There's an ongoing debate among television ratings and how much they actually matter pertaining to pro wrestling and the product we see from WWE and TNA. An extreme viewpoint is to disregard them altogether because, simply put, the show will go on whether there's an uptick or downturn of a few hundred thousand viewers or not.
That may be true but it doesn't take into account the fact that WWE is notorious for meticulously keeping track of the segment-by-segment ratings and allowing said ratings to greater influence the decision making process.
That's why the ratings for this past Monday night's (April 16, 2012) episode of Raw gave reason for pause regarding Daniel Bryan.
D-Bry is in the midst of a push thanks to fan reaction at live events getting over his "YES!" catchphrase, complete with a brand new shirt. They even renamed the submission he uses. And while it's gone over great at live shows, the numbers on TV show a great discrepancy.
The segment by segment breakdown of Raw's viewership this week:
Punk vs Henry, Jericho promo -- gained 308,000
Marella vs Otunga, Lesnar interview -- gained 117,000
Kane vs Ryder -- lost 306,000
John Cena promo -- gained 400,000
Bryan vs Kingston -- lost 603,000
Clay vs Ziggler -- gained 298,000
Great Khali and Big Show vs Primo and Epico -- gained 205,000
Cena vs Tensai -- gained 319,000
As you can see, Bryan's match against Kofi Kingston lost a staggering 603,000 viewers. That's enough reason to give WWE pause, though it doesn't necessarily mean you can suddenly expect to see him jobbing.
It's definitely something to keep an eye on, though. WWE certainly will be.