Do WWE Fans Really Care About the Company's Television Ratings?

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2012

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Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan faced off on the October 22 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, in what for me was one of the best matches of the year.

Both guys stepped up and gave fans a great match, the kind of match that makes you want to stop what you’re doing and applaud.  They brought it, plain and simple.  And while I was watching the two Superstars work, there was one thought that did not cross my mind.  Not even once.

“Wonder how the ratings are tonight?”

It seems as though everyday we are reading online about WWE’s ratings, whether it’s for Raw, or SmackDown and everyday I am just floored by how crazy some fans get over the topic.  To be honest, I’m just amazed by it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that ratings make the world go round, when it comes to any entertainment company which broadcasts on TV.  Higher ratings means a more stable product, it means more money and it means a very happy network.  Ratings are very important, there is no doubt about it.

But for me, some fans are just obsessing over it, it has permeated so many conversations, so many debates, that it has taken on a life of its own.

According to Dave Meltzer at, Raw drew the lowest rating it has had in over 15 years.  But, you already knew that, right?

Not because you wanted to know it, or perhaps even cared about it.  But again, some fans are just so focused on it, you can’t help but not know it.

The question is, do you care?

Do you care that WWE’s recent ratings are nothing to brag about?  Does it mean a lot to you about the low numbers that were reported from Monday’s program?

And if it does, are you directly blaming someone for the end results?

Right about now, some of you may be thinking CM Punk, the guy who just one year ago was praised for being cutting edge, for speaking his mind and making one of the most memorable promos in the history of WWE.  He has been accused by some as being the No. 1 reason why WWE is not flat out killing it every Monday night.

After all, the company’s popularity tends to rise and fall based upon the most featured Superstars on the roster.  The bigger the name, the more relevant and important that person is, the more that fans want to see him.  On TV, on pay-per-view and at live events.  

But Punk’s critics believe that he has grown stale, that he is not the right man to lead the way in WWE.  They feel that there is a very good reason why John Cena has been featured in main events over Punk.  Because while Punk is the “pro wrestling” fan’s choice, Cena is the man who the majority of the audience either love or hate and is the more suitable choice to be the face of the company.

For these fans, CM Punk is public enemy No. 1.

What about Vince McMahon?  He is the man in charge, after all.  Many fans feel that the buck stops with the boss, that he is held responsible for WWE’s low numbers right now.  Why doesn’t he take control of his company they say, change the PG era and return the product back to more hard-hitting, edgier content?

What is the truth here?  It depends on who you ask.  For me, there is only one truth.

Ratings don’t mean a thing to me.  I understand they are important, and yes, I realize that if the numbers were to continue sliding that eventually it would become a real problem for the company.  I get that.

But I also get that this is WWE we’re talking about here.  They are the biggest pro wrestling entertainment company in the world and have stood the test of time.  They eliminated their biggest rival in WCW and never looked back.  

They have risen to the occasion and brought their A-game to fans so many times and created so many great moments that they are the undisputed king of the business.  We have never seen anyone bigger and likely never will.

It’s because of all that I’m not too worried about WWE or its ratings.

And the truth is, ratings have nothing to do with how much I enjoy the product.  It does not even factor into it.  I watch the programs for the matches, the promos, the set-ups for the pay-per-views, I am a pro wrestling fan who enjoys watching as much pro wrestling as I can.

I am not sitting back hoping that WWE fails and use the news of ratings as ammunition to attack them, or their employees, at every turn.  Nor am I primarily focused on their current and future success.

The fact is, I have been a wrestling fan since the territory days and, when I was a kid, the then-WWF was nothing but a circus sideshow.  I wanted nothing to do with them.

But I watched as they began to catch fire during the Monday Night Wars and when WCW shut down, I followed their product even more.  I continue to follow them as a writer and as a fan who wants to see the business remain in the spotlight as much as it possibly can, because that means a longer shelf-life for the industry on a worldwide stage.  

I care that the program I’m tuning into on any particular night is the best it possibly can be and that I am in some way entertained by it.

This might be business for me, but it’s also a passion.  And despite what ratings may or may not say about an event, I always manage to take away some positive points about the presentation when it’s over.  For myself, and for WWE, it’s all about moving on to the next program and attempting to outdo the last one.

What I care about is the wrestling.  Bottom line.  Ratings don’t concern me and I can’t see a time when they ever would.

What about you?