WWE Raw finishes with second-lowest audience, ties 18-49 low

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/21/wwe-raw-finishes-with-second-lowest-audience-ties-18-49-low/

Monday’s episode of WWE Raw promoted around the Unsanctioned Match between Randy Orton and Big Show coming off Extreme Rules did not amount to much improvement.

Despite a much-talked-about pay-per-view on Sunday and the promotion of the Unsanctioned Match, viewership only increased by 4.3% with 1,628,000 viewers watching on the USA Network – the show’s second-lowest in history behind last week’s average.

The show averaged a 0.46 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is down 4.2% and ties Raw’s lowest rating in the demo with the episode from May 4th this year. This week’s show finished 3rd, 6th, and 7th among cable programming for the evening.

The show started off with more interest this week, averaging 1,740,000 viewers in the first hour and was 10% higher than last week’s first hour. From there, the show fell 7.5% in the second hour to 1,609,000 viewers and dropped another 4.5% to 1,535,000 for the closing hour that featured Orton vs. Big Show.

There were three demographics that took a major hit this week. Adults 18-34 fell by 31% followed by females 12-34 dropping by 30%, and males 12-34 down by 25%. The rest of the demos lost between 3-7%, except adults over 50 that improved by 8% this week.

There were enormous losses in the third hour despite the heavy promotion of both Orton vs. Show, and the Bayley vs Kairi Sane matches. In the third hour, adults 18-34 fell by 31% compared to the first hour, females 12-34 dropped by 28%, and males 12-34 were down by 27.5% in the closing hour.

The audience that stuck around for the whole show were adults over 50, which only dropped by 2.5% in the third hour. Every other group had double-digit declines in the closing hour.

Thus far, the strategy of putting big matches on television with a week of promotion has not produced results. This past Friday, SmackDown did 1,912,000 viewers for a show featuring AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle for the Intercontinental title. It was up 12,000 viewers from the previous week but still ranks as the fourth-lowest episode of the series on Fox.

Next week’s episode of Raw is set to feature two title matches with Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler in a stipulation match for the WWE title, and Asuka vs. Sasha Banks to determine the Raw women’s champion.

Here is a breakdown of the key demographics from Raw:

ADULTS 18-49

This week: 0.46 (-4.2%)
Hour 1-3: -18%

This week: 0.32 (-3%)
Hour 1-3: -24%

MALES 18-49
This week: 0.60 (-5%)
Hour 1-3: -14%

ADULTS 18-34
This week: 0.20 (-31%)
Hour 1-3: -31%

This week: 0.14 (-30%)
Hour 1-3: -28%

MALES 12-34
This week: 0.24 (-25%)
Hour 1-3: -27.5%

ADULTS 25-54
This week: 0.58 (-6.5%)
Hour 1-3: -11%

This week: 0.80 (+8%)
Hour 1-3: -2.5%

Wow, I thought the show is half decent last night. Maybe people are just so out of watching the show at this point.

That is likely I mean what is the draw to hook people that have tuned out?

1 Like

Just think how low this number is going to drop when there is competition from real sports. WWE had a great opportunity to use this captive audience to build new stars and they give fans Big Show vs Randy Orton. So stupid


I’m honestly surprised Orton/Big Show didn’t do much. Bandaid booking, but you’d think it’d uptick for a night.

As for the rating itself, nothing new to even consider on my end. Said my piece last week.

I mean Edge vs Orton was even worse in that vein. They have no start with which to build their stars. Especially with guys like Roman our. So they take 2 known quantities and put them head to head instead of in programs building other talent.

Serious question, has Orton or Show ever been a ratings draw?

Especially this combination in 2020, as a main event. Does anyone find it appealing?


Honestly, I dont think anything at this point will work until fans are back. WWE thrives on big moments, and with no fans its just impossible to give those. Maybe if the writing was amazing it could slightly improve, but I think the fans that tuned out likely hate the current environment.

Honestly, having Big Show main event anything in 2020 is sad. Any value he had in recent years was as the guy someone else superplexed. His best days are very far behind him. No wonder he isn’t a draw. You might as well have Buff Bagwell vs. Scott Norton as the main event


I’m honestly not confident the number spikes up when fans return. I think the first few weeks will see a noticeable interest just out of curiosity. But unless they run a massive angle that’s going to carry them and be filled with star power, do fans have much incentive in returning just to hear the crowd? It’ll be more interesting, sure. But the core product is still pretty terrible. I think most tuning out have now been gone long enough during this pandemic where they realized wrestling isn’t integral to their lives.


Things I miss more than Raw with a live audience:

  1. My extended family
  2. Live sports (which also happens to be a big part of my job)
  3. Going out to bars and restaurants
  4. Other TV shows that are currently on hiatus from production
  5. Going to the movies
  6. Good WWE shows
  7. Walking whichever way I want down the aisle at a grocery store
  8. Not wondering if today is the day I get furloughed or laid off

I’m sure WWE intends to do something to pop a number once fans are back. But if they have an actual plan to consistently boost ratings, sounds like they’re really slow-playing it…

1 Like

I’d argue that WWE is all out of ways to “pop a number”, even in the short term.

1 Like

Oh I’m not saying it’s a given, I’m saying I think that is their only chance because without fans I think there is zero chance of getting that number back up.

As far as the core product being terrible, I see what you are saying, but I don’t see the writing/storylines being any worse today then they were a year ago. I think they have good stuff, and they have bad stuff, and that’s the way it’s been for years. Even if they turned it around writing wise tomorrow, I still don’t see the ratings going up because 3 hours of matches in front of zero fans is hard to watch, I don’t care if it’s WWE, NXT, or AEW.

I’ll use FyterFest as an example, you could tell there was good stuff on that card, and given the circumstances it was good, but it was still a very hard watch, and I still fast forwarded through quite a bit. This environment is a horrible one for wrestling.

I’d be interested in the DVR numbers for shows during the “pandemic era”. Is it less people watch or just less watching live. Or some combination.

I also think RAW is the most hurt by the pandemic and reduced rosters 5 hours of weekly TV is just too much for the performers they have on the main roster.

I can see that. Speaking for myself, I haven’t watched a single wrestling show live since this started. You couldn’t pay me to do that.

I could see the ratings coming back when there are fans if they were actually building new stars. They are not. I think a lot of people have dropped the habit of watching three hours and there is no reason for them to suddenly come back

1 Like

It doesn’t matter if it was an on-par product to last year. Ratings decline hasn’t been exclusive to the pandemic. People who habitually watch have begun tuning out for 5-10 years now. Numbers were going to be down from 2019 anyway. The pandemic just accelerated the decline. The environment of no fans, like you said, is brutal. So more people tuned out and WWE has given them no incentive to tune back in.

When crowds do return, I only anticipate 100-300k coming back. And for that number to steadily begin decline again after the fact. They need to have a story/stars that brings more people in than the diehard audience. It’ll just be the same issue, in my opinion. There’s just too many good shows available and I think people are beginning to see the time investment WWE asks isn’t worth it, with or without a crowd


Yup I can either watch 5, 1 hour shows a week or watch WWE main roster. 7 if you include NXT (this is where the cross over really hurts).

I agree with all of this

Exactly, it’s just too much. The overexposure is killing them.