We (both Cageside Seats and the larger internet wrestling community) have criticized and analyzed, discussed & dismissed, and laughed at & laughed with Raw’s ongoing relationship drama/sex comedy featuring Lana, Bobby Lashley, Rusev and now Liv Morgan.
Through it all, one thing’s remained true. We can debate why it’s true, but the numbers don’t lie. People are watching it.
That continued to be the case with Mon., Dec. 30, 2019’s main event wedding segment.
In television ratings, the red brand did its best numbers since August, averaging an audience of 2.4 million over the three hours. The end of the NFL regular season and lack of competition from Monday Night Football helped, of course. But the hour-to-hour viewership shows how much interest there is this angle. There was only an 8% drop throughout the show, which Wrestling Observer points out is “much better audience retention than Raw has usually had for the last several years”.
This was an episode promoted around and building to the wedding, so it’s pretty evident what drove the 2.33 million who stuck around to see the 10 p.m. Eastern hour to do so (the first hour had an audience of 2.53 million; the second 2.46 million).
On YouTube, the clip of the Liv dropping her “bombshell” on the ceremony is over 3 million views as I write this (the morning of Weds., Jan. 1, 2020). The fallout video of Lana continuing to “throw a fit” after Raw went off the air is over 2 million.
They’re easily the most viewed clips from Monday night. It’s not clear if they’re as impressive as the angle’s advocates would have you believe, however. Fightful compared them to other popular segments at approximately 16 hours after the videos were uploaded. While they’re among the most watched segments in recent history, they’re not the most watched.
Mid-afternoon Tuesday, the Liv “bombshell” had 2.1 million views. Several angles featuring Roman Reigns outperformed the wedding over similar timeframes. He & Seth Rollins saving Dean Ambrose on Feb. 25 had 3.7 million; a Shield reunion the next week 2.3 million. A brawl with Samoa Joe in July had 2.4 million. The Big Dog storming Shane McMahon’s office on June 17 was clicked on by 2.7 million; forming an alliance with Undertaker a week later got a whopping 4.3 million.
The guy built as John Cena’s replacement and Legends like Taker are consistent attractions. Perhaps more indicative of how the Lana/Lashley story is going for WWE is that the clip of the couple “crushing” Rusev back in October was at 3.3 million views the day after it was posted. Interest remains high in this story, but is it waning?
Time will tell on that, just like we’ll see if the folks sticking around to see a wedding in late December will be watching in April, or August.
For now, all of these numbers mean WWE will continue to feature this program on Monday nights.