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Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Viewership, Bray Wyatt Failing?, and More
By Mr. Tito
May 2, 2017 - 11:32:30 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Good evening everyone, Mr. Tito from LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com returning to deliver you the truth about pro wrestling.

Folks, when you take away WRESTLEMANIA and regular appearances by legends named Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and the Undertaker (all legit draws)... What do you get? Under 3.0 million viewers.

But but but but NBA/NHL Finals... But but but but Better Call Saul.

Uh huh. Isn't it funny how wrestling on Monday Nights has ALWAYS had NFL Monday Night Football and NBA/NHL Playoffs against it as competition? Why is it now, during the 2010s, that competition is suddenly an excuse? It is a FACT that both the late 1990s and early 2000s had strong competition on Monday Nights, possibly even stronger than it is today. Remember, NFL's Monday Night Football was on ABC network broadcast and was a raging success. Also don't forget how the post-Wrestlemania shows are often on the same night as the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship and yet it delivers a strong number.

Take away Wrestlemania season, Bill Goldberg, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar and what do you get? You have a Monday Night RAW roster full of upper midcarder like wrestlers who can't draw without those veterans. RAW on May 2nd only had 1 hour above the 3.0 million mark while the third hour of RAW hit 2.6! 2.6 million viewers! We're in mid-2000 WCW Nitro territory now and AOL/Time Warner began discussion the cancellation of WCW Nitro when that show was near 2.0 million viewers.

Let's be honest here on recent WWE events... (a) Kevin Owens as WWE Universal Champion might have been holding things together. (b) Superstar shake-up has harmed the WWE.

History shows that Vince McMahon is very reactionary when numbers tank... I'd be very fearful of what happens to Finn Balor, Miz, and Seth Rollins. Rollins and Miz are WWE established guys whereas Finn Balor is that new guy (I know he debuted last year, but the injury took him away from the WWE). You know that Vince is like "see what happens when I take Roman Reigns out of the main event" and also pointing to the decent numbers when Big Show vs. Braun Strowman main events. Yeah, Big Show... Don't be surprised if one last MEGA PUSH is in story for Show, particularly since he's in great physical shape right now.

Let me get my recommendation on how to FIX Monday Night RAW, once again... #ReuniteTheShield. You know, when you're struggling to get Roman over as a babyface and you're limping along with Dean and Seth... Time to give the fans something to cheer for and Dean/Seth/Roman can draw together once again. Who wouldn't want to buy some new Shield merchandise?

But could this poor RAW rating be as a result of a BAD Pay Per View? WWE Payback, in my opinion, was the WORST live Pay Per View that I've seen on the Network so far. To be honest, it had some decent matches... But that HOUSE OF HORRORS match-up between Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt was one of the biggest disasters of a match that I've ever seen. Seriously. That was 1993 WCW bad. 2000 WCW bad. Orton and Wyatt went to a house in pitch darkness in California during the 6pm hour, Orton gets a fridge dropped on him, and somehow Orton no-sells that event to make it to the Payback arena faster than Bray Wyatt. Then, the WWE reminds you about how BAD the future will be when Jinder Mahal and his pals attacked Orton to assist with him losing the match.

That's right, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion from Smackdown LOST to a RAW roster wrestler. I know that it was non-title, but ANY World Champion losing a non-title match is STUPID. UFC or Boxing don't have non-title matches. Champ defends every time! Why have titles if you don't have to defend them?

Why have the House of Horrors match? I'm convinced that the WWE wants to use some of Matt Hardy's "Broken" gimmick for Bray Wyatt. They've tried in the past with other goofy segments with Bray Wyatt and now that Matt Hardy is with the WWE, the WWE can reduce Matt's use of the gimmick and ramp up the weirdness of Bray Wyatt. Having a House of Horrors match is about as stupid as using the WWE Production Truck to project bugs and worms in the ring at a Wrestlemania event. Oh, that happened too?

Let's be honest here, folks... The Bray Wyatt gimmick isn't working.

Now, now, now... Before you jump down my throat about Wyatt, let me fully explain that I believe Bray Wyatt is a GOOD in-ring worker. I'll even conceid that he's a good communicator on the microphone. Before you start typing away at a Comment, re-read what I just said. HE'S A GOOD WORKER AND A GOOD TALKER, OK?

The gimmick of Bray Wyatt, however, is failing him. It's too weird, too inconsistent, and has little or nothing to do with the staged athletic competition known as professional wrestling. IN FACT, the gimmick distracts from Bray Wyatt being an actual good wrestler. His weirdness in communicating his character and intention has caused for weak hype heading into Pay Per Views. It was fine when he was teaming with Randy Orton and had tension among his group because of the Orton alliance, but when Randy Orton burned down Bray's house on a episode of Smackdown? TOO MUCH... And we have years upon years of goofy angles and storylines regarding the Bray Wyatt character to draw from and it's not good.

Worse yet, Bray Wyatt is not durable as a wrestler, thus, everytime that the WWE builds up Bray Wyatt as a mythical character, he's not around to keep pushing that momentum.

For as hard as Bray Wyatt has been pushed from the day he debuted on the RAW roster as Bray, what has been the return on that pushed investment? Eh... He was moved to RAW shortly after being WWE Champion on Smackdown. This gimmick isn't working... Some will say "what about the Undertaker"? What about him? He's a big tall body who threatens to put you in a casket or bodybag. So what? Undertaker had his worst years when he over did it with Urn stuff and later, the demonic character that did sacrificed wrestlers and kidnapped Stephanie McMahon. However, when Undertaker kept it simple and let the wrestling do the talking, he drew. At Wrestlemania, he HAD to wrestle... The Undertaker couldn't push the gimmick too hard when you have fans with high expectations for a great match. When he pushed the "Deadman" too much at Wrestlemania 20 against Kane, it was one of his worst Wrestlemania matches.

Bray is a good in-ring worker, period... Besides AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt has pushed Roman Reigns to some of his best matches. Those matches against Daniel Bryan were battles (and Wyatt won those!).

You'll try to blame Wyatt losing to Undertaker or John Cena as "holding him down". How about staying healthy long enough to earn wins over those guys? How about adding some of your personal traits to the character instead of relying too much on WWE's scripted lines?

Bray Wyatt is boring me with his character... He's the son of former NWA/WCW/WWE wrestler Mike Rotunda and the nephew of NWA/WCW great Barry Windham (I don't consider Barry's WWE runs as "great"). In fact, Bray's real name is Windham Rotunda. Why not embrace that? Hell, his little brother Bo Dallas could use that acknowledgement as well. You push Randy Orton like he's a God as a 3rd generation wrestler, why not Bray and Bo?

Here's what I'd do as the RAW Booker. First and foremost, I'd instantly reunite the Shield and then I'd team up Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, and Samoa Joe. Lots of 3 on 3 matches to headline many big shows while I can splinter off any one-on-one matches from that extensive feud. Simple. Then, when Brock Lesnar makes his appearances, any one of those 6 can simply step up and take a shot at Lesnar. Meanwhile, build up the Intercontinental Title into something strong around the Miz while grooming many of the NXT call-ups over the past year to be his challengers. It's that simple...



- Alexa Bliss is head and shoulders above the rest of them... Just cut into the other ladies hard. Maybe too hard... What's killing Bayley in the WWE is the overwhelming pushing of negativity her way and she just stands there with a sad frown every time. And imagine that, Bayley eats the pin in the tag match.

- Hulu cut a ton of content from the earlier half of the show this week.

- Nothing unique about Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins. This Cruiserweight division is doing nothing for me although Aries is a solid in-ring worker.

- Wasn't as impressed with the Bray Wyatt promo against Kurt Angle. Read what I said above about Bray Wyatt, rinse and repeat.

- Torn rotator cuff for Braun Strowman? Really?

- Good main event for the #1 contendership of the Intercontinental Title. Great match... Sadly, this will get blamed for the low ratings this week and these guys are toast!



Oh, I'm only getting started...

If you saw any sports news last week, ESPN let go of about 100 employees with reports of more terminations to come. This is a follow-up to other staff reductions performed in the past few years by ESPN.

The problem? Viewership numbers are declining for their shows while at the same time, they've agreed to pay $1.4 billion per year for 9 years of NBA coverage and their NFL contract was for 8 years at $1.9 billion per year. That's expensive especially since the NBA Regular Season numbers have tanked and the NFL has been screwing with ESPN by giving them bad games. When those deals aren't delivering viewers like they should, advertising revenues drop and thus costs are reduced as a response. Labor is the easiest "variable cost" to reduce.

OK, the NBA and NFL game viewership is down... What explains the rest of ESPN's decline? It's not just the games, but the regular shows. SportsCenter, which was the regular staple for males to catch their sports highlights and news, has seen an ongoing viewership decline. Many news shows have been tried and failed. Many great personalities have come and gone. What's wrong?

Simple. QUALITY.

When I had ESPN, I began to notice a political change in ESPN's editorial tone. Their expressed outrage over various stories and injecting a progressive view into their opinions and coverage. That, or they'll push an issue hard to get reactions out of their viewers. Colin Kaepernick is a recent example of pushing outrage while the Duke Lacrosse case is where they had their reporting wrong. I also believe that ESPN became intoxicated with Pardon the Interruption as an opinion show that they've pushed opinion heavily into SportsCenter. Instead of getting your sports and highlights, you have the host giving their opinion on the matter or bringing in an analyst. In my opinion, ESPN has been on the "cheap" for the former players used as analysts.

Of course, the convenient excuse is blaming "cord cutters" as many are getting rid of Cable/Satellite and therefore won't be able to watch ESPN.

Haven't we heard this before?

Oh yeah, WWE... Cord cutters are also to blame for the WWE's reduction in viewers. Oh really? Well, unlike the WWE and ESPN who just make excuses, I bring the facts:

ESPN is available in 94 million households
USA Network is available in just over 95 million households

And mind you, those numbers are ABOVE most of the years during the 2000s when both WWE RAW and shows on ESPN had higher viewership than the 2010s. In case you didn't follow that FACT, we're looking at HIGHER viewership numbers despite fewer Cable/Satellite households during the 2000s. 2012 seems to be the "peak" of the Cable/Satellite subscriptions and numbers show that roughly 1 million housesholds per year have "cut" ties with Cable/Satellite companies since. Still, we're looking at most 5 million lost Cable/Satellite users over the last 5 years, if that. That is tiny.

The FACT remains that if you have QUALITY in place, fans will flock to your product. ESPN doesn't present quality NBA or NFL games (not their fault) but their shows have suffered from massive editorial erosion. Other networks are doing a better job at presenting sports than ESPN.

Meanwhile, WWE struggles to push the correct wrestlers at the top. They've overpushed Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, Miz, and Seth Rollins to the top when each of those wrestlers were NOT ready to handle the responsibility or weren't over while destroying wrestlers who could have been bigger stars (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, etc.). Then, you have goofy moves like pushing guys too early to the main event out of no where like Finn Balor (LOL @ Dean Ambrose trying to feed him a doughnut this week!) and Jinder Mahal. Jinder has won only 17% of his matches and was RELEASED previously by the WWE for underperforming. He was only brought back to the WWE as an enhancement guy. Now, they are pushing him HARD on Smackdown.

You can blame cord cutting all you want, but the fact is that both ESPN and USA Network still have at least 94 million households. A good product will turn those televisions ON while a bad product causes declines. Both WWE and ESPN have issues with their product right now. Funny, they now work with each other too... Imagine that and neither company benefited from that relationship. Called that one too.


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© Mr. Tito and LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com - 1998-2017

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