NFL hurts WWE Raw, Big E. cash in hits peak viewership and 18-49 figure

WWE Raw was hit hard by the first Monday Night Football game of the season, falling to its lowest figures since the return of live fans.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

WWE Raw was hit hard by the first Monday Night Football game of the season, falling to its lowest figures since the return of live fans.

Monday’s edition of Raw averaged 1,670,000 viewers and 556,000 (0.43) in the 18-49 demographic, per Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics and Showbuzz Daily.

The heavily-hyped Raw saw the company scrap its initial plans for a Raw Tag Team Championship match and bumped the WWE Championship match between Bobby Lashley and Randy Orton from Extreme Rules to this week’s episode. They also had Big E. state that he would be cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, which appeared to be something that worked as the show grew throughout the three hours, which is a rarity.

Raw had to contend with a monster NFL game as the Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders were simulcast on ABC and ESPN. The ABC broadcast averaged 14,459,000 viewers with 3.95 in the 18-49 demographic while ESPN’s coverage of the game dominated cable with 7,566,000 viewers and 2.76 in 18-49.

Raw began with 1,672,000 and 0.40 in 18-49 for the first hour, which was exceptionally low for the demo. In the second hour, the audience fell to 1,634,000 but 18-49 grew to 0.42, and the third hour increased to 1,703,000 viewers and 0.45 in 18-49. Throughout the show, viewership increased 2 percent and 18-49 jumped 12.5 percent.

Brandon Thurston has the quarter-hour breakdown and reported that the peak segment was the final one where Big E. cashed in his MITB contract. The final segment averaged 1,844,000 viewers and 643,000 in 18-49, which were both the high points of the night.

The show finished sixth for the night on cable behind all of the NFL coverage and the game itself.

In the key demos monitored by Showbuzz Daily, each one except adults 50+, grew throughout the episode led by females 12-34 (0.19 to 0.27 or 42 percent), adults 18-34 (0.24 to 0.30 or 25 percent), and males 12-34 (0.26 to 0.31 or 19 percent). It would suggest that both the rare WWE Championship match between Lashley and Orton and Big E. teasing the cash in was responsible for the growth in the third hour.

It was Raw’s lowest viewership since July 12th. The 18-49 demo rating was among the lowest in Raw’s history, although both the July 5th and July 12th episodes this past summer and December 14th of last year was lower

Prior to last night, the eight episodes of Raw since live fans returned averaged 1,857,000 viewers and 0.54 in 18-49. So, this week, against Monday Night Football, they were down 10 percent in viewership and 20.4 percent in 18-49. This week was exceptionally tough with ABC also carrying the game.

Compared to last week, Raw was hit hardest among females 12-34 that decreased by 26 percent, adults 18-34 dropped 25 percent, and females 18-49 fell by 19 percent. From Brandon Thurston’s data, adults 35-49 dropped by 26 percent.

In Canada, Raw averaged 237,100 viewers and 103,000 in the 25-54 demographic. Unlike the U.S., the major sports competition was baseball where the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays did over 1.1 million viewers followed by the NFL game as the top two sports programs in the country. It was still Raw’s best number in Canada since the Monday after SummerSlam and increased by 15 percent in viewers and 21 percent in 25-54 from last week.

Here is a breakdown of the key demos with comparison to last week and changes from hour one to hour three:

ADULTS 18-49
This week: 0.43 (-17 percent)
Hour 1-3: +12.5 percent

FEMALES 18-49

This week: 0.35 (-19 percent)
Hour 1-3: +6 percent

MALES 18-49

This week: 0.58 (-5 percent)
Hour 1-3: +15 percent

ADULTS 18-34

This week: 0.27 (-25 percent)
Hour 1-3: +25 percent

FEMALES 12-34

This week: 0.23 (-26 percent)
Hour 1-3: +42 percent

MALES 12-34

This week: 0.29 (-3 percent)
Hour 1-3: +19 percent

ADULTS 25-54
This week: 0.52 (-13 percent)
Hour 1-3: +14 percent

ADULTS 50+

This week: 0.88 (-5 percent)
Hour 1-3: -3 percent

About John Pollock 2939 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.