2015 has been anything but a banner year for the WWE, as it kicked off with a quasi-controversial Royal Rumble PPV that had fans extremely pissed, and that was followed by months of dwindling viewership, with the flagship program Monday Night Raw seeing its lowest ratings in almost 20 years. But there’s no better way to attract detractors than by bringing back the man who started it all, Vince McMahon, and his return to Monday’s Raw played a big part in giving the show its biggest boost in months. Do not cross the boss!
Across all three hours, Raw’s ratings averaged out to 3.88 million viewers, which totally whooped on last week’s average of 3.05 million, and was also better than every other week since August. (September’s numbers were where things got depressingly bad, dropping to lows that hadn’t been seen since the late 1990s.) And as you can imagine, the ratings for the key 18-49 demographic were also up, jumping from 1.0 to 1.3, which is a respectable percentage jump. And those numbers are partly due to a guy who hasn’t fit into the key demo in 21 years.
Sunday night was the annual TLC pay-per-view, which saw champion Roman Reigns losing to Sheamus and then going berserk and beating the crap out of everything around him, and that included “hospitalizing” head honcho Triple H. That’s what brought Triple H’s wife Stephanie McMahon out on Raw, as she called Reigns a disgrace and slapped the bejesus out of him several times, setting up her father’s arrival later in the show. According to TV By the Numbers, that first hour was watched by just over 4 million people.
This was Vince McMahon’s first appearance on Raw since last year, and although it wasn’t the main reason audiences were tuning in, his impending presence definitely kept people tuned in. He showed up during the second hour, which was watched by 3.7 million people, and gave a signature vein-popping McMahon performance opposite a dull Roman Reigns. Check it out below!
The third hour was watched by 3.8 million people, all of whom got to see Reigns win the championship back from Sheamus. Nothing too wonderful or surprising about that in and of itself, but it was a major treat to watch McMahon sit ringside and hoot and holler while also doing some cheating. And watching him get walloped in the face with a Superman Punch? Even better, somehow.
Without next-level superstars like John Cena and The Rock front and center, the WWE has struggled at times to find wrestlers ideal for drawing in big audiences. This year even saw the company bringing in Arrow star Stephen Amell and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart to try and drum up attention. But all they needed was Vince McMahon gruffly hollering at people and kicking them in the balls. It’s science.