There's a certain segment of the pro wrestling fanbase who couldn't care less about television ratings. And while I can understand why that might be the case, we know WWE often makes knee jerk decisions based solely on the numbers they get back from Nielson.
That alone makes them important.
So let's look at the numbers from this week's (June 17, 2013) episode of Monday Night Raw (estimates come by way of the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which you should have a subscription for):
- Typical show open at a 3.04 for the Alberto Del Rio explanation and CM Punk challenge for a match later in the evening, leading directly to Punk splitting with Paul Heyman.
- The next segment featured the return of Christian and while the time slot wasn't exactly the most desirable, you would think they would have done better than losing 194,000 viewers. E
- Sheamus, who had been doing well of late, did the job for the Rhodes Scholars but their match still lost 164,000 viewers. That's a steady decrease from the start of the show.
- There wasn't a gain until a couple backstage segments with Triple H getting all over Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox and Team Hell No apparently breaking up for good, which gained 226,000 viewers.
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton gained 248,000 viewers at the top of the second hour, which isn't all that great considering the time slot. What was pretty great was the fact that AJ Lee's promo and Stephanie McMahon coming out to interrupt gained 168,000 viewers right after it. That's big for what was on screen and the time slot that it was on screen for.
- Dean Ambrose vs. Kane and Vince McMahon talking about loving The Shield lost 341,000 viewers. Ouch.
- Antonio Cesaro hooking up with Zeb Colter before beating William Regal managed to gain 41,000 viewers, which is pretty impressive.
- Mark Henry's retirement swerve and angle after John Cena's promo gained 738,000 viewers at the top of the third hour, which is a really good number for that spot in the three hour era. Henry's social media marketing in the lead up to the show had to play big part in this. That theory is supported by the fact that the very next segment, featuring Henry's challenge for a match backstage and Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater, lost a staggering 953,000 viewers. That suggests folks tuned in for the retirement and bailed when the segment ended.
- Curtis Axel vs. Sin Cara and the McMahon family drama backstage gained 112,000 viewers, which obviously means Sin Cara is a star in waiting.
- Finally, CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio and Brock Lesnar returning to F-5 Punk gained 636,000 viewers to a 3.42 overrun, which is pretty damn good, even for the main event segment of the show.
The big angle with Henry was a huge success, and really shows the power of a well laid out story with proper promotion using all the tools available in this day and age.