Here Are The Reasons Why WWE Is Struggling With TV Ratings


The year 2018 saw WWE Monday Night Raw take a historic plunge in television ratings. If you’ve been an avid viewer since the ‘Attitude Era’ (or longer), you’ve seen the show take a drastic dip in ratings.

There can be numerous reasons for this, but things came to a head this past year.


Perhaps the most irritating part of today’s WWE model is the fact that there is no imagination in the creation of storylines and in booking matches.

In the past, WWE didn’t give away anything for free. Big matches were built up by having top names face “enhancement” talent and through promos and interviews. You rarely ever saw two top names against each other unless it was on pay-per-view.

Monday Night Raw changed that, giving fans better action, but WWE still did a great job of protecting top matches.

That’s not the case today.

Now, you’ll see A.J. Styles wrestle Daniel Bryan countless times on television but then the exact same match is put on one of their big events. How are you supposed to get excited about a match you’ve already seen 100 times?

On top of that, if you are a subscriber of the WWE Network and watch one of the events on there, the very next night on Raw, you often get a show that is strikingly similar to the one the night before.


The Superstars of today are not themselves, and it’s easy to see. Every promo, every backstage interview and every segment in which a Superstar has a chance to speak and show some character, it is all so heavily scripted and comes across as difficult to relate to.

It’s not just the fact that these speaking parts are edited that makes them so bad, it’s the fact that those writing them don’t seem to understand what the audience wants to see.

They want to see these Superstars ad-lib. They want to see these guys and gals create a character organically.

What made guys like Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes masters of the promo was the fact that they spoke from the heart. No one was telling them what to say and as a result, they were able to tell great stories with their words. That is why to this day, people still look back fondly on those classic promos.

Today, every guy seems exactly the same when they grab a microphone. Often times, the best way to build a match is by having two Superstars do so through their words. If often what they say, and not what they do, that makes a fan consider it a match they just can’t miss.

Or at least it used to be.

Here Are The Reasons Why WWE Is Struggling With TV Ratings
Photo: WWE
Lack of top Superstars

Roman Reigns’ announcement that he was battling leukemia was a big blow for Raw as was the fact that John Cena decided to spend more time away from the ring than inside of it.

These are two guys who much of the crowd loves to hate, but their absence was glaring.

Despite WWE having arguably the deepest roster it ever has, it has a serious lack of star power. Guys like Seth Rollins and Finn Balor haven’t been booked in a way in which the company sees them as the “face of the show”, though both have the talent to be that.

Conversely, the show also has way too many heels at the top, including Bobby Lashley, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre and whatever is being done with Dolph Ziggler.

In the days in which the show was most successful, top stars such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, Cena and Reigns were at the forefront of the action.

That is not the case now, nor will it be any time soon. WWE desperately needs someone to step up and carry the flag, but it must go about it the right way so that the fans can become invested and believe in what they are watching.

braun strowman
Photo: WWE
Baron Corbin as General Manager

When Raw hits its lowest points this year, Baron Corbin was featured in several segments which did nothing but bore the audience to the point of incessant complaining and turning the channel.

It wasn’t Corbin’s fault, he did the best he could with what was asked of him, but it was a storyline the crowd clearly wasn’t fond of and WWE ran with it for far too long.

The idea of having a heel or heel group run the show and change the rules as they go along has been done ad nauseam and at this point, fans are just annoyed by that idea.

This shows a stubbornness on the part of WWE that fans are quite frankly tired of.

Be more creative, WWE.

Kayfabe being publicly destroyed

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘kayfabe’, here is the definition:

In professional wrestling, kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as “real” or “true”, specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind.

Social media is a big factor in this one, but so is the company itself.

Wrestling fans know that the Superstars don’t really want to tear each other apart, but believability is huge for some wrestling fans. When you erase the believability, professional wrestling becomes very unappealing for some.

If you watch Reigns and Braun Strowman face each other in a brutal Last Man Standing match, you probably don’t want to go on Twitter the next day and see them hanging out together.

And though WWE does its best to look good for their sponsors by going to schools and reading to kids, promoting its anti-bullying campaign or helping with Special Olympics, fans may not want to see rival Superstars doing these things together.

Then, in the very next segment, WWE will pit those same two Superstars in the ring against each other. I’m sorry, but for me, that’s a bad look.

It’s something that in the past, WWE would have gone well out of its way to avoid. But with things like Total Divas and social media, the curtain has been peeled back a little too much.

Combined, all of these things together are what has led to sagging ratings.

The highest rated episode of Raw came back in May 1999, drawing an 8.1 rating. Earlier this month, the show hit its lowest rating in the nearly 26-year history of the show, drawing just over two million viewers.

What has changed so drastically in 20 years for the ratings to take a nosedive like that? That is the question that WWE needs to find an answer to.

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