This past Monday night, WWE delivered a below-average Raw. It is just my opinion, but the Red Brand has seen better days. While it is all well and good to discuss storylines, it is time to look at the numbers for Raw following Over the Limit.
Here are the breakdowns with my thoughts after each figure:
John Cena Opening Segment Drew a 3.4 Rating
As usual, Raw starts off with a nice numbers. After the Big Show turned heel Sunday night, there was definitely interest in the product. John Cena did a good job getting everybody caught up with the story, in case they missed the pay-per-view.
John Laurinaitis, Eve, and David Otunga coming out was fine. Nothing was really accomplished here, but the opener was a decent beginning to Raw.
Big Show's Explanation and John Cena vs. David Otunga Lost 139,000 Viewers
This is a mild surprise. The opening went about 18 minutes. Thus, the next quarter-hour number was already rolling by the time the match began. You can't make too much of that.
For a reminder, last week's second quarter with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in a tag-team match lost over 600,000 viewers. For a slight drop of about 100,000 this week, you almost can consider that a small victory.
Santino Marella and Ricardo's Segment Lost 521,000 Viewers
The only purpose this served was to "make a joke" of the reports on Lilian Garcia messing up a few announcing lines. That is what I got from this. Santino and Ricardo are funny acts, but nobody cared about this.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio Lost 252,000 Viewers
This is usually a ratings-killer time slot. Right before the top of the second hour is doomed to fail from the beginning. It has shown nearly every single time to be the case for the past 20 years.
Their match was fine, but I doubt many were invested. Both are great characters. However, I do not see either man having a lot of momentum right now.
Keep Del Rio on Smackdown. Let's see if Chris Jericho attacking Orton adds intrigue going forward.
Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kane Segment/Match Gained 390,000 Viewers For a 3.0 Rating
There are a few notes to make here.
First, this was the top of the second hour, where ratings always increase. This spot could feature The Brooklyn Brawler vs. John Morrison and draw a decent number.
Secondly, last week with Big Show crying during this same period gained over 1,000,000 viewers for a 3.4 quarter-hour rating. Thus, that puts things back into perspective a little bit this week.
That being said, I predicted a good showing for Bryan and Punk two days ago. While gaining 390,000 viewers may be considered "good," it is still on the low end of the usual gains for this quarter. Adding Kane may have been done to help out this feud with a well-known name.
My concern is still the same with Punk and Bryan. They had an excellent match on Sunday night, but I suspect not many actually paid to see it in full. Also, they are still nowhere near the final segments of the night.
Can they draw ratings in the main-event slot? If this was the final segment of the night, would viewers have stuck around? I applaud them for the number in the middle of Raw, but main events are an entirely different story.
Christian vs. Jinder Mahal Lost 259,000 Viewers
Is anybody surprised?
I laughed at the announcer trying to make a big deal out of Christian returning to Raw. He was a face last year, turned heel, took time off, returned for a week or two, got destroyed by Punk and is now back as a face again.
Christian in WWE?
Sorry. I am a fan of Captain Charisma, but I like logic more. Him being a good guy against Jinder did nothing for me on Raw. It will take awhile for the audience to get back on his side.
Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix Gained 44,000 Viewers
Well, some viewers tuned back in for the divas. Perhaps the tease of Kelly walking backstage did work? I have no idea.
Again, the only female that performed well in the ratings each week was Kharma. That lasted for about a month in 2011. Now, we are all waiting for her to come back. Ratings will follow.
John Cena and Sheamus vs. Tensai, Jack Swagger, and Dolph Ziggler Gained 878,000 Viewers For a 3.5 Rating
As usual, nobody should ever ask why Cena always closes the show. Anybody looking for logic and sense just needs to look at the figures. They tell the story.
Sheamus and Cena were set up for mystery opponents in a three-on-two lumberjack match all night. To the shock of nobody, fans piled back in for the main event to see it all unfold. For a comparison, last week's over run with Cena drew a 3.4 rating.
I said it on Tuesday, but there was no need for Cena to pull double duty on Raw. Beating up Otunga earlier in the night did nothing positive for anybody. Safety comes first, folks!
As usual, the show started off well enough. However, viewers just are not interested in much besides the main event feuds. Nearly every week, some segments hit 3.3 or 3.5 (or higher), yet the overall number comes in around a 3.0 rating.
I suspect the same thing next week. Nothing is advertised for next week, and Big Show knocking out Cena to close Raw may not entice viewers to tune in on Monday night. That remains to be seen.
Here is what the numbers have looked like for the past few weeks:
*The overrun six weeks ago (night after Wrestle Mania) with Brock Lesnar and John Cena gained 1,036,000 viewers for a 3.9 rating.
*The overrun five weeks ago with John Cena vs. David Otunga gained 301,000 viewers for a 3.4 rating.
*The overrun four weeks ago with John Cena vs. Lord Tensai gained 319,000 viewers for a 3.4 rating.
*The overrun three weeks ago with Brock Lesnar and John Cena gained 873,000 viewers for a 3.8 rating to close Raw.
*The overrun two weeks ago with John Cena, John Laurinaitis, Lord Tensai, and Sakamoto gained 578,000 viewers for a 3.5 rating
*The overrun last week with CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan and Lord Tensai lost—yes, lost—105,000 viewers for a 2.9 rating.
Numbers don't lie, folks.