Six months later, Raw has been setting one ratings record low after another, bottoming out last week at 3.3 million viewers, down 39 percent from the April 6 post-WM31 show.
This week’s show was up nominally in terms of viewers, but set another recent record low with a 2.21 rating with more people tuned into their TVs Monday night with Monday Night Football and the MLB playoffs piquing people’s interests.
Going several weeks in a row now hitting new lows is not a good business model, leading to the obvious question: what’s the deal?
Starting at the top: Seth Rollins Rollins is a supremely talented in-ring performer and even better on the mic. And he is being booked so poorly that his WWE title reign has not only not been good for business, but it’s been a business-killer.
It’s gotten so bad that Rollins has been regularly jobbing on Raw of late, losing to the likes of John Cena, Kane, Insert Name of Whoever Vince Thinks From the 2000s Should Be Put Over This Week Here.
The world title had already been devalued with the champ losing a best-of-three series to the U.S. champ, Cena. The new program with Kane seems to be a sign from creative that they have no idea what to do next with the guy who ostensibly should be carrying the company.
It’s one thing to think you’re booking Rollins like Ric Flair back in Flair’s heyday in the 1980s, when Flair was the NWA world champ and had to travel from territory to territory to put over the local top babyface by letting the fan favorite win by DQ in the main event. Flair had a terrible won-loss record back in the day, but he drew.
Rollins isn’t getting DQ’d, he’s getting pinned, and he clearly isn’t drawing.
Time to change the formula.
Sheamus, seriously? Whatever made WWE think that it should put the Money in the Bank briefcase on Sheamus needs to be rethought as soon as possible.
Now creative is burying Sheamus in tag matches, after a summer of burying him in bottom-of-the-card jobs.
Nobody believes Sheamus is going to be the next champ, and fewer want to see it if it were to happen.
Sheamus, unfortunately, proved to be a boring babyface, and a heel that doesn’t draw heat. (And no, fans chanting about how a wrestler looks stupid isn’t drawing heat; it’s telling creative to do something more compelling than make one of its superstars do himself up like a freak.)
It’s time for a stip match with Sheamus putting the briefcase on the line and losing it in another job.
Why are they holding these guys down? Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are a tag team again. Why? Cesaro doesn’t have a match at Hell in a Cell. Why? Bray Wyatt is billed as the Eater of Worlds, but he is booked as a circus act. Why? Dolph Ziggler – everything about how he is being booked, why, why, why?
One thing they’re getting right: Kevin Owens But rest assured, he will look askance at somebody in catering who will go tell Vince McMahon that his feelings were hurt, leading to KO getting buried.
One other thing they’re getting right: New Day But this is a three-man tag team, which means it’s bound to be broken up, a la The Shield and The Wyatt Family (since reformed, but the moment has passed). For the time being, at least, New Day is getting a huge push, with the tag titles and now inserting itself into the U.S. title mix as well. Smart booking, but again, there’s a reason the ratings are record-low, and it’s because creative can’t stand prosperity.
Final analysis: It’s time for the Seth Rollins title reign to come to an end. Now. Not next year at WrestleMania. Put the strap on Reigns, have Ambrose beat Sheamus for the MITB briefcase, have Rollins win the Royal Rumble, and there’s your WM32 co-main event to sell out Cowboys Stadium.
A triple-threat Shield reunion match to go with Rock vs. Triple H, which of course goes on last, because Rock vs. Triple H, but you know what match you’ll want to see.
Build that storyline, don’t let New Day fizzle out, put KO and Cesaro into a long-term program for the I-C title, trading it back and forth a few times, and by God, turn Ziggler heel already.
The fans will come back. Just got to give them reasons.
– Column by Chris Graham