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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Desperate WWE Brings John Cena Back & Who is to Blame for LOW Ratings?
By Mr. Tito
Oct 8, 2013 - 10:28:26 PM
The Monday Night RAW ratings are in and since the post-SummerSlam 2013 edition of RAW, we've been on a downward slide. If you look at the ratings to the hundredth of the decimal (not sure why that was changed from the tenth), RAW has been under 3.00 for 6 consecutive weeks. Certainly, the built-in excuse is but-but-but-but NFL football! However, during good times and with 2 companies competing (WWE & WCW) during the late 1990's, I never heard of football stealing viewers.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The WWE is actually bringing John Cena back months early from a torn tricep to face Alberto Del Rio at the Hell in a Cell Pay Per View. Boy, that guy is a quick healer! Anyway, you don't risk rushing back your top star if there wasn't panic happening backstage. Furthermore, Vince McMahon is considering an on-screen return. Reportedly, he wasn't going to return to an on-camera role until Survivor Series or maybe even Royal Rumble to begin Wrestlemania storylines. Vince seemed content with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as the authority figures while he chill backstage. Ratings are down, here comes Vince on the white horse to save the day!
Personally, I wouldn't panic THAT much... If you look at 2012's ratings, it's almost a carbon copy of 2013 during September and early October. Both 2012 and 2013 did above 3.0 around SummerSlam and then dipped below 3.0 during September against NFL football. In FACT, ratings never got above 3.0 from September to December to end 2012. 2011 remained above 3.0 for the most part, as did 2010.
Backstage among the McMahons, you KNOW who is the scapegoat: Daniel Bryan. Even though he has NEVER been allowed to hold the WWE Title for more than 24 hours, he'll be blamed for looking like a 5'8" unshaven dork. It's all on him, even though the fans are hot for most of his matches and segments with loud "YES!" chants and his merchandise is moving... But Bryan is new to the main event scene, and thus the inexperience is probably to blame along with his looks.
Why not blame the guy who has actually held the WWE Title more than 24 hours during this recent ratings decline? Why can't Randy Orton own the blame?
Reportedly, SummerSlam 2013 did 298,000 in its early reported number (could be revised up or down when finalized), down from 2012's 358,000. In my opinion, 2012's SummerSlam was spiked by the allure of the first ever Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar match which fans were amped to see. If you compare SummerSlam 2011 with SummerSlam 2013, it's virtually the same number with 2011 having 296,000. 2011's number was DOWN from 2010's buys of 350,000. Could someone tell me what SummerSlam 2013 and 2011 had in common?
Oh yeah, the Money in the Bank winner was expected to cash in the briefcase and win the WWE Title no matter what. Alberto Del Rio during 2011 and Randy Orton during 2013.
Why buy the SummerSlam Pay Per View when the outcome is known and to be disappointing, in your opinion?
Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase after Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena in a hard fought match at SummerSlam 2013. Now, Randy Orton is on his own and without John Cena to help him carry the WWE brand due to Cena's arm injury. I dug deep into Randy Orton's 10 World Championship and the television ratings that followed. Quite difficult to analyze as Randy Orton was mostly World Champion while being on the same brand as John Cena along with Orton having VERY short title reigns. The October 2007 to April 2008 appears to be his best title reign ever and the RAW ratings went up during the first few months of 2008. Guess who he was feuding with? Triple H and John Cena... And everything clicked for Wrestlemania 24 during 2008, one of the most purchased Wrestlemanias of all time.
His other WWE Title reigns, while a RAW brand wrestler, are hard to measure. 3 month title reigns are hard to measure. That, and John Cena is a legitimate draw. What if we could measure Randy Orton as a world champion while on a brand without John Cena? No, I'm not talking about his 1 month World Heavyweight Championship run from SummerSlam 2004. I'm talking about 2011 and his 2 Smackdown World Heavyweight Championship reigns between May 2011 and September 2011.
With Edge's retirement and the McMahons wanting to push Alberto Del Rio on the RAW brand during 2011, Randy Orton was moved to the Smackdown brand per the 2011 WWE Draft. Orton debuted on Smackdown on April 29th, 2011 and one week later on that show, he was crowned World Heavyweight Champion. New wrestler to the brand and World Champion? He was considered by the WWE brass to be the #2 draw only behind John Cena (well, when Triple H isn't wrestling). But what happened? Proof is in the numbers for Smackdown during 2011:
DATE Smackdown Rating
4/29/2011 1.96 (Orton joins SD)
5/6/2011 1.74 (Orton wins WHC)
7/22/2011 1.89 (lost title at PPV)
8/19/2011 1.86 (Orton wins WHC at PPV)
9/23/2011 2.15 (lost title at PPV)
Credit: Gerweck.net for the Ratings Numbers
Higher ratings with Edge as champion before Orton's Smackdown return and then with Mark Henry actually drawing well as champion on Smackdown after Randy Orton's 2nd 2011 title reign. The Smackdown average for 2011 was around 1.95. Orton's title reigns, I estimate, represent about a 1.80 rating. Factor in that 2011's ratings include Orton's title reign numbers, 2011's ratings average at about 2.01 without Randy Orton as World Heavyweight Champion. This is addition to Smackdown's House Show attendance being down during 2011 (data unavailable, but reportedly heavily during the time), many of which were headlined by Randy Orton.
And now, post SummerSlam 2013 ratings as WWE Champion. 6 consecutive weeks of under 3.0 ratings with Randy Orton as champion or the title being vacated. You can blame Daniel Bryan all you want but he's received beating after beating by Randy Orton on RAW since SummerSlam 2013 along with being a recipient of screwjob finishes against Orton. No title reigns beyond 24 hours for Bryan. How on earth can you even attempt to blame Daniel Bryan when Randy Orton has dominated him and with Orton as Champion?
But despite facts in place and many World Title reigns that haven't really popped much interest, Orton is the WWE's golden boy. He's the son of "Cowboy" Bob Orton who was part of Wrestlemania 1 that helped make the WWE. Vince has historically taken care of the offspring of wrestlers who made himself or his dad money in the past (even when they aren't talented). Randy Orton has benefited heavily from a backstage friendship with Triple H. It got him into Evolution and quickly escalated Orton up the WWE Ladder despite not being remotely ready for the Main Event scene. He has got away with backstage behavior that others would be put in the WWE doghouse permanently. He has been granted a strong push after a Wellness Policy violation when other suspended wrestlers weren't given a second chance.
Because Randy Orton can't carry the ball on his own, Vince McMahon and John Cena are likely to return earlier than expected. Great job, you big ol' draw Randy!
I would like to suggest that Triple H as a heel authority figure does NOT go over well with fans, either. Problem is that HHH is virtually retired as a pro wrestler yet he portrays himself as still the strongest wrestler on the roster. All HHH has to do is get out of the suit and into the tights and he's instantly the #1 wrestler on the roster. One would figure that if you barely wrestle during a year, you'd have ring rust, correct? You'd be out of cardio shape, especially compared to a full time wrestler? Yet, Triple H can push around the entire roster because he gives off the appearance that he's still the best. He should be selling his older age and lack of training as a full time wrestler. Randy Orton and Triple H have just dealt it to Daniel Bryan while Triple H has virtually called out the entire WWE roster.
It was quite a breath of fresh air to see Big Show to deliver a knockout punch to Triple H. FINALLY... Yet, it took weeks for a 7 foot wrestler to muster the courage to do that feat. He was terrified to hit Triple H weeks before despite boasting that he had an "Iron Clad Contract" in place (how can Stephanie fire him?). I believe fans are not forgiving Triple H for his actions against CM Punk during 2011, so why would fans trust Triple H to be a heel that eventually "gets his" against Daniel Bryan?
Off topic... I'm curious about the John Cena return. Obviously, it's a buyrate and ratings ploy because the WWE needs John Cena's drawing power. IN MY OPINION, the WWE should be well above 3.0 after the greatest SummerSlam ever if (a) John Cena was still around or (b) Daniel Bryan was given a WWE Title reign. Neither are happening, and thus we have the Triple H/Randy Orton "DICK MEASURING CONTEST" against the entire WWE roster.
John Cena, however, is FAR from ready. He has a torn triceps muscle which normally takes at least 4-6 months just to get full range of motion in an arm. Takes a year to fully recover. But he's coming back 2 months later, just CRAZY. My guess is that we could see an angle in place at Hell in a Cell Pay Per View that could be setting up Wrestlemania 30. It reads to me that the WWE might have interest in doing Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania 30. My guess is that Cena and Alberto Del Rio will wrestle a safe match but then something goes wrong with John Cena where he hurts his arm and sells it hard. Alberto Del Rio locks in the arm lock submission hold, gets the clean submission victory, and refuses to let go. This would allow for John Cena to continue to take time off while giving HEAT to Alberto Del Rio for further injuring John Cena. Then, Cena returns sometime during 2014 and gets revenge over Del Rio.
Whether it would be for the World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania 30 is my guess. Almost seems to be falling into place with WWE management's reported interest in doing another Randy Orton vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania 30, as I was projecting Orton vs. Cena. Cena is FAR from ready to wrestle right now and is probably going to lose rather quickly to Del Rio to sell a future fued.
Tito's UPDATED Wrestlemania 30 Projected Card:
-Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
-John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
-Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
-Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Wait, Shawn Michaels? Don't you think it's a bit coincidental that Shawn Michaels is a special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match between Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan? Shawn was a teacher of Bryan's and HBK helping Bryan win the match could be the beginning of this feud to ignite at Wrestlemania 30. How on earth could Shawn turn down the opportunity of a lifetime to wrestle his old buddy, Triple H, at Wrestlemania 30? I don't think he can...
My projected Wrestlemania card, as always, is subject to change!
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
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