WWE wastes opportunity with big audience for ‘Raw’ reunion

Good news for WWE: the “Raw” reunion episode last night drew an 11-month high in viewers, averaging more than 3 million for the three hours.

The bad news: it won’t last, and in no small part, that’s because of the way the show was booked.

Back to the good news for a sec: the high viewer numbers. It’s relative, first off. The 3.093 million average for the episode marked the first time in 2019 that “Raw” passed the 3 million viewer mark, so, great.

But, back in 2017, which isn’t exactly an eternity ago, though it seems like it, in WWE terms, “Raw” averaged more than 3 million viewers per episode over the course of that entire year.

Let that sink in.



Credit: Destina

So, last night’s “Raw,” which you knew, going in, based on the legends advertised for the reunion, was going to draw a good number, presented an opportunity.

Which was squandered, due to the booking.

You’d assume going in, OK, we have legends like Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin coming back, we’re going to get ratings, maybe we should rub the star power of the legends off on the current roster.

That wasn’t done, by and large.

The best rub, and it didn’t last long, maybe 10 seconds, came when Mick Foley interacted with Bray Wyatt, who attacked Foley and put him down with a mandible claw.

Neither Austin nor Hogan interacted with any of the current roster in any meaningful way.

There were plans to use the DX return to the benefit of Ricochet, by having the clique including Shawn Michaels and Triple H back up the recent U.S. champ in his fight with A.J. Styles and The OC, but Ricochet wasn’t medically cleared due to ongoing issues with an elbow injury, so that rub went to Seth Rollins, who obviously doesn’t need any rub from anybody, given his status in the company.

The rest of the reunion went as you’d think it would go in terms of booking by the current WWE brain trust.

The night was basically a night of one-offs by people who are legends only in the sense that “legend” is the term that WWE uses to refer to people who are not on the active roster, same as how WWE refers to everyone on its active roster as “superstars.”

The best match of the night was the opener between The Revival and The Uso, who each had a “legend” in their corner – D-Von Dudley with The Revival, Rikishi with The Usos.

The legends played a minimal role at best in the match. (Thankfully.)

Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe had a quick match devoid of legendary status. (Again, thankfully, though the match itself was a major disappointment.)

The Rollins-Styles match was a complete waste of time. As was the final segment with Austin, who in essence was out there to fill time until the closing credits rolled.

Nothing was set up for the upcoming SummerSlam supershow. Nobody that needed a boost getting over got a boost to get over.

WWE had a big ratings boost that it could have used to build some momentum toward SummerSlam and then the start of the fall season.

It got nothing.

Review by Chris Graham

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