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WWE Raw last night (Aug. 8), which emanated from San Jose, California, was the "go home" show leading into this Sunday's (Aug. 14) SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) event. That means the ratings are expected to deliver. Did they?
The show garnered a 3.09 rating with an average of 4.54 million viewers, according to PWTorch.com. Coming from the world of MMA, which is dominated by the UFC, it seems odd to say a show doing those kind of numbers did poorly, especially when the UFC 133 "Prelims" special on Spike TV did 1.4 million viewers and was considered a success.
This is not the case for Raw. The Aug. 8 show represents a continued drop off since the "Money in the Bank" PPV on July 17. In fact, it was the lowest rated show since July 11 and average viewership was the fourth lowest of the year.
The underlying problem here is the monster decline in key demographics, as noted by the PWTorch report:
The bigger picture is the erosion of key demographics on a year-to-year basis. The only demographic where this week's Raw was ahead of last year's Raw was among males 18-34. The increase in m18-34 is dwarfed by the double-digit declines in other demographics.
Males 18-34: 2011 Raw up 4.9% vs. same-week 2010
Males 18-49: 2011 Raw down 17.8%
Males 12-34: 2011 Raw down 12.7%
Males 12-17: 2011 Raw down 38.4%
All this during a time when fans have supposedly been re-energized by the CM Punk character's turn into anti-establishment and his having become today's version of a 1998 Stone Cold Steve Austin. Apparently, he's not as hot as we would all like to think.
Which is unfortunate, too, because someone will have to be the fall guy and if Punk is truly the hottest act in the company (and he undoubtedly is), then he's the one who will be held responsible here. Add in the fact that Triple H returning to TV in an active role has meant little difference in the ratings and you can bet who ends up being the scapegoat in all of this.
Raw's ratings aren't necessarily a reflection of how well SummerSlam will do at the box-office but it's certainly not a good indicator of sustained interest built on the massive success of "Money in the Bank."