Crunching Numbers: Breaking Down The 3/18 RAW & 3/14 Impact Ratings

Triple H

Monday Night RAW this week did a 3.08 rating and 4.25 million viewers. The lowest rating in the post-Elimination Chamber build towards WrestleMania 29. It was an 11% drop from last week’s 4.81 million viewers, but still managed to claim the top rated spot for all of cable television for the night.

Taken from the latest issue of The Wrestling Observer, here is the viewership breakdown for the RAW episode:

The opening segment between John Cena & Prime Time Players (with Rufus “Pancake” Patterson), as well as the Cena vs. Darren Young follow-up and the Ryback vs. David Otunga matches (including the booking for Henry vs. Ryback at WM) lost 36,000 viewers.

Typically, the WWE likes to start their shows off strong. The loss in viewers doesn’t happen really until after the opening segment, but due to this weak opening, the fans likely tuned out to watch the new season of Dancing with the Stars (10.85 rating; 17 million viewers) or the Heat vs. Celtics game (2.89 rating; 3.8 million viewers).

The Fandango segment with The Great Khali and Natalya Neidhart lost 104,000 viewers.

The Fandango character has been consistently turning away viewers as he’s been coming off more as an annoyance than someone you want to see beaten. What’s more of a bother is that the WWE went all out with his entrance coming off like they’re trying to steal some of DWTS’ thunder. For reference, last week’s Fandango segment with Brodus Clay and Tensai lost 298,000 viewers. This week’s drop wasn’t as disappointing, but it is not good considering the opening segments also lost viewers.

The Undertaker-CM Punk segment which saw Taker cutting a promo and Punk playing around with the urn supposedly carrying Paul Bearer’s ashes and dropping it, as well as the Team Hell No vs. Primo & Epico tag team match, all gained 111,000 viewers for a quarter rating of 3.27 — the highest rating for this week’s show.

While the Taker-Punk storyline has yet to hit a level which makes it come off like a huge match-up at WrestleMania (at least on the level of Taker vs. HBK and Taker vs. HHH), it is a draw. The Team Hell No match-up benefited from coming after this promo exchange and it also included the tease for Hell No vs. Ziggy & Big E.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Cody Rhodes, as well as the post-match with Jack Swagger doing the Patriot Act (Ankle Lock) on Ricardo Rodriguez actually lost 184,000 viewers.

This was a very strong segment to help inject some emotion into a feud that needed a spark, so it’s rather unfortunate that many viewers turned away possibly for a number of reasons. Perhaps they were tuning into the aforementioned two shows to see how they were developing, or they have just been conditioned to be turned away from the Del Rio-Swagger storyline, or Del Rio, or Swagger themselves. In any case, the WWE will be sure to replay this segment on as many WWE programs as they can because it really was a great angle.

The Hall of Fame announcement and video for Booker T lost 124,000 viewers.

It’s a disappointing drop, but these segments generally only draw if it’s an absolutely huge name. The Bruno Sammartino HOF announcement video on the February 4th edition of RAW only gained about 34,000 viewers, and he’s considered the top draw for this year’s class which is already stacked. Also, chalk this up to TV competition as it was a big drop and besides the reveal, the fans weren’t sticking around to watch a mini-documentary about a guy they still see weekly.

The Sheamus & Randy Orton vs. 3MB members Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre tag match, including the Big Show save afterwards, gained 58,000 viewers to a 3.09 quarter rating.

These segments came on at the top of the 10 o’clock hour, so it’s a natural gain with viewers checking in periodically to see where the show is at, but even so, it’s not a big gain especially when compared to all of the big drops the show suffered as it went on.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston lost 302,000 viewers.

This actually ended up being an alright match, but because of both of their recent track record of losing, it appeared that nobody was interested and turned out in droves. This segment also included the booking for Team Hell No vs. Ziggy & Big E. for WrestleMania.

The Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match featuring champion Wade Barrett vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz ended up losing 54,000 viewers.

This was a very good match and felt like a big main-event, especially when Michael Cole was instructed to throw out the “big fight feel” line before the break, and while it did lose viewers, it could have been worse. If anything, it helped make each person look strong heading into WrestleMania especially with the finish they did which saw Barrett roll up Miz and steal the pin while Jericho didn’t take the fall. On any other night with a stronger show (Cena’s appearance was limited and Rock was busy for the final time in this WM stretch), this likely would have gained viewers instead of losing them.

Finally, the closing segment with Triple H, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar as well as the announcement of the stipulations for HHH vs. Lesnar II, gained 494,000 viewers to a final overrun 3.19 rating.

It was a big gain — the biggest in the entire show — as it was promoted throughout the broadcast as it should have been. However, to be a hugely successful closer, those segments should be able to draw upwards of 1 million viewers. Last week’s RAW is a bad comparison since it went too long at the end and had a weird commercial break right at 11:05pm (EST), but the Punk vs. Kane main-event for that night gained 153,000 viewers. The week before with Punk winning the four-way to get a match with Undertaker gained about 570,000 viewers. Finally, just as an example, the 2/25 episode of RAW featuring the excellent Cena vs. Punk main-event drew 1,002,000 viewers. Now, that’s a success.

The 3/14 edition of Impact Wrestling drew a 1.07 rating with 1.41 million viewers which is more-or-less below what they’ve been doing with the Bellator MMA push by Spike (although in this week, there was no Bellator). Even worse, this was the show following TNA Lockdown and the first live show to be on the road from Chicago.

Taken from the latest issue of The Wrestling Observer, here is the viewership breakdown for Impact:

The show opened with Aces & Eights breaking up a randomly thrown out tag title match. However, the Gail Kim & Tara vs. Velvet Sky & Mickie James tag match was the loser as it lost 171,000 viewers.

Knockouts typically draw really well for TNA, but putting them on that early even with all those names (per TNA’s standards) in a bit of a throw-away match basically told viewers that it was a bit of a filler. Although, the Aces & Eights segment was fine and a solid follow-up to the PPV.

The Robbie E. vs. Robbie T. rematch gained 145,000 viewers.

Honestly, this was always better suited to be on TV and it drew very well for something many hardcore wrestling fans see as a waste of time. Their Lockdown PPV match was really bad because of how long it went, and while this one clocked in under two minutes, it wasn’t any better, but at least it was short and slightly interesting. Hopefully, this will be the final bout these two will have together.

Backstage segments involving Aces & Eights, Hulk Hogan & Sting, and later Sting, Austin Aries & Bobby Roode gained 40,000 viewers.

The bigger draw here was probably the Hogan-Sting segment where Hogan blamed Sting for the Aces & Eights victory at the PPV. The Sting challenge to Aries also benefited from being in this spot. Besides that, it was a modest gain for Impact as they build towards the main-event.

Bad Influence coming out as the Road Warriors, Daniels vs. Storm and the AJ Styles return gained 263,000 viewers to a 1.20 quarter.

This came at the top of the second hour which always carries big gains as people still tune into Impact at the wrong hour. It isn’t like RAW starts at 9pm anymore, although they still suffer from that as well. It should be noted the possibility that perhaps viewers were watching something else at 8pm before tuning into Impact at its second hour. Whatever the case, TNA needs to do a better job at promoting big segments for the beginning of next week’s show to compel viewers to sticking to their program throughout both hours. The last time they did this was the Bully Ray-Brooke Hogan wedding.

Matt Morgan coming out during Joseph Park‘s interview lost 67,000.

A drop after such a big gain is to be expected to a degree. This wasn’t a strong segment of course, but it’s more important for TNA to then follow up with a stronger angle to rebuild the audience heading towards the closer.

The Sting vs. Austin Aries main-event gained only 26,000 viewers.

This was a very good main-event despite the finish, so it must be very disappointing for TNA to have it get a weak gain not even coming close to making up the loss in the last segment.

Finally, the closing segment with the Aces & Eights stable coming out to destroy everyone as well as Hulk Hogan watching the destruction unfold gained 92,000 viewers to finish with a 1.24 quarter rating, the highest in the entire program.

Based on how well the second hour was doing, the 92,000 gain, while not big, was enough to push the quarter to its highest rating for the entire show. Wouldn’t it be nice if TNA could experience these strong numbers for both hours? With that being said, I thought TNA did well to continue the Aces storyline heading into the next week. Compared to last week’s closer (and that show did a 1.13 rating; 1.45 million viewers), it featured a Jeff Hardy/Bully Ray segment and brawl with Aces & Eights that stayed even following a 25,000 viewer gain from Storm vs. Anderson before it. That quarter did a 1.15 rating.

READERS: Any opinions on how well both shows did? Feel like any segments should have deserved higher ratings/gains? Let us know in the comments below.