WWE better bank on the minimal correlation between ratings and pay-per-view buyrates holding up, as the post-Money in the Bank edition of WWE RAW was a major disappointment in the ratings.
The episode averaged only a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating and a 3.2 cable coverage rating, representing a slight increase over last week’s 1.5 demo and 2.9 cable rating.
Unlike last week, however, there was no MLB Home Run Derby to blame for the performance. There was also immense wrestling industry buzz stemming from CM Punk’s surprise WWE Championship win and the storyline stipulation that John Cena was to be fired for losing at Money in the Bank. A significantly higher rating, along the lines of at least a 2.0 in the demo and a 3.5 for cable coverage, was anticipated.
This week’s RAW, in fact, performed worse than the 6/27 show, on which WWE launched CM Punk’s buzzworthy “worked shoot” storyline. Monday’s show averaged 4.7 million viewers in its first hour and 5.0 million in its second, compared with 4.9 and 5.0 million, respectively, for that pre-July 4th episode. The demo number was the same.
Though it is worth noting that this week’s RAW, while not terrible from an intrigue standpoint, was not booked in a ratings-friendly way (heavy on matches, light on angles and surprises until the very end), the unimpressive first hour numbers suggest that no specific booking format would have been able to produce a truly massive RAW number this week.
Of course, as WWE’s variable revenue is based on pay-per-view performance rather than week-to-week ratings, if the CM Punk-John Cena angle managed to pop a big buyrate Sunday, few will be shedding tears over this week’s RAW number.