This week, a report shared the news of WWE’s latest episode of Monday Night Raw falling under the 1.6 million mark for a second time. This signifies a trend of the lowest ratings in the show’s history, so I turned to our Facebook followers to see what they thought of this development. Below are some points that were made, and I’ll do my best to elaborate on what our users brought forward. Thank you to everyone who explained their answers to me today.
- Not enough Nia Jax! We need more Nia Jax!
It’s a running joke on the FB page. We all love Nia Jax and she’s a major draw, so Raw would only get better if she was there the whole three hours.
- People don’t watch TV anymore. Also, there’s other ways to watch it later by using streams, downloads, etc.
This is true, people don’t watch TV like they used to. It’s not as common to find people tuning in when their weekly programming airs, as instead they DVR, stream, or download shows at a later time when it’s more convenient. It doesn’t matter how good your show is, ratings across the board have been declining for years.
- 3 hours is too much!
I’ve been saying this for a few years now… 3 hours is too much for most people. You have viewers struggling to sit through a 2 hour movie, nevermind a 3 hour wrestling show. It’s different when it’s a special or PPV, because those shows have been built too and have a solid card, while a random episode of Raw drags on and isn’t easy to write. Ratings always plummet in the third hour, which is a bad sign because it tells us they haven’t made the show gripping enough to want to see the conclusion. You always want to leave the viewer begging for more, but making them tune out early is asking them not to tune in again next week. When it feels like a chore without reward, most people won’t go for that.
- Kayfabe is dead, and nothing is remotely believable.
Kayfabe has been dead for a long time, but we still want to feel some kind of believability. We want to suspend our disbelief and be absorbed in to what they are selling us. There’s not enough heat, physicality, brutality, or logical storytelling. Everything looks and sounds fake, and when you can’t believe what someone’s selling to you, you aren’t buying it.
There’s no investment to watch something illogical and embarrassing, even to the most loyal fan. You can’t show a friend who has never seen wrestling an episode of Raw, because not only is it crazy long, but they’ll poke all kinds of holes in it. When you feel you can’t recommend the show to others, why should you sit and watch something you know isn’t believable in any form?
I’ve discussed this topic many times before, but it has been a while. You know what I would’ve liked to see during the pandemic? Some way of paying the wrestlers while also taking time off. WWE needs a break so the fans can have time to miss it, but the way the business works, it’s a 24/7, 365 days a year machine.
There’s only so many times we can do anything before getting sick of it. Let’s say you have a favorite band and you listen to the same albums every day for a year. The average person would be tired of it after a month. Only the most diehard loyal fan would go six months without stopping. You’d have to be crazy to do the same thing every day for an entire year, no matter how much you love it. WWE has too much programming, and for someone like me, it runs together because I’ve been doing this every week for over two decades.
- WWE Stands For… We Waste Everyone.
How many times have we seen someone say WWE wastes talent? Way too many. Not only that, but they have now resorted to releasing men & women because of “budget cuts”. It’s crazy how many WWE has released in the past 18 months, but it’s not like most of them were doing anything substantial. How is it that Triple H and the NXT brand finds its wrestler’s potential, but as soon as they get to the main roster it dissipates? Well, we know the answer and I promise it will come later. WWE struggles to know what to do with its superstars despite the flood of suggestions from the talent themselves.
- Just another week of the same old matches, promos and content.
WWE is very guilty of this. They are exceptionally repetitive for no good reason, and it’s hard to care when we’ve seen the same thing over and over. Let me go on a mini rant about Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. I used to LOVE this feud; it was one of the best in the world before WWE. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico was as hot of a rivalry than you could find anywhere.
When they got to WWE, I assumed it might translate over, and at first it seemed like it might happen. But WWE did nothing significant, they just kept booking KO vs. Zayn and fans soon grew tired of it. They recently put them back together, but it makes little sense because there’s no heat there. It honestly feels like they are working together because they have nothing better to do. We’ll always get good chemistry with them, but their latest feud is hard to care for. You know it’s bad when WWE somehow makes you sick of one of the best indie feuds ever.
- Loss of hope breaks the habit.
I’ve seen this comment many times. The one where someone says they still watch it out of habit because they loved it back in the day, but are just hoping WWE can turn the corner. Yet, there comes a point when hope is lost and they give up. They held out like a loyal soldier waiting for their royalty to return from battle, to the point they realize they are never coming back. It’s like that sad episode of Futurama when Seymour waits all his life for Fry to return, except humans are never that loyal. We’ll move on in the end and not look back.
- Too many commercials!
As a UK viewer who has to use an American stream to watch it live, I can attest to the fact that the US audience has way too many advert breaks. It feels like you’re watching a show of commercials with Raw as the breaks in-between. When you have a high frequency of breaks, it not only splits the show to the point it’s hard to stay focused, but it gives viewers more of a chance to get up, walk away, and never come back.
Yeah, I understand that it’s the networks way of doing things and WWE has got no control over that, but it really works against them. When a show has no breaks you get in to it more, which is probably why more people stream or download shows later so they don’t have to sit through all the trash.
- Push them! Oh wait, stop pushing them!
I’m killing two birds with one stone here. On one hand, fans must have patience and know they cannot push everyone at the same time. You may have to wait months for your favorite superstar to get in to a position they can be pushed. But then, you also have to appreciate it when WWE pushes them, instead of rejecting them outright. It’s like Drew McIntyre. Many fans were so happy to see him pushed, but then they weren’t so thrilled with him being used too often, or getting many title shots against Bobby Lashley.
You can’t ask for something, get it, and then later complain they gave it to you. I think it’s an unwinnable situation for WWE in that regard, but I think it also ties in to oversaturation. With 3 hours of Raw, it’s natural you might see someone like Drew McIntyre more than once. If the show had half the running time, we might be lucky to see him in one segment a week, which isn’t too bad. The fact the show is so long makes it harder for WWE to push talent and keep them smelling fresh in the long term.
- The heat isn’t hot enough.
Again, NXT is the prime example the main roster should look at. Take the template of Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa from a few years back and take notes, because that is the prime example of how you build a long time feud and keep it fresh. Not only that, but you have to write feuds better in the mid-card, because many of those superstars could be in the main event scene someday.
You need to develop these characters, and the only way to do that is to get fans to care with logical storytelling which doesn’t fall short or drag too long. Find the balance between randomly throwing two competitors in the ring for no reason, and whatever they were doing with Seth Rollins & Rey Mysterio last year. Long-term vision has rarely been part of WWE’s repertoire, but it would solve some of its problems. Also, don’t be afraid to add some shock value. You don’t need to go all Vince Russo on it, but at least make things happen which get people talking. We also like some mystery, but only if the payoff is worthy.
- Too child friendly and not enough adult content.
I’m not behind this train of thought, primarily because I believe you need to target the kids to entice the next generation of viewer. If you only ever target the older teens and adults, it gets old and discourages family viewing. As a Father myself, I believe wrestling should be accessible to all, but what I’d like to see is content which doesn’t insult our intelligence. It should be mature enough for young kids to ask a barrage of questions, but not to the point we exclude them because the parents think it’s inappropriate. Target kids 8 and over, because that’s when they understand the world better.
- Vince McMahon
It has been ten years since CM Punk cut the infamous promo. Would WWE be better off if he were dead? This has been long debated, despite the irony behind wishing death upon someone who loves his business with unrelenting passion.
No, I don’t think about what WWE would be like without him, because he’s been in charge so long it’s impossible to know. To me, it’s like imagining someone taking over from Queen Elizabeth II. It’s not something I dedicate time to, because the answers lie in the future, and we’ll cross those bridges when we come to it. But yes, if you want one big fat answer to why Raw ratings are where they are, you point the finger at the man in charge.
- The Flagship Show
One guy shared how it irks him how WWE labels Raw its flagship show. It makes him rebel against this, as he thinks its other programming is superior. When you tell someone this is the best they offer, you’re undoubtedly going to question and rebel against it more than something which speaks for itself.
- Too many writers with no wrestling knowledge or power
A recent report shared how grateful a new comedy writer was to be hired by WWE, but also how she has no wrestling knowledge and doesn’t know who “Bobby Ashley” is. They released her shortly after. It takes me back to the nostalgic Simpsons monkey meme, as we imagine the creative team working hard at the impossible task of giving the boss something he’ll really like.
There’s too many cooks in the kitchen while a Gordon Ramsey figure screams at their inferior work. In the end, we are served a frozen dinner at the last minute after the contestants burned their dishes. And he won’t blame himself, no… it’s all the stupid monkey’s fault. In case you didn’t get what I’m referencing here, it’s about the many rewrites made the same day, and sometimes during an episode of Raw. It’s inconsistent and makes it difficult for the talent to understand what management wants from them.
In conclusion, there are many reasons Monday Night Raw ratings aren’t where they should be. Things could change, but they won’t, so there’s no point fretting over it. Keep on watching or move on, it’s that simple. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I can see how it’s hard to watch. When Raw is on I often multi task, because it’s the only way I can get through without falling asleep between 1-4am. I’m surprised how quick we got answers to the question on our Facebook page, and they were pretty comprehensible. Cheers for that! As always, thanks for reading… and I wish you the best in your future endeavors.