Re: **The Official Raw Ratings Thread** (Discuss Ratings In Here)
Starbuck, I agree with what you're saying about Punk and all of that above, but at the same time I think this whole storyline is in large part failing to draw what it ought to because of the taxing three-hour format. It's just too much. I think if we took a time machine to, say, 2006 and had Raw beginning in late July '06 start going three hours every week, we'd see even DX at the top impacted negatively by the format. It's the only cogent explanation for why Cena's drawing ability with viewers appears to be at an all-time low, in conjunction with no angle or personality who's regularly featured (Triple H deserves an immense level of credit for that showing from the Raw the night after Summerslam in the 10:00pm slot but he's a special attraction legend, no longer a star ala Cena or Punk or Sheamus or Miz or whoever who has to be in the trenches every week).
The third hour has become poison in terms of building a solid rating and viewership number throughout the program (lol, "program"... with the overrun the typical Raw clocks in at about ten minutes shorter than fucking Schindler's List, and with about 10,000x the padding, filler and overall puerile crappiness that Schindler's List is free of) unless they have something truly magnificent lined up like for Raw 1,000 or something that at least approaches that magnitude in terms of name and star value. It's just too damned long. It's not like the late '90s when Nitro went to three hours because now every other wrestling fan seems to giddily check it all out on YouTube the next morning or next day or next week or whenever instead, or they're recording it or whatever. I'm not trying to give them any excuses, that's not in my interest, but it figures that bloating the program to three hours is only going to hasten this already-existing phenomenon. Simply put, Raw at three hours loses the last shreds of "must-see TV" it still boasted as the premiere professional wrestling program on cable television.
Every year in late September there seems to be a nadir they reach, and sometimes it extends into the first week of October or so, so I don't know how much this is a simple rehashing of that phenomenon (a mixture or perfect storm if you will with MNF back, new fall shows back, kids going back to school and a billion other slight, minor factors to perhaps be considered or not considered). That Cena with his busted arm can't attract more fans to the product at that point in time than that speaks volumes of how much this whole current format is ostensibly preventing them from hitting any high notes in the final hour or even overrun, week after week now. Fans have caught on to the early hour at eight, but the third hour has paid a heavy price for that, it would seem.