Vince McMahon will have to stretch his excuses to the absolute maximum if he's to explain WWE's constant decline at the end of Q2, says a piercing analysis by Gavin Bridge of Variety.
Back in April, the chairman blamed the company's disappointing Q1 financials on "superstar absences", with the implicit suggestion being that investors could expect numbers to rebound once sidelined stars returned to action.
As Bridge meticulously details in his analysis, McMahon won't be able to lean upon this excuse for the continued poor Raw and SmackDown ratings in 2019's second quarter.
According to the study, seven of the stars listed amongst the Q1 absentees have made at least 12 appearances in Q2. Bray Wyatt - one of the only extended missing persons of Q1 - has since appeared on nine episodes of WWE TV.
The two exceptions are Sasha Banks, who has not featured since her post-WrestleMania walkout, and Dean Ambrose, whose contract expired in April.
WWE will have to go some way to explaining how Q2's issues are entirely down to the lack of Mox and The Boss.
De facto top draws Roman Reigns and Becky Lynch have each made at least 20 appearances in this period - more than usual as a function of the ludicrous 'Wild Card' rule introduced earlier this year. Nevertheless, ratings have continued to decline.
Last month, an increasingly desperate WWE dramatically hired Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as real-life Executive Directors on Raw and SmackDown respectively. The move was tactictally timed to help stock prices rebound ahead of the Q2 earnings call.
Such a move demonstrates that, internally at least, McMahon knows he has a problem. When he meets investors in three days time, he may be left with no choice but to admit it publicly for once.
Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know).
He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.