I guess you could say that Sheamus' championship reign is off to a bad start. This week's edition of WWE RAW drew the lowest viewership for the show since 1997, drawing an average of just 2.96 million viewers. This is also the first time that the overall viewership of Raw has dipped below 3 million viewers since 1997. Last week's show drew an average of 3.29 million viewers. What makes this number worse is the fact that it comes on the heels of the Survivor Series, one of the four biggest PPV shows of the year for WWE. Not only that, but the fact that WWE crowned a brand new World Heavyweight Champion on Sunday night and record low levels of viewers tuned in to see the new champion on Monday shows just how badly positioned the company is moving into WrestleMania season. The hourly breakdown for the show was as follows:
Hour One: 3.19 million viewers (3.54 million last week) Hour Two: 2.99 million million viewers (3.29 million last week) Hour Three: 2.71 million million viewers (3.05 million last week)
There is no way to spin these numbers other than disastrous. Seth Rollins' devastating knee injury just a few weeks back put WWE in a position to shake things up and elevate new talent. Instead, the company turned to a past champion (Sheamus) that has failed to draw much reaction from the crowd for weeks. The television ratings are evidence that WWE failed to capitalize on an opportunity to draw in fan interest with their championship tournament, and they now find themselves in an even tougher predicament moving forward.