The long wait is almost over. WrestleMania is this weekend, and Raw delivered one final sales pitch last night. With a "special" SmackDown this Friday, all eyes are set on Sunday night.
With all things, it is time to dive into the facts and figures. Before then, click here for my full thoughts on the "Red Brand" Monday night.
As a reminder, last week's Raw drew a 3.1 rating.
This week was more of the same:
The first hour of Raw drew 4,438,000 million viewers.
The second hour of Raw drew 4,448,000 million viewers.
The official number for Raw was a 3.0 rating.
My Thoughts on This News
With that, WrestleMania season is all but over. As most can see, ratings did not see any major movement this year from January through March.
Just two months ago, WWE was well over five million viewers and hit a 3.6 rating. Just a few weeks after that, it seems like a stretch to hit again. Something was lost in the last month.
To be fair, WWE Raw was the most watched show on cable last night. However, that is because a lot of shows are down these days, including WWE.
Even with that, it is definitely a sign for concern. It is disappointing to see so many big names brought back with little-to-no gain in television ratings.
The Rock is most certainly not going to be on Raw (or SmackDown) much in the next few months. Add on a questionable Chris Jericho schedule, and you have a major loss in talent come 2012.
None of this is surprising. We all knew this time was coming.
Well, we are almost there.
The time for many, many young (or new) talents to step up is upon us. The plan to "lean" on Attitude Era stars is not going to last forever.
John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk and others are more than capable moving forward. Outside of that, I am looking forward to seeing who will be the next WWE superstar to make a name for themselves in this industry.
For those wondering, the "Once in a Lifetime" special drew 2,134,000 million viewers. It was on television right before Raw and will have multiple airings this week on different networks.
The viewership is fine, but the usual time slot before Raw on the USA Network does much better numbers. Either way, The Rock vs. John Cena got some extra attention, and that is the entire point.
For SmackDown, last Friday's show drew a 1.80 rating with 2.76 million viewers. That is a decrease for the Blue Brand from the previous week, but I hope to see them rebound shortly.
They have been performing well the past few months, and it is disappointing to see Wrestle Mania season bring in lower numbers for Smackdown.
That is certainly interesting.
All in all, WWE has to be a little worried about these numbers moving forward.
With the usual post-Mania "aftermath" losing most of the casual viewers, it may be a long year for WWE ratings. Throw in the WWE Network supposedly launching in a few months, and you can see a lot of issues looming in 2012.