If you hadn’t heard, Monday Night Raw’s ratings are as bad as they’ve been in almost 20 years. In fact, the show has around one million less viewers than it did this time last year.
Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer said that part of the problem is WWE’s emphasis on Total Divas, a reality show on the E! Network that focuses on the company’s many female wrestlers. Meltzer said that the focus on Total Divas is pushing WWE’s male viewers away.
So, is that true? What other reasons are there for the ratings drop? /wooo/ recently had a thread about it, so let’s see what they think…
Yes, Dave. Big daddy Vince could do no wrong. It couldn’t be that people are tuning out based on the show itself; it has to be some vaguely related reality show with women.
It’s an easier answer for Vince to stomach too, because he’d surely rather kill off TD than Roman’s push.
Of course, Meltzer didn’t say TD was the only reason for the drop, but the poster kind of has a point. Total Divas isn’t really promoted that hard on the main show. They mention it, but it’s not, and never has been, a main focal point for the show, or even women’s wrestling.
Other users in the thread gave other explanations. One user said that the company’s growing focus on actual wrestling matches is to blame.
Wrestling matches don’t draw ratings. Casual fans don’t give a shit about matches. Larger than life characters and intriguing storylines draw a mass audience. When a casual fan AKA someone who doesn’t like wrestling changes the channel and sees a wrestling match, they’re going to change the channel. As WWE has focused more and more on straight wrestling, the ratings have gone farther and farther downhill. Albeit, there are many other factors involved as I mentioned.
If NJPW, DG, PROGRESS or any other promotion that wrestling fans go crazy for had the same platform and exposure WWE had, it still wouldn’t draw anywhere near the ratings that WWE or WCW drew during the Monday Night War time period. As great as the wrestling or spots may be, that doesn’t mean shit to someone who doesn’t actually like wrestling and just wants to be entertained.
To which another user said…
The thing is you’re kinda/sorta right, in a weird way, but not for the reasons you’ve given. It doesn’t draw ratings on WWE TV because WWE booking makes it so wins and losses don’t matter.
Think of any singles match-up possible in WWE. Literally any. Got one? Okay, next step. Now, let’s say it happens on Raw Monday. What are the consequences of it. If Guy #1 wins, does he move up the pecking order? If Guy #1 loses does he move down it?
No, everyone just stays in exactly the same spot, unless you get extremely lucky and manage to strike gold like New Day has. And even then they were on top of a tag division with nobody even close to being their level until Gallows/Anderson debuted.
Others still blamed the ratings drop on the growing divide between casual and hardcore fans.
A more casual fan sees things like a crowd cheering for Daniel Bryan in the middle of his girlfriend-abusing storyline and says “I don’t understand wrestling, wrestling fans must be sexist dickbags”. Same with how the crowd boos Reigns even as he’s shown doing all the “right” things – the make-a-wish, the spot with his kid, etc.
And that can largely be traced to the fact that, as Meltzer has alluded to a few times, the WWE itself is portrayed largely as a heel organization. It’s unique among wrestling promotions. Obviously it’s largely that way because Vince was such a good heel, but it means that fans automatically revolt against guys who get “the big push” like Cena, Orton, Reigns, Sheamus (still record holder for fastest from debut to WWE title) and others. It means that you often are skeptical of anything said by commentary as sort of propaganda (as a result, faces don’t really get over from commentary supporting them… they get over from commentary calling them nerds and the internet responding against that).
Put it this way. Say you have a female friend who maybe used to watch wrestling, or is for some reason a little interested in it. She wants to watch Raw with you. How do you explain the after-Mania Raw crowd, or why everyone hates Reigns, or why you laugh at all of Kevin Owens’ antics when he’s clearly a jerk?
What do you think? Obviously, there are many problems that have led to the ratings drop, but what are the biggest reasons for people tuning out? Let me know!