Vince McMahon Panicking Over Raw’s Sliding Ratings, What He Plans To Do About It, Big Returns Coming?

Mr. McMahon

The ratings for Raw continue to slide and many people in WWE feel Vince McMahon is in denial about the causes. Those people feel that fundamentally, a three-hour weekly wrestling show doesn’t work at it’s created a domino effect that has resulted in a gradual decline of the viewing audience. The length of Raw has essentially become the giant elephant in the room and the hourly viewing patterns often tell the story.

This week’s episode Raw saw a consistent and significant viewership decline as the show went on. The 8:00 p.m. hour did 3.52 million viewers, but the big drop from usual was in the 9:00 p.m. hour as it fell to 3.25 million. The 10:00 p.m. hour did 3.08 million viewers. According to Dave Meltzer in this week’s issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it was the least watched 9:00 p.m. hour of Raw since October 1997 (which went up against the hot WCW Monday Nitro), even including holidays, breaking a mark set two weeks earlier. The third hour was the second lowest non-holiday number, ahead of only the 3.02 million viewers on Sept. 7, 2015.

Due to contractual obligations with television partners overseas, WWE can’t instantly shorten Raw to a two-hour show again. Meltzer revealed a few months ago on the message board that due to these international deals, the earliest a change could be made to the length of Raw would be 2017. Furthermore, the USA Network is paying WWE $15 million per year for that third hour of Raw, which is a significant.

“WWE lost 30 million last year. Eliminating the third hour of Raw would mean it would have been closer to 45 million in losses,” Meltzer explained on the this week in response to. “Just the nature of all sports and changes in television right now. As far as the future goes, the game is changing and faster than many realize.”

Meltzer, however, added that “even with its lower ratings, WWE is more valuable to USA than it was a year ago.”

With John Cena about to take a hiatus from the road, McMahon is in panic mode about preventing the ratings for Raw from sliding even further. However, his solution to the problem doesn’t involve making any significant creative changes or altering the presentation of the show. Rather, he’s looking to have WWE’s biggest part-time Superstars appear on television more often.

There have been talks with Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker about appearing more. Both have been agreeable to making more appearances since they’re being paid head and shoulders above what anybody else makes per date, including Cena.

McMahon has also reached out to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson about returning to WWE, even if just for a small handful of appearances to spark interest. The WWE Chairman and CEO wants Johnson to return as soon as possible.