Ok, I agree to an extent. But let's look at the best and worst raw rating of all time.
The best was on May 10th 1999, a 8.1 rating. Who was champion? Stone Cold. The worst rating ever was a 1.5 and who was champion then? Psycho Sid. This is no coincidence.
Basically what I'm saying is this. When Austin was champion, ratings would never ever fall below 3.8, let alone Sids 1.5 or Punks 2.5.
I can't believe people still blame the three hours. Do you know that WCW best ratings ever were three hour Nitros?
But if you really wanna blame the three hours, then just go ahead and look at the first two hour ratings and exclude the third hour from the overall rating.
Comparisons are great but those examples have little significance or meaning in this day and age.
Austin was STONE COLD STEVE FUCKING AUSTIN (GOAT) and champion during the Attiude era. He was surrounded by superstars and epic booking. It was the most popular era in wrestling history.
Likewise, three hour Nitro's aired during the most successful era in wrestling history.
Sid was champion at the end of the weakest period in wrestling history. The roster was awful, booking was terrible, and there was little star power.
This is 2012. Wrestling is in a down-swing, there's no one with name value on the roster, booking is in the shitter, there are a thousand different ways to watch Monday Night Raw, and whether you believe it or not, the move to three hours is certainly a contributing factor. Plus championships don't draw anymore, and Punk obviously isn't lighting the world on fire. There's any number of reasons that ratings are down.