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WWE Fans Speak With Low RAW Ratings

The RAW ratings are in for this week and people aren’t happy. The June 29 RAW did the second-lowest RAW rating for a non-holiday show in almost twenty years. The fans are sending a message and the message here is that they aren’t happy and will find something else to do with their Monday nights until things change.

I don’t blog much about the ratings because quite frankly, I am not that interested in getting caught up in the numbers. However, from time to time those numbers do wind up telling a story. The story told in recent weeks is that the WWE is losing fans and losing them fast. Yet anyone watching objectively on Monday night could have predicted after five minutes that Monday’s show was going to a ratings loser.

Ironically the rating comes after a RAW that had arguably the best match on RAW in the last twelve months. JOhn Cena and Cesaro had what I thought was one of the best RAW matches I have ever seen, certainly one of the top three if not one for the last twelve months. While you could argue the point that the numbers prove fans don’t care about great matches. I disagree as there were plenty of other contributing factors to Monday’s disappointing rating.

For starters, the main-event was announced ahead of time. That is generally a good strategic move when you have a main-event fans want to see. If Cena vs. Kevin Owens or Seth Rollins for the WWE title was promoted prior to RAW, I think you’d have some good numbers. On the flip side, if you are going to promote a main-event fans don’t want to see you may as well not bother. Fans are generally interested in seeing where things are going to go on RAW and hanging in there under the right circumstances. When you know right away your main-event is a match you have seen in several interations over the last few months, you may as well skip the show and well…they did.

Speaking of starters, let’s talk about that opening segment. I could have told you after 3 miinutes that this segment was going to lose fans and it did. Not only was it awful, but it was way too long and went absolutely nowhere. Sure that kind of “comedy” works when you have Mick Foley or The Rock in the ring but those guys weren’t there and it was terrible. I can’t imagine who would have read that script prior to RAW and thought that was a great idea. You are just flying too fast and loose when that passes quality control.

Let’s stick with the segment and the players, well the main player here. I am a Seth Rollins fan, love his work. But as I have said in a prior blog, he is not working as world champion. Fans just aren’t as engaged with his character as they should be and the numbers back it up. It’s not entirey his fault as the booking has not been good at all. One week he is running from his opponents, the next he’s not, one week he’d feuding with Kane, the next he’s not, one week he’s teasing confrontation with Triple H, the next he’s not, etc, etc. His character has been extremely inconsistent since winning the title, almost as if he’s had a different writing team writing for him every week. I like the guy but the truth is that he may be one of the worst drawing WWE champions in years.

I know you hate him but the fans miss John Cena. Not that Cena is gone, but he is nothing more than a bit player on the shows. I know you were sick of Cena but the WWE audience was not. His closing segments often did good overrun numbers and now he is nothing more than a mid-card guy. The focus off of Cena may be good for you but it’s not best for business. Don’t say I didn’t warn you but I would not be shocked to see Cena back in the WWE championship picture sooner than later.

Is it the Network? The WWE Network was a great idea in theory but have they gotten to the point where there is just too much wrestling? Fans don’t have to wait until next Monday to watch more WWE. They can go on the Network and watch as much as they want. If they are accustomed to watching WWE on Monday nights and they aren’t seeing what they like, they can just as easily find what they want on the Network, especially when you have shows like NXT that generally deliver a more compelling show. Is the WWE cannibilizing its own product with such easy access to its product?

This idea of 50/50 “Even Steven” booking has created an entire roster of WWE superstars who are essentially all the same. Other than Brock Lesnar, there are no bigger than life superstars in the WWE anymore. Who is the next big challenger for the WWE title? Who do fans want to rally behind to take the title from Seth Rollins? Who is the monster heel that fans can’t wait to see get his mouth shut by their hero? Don’t say Kevin Owens because even he is just 50% on major WWE events. I get the idea of strengthening brand over individuals but you need a handful of strong individuals to enhance the brand. The formula is simple and it worked well for Vince’s father and grand father. Yes I know this isn’t 1978 but the fundamentals of good guy vs. bad guy is exactly the same.

Which leads me to my next point. The promos are the worst they have been in years. I don’t have a problem with scripted promos if the scripts are good. The promos are all the same with the same cadence, the same “humor”, the same verbage, and the same mismatches of dialogue and character. It’s all the same!!!

Sure you can always use the summer excuse but keep in mind we have had a lot of summers since 1997 and this one is the second-lowest non-holiday rated RAW since then. It is not going to get better as there aren’t any quick fixes around the corner. Kevin Owens is a bright spot but he won’t do it alone and what faith do you have in this creative team that they will put Owens in the best position to succeed? These ratings are a wake up call and unless things change, these numbers will get a lot worse before they get any better.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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Welcome to the Camel Clutch Blog. The CCB was born in 2007 and features blogs from over 50 different writers. Articles from the Camel Clutch Blog have been featured by some of the world's most respected websites including; CNNSI.com, Foxsports.com, Yahoo News, Business Insider, MSNBC, NBCsports.com, and more.

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