WWE Chairman Vince McMahon addressed the reason why WWE television ratings are down during WWE’s fourth quarter 208 earnings conference call on Thursday.
For years now, ratings for the flagship show of the sports entertainment company, Monday Night Raw, as well as the blue branded show, SmackDown Live have continued to decline. Part of that reason that many people believe for the lack of growth in viewership for Raw, which has been around since 1993, is due to the show being moved to a three-hour program back in 2012.
Monday’s edition of WWE Raw from in Portland, OR at the Moda Center averaged 2.510 million viewers while Tuesday’s edition of WWE SmackDown Live from Everett, WA at the Angel of the Winds Arena averaged 1.841 million viewers. In fact, Tuesday’s show marked the lowest viewed episode of the blue branded show of the year and since it was moved to Tuesday nights.
McMahon credits the reason for a decline in viewership due to WWE dealing with several stars going down due to injury or in the cases of John Cena and Roman Reigns, unseen factors taking them away.
“The unfortunate aspect of sometimes in our business, is that we… our performers are not cartoons. They get hurt. This year, leading up to where we are now, we’ve had an inordinate number of injuries. And when you have injuries… you know, there’s a whole bunch of them. Roman Reigns being the principle among them. And even John Cena, not an injury type thing but we thought we were going to have John be more of a part of our programming than we do. John, God bless him, is making more movies. And even John, I would think, would say, ‘Geez, I thought I was going to spend more time with what I love to do,’ which is WWE. So, he’s been coming in and out, he’s not really a part of out storyline. You lose John, you lose Roman Reigns. In addition to that, we’ve had injuries… Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, who is one of our top female performers, was injured. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, Ember Moon, Samoa Joe, Akam from a new tag team, Jason Jordan, Fandango, Big Show, Seth Rollins. It’s like we… you had all these injuries, which is really unusual for us, and they’re characters.
It’s no different if you’re writing a soap opera and all of a sudden your main character wasn’t there. You’re in the middle of production, what do you do? You very nimbly change the storyline, but it’s not as good as the original one. Sometimes it is better because we’re pretty good at it, but those are things that we’re faced with, and one of the reasons why television ratings have dropped. And one of the reasons, obviously, from a live event standpoint, that’s dropped too. Because if you don’t have your favorites on television, obviously you can’t see the at a live event either. We’re wide open and Ronda’s done an extraordinary job. There will be other individuals coming from different areas that will join us on a long term basis, that will help us as well.”
H/t to Wrestling INC for the quotes