Although last night's (Sept. 24, 2012) episode of WWE Monday Night Raw featured the first on-screen appearance by Jerry Lawler after suffering his heart attack in Montreal two weeks prior, not to mention John Cena's first show since his elbow surgery, the show got killed in the ratings by its usual juggernaut foe.
Monday Night Football.
The Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game, which ended in a storm of controversy when the NFL's replacement referees made a horrendous call that ended the game in the Seahawks favor, scored a monster 11.15 rating with 16.17 million viewers on ESPN.
Not only that, the debacle at the end of the game was so enthralling, the subsequent episode of Sportscenter did its highest rating in its existence (and we're talking 50,000 episodes here) with a 5.0 overnight rating and 6.46 million viewers per minute, according to ESPN Research.
As for Raw, it pulled its lowest number of the year, posting a 2.7 rating with 3.79 million viewers. The hourly breakdown was 3.77 million viewers in hour one, 3.99 million in hour two, and 3.60 in hour three. It's painfully obvious WWE can't keep its audience growing throughout the three-hour program, a problem it hasn't had in healthier times.
Controversy does indeed create cash, Cagesiders, and the NFL's replacement referee debacle, which WWE is using for storyline fodder, is making the richest sports league in America even richer.
For complete results and the running live blog for Raw last night click here.