A portion of the Internet wrestling community does not seem to “get” the well-constructed John Laurinaitis character, but the overall WWE audience definitely enjoyed how he was used on Monday’s RAW.
Though the show delivered a weak rating overall, segments featuring “Big Johnny” were successful, demonstrating some of the best viewership growth WWE has seen in months.
The 10PM quarter hour featuring the extended “firing” angle between Laurinaitis and Big Show sparked a gain of 1.033 million viewers, according to a report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Though the 10PM quarter is seen as one of the three most important segments on the show, gains in recent weeks have paled in comparison to the spike for that polarizing segment.
And though Big Show’s tremendous acting performance was the highlight of that segment, it is not as if Big Show has represented a solo ratings draw in the past few years.
The overrun with John Cena, meanwhile, gained 990,000 viewers from its preceding segment to rank as the most-watched portion of the show. Again, that is not historically uncommon for overruns, but it is definitely an improvement over recent performances, even some of the final segments featuring The Rock and John Cena during the WrestleMania build.
The only other segment that performed in the ballpark of the two Laurinaitis segments was the opener with Triple H and Paul Heyman.
There is no reason to believe that Laurinaitis’ success on RAW will translate into a big buyrate for Over the Limit, but it seems clear, at least this week, that fans are engaged in his ongoing television angles.