Looking at this chart while there was a decline, the big dropoff was before the RA era started, and they gained more fans during that time(late 2004-2006)than any period after. Ironically when Cena/Batista got their big push. Bottom line is while it was far from perfect I'd take a "TV-14", more serious yet entertaining, less insulting show with real wrestlers than the boring tame crap of today with ham n eggers shoved downed people's throats.
As for the fans, yeah today's fans are pathetic, but it's WWE's fault for trying to cater to these type of people as much as they do. Batista should have won the title at 30. There WAS interest when he returned and with GOTG coming up they should have ran with him as a monster heel until 31. The "neckbeards" would have faded away since WWE gave them the finger at 30 and perhaps casual fans would have taken over like they did in 2005-2006(when ratings were up) even for a little bit.
i came up with a timeline the other month of how i think wwe would be in a far better situation now if batista won the belt
batista wins the belt pinning bryan to mass boos
evolution still form the next night
begins feud with the shield
orton and h vs ambrose and reigns at first ppv after mania, batista defends against rollins
2 weeks later on raw batista defends against dean
next ppv rollins and ambrose vs h and orton in a hardcore elimination, batista vs reigns inside a steel cage
ambrose, orton and rollins qualify for mitb, h cuts a promo saying how evolution needs to evolve into the new age
mitb rollins wins it, clusterfuck main event everyone and their mothers interfering in batista vs roman reigns rollins runs out grabs a chair, nails ambrose and reigns, batista gets the pin
batista moves on to a feud with lesner for summerslam
bryan teams with reigns and ambrose against rollins, orton and triple h at battleground
batista has random defence against cena
summerslam batista drops the belt to brock, who defends again bryan at mania, both men out in the ring after bryan hits a running knee on brock as a desperation counter
rollins cashes in