It's a combination of all the factors that is hurting RAW:
- Monday Night Football
- Wrestling is no longer "cool" or popular.
- The booking/writing is poor & lacks continuity.
- No one has any heat.
- There aren't any stars.
- The titles don't mean anything.
- The wins/losses don't mean anything.
- The show is too long.
- People don't want their intelligence insulted.
- There aren't any fresh match-ups & WWE runs everything into the ground.
- There's no reason to watch each week. Nothing ever changes. There are no consequences or cliff hangers.
- There is no emotional investment, either positively or negatively, for anyone on the entire roster.\
- Too many ads, replays, recaps & media whoring.
Football and MMA have been around for years. That excuse is possibly the worst of them all.
For comparison sakes this is the ratings for the same show through the years
2012 - 2.5 rating
2011 - 3.2 rating
2010 - 3.1 rating
2009 - 3.2 rating
2008 - 3.4 rating
2007 - 3.2 rating
2006 - 3.5 rating
2005 - 3.9 rating
2004 - 3.9 rating
2003 - 3.8 rating
2002 - 3.3 rating
As you can see from the past 10 years of RAW on that date they have been all very similar with last year actually an increase on the year before. Football and MMA have nothing to do with that drop.
- Wrestling isn't cool or popular because it has been shit for a long long time. It has gone in the direction of being a young kids show. Naturally that means the older fans no longer enjoy it due to the content not appealing to them.
- The titles don't mean much however Punk for example has had the 6th longest reign in history. The longest since 1984. Does that mean he is a reason the title is not as meaningful? Seeing as since he has been champ the ratings have dropped from 3.2 to 2.5. A drop of 22% on the previous year.
- No-one has heat? I would say whenever Vickie comes out she get's it pretty bad. Punk got it too when he did the cheap heat Heart attack angle.
Everything else you said is right.
The problem is the direction they went in was wrong. Simple things have set them on this course. For example ppv's. These used to be the place where feuds would finally be settled. They would be the pay off for the months build up. We would want to pay to see the two wrestlers finally collide.
This has now changed. You have to go back to July of this year to see the last ppv that ended clean. The last ppv we had three nobodies (as in nobody knows who they are so thus why care?) interfere. The one before that has a ref interfere. The one before that they pinned each other for a draw. The one before that saw Punk sneak in the ring after Show was hit by Cena and steal the victory. And so on. That is basically 5 months of lame endings. WWE needs to return to using the ppvs as a way to end the feuds not create quick fix story lines.
The ads/replays/social media is also a huge problem and if anything is the main reason why there appears to be no fluency. The stop start feel hurts interest. When you have an ad every 5-10 minutes it becomes frustrating and encourages people to flick the channel. As a business analyst I find that to be a shocking decision by the company because if you give people the opportunity to flick channel and see what else is on then there is a high chance many will actually find something and stay there. So the amount of ads actually encourages people to look elsewhere.
In contrast look at a company like Sky. When sports are in action they will stick with it. Sky is one of the biggest companies on the planet. If you have fewer breaks then it means you can charge more for when you do have a break. A half time ad say in football will cost a lot.
All in all the company is just being run wrong from top to bottom. The wrestlers are average in comparison to guys over the past 10 years, the title holders don't have star power. Too many guys are shoved down your throat and then taken away for little or no reasoning. The gimmicks/characters are all bland and boring. People on here claim Punk to be good on the mic when in reality he really isn't WHEN you compare him to people gone by.
The future will always be compared to the past as the past is what brings you to the future. And in wrestling that means we went through a really high quality 10-20 years and then the last 5 were really shit. Then people saying you should ignore that previous 20 and judge it on its own merits. Which you can't do and shouldn't do.
WWE need to go back to what they were doing right and doing what worked. As I said it is the simple things. Have matches build up properly, have them finish after a ppv. Create more interesting matches and outcomes. If you have a Hell in the cell match do something with the structure to remind people why it is called Hell in a cell.
But without a doubt the main change HAS to be the re-merging of Smackdown and RAW and having one main title. The roster is too small to have 2 main titles now.