The first few months of any WWE year are always bound to see an increase in viewership.
The Royal Rumble, the subsequent Road to WrestleMania and ultimately the Showcase of the Immortals itself are the key drivers of this ratings' upturn.
And this year has been no different.
As PWInsider.com reports, this week Raw drew in “4,813,000 viewers." Though this marks a slight drop on the figures from last week’s show, it is another impressive number in what has been a great start to the year for the WWE.
Since commencing 2013, the lowest average audience for a single episode of Raw has been 4,260,000 – a figure that trumps any single show from the final four months of last year.
Furthermore, Raw has twice breached the 5,000,000 mark – something that hasn’t been done since last summer’s landmark 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw.
And though this New Year’s surge is something of an annual occurrence, this year’s performance has in fact surpassed that of last year.
The first ten shows of Raw in 2013 have posted superior figures to the first ten of 2012, with the average audience increasing by over 135,000.
But how long can this performance be sustained?
History would suggest that after WrestleMania we can expect to see a return to normal levels, but this may not necessarily be the case.
Does Raw's increase in viewership reflect the quality of the show?
Granted the company will be losing a number of part-timers who also happen to have the biggest drawing power, but there remains hope nonetheless.
For starters, it is likely that we will see John Cena and CM Punk put on another programme for the WWE Title. After their stellar show on Raw a few weeks back, such a feud is bound to maintain the interest of many as they have proved once again that they can continue to surprise us and deliver the goods.
Also, the good work that the company has done this year so far could be enough to convince some of the more casual viewers to remain faithful and persist with the show.
Probability suggests that with a bigger audience at present that this time last year, even an equal percentage of viewers being retained would result in a higher overall total.
However, there is another factor to consider in all this – that of Brock Lesnar.
This time last year, Brock was nowhere to be seen. The only major part-timers featuring in WWE storylines were The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock, Chris Jericho and to some extent Shawn Michaels.
Thus, is an average audience increase of 135,000 really such an achievement given that the company can call on the added star power of the former UFC Champion this time around?
Given the extortionate price WWE paid for Lesnar’s services, one could assume that the company were hoping for more than just 135,000 viewers.
Of course, an increase in the WrestleMania buy-rate could justify the large outlay on Lesnar, so perhaps it’s a little bit early to be jumping to such conclusions.
Also, the extension of Lesnar’s contract means that he will of course be available for dates after WrestleMania. Thus, with regards to my earlier point, he could well help out in the WWE’s bid to sustain Raw’s high ratings once ‘Mania is behind us.
But what are your thoughts on this matter?
How long can the WWE sustain their impressive 2013 ratings?
And are the increased figures as high as they should be given the returning talents on show?
Comment below with your thoughts on these topics, as well as any opinions you may have on any other points that were raised in the article.