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Raw Rating Disastrous While SmackDown Live Rises

The latest Raw and SmackDown Live ratings leave WWE with plenty to ponder.

With less competition than in recent weeks due to a lack of NBA opposition, Raw was expected to bounce back from last week’s record low. Unfortunately for WWE, that did not happen. Raw’s viewership remained identical to the previous week with 2.61 million viewers tuning into the show.

Like last week, the drop from the same period in 2016 was significant, with Raw again down almost 20%. To put the number into perspective, Raw pulled a 1.75 television rating (the percentage share of total viewers able to watch the show), which is the second lowest of all time (which includes everything from going against football to holiday shows). The only time Raw was lower was in 2016 when directly opposing the Presidential debate, where it posted a 1.74. To give an idea of just how poor that is, consider these ratings for the final Monday in May for the past twenty years:

1998: 4.22
1999: 6.25
2000: 6.35
2001: 4.2
2002: 3.7
2003: 3.9
2004: 3.2
2005: 3.55
2006: 3.75
2007: 3.2
2008: 2.91
2009: 3.23
2010: 3.2
2011: 3.07
2012: 2.7
2013: 2.8
2014: 2.62
2015: 2.54
2016: 2.19

It was better news for SmackDown Live, which was up for the second consecutive week since Jinder Mahal’s WWE Title win at Backlash. The show pulled 2.35 million viewers – its best in five weeks – retaining over 90% of the Raw viewership. It’s still not a great number and is several hundred thousand down from earlier in the year, but that is also without John Cena, who returns imminently and will surely boost the numbers. It’s not unrealistic that SmackDown Live could be challenging and beating Raw with a degree of frequency in coming months.

If that happens, expect another Superstar Shakeup, or at the very least some talent trades. With the egos at play here, there is no way WWE will allow future company owner Stephanie McMahon – who is returning to Raw shortly – to be seen as the face of a second placed brand.

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