Low Raw Ratings

Hey Scott, with the most recent Raw (6/29/15) getting a 2.5 rating, the show is getting perilously close to matching some of its lowest ratings ever. My question is, will we ever get something similar to that infamous moment where Vince McMahon declared the beginning of the Attitude Era on Raw when ratings were in the toilet and attendance was down back in 1997, or is that an impossibility now? I don't necessarily mean that they would turn back to raunchy content again, but maybe a declaration that they are going in a different direction and having a reboot of the current product? Surely McMahon is, if not necessarily panicking, then is at least putting a lot of thought into these low ratings.

​Well, I can't claim to be a close personal friend of Vince McMahon or anything, but I'm pretty sure he's not dealing with this very well given that he already panicked and brought Brock back to TV a month early as it is.  
No worries though, he has a plan that probably is to push Reigns to the Rumble win again and have him win the title at Wrestlemania, so clearly ​that will fix everything.  

Roman Reigns = RATINGS

…for stuff on the other channels.

Hey, don't worry, things will pick up again when it's Wrestlemania season!  
Seriously, I don't think I could possibly come up with worse ways to book the top players right now.  How hard is it for Rusev to keep coming out as "Russia #1, USA, HOCK-PTOOEY!" and Cena's all like "Hey, America is the home of free speech so shut the fuck up, commie!" and then they fight?  It's worked for SIXTY FUCKING YEARS NOW.  You bring out Cena with an American flag and a Marine honor guard for Wrestlemania and this shit writes itself.  But instead the heat is supposed to be because John Cena, who is 5 years or so younger than the average age of the RAW viewership, is the grizzled old veteran who is too old and beat up to face the young lion.   Oh, and apparently top babyfaces Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns are too stupid to figure out that HHH is manipulating them, even though he goes on TV and SAYS SO.  
On the bright side, NXT will glorious tomorrow night.

No Cena = ratings?


Raw ratings went up this week, and Cena was not on the show.  Instead they focused on Orton/Rollins, Ambrose/Wyatt, and god help me, the two midcard titles.  The match quality and pacing seemed better.  Is there something to keeping Cena and his stale act off the occasional episode?

Sent from my iPhone


Nope.  Clearly what happened was that people were expecting Cena to show up and kept tuning in while waiting for whatever wacky exploits he would get up to next.  Plus the show was heavily advertised around him picking his team, if you're looking for legitimate and not just snarky made up reasons.  

Ratings down = no biggie?

Hey Scott,
Despite the fact that ratings are on the decline (or so I keep reading) – is the WWE actually making more money regardless, since Raw is now spread out over 3 hours instead of 2? I'm thinking maybe they could explain the ratings dip on the fact the show lasts 3 hours, but it's actually no big deal (to them) because they're taking in more revenue having an extra hour of airtime. 
With that in mind at what point do ratings actually begin to trouble WWE, if they haven't already? 

​The point when USA cancels them, basically.  Other than that, they're essentially paid in advance for their deal with USA and don't see any of the ad revenue (or at least not enough to factor in) so really ratings don't directly affect them.  However, what does affect them is if ratings are so bad, like with Superstars and Main Event, that the TV station drops them rather than continue with the deal.  But no, it's not like the old days of the Wars at all.  ​

Will Network Lower Raw Ratings?

Maybe this is just me talking out of my ass, but what if after the network launches the Raw rating dips dramatically from people just saying forget this shit they have now I'm watching 1998?

any chance that could happen?

If it does, do they pull the online library maybe during live shows/ppvs?

If the shit they've been putting on TV for the past six months wasn't enough to drop the ratings below 2.9 on a regular basis, the WWE Network sure as hell isn't gonna do it either.
Plus they'd just blame Daniel Bryan and give him an even worse gimmick anyway.

What realistically can TNA do to improve ratings?

Hi Scott,


What do you think TNA can do to improve ratings? 

-promote more
-advertise more
-sign a top talent i.e. CM Punk, Randy Orton, etc.
-put the belt on Hogan (somewhat serious)

I think they need to get off of Spike. Most people I know, which are few because I have no friends, don't even know that Spike is a channel. If TNA could somehow ink a deal with FX or some other FOX network, do you think that could help?

One more question, do you think TNA would still draw a 1.0 if they put AJ Styles out there sitting indian style in the ring reading a phone book for 2 hours each week?

Thanks Scott

I think the theory put forth by Meltzer might have some truth to it, in that dropping the monthly PPV format has really damaged the flow of the TV show because it's no longer building to anything.  As fans we're conditioned to build, build, build, payoff, fallout, build, build, build, etc.    Without a clear direction towards something, the show might be losing focus with the fanbase.  
It's hard to say that signing a top talent would improve things, because the booking can bring anyone down, and realistically Jeff Hardy is the biggest name available that can move numbers, and they've got him.  Maybe Matt as well, I dunno.  I think what they need to do is more basic, in that they need to use the established stars they do have (Chavo, Hardy, RVD in particular, and Angle) and start bringing the homegrown guys to the same level.  I think they're getting there with AJ, but they flinched with both Roode and Storm and I don't know that fans will buy them at that level now.   Either that or find someone totally new, ala Goldberg, and hope they catch fire.  
Spike's definitely not the problem.  UFC was on fire when they were on Spike and the ratings dropped a lot when they moved to FX.  The problem is just that wrestling is so damn cold right now and TNA can't capture the zeitgeist of anything.

Ratings Question

I'm a longtime reader and I have a question about television ratings.

Why does the WWE care so much about ratings for Raw? Now obviously I
know that higher ratings equal higher advertisement dollars. But let's
say that Raw averages a 3.0 rating over the last 12 months. When a big
show like the 1000th episode of Raw or the night after the Royal
Rumble and The Rock's title celebration pops a big number, everyone
acts as if the WWE should be so excited. But surely one big rating
can't affect the amount the WWE can charge to advertisers for spots in
subsequent weeks right? It seems to me while although the days of 6.0
and 7.0 ratings are long gone, Raw is still one of the highest rated
cable programs. Especially in the coveted 18 to 49 male demographic.
So with the days of the Monday Night Wars long in the past and no
danger of Raw being canceled, why are high or low ratings met with
such discussion?

WWE basically makes all their revenue off TV rights fees now, which is why they've stopped giving a shit about PPVs not named Wrestlemania, so yeah, ratings are pretty important.  It's not just that USA can cancel them, it's that they can go to Network X and say "Look at these ratings, buy our shitty fourth-string squash show for $3 million and you can get a piece of that too."  

On The Subject Of Ratings…

Just to add my 2.2 cents to the RAW ratings discussion, I don't think there's any panic over the number, or serious credence to the idea of it meaning anything, but it IS troubling in the bigger picture.  It's been a long time since RAW has done anything even close to that low, and that's counting a lot of holiday shows and pre-taped borefests, and I think it speaks to the bigger problem of people just getting out of the habit of watching the show.  The three hours is killing the product, and given what creatures of habit that wrestling fans are, it's dangerous to train them not to watch something anymore.  Yeah, it's not a big deal this time, but that also means that you now have to rebuild that audience yet again, and the hole is getting deeper and deeper every time they find a new bottom number.  Just look what happened to The Ultimate Fighter this year.  Before this year, anything less than a 3.0 was heads rolling; now they throw Vince on TV for extended periods of time and get a 2.9 and it's cause for celebration.  

By the way, for those asking, the last time the shows fell on the 24th/31st was 2007, and the rating dropped from 3.5 the week before to 2.5 on the 24th and then 2.6 on the 31st, then bounced back up to 3.2 in the new year.  

Ratings thoughts

We know that WWE doesn't take TNA seriously as competition, but here's a question: at what point do the ratings become comparable enough that they have to? For example, as much as we joke about Aces and 0.8s, 0.8 looks a lot different next to a 2.5 than it does next to a 4.0. 


In a related question, how weak can the current RAW product get before Spike and Dixie roll the dice and make another run at a live show on Monday? Maybe they try a one-off special event on a Monday to see how they do, possibly to coincide with a European tour when RAW is taped anyway. Or do you think the beating they got last time precludes any future attempts?

I think Spike is totally happy with Impact anchoring Thursday for them and no longer has any designs on taking a run at WWE.  And the thing is, if the current RAW product gets much weaker (like sub 2.0 weaker) there's very real danger of USA not wanting to bother carrying them with those ratings.  At the very least, you'd see the show slashed to an hour and budgets reduced to 1995 levels, because most of the money for the bells and whistles comes right from the network and not from Vince's pockets.  Even now you can notice budget trimming like less pyro and such.
Really, the show BADLY needs an overhaul, because the product has gotten really dated and everything from 2008 (the onset of the HD era) to the present looks exactly the same.  Like, literally you can take a show from one year and drop it into another without the slightest cosmetic difference.  I think they need to do like the NXT set and pare it down to the bare screen (like in the early RAW is WAR days) and get rid of all the extra seizure-inducing screens on the side, and maybe mute the color palette a bit.  The show is just so LOUD and garish, which makes watching it for three hours such a headache-inducing exercise in futility for me.  None of this will ever happen, I know, but I'd really love NXT but with bigger stars and a bigger arena.  

Shane McMahon: highest average star ratings ever?

OK, this seems like someone on the blog can research:
Judged by your star ratings only, I'm pretty sure Shane McMahon is a top 5 all time wrestler, if you take everyone's average star ratings. Even though he's only had what- a dozen matches – I think his star rating average puts him as an all timer, possibly even #1! Thoughts? Is he the only wrestler never to have a bad match that you've reviewed?

Shane has absolutely had bad matches.  The Kane matches with the testicular electrocution were nothing special, and he had a big fat DUD against Vince on TV once.  I think Flair or Luger are actually #1 according to those who have tracked these things for me in the past.  

Ratings Plug

Just had a couple of things, one question and one re-plug: 1) Do you or any of the bloggies know of any site that has a comprehensive listing of all the WWE roster changes since the brand extension, including brand changes, draft results and WWE releases? 2) Just wanted to let everyone (specifically anyone new to your blog) know that this site (http://www.freewebs.com/wrestlinglists/) is still online. It has been recently updated (on 2/1/12) to include all new rants in the archives section (including updated links with the 2011 and 2012 “Scott Sez” redo’s) and all ****+ ratings included. Thanks a lot and hope you still have the site favorited Scott and hope it comes in handy often.

1)  No idea. 2)  You can also add Punk v. Cena from MITB as a ***** match.  Odd that there wasn’t any of them between 2004 and 2009, actually.  That’s quite the drought.  Keep up the good work on stalking me, it’s pretty darn useful!

Ratings Plug

Just had a couple of things, one question and one re-plug: 1) Do you or any of the bloggies know of any site that has a comprehensive listing of all the WWE roster changes since the brand extension, including brand changes, draft results and WWE releases? 2) Just wanted to let everyone (specifically anyone new to your blog) know that this site (http://www.freewebs.com/wrestlinglists/) is still online. It has been recently updated (on 2/1/12) to include all new rants in the archives section (including updated links with the 2011 and 2012 “Scott Sez” redo’s) and all ****+ ratings included. Thanks a lot and hope you still have the site favorited Scott and hope it comes in handy often.

1)  No idea. 2)  You can also add Punk v. Cena from MITB as a ***** match.  Odd that there wasn’t any of them between 2004 and 2009, actually.  That’s quite the drought.  Keep up the good work on stalking me, it’s pretty darn useful!