The ratings came in and Bill Goldberg’s victory over Brock Lesnar didn’t do a big spike for Raw. What is your take on that?
This is an interesting situation in that it’s kind of paradoxical. On the one hand, you can’t make any rash judgments based off of one night. On the other hand, given all of the “social media buzz” that Goldberg’s shocking win created, I am sure WWE expected a bigger number for Raw than they got. Who could blame them? It was one of the hottest topics on social media (and also one of the busiest days that we have ever had here on the site from a traffic standpoint).
So the question is, “If so many people were talking about it on Monday, why didn’t they tune in to Raw?” And, it’s a very valid question. To me, the answer is simple: In only very rare cases can one incident get people to tune in. To make matters worse, in this case everyone was already talking about it so they knew what happened. They could go online and watch the entire match, for free, on Youtube. The question to those fans was, “Why did WWE do that” and “What do the pundits think about it”.
That was what made it great for us, obviously. But the same didn’t hold true for Raw.
To me, the problems WWE has had over the period where they have routinely failed under three million viewers lays in the booking of the shows. Yes, in part it’s due to three hours but it’s been that way for years now and only recently has it become the norm to have less than three million people on average view the show.
What the social media explosion on Sunday and Monday tells me that a lot of people keep their toe in the water and follow the business. They just don’t routinely watch.
So to me, Sunday was a shocking thing that the company did to get a buzz and generate interest in the product. Part one? They definitely achieved. Part two? Well on Monday I would say that they didn’t.
And did they make a mistake having Goldberg beat Lesnar instead of a younger guy who could have gotten the rub?
As I said on Monday, the bottom line is that if they generate business (and while social media is important and does generate some money, when I say business I mean generate significant money through the company’s main avenues) then it’s a success. If Goldberg goes on to have a great two year run where the major numbers rise, then it was a success.
If it were me, however, I would have used the goodwill built up on a younger talent. I have heard the argument that Goldberg is a bigger name so him winning means more. I counter that, as we saw with Finn Balor, when a new guy comes in and is treated as a big star, the audience will see him that way at least most of the time. I think if they would have done an angle at the Rumble where Shinsuke Nakamura and Brock Lesnar knocked each other out of the match, then Nakamura challenged Brock at WrestleMania and beat him in that manner, he would have come out a true star.
That is what I would have done.
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