This week’s Monday Night Raw scored a 2.48, and this rating happened to be the lowest non-holiday episode of Monday Night Raw in 15 years! I WAS IN 8TH FREAKIN’ GRADE! And then we have Impact Wrestling which drew an anemic .97 rating despite having 4 title matches on the show, and add in the fact that it wasn’t even an overall bad wrestling show at all. What could be the blame for the low ratings across the board for pro wrestling?
I have heard a lot of the usually suspects around this time of year such as Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, totally understandable as a lot of casual fans turn off wrestling once football season start, and others are pointing to the Presidential Debates because of course choosing the president is important. And then there are those who say that numbers are down because more and more people are watching RAW through internet streaming, YouTube, Hulu, etc. While all of those factions have a negative effect on the ratings, I’m not totally sold of this being what is causing the sagging ratings.
Gates to live shows are down in the US too, heck TNA is the #2 wrestling promotion in the United States, but just had a house show that great less than 400 fans. I have been to independent wrestling shows in armories that have drawn more fans. What this tells me is the reason for the low ratings is that people just aren’t as interested in watching fake fighting as they once were before. I can understand this; WWE seems more like a show about wrestling than a wrestling show. Story-lines seem illogical, the comedy is bad (Watching Kane and Daniel Bryan argue over who is the Tag Team Champion has quickly been run into the dirt), and the booking at times is repetitive. WWE seems to focus more on social media and product placement, and it has become clear that three hours is just too long for anything! Meanwhile in TNA, the wrestling is good and heck the booking is good too especially compared to last year. I just think they suffer from a lack of publicity as they don’t seem to advertise themselves as much as they should. Wrestling just isn’t as interesting as it once was.
In all honestly, I saw pro wrestling’s decline begin back in 2001. WWF had just bought WCW, and everyone was getting excited about the idea of the two companies being under the same umbrella. Instead, we saw as the “Invasion Angle” which should have been one of the greatest story-lines of all time get botched. When WCW close, they were drawing ratings in the 2.5 range while RAW was in the high 4’s. After WCW closed, you didn’t see the RAW ratings go into the 6’s or 7’s did you? No, we saw a whole group of wrestling fans who loved WCW through and through leave pro wrestling viewership in droves when they saw that the WWF was gonna make their guys look like total losers. Think about that, millions of wrestling fans gone never to be seen again. And now, after about 10 years, pro wrestling viewership is down 50% from those times. The question at this point is how the hell will wrestling bring them back? In the words of the great Owen Hart “Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.” The question is, how will the change come? Your guess is as good as mine.
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