WWE Raw was a solid show last night. They furthered many stories heading into their biggest event of the year and had tons of star power live in Cleveland.
With all things, it comes down to the numbers. Before I get to the ratings from Monday night, here are my full thoughts on Raw!
As a reminder, last week's Raw drew a 3.2 rating.
This week showed very similar results for WWE.
The first hour of Raw drew 4,670,000 million viewers.
The second hour of Raw drew 4,976,000 million viewers.
The official number for Raw was a 3.3 rating.
My Thoughts on This News
Well, the show grew its audience from hour to hour by over 300,000 viewers. That is a trend that needs to return. Other than that, the company just fell short of the magical five million mark.
Once again, these numbers are perfectly fine. However, they are still just below what most would expect for "WrestleMania season." Any other time of the year, this would equal a success for ratings.
With Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker, Chris Jericho and The Rock all back until April, you had to guess much bigger results would be seen. With a only a few more shows before 'Mania, I don't see much else changing by then.
Make no mistake, numbers are up! They is great, but I still see even more potential in growth over the next few weeks.
Next week's Raw will be another interesting show to watch. The company will be live in Philadelphia, which is a big wrestling city.
Also, WWE has announced that Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels will be there. On top of that, John Cena will be wrestling Mark Henry!
Everybody there is a proven ratings draw. Yes, Mark Henry is. Thus, I expect to see a nice increase next week for the Red Brand and another entertaining show.
On the Smackdown side, they continue to perform well. Last Friday night, the Blue Brand drew a 2.12 rating with 3.10 million viewers. That is nearly 800,000 more viewers than their live Tuesday special a few weeks ago.
Remember, Smackdown is taped, airs on a weak network Friday nights and has far less "big names." Once again, just having a quality program will bring in viewers. All of the usual excuses like going live, changing nights or adding more main event talents mean nothing!
As for the debut of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX airing against Smackdown? The show drew an 0.94 rating with 1.28 million viewers. That is no surprise to me, as I wrote about that over a week ago.
UFC may be king of PPV buys right now. However, they still can't touch WWE on television. Moving forward, I will not be tracking The Ultimate Fighter Live, as UFC has shown time and time again to have zero effect on WWE's ratings.