Last Monday’s average viewership of 3.23 million viewers was the lowest for RAW in the month of January since the Monday Night Wars era. Viewers were down 14.48% from a year ago this week (January 12, 2015), which also went up against the NCAA college football national title title game. That particular edition of RAW averaged 3.89 million viewers, which, in itself, was down 11.67% from the same week in 2014.
The rating for the 2016 show was a 2.36, down 12.92% from the same week in 2015, and also the lowest January rating since before the Monday Night Wars.
The 2015 rating was a 2.71, down 12.86% from the previous year. It’s important to note that 2015 was the first year that of the current format of the NCAA college football playoffs, meaning that the championship game was later than it had been in previous years and had never gone up against RAW prior to that.
The average for the month of January is now 3.451 million viewers, well down from January 2015’s 4.035 million.
If this trend continues, it would be the 14th straight month that RAW viewership has dropped year-over-year with most of those months seeing a decline of more than 10%. Similarily, the combined rating so far in January is 2.43, down 17.8% from last year’s 2.95 rating in January.
While pro and/or college football has a clear effect on RAW’s ratings, that doesn’t tell the full story.
Every year, without exception, RAW’s viewership numbers drop generally about 5-10% as soon as the NFL season starts. After the season ends, the numbers generally return to slightly above the level they were prior to the football season, partially due to the “Road To Wrestlemania” season of January-March. This year, the decline was much worse than usual and the numbers were nearing record lows to begin with. The numbers will almost certainly rise now with the end of football on Monday nights, but it would take a drastic turnaround to get even close to 2015 totals. After Mania, when the viewerships traditionally drops again, it’s very likely that RAW will return to doing non-holiday record lows every week.
What about this week?
With nothing major promoted for last week’s show (Brock Lesnar appearing on the show wasn’t announced until later in the week), there is no reason to expect any increase to the Monday, January 18th rating other than the typical non-football bump. One year ago today, RAW did an average of 4.09 million viewers. The last 10 weeks, RAW has been averaging about 11% less than the previous year’s number, so the estimated numbers are 3.65 million viewers and a 2.65 rating.
Anything higher than could be a sign that WWE is slowly turning things around and something’s clicking. If the number is lower than that, the slide is getting worse. If they score anything around 3.5 to 3.8 million viewers, that’s a good sign things may be stabilizing.