WWE RAW Rating Plunges 15% For Stone Cold's Big Return

Premature celebrations.

Seth Rollins Steve Austin Braun Strowman

Faced with the opening of Monday Night Football, WWE RAW suffered a huge, 15% hit in ratings, in the process recording the second-lowest non-holiday number in the show's modern history.

WWE attempted to counteract this with an appearance from Stone Cold Steve Austin, but it was a tactical misfire, ultimately: viewers dropped across the second and third hours in something of an indictment of the current generation.

Or is it?

Football remains vast in its popularity, recent controversies aside, and WWE traditionally suffers during the season - but not, as Dave Meltzer points out, to this drastic extent. The decline, he writes, "was much larger than usual."

Viewed through the optics of TV at large, RAW even during this tumultuous period has frequently topped cable rankings - but not this week. It was just the 10th most-watched show across the board.

It's a sobering number: WWE, from a subjective and consensus standpoint, has improved considerably in recent weeks, through stakes (the King of the Ring tournament), format upheaval (the droning opening soliloquies aren't as prevalent) and a more consistent focus on emerging talent (Cedric Alexander).

How or if WWE responds is unclear as yet, but 2019 has been a year of panic - and, as a result, total disarray.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!