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 (Aug. 12, 2013) episode of Monday Night Raw (estimates come by way of the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which you should have a subscription for):
- The show did not start particularly strong, with Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett and Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow doing a 2.6 rating. Not the best for the likes of Bryan and Orton, two big stars, and even Sandow, who is being groomed to win the world heavyweight title eventually.
- Great Khali & Natalya vs. AJ Lee & Big E. Langston, featuring that badly botched finish, gained 140,000 viewers.
- Vince McMahon and Brad Maddox plotting and Triple H destroying Maddox and naming himself special guest referee for the main event at SummerSlam gained 560,000 viewers at the top of the second hour. That's a very strong gain and the McMahon family, like them or not, continues to draw awesome ratings.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston lost 300,000 viewers. Del Rio just can't seem to get over, even as world heavyweight champion. That belt might be coming off him soon enough.
- Usos vs. Real Americans lost 140,000 viewers.
- Miz TV featuring John Cena and Daniel Bryan in an absolutely awesome segment gained 560,000 viewers at the top of the third hour, which is great.
- Fandango vs. R-Truth, unfortunately, lost 560,000 viewers, which, obviously, is not great.
- The battle royal that Rob Van Dam won to earn a shot at Dean Ambrose and the U.S. title at SummerSlamgained 400,000 viewers, which was really good for that time slot. Then again, it was heavily promoted all throughout the show.
- Finally, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar laying a trap on CM Punk that failed miserably and led to Punk hitting Curtis Axel with a GTS and standing tall to close the show gained over 400,000 viewers to a 3.5 overrun, which isn't as strong as prior big main event segments but still very good.
The thing of note from this show is the fact that the growth was steady throughout all three hours and all the right segments that were expected to do well generally did. That's not even including the awesome gain for the battle royal.
Go RVD, go.