With three of WWE's biggest stars gone — Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman — the WWE Raw weekly program has been struggling to gain interest. Lesnar recaptured the Universal Championship at the Crown Jewel event on November 6, and has been absent from the company ever since. Reigns was forced to step away from WWE in-ring competition after announcing on the October 22 episode of Raw that his leukemia is no longer in remission and has returned.
Strowman has been absent from Raw since being brutally attacked by Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley. Corbin forced Strowman to undergo elbow surgery after smashing it with the steel steps.
With these absences, along with weekly content which many fans view as not compelling, WWE Raw has reached historically low numbers as of late. In fact, the previous episode of Raw was its lowest in the near-26-year history of the program.
With the new television deals for both Raw and SmackDown Live - which SmackDown Live will be moving to FOX in October of 2019 - these declining numbers leave a negative impression on the future of the company.
With the past episode of Raw only averaging a record-low 2.1 million viewers, and the main event only reaching a record-low 2.048 million viewers, WWE is in emergency mode to immediately cause an upward swing after Monday night Raw's record decline. WWE has announced that the Chairman, Vince McMahon, will be appearing on the upcoming December 17 episode of Raw to "shake things up."
The return has been promoted by WWE as follows:
"With Mr. McMahon's return imminent, however, Corbin could have a lot to answer for regardless of his position. How will The Chairman shake up Monday Night Raw, and who will benefit — or suffer — as a result?"
The major speculation is that, similar to the April 16 episode, another Superstar Shake-up will occur. This shake-up could pile on talent to the Raw roster to supplement the incredible shortage of top talent on the brand, especially on the babyface side. Moreover, this could also be a foreshadowing to the rumored Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey WrestleMania match, as well as the rumored Ronda Rousey versus Charlotte Flair Survivor Series rematch.
While WWE has not officially marked the Chairman's Raw visit as another Superstar Shake-up, the decision to have him return on television is certainly intended to leave a positive impression on the fans, with hopes to swing the momentum in a positive way.
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