After months of struggling viewership, The Rock's return helped the WWE finally break out of its own shell on Monday night.
With The Rock's strong comeback to the WWE and stronger hype for its Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Monday Night Raw saw a major boost in viewership (via TV By the Numbers).
The Monday, January 7 edition of Raw got off to a strong start, as its first hour landed 4.29 million viewers. Raw saw a slight uptick during its second hour, which had 4.32 million viewers. Monday Night Raw's third hour posted the strongest numbers throughout the show. Raw's third hour had 4.65 million viewers, which featured The Rock and CM Punk in a talking segment inside the ring.
In adults 18-49, the show's third hour peaked with a 1.8 rating share. Raw's first and second hour both scored a 1.5 rating.
On Monday night, college football's BCS Championship Game earned the No. 1 spot on cable television with an impressive 26.38 million viewers and a 9.2 ratings share in adults 18-49.
My quick take on Monday Night Raw's viewership boost
This was a good sign for the WWE. After Monday Night Raw ended 2012 on a sour note with lower viewership totals, WWE's flagship show got off to a solid start in the new year. Although The Rock could be a bigger reason why Raw was able to see a rise in viewership, WWE has plenty of room to build on with its Royal Rumble pay-per-view set to take place later this month.
WWE Monday Night Raw also got some unexpected help with its third hour lifting the show to its highest viewership mark. Known for normally dipping in viewership, The Rock's return helped finally boost Raw's third hour. With the WWE planting the early seeds for its WrestleMania season, Monday Night Raw's three-hour format could benefit the WWE by helping expand storylines.
Certainly, the company has plenty to look forward to, as it can truly capitalize on The Rock's return match with CM Punk for the WWE Championship.