The news that WWE had drawn its lowest viewership in company history was far less of a shock than it should have been.
In this year alone, the company celebrated itself with a show so bad it highlighted that they're incapable of even producing a nostalgia show anymore - the one format ostensibly bulletproof to the problems spat out by WWE's malfunctioning creative machine. Raw 25 was a disasterpiece - rookies and legends alike were buried depending on the whims of a select few, with Steve Austin's silencing at the start of the show was only slightly less insulting than The Revival's show-closing burial in front of some high-ticket punters in the Manhattan Center that had been well and truly bantered off as a reward for their misguided loyalty.
The mid-July placement no longer allows for the post-WrestleMania slump excuse, just as 2002's end-of-an-(Attitude)-era dip couldn't be laid at the feet of the Taliban - unlike everything else the company's jingoism did on-screen for the next few years.
There are no more excuses, but none will be forthcoming anymore. Acolytes and company insiders alike will parrot the enormous television rights fees and steady Network subscribers as a defence against the company putting a foot wrong, but it's this divide between corporate and consumer that will ultimately draw the most disdain and, evidently, the least viewers.
This week's dip was not an anomaly. The slow stroll to this nadir has carried with it a certain inevitability with each baby-misstep leaving a disastrous footprint.