In the wake of the October 1 edition of Raw, the outlook backstage is more negative than positive.
From a pattern-analytical standpoint, if last week's show is any indication, the rating for this week's Raw looks to be even more dire.
Last week's Raw—on September 24—got the poorest rating of the year, garnering only a 2.72 share, a drop of 200,000 viewers from the week prior on September 17 (h/t ProWrestling.Net).
While fans tend to cite creative complacency as the culprit, the company actually has a legitimate excuse this time around, as the Raw from September 24 went up against Monday Night Football, which attracted over 16 million pairs of eyes (h/t ProWrestling.Net).
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via 411Mania.com), the belief backstage is that the most recent Raw (October 1) has a more-than-fair likelihood to set a 15-year benchmark the company wouldn't soon boast about:
There is concern within the company that tonight's Raw may be the least-watched Raw in fifteen years. The show is up against a Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears game, which expected to be higher-rated than the Packers/Seahawks game that helped push Raw to its lowest non-holiday episode in over five years last week.
Assuming the rating—which will likely be released by the afternoon of October 2—becomes a company low point, what will the internal reaction be moving forward?
Will we suddenly see Triple H, Vince McMahon or Brock Lesnar interjected into the main-event scene, in what will essentially amount to a panic move?
Conversely, might we see WWE stem the tide of the ratings storm, maintaining the admirable course it started at the end of the September 24 Raw?
Of course, the formal introduction of Ryback as a credible threat atop the card—which came to impressive fruition during the Jim Ross appreciation segment—has been a long time coming.
No, not because Ryback himself has been deserving of the push, per se, but because WWE has been reluctant to pour all of its resources into new headline acts over the years.
Though with John Cena out of action for the time being, it seems as if the company has decided to take a risk it normally wouldn't.
It would be all for naught, however, if WWE panics over what is sure to be a less-than-stellar Raw rating.
UPDATE: WWE officials' fears have turned out to be justified, as the October 1 episode of Raw scored a 2.54 rating, representing "the fewest viewers in over five years" (h/t PWTorch.com) and "the lowest non-holiday [number] in 15 years" (h/t F4WOnline.com).
Follow me on Twitter @ImaanJK
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!