pushing new WWE main-event superstars is killing them. The reason this formula worked so well in the same company for decades is that they would groom the future headliners for a series of months or even years before pulling the trigger. By the time someone like Paul Orndorff or Ken Patera was challenging for the WWE championship, they had beaten everyone in their path.
Today, the WWE will take a guy and job him out to everyone for two years, never give him any significant wins, and then all of the sudden one day will decide they want to push him in the top spot because they need something new. Guess what happens? The majority of WWE fans could care less because to them, they just saw The Miz, R-Truth, CM Punk, Sheamus, Christian, etc. losing for the last two years while John Cena has beaten everyone. There is no threat!
I could be surprised and Money in the Bank could have a blockbuster buyrate but I don’t think so. In addition to viewers tuning out of seeing this angle on free television, the hardcore crowd are more apt to find a free online stream and watch the show than they are to pay $50 to see it. Sadly this is all bad news for those of us who have enjoyed this angle and hoped to see a new twist in WWE booking.
[adinserter block=”1″]There is a part of me here that wonders if CM Punk has been set up to fail. He is asking for a contract equal to the elite WWE superstars without being booked in that position. Maybe Vince McMahon knowing that July is generally his worst month of the year for business booked this angle now, knowing it would flop? Maybe he kicked off this angle the week before July 4 knowing he would have less eyes watching the WWE soap opera than at any time all year? Maybe this was all a big ruse to send a message to the locker room and future WWE stars in Punk’s position that want to use Punk’s negotiations as a precedent? Ruthless aggression!
Taking a financial hit on a show that wasn’t going to do well anyway would save him millions when it comes to his future pay scale, so what do you think?
I think Punk and the other WWE superstars in the locker room not named Cena or Orton better pray for a miracle on Sunday.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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