In the world of television ratings, WWE is much different than it used to be. While Raw ratings remained incredibly hight 20 years ago, the current product struggles to even reach half of what they used to. At the end of last year, Raw was reaching record-low numbers for viewers.
Although the company has been experiencing their highest stock prices and groundbreaking deals to further strengthen Raw and SmackDown as separate brands, it is not being reflected from the standpoint of consumer interest in the television industry.
During a recent interview reported by Sky Sports, Vince McMahon addressed the downward spiral of television ratings.
“The unfortunate aspect of sometimes in our business, is that our performers are not cartoons. They get hurt. This year, leading up to where we are now, we’ve had an inordinate number of injuries.”
— Vince McMahon
McMahon then was more specific, pinpointing the absence of Roman Reigns as the primary issue by saying, “And when you have injuries, there’s a whole bunch of them. Roman Reigns being the principle among them.”
Reigns has been absent from WWE television since his shocking announcement last October that his leukemia has resurfaced. Not only did this completely change WrestleMania plans, but the absence of the polarizing Reigns has significantly decreased the star power for the Raw brand.
In addition to Reigns, McMahon also mentioned Sasha Banks and “Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt, Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, Ember Moon, Samoa Joe, Akam (from AOP), Jason Jordan, Fandango, Big Show, [as well as] Seth Rollins.”
The slew of injuries in a matter of a year is certainly a major contribution to the decline of ratings for the WWE product as a whole. With Vince McMahon even coming to grips that the viewers are declining, this could generate a bigger incentive to produce a higher level of exciting product.