Raw 25 is going to do a sizeable rating for the USA Network this week, but it could ironically be the figure that seals a deal for the flagship show elsewhere.
Raw has been a staple on the station since its 2005 return following a five year stint on TNN/Spike TV that expedited ECW's decline and Vince McMahon's journey to becoming a billionaire. Television rights would play a major part in making him one again in recent years, with WWE's last deal pocketing the company around $200 million a year for all their collected output.
With rights up for renewal in 2019, the bidding war has restarted with the company ostensibly even more attractive a proposition than it was several years ago. This flew in the face of predictions at the time, with ratings on the slide and creative typically muddled during noticeable downtimes outside of the 'Big Four' pay-per-views across the calendar. Though Raw's viewership decline is indicitive of television trends in general, it has established a core base high enough to ensure it'll stay a fixture even in competition with Monday Night Football.
A quarter of a century on the air has embedded a habitual acceptance amongst generations of wrestling fans that Monday is the night for their live weekly fix. Fittingly, many responsible for the show's incredible rise in the 1990s will even be present to celebrate alongside the beneficiaries of their labour across shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan. For one night at least, the world is again watching.