TV ratings

WWE TV ratings have been in constant decline since 2001. Yet WWE has more money than ever before. 

How much of an impact do ratings actually have on the WWE? I genuinely don’t know how it all works but the idea of poor TV ratings leading to an eventual WWE demise have been an internet discussion point for 18 years. Is there is actual proof bad ratings actually matter to WWE’s financial gain?

No one is saying bad ratings are leading to their demise.  They're literally too big to fail now.  That being said, there's two different types of decline going on.  The one that's been steadily eroding since 2001 is the TV audience in general, which meant that even though WWE's ratings were dropping, they were dropping proportionally to everyone else on TV and still high up on the list of cable shows.  However, the one that everyone is freaking out about for the past couple of months is the drop compared to what the ratings were when they signed the giant TV deals with USA and Fox.  When they signed with Fox in particular, they were doing numbers better than anything that was currently airing on Friday nights for the network. And now, before they've even aired a show, the numbers have dropped off a cliff and are lower than reruns of sitcoms that are cheaper to put on there and draw better.