Say what you will about ratings and how much they mean to the business, but the current trend affecting WWE's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, is troubling to say the least.
The ratings are in for this past Monday's show (Jan. 16, 2012) and the rebound that was expected now that major football competition is gone wasn't nearly as good as was hoped for. PWTorch has the numbers:
WWE Raw on Monday, January 16 scored a 3.01 rating, up five percent compared to a 2.87 rating last week, but below a 3.10 rating for the 1-2-12 episode two weeks ago.
Raw averaged 4.29 million viewers, up seven percent from 4.00 million viewers last Monday up against the BCS National Title game. The first Monday of 2012 averaged 4.48 million viewers, four percent more than this week's Raw.
More important than those numbers is the troubling trend of losing viewers from the first hour to the second, which is typically something Raw never has happen. The first hour averaged 4.32 million viewers while the second dropped to 4.26. While many will see that and think it's no big deal, it most certainly shows an issue WWE is failing to address.
They can't keep their audience.
The History channel is dominating the Monday night television landscape and for good reason. Their programming, led by the smash hit Pawn Stars, has a much wider appeal than Raw. But the numbers show that interest is there for wrestling but it's not sustained enough for viewers to want to stick around.
For now, it's not a huge issue. But it can most certainly grow into one in a very short period of time, especially due to the fact that the rating didn't bounce back higher than it did now that football is over. If the turnaround doesn't happen soon, especially with the Royal Rumble just two weeks away and WrestleMania nearing ever closer, it's safe to wonder if the business has plateaued.
Now tell me why I might be overreacting, Cagesiders.