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WWE Raw ratings for Jan. 2, 2012, mystery return man episode: Show averages 4.44 million viewers

The ratings are in for this past Monday night's (Jan. 2, 2012) episode of WWE Monday Night Raw from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, and they're somewhat disappointing to say the least.

PWTorch has the numbers:

WWE Raw on Monday, January 2, 2012 scored a 3.10 rating, up from a 2.93 rating the previous two weeks to close 2011. It was the first Raw above the 3.00 mark since the end of November.

Despite the encouraging rating, Raw's viewership was not as encouraging. Raw averaged 4.44 million viewers, down four percent from an average of 4.46 million viewers for the day-after-Christmas edition last week.

Viewership also declined from the first hour to the second, which is especially troubling this week considering the fact that the second hour showcased CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE championship, the reveal of Chris Jericho as the mystery return man and the main event match with John Cena, Zack Ryder and Big Show taking on Mark Henry and Jack Swagger with an appearance from Kane. None of that could stop the trend of viewers tuning out for better options.

Pro wrestling, at this point, is simply something folks will watch only if there isn't something better on TV. There were far too many options on Monday, namely the Standford vs. Oklahoma State college football game. That game, the Fiesta Bowl, did huge numbers, as it garnered 13.86 million viewers. Next Monday night will feature Alabama vs. LSU in the national title game, so it's expected that Raw will take yet another hit.

The good news, though, is that the football season is over after that, at least as far as Monday competition goes. And none too soon, as Jericho is back now, The Rock won't be long behind him and it's time to gear up for the Royal Rumble and, in turn, WrestleMania 28.

Business, as Jim Ross would say, is about to pick up.

For complete results and the running live blog from Raw click here and for all the reactions to the show click here.

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