Heading into last night's (Oct. 1) episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE knew it was likely looking at a relatively poor rating. The switch to three hours has done nothing but what everyone said it would do, and that's burn out the audience. Simply put, the roster isn't built to support so much television time and it shows.
On top of viewer fatigue, Raw was up against one of the strongest Monday Night Football games of the year with the Chicago Bears traveling to Arlington, Texas, to take on the Dallas Cowboys on ESPN.
That game pulled a monster rating, with a 12.3 and 16.6 million viewers, the highest of the young NFL season. It peaked at 12.8 in the 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET time slot, right up against the final half hour of Raw.
Meanwhile on USA, Raw dropped down to a 2.5 rating with an average of 3.5 million viewers. The hourly breakdown equates to the following:
Hour one: 3.44 million viewers
Hour two: 3.60 million viewers
Hour three: 3.47 million viewers
Raw hardly had any advertisement headed into the show and with John Cena out due to his recent elbow surgery, WWE knew it was going to take a big hit in the ratings. There's no reason to panic but these are some of the lowest numbers the company has seen in a long time -- the lowest non-holiday show in 15 years -- and you can bet they aren't going over well at WWE headquarters.
Injury or not, expect Cena to be back next week and heavily involved in the show.