WWE brought out the big guns this week in order to prevent what could have been a historically bad rating for Monday Night Raw. While the ratings did improve from last week’s record low number of 3.27 million viewers, it was only a slight increase to 3.35 million viewers. Even with the combined competition they faced, WWE can’t be happy with an increase of only 80,000 viewers considering the big names they had on the show.
Monday Night Football always takes a chunk out of the Raw ratings. With playoff Baseball and the new Star Wars trailer added to the mix, a low number was expected. Steve Austin’s appearance was only announced two hours before the broadcast, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels bring little to the table since they no longer wrestle, and this Sunday’s main event between Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker hasn’t received the top promotional push.
That distinction belongs to Seth Rollins’ WWE title defense against Kane. While this makes sense on paper, it’s hardly appealing to the general audience. No one buys Kane as a main-event-title challenger and Rollins’ portrayal as the cowardly heel has gotten stale.
When examining other wrestlers on the roster from a creative and character development standpoint, The Wyatt Family is running in place, Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro have a glass ceiling over their heads, and no matter how hard Vince McMahon tries, Roman Reigns will never get over as the top star in the company.
Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are two wrestlers that casual and die-hard fans are willing to get behind. Unfortunately, WWE only sees Ambrose as a place holder who will likely fill the top spot when Cena takes his scheduled hiatus.
As for Owens, his detractors behind the scenes have halted his momentum, almost to the point where it makes you wonder why they booked him to pin John Cena, clean, in his first match five months ago.
In a recent interview, Triple H compared WWE to NXT stating “If NXT is Punk and Heavy Metal and Hip-Hop—and more specific to those genres—WWE is more Pop music.” Pop music often carries more commercial appeal, but eventually a rock band, rapper, or R&B singer emerges that transcends their genre.
The WWE product was stale long before the six week ratings decline. Perhaps it’s time for them to look at their creation in Winter Park, FL and bring some of the succinct and wrestling heavy aspects to their show. WWE may be the global brand, but it’s time that NXT was used to develop more than just its wrestlers.