There aren't any major stories out there, so for my main topic I want to talk about the ratings of WWE Monday of Raw. Here's some info from James Caldwell of PWTorch.

- Raw averaged 3.583 million viewers, down four percent from last week's average. It was the fewest viewers of the year and fewest since New Year's Eve on December 31, 2012.

Hourly Break Down: 3.605 million first hour viewers (same as last week), an uncharacteristic drop-off to 3.530 million second hour viewers, and 3.616 million third hour viewers.

- Raw's top competition, NFL Football on ESPN, averaged about the same number of viewers as last week (13.7 million this week vs. 13.9 million last week).

- One year ago this week, Raw scored a fall-season-low 2.54 rating. Raw was up against Monday Night Football's most marketable matchup of the 2012 season - Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys.

Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer/F4WOnline reports that the rating was a 2.7 for Monday's Raw.

The rating of Raw used to be a huge deal in the Monday Night Wars era. When WCW started Nitro to battle Raw in 1995, those ratings were important to both company. WCW won the ratings battle for about two years from the summer of 1996 to the summer of 1998 and then WWE surpassed them without ever looking back.

These days the perception is that ratings don't matter as much because in the last decade the world has changed in terms of how they watch television. People that watch on a DVR don't count in the ratings or total viewers. There's no way of measuring how many people watched Raw online legally or illegally. Are there 10 million people watching wrestling on Monday nights the way there were 15 years ago? No. As the numbers above suggest, the average viewership is about 1/3 of that number.

To you and me (aka the average fan), ratings may not seem to be as big of a deal, but to TV networks and advertisers they still matter. They are an effective way to gauge how many people are watching a show with stats that can break down the audience based on their age, gender and other factors. I don't have a Nielsen box, but I've read up enough about it to know that it's been successful because it works so well.

I think the big issue with WWE's storylines right now is every show has been about the McMahon family running things and making life hell for everybody on the show. Look at the viewership numbers this week. It's rare to see hour two have less viewers than hour one. That’s a bad sign. I don't think we should blame Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Big Show or whoever else fans want to blame. It's because of the story. The babyfaces never seem to get their revenge. Why should fans tune in to watch their heroes get beat up week after week? I get that it should happen once in a while, but it happens too much.

The other factor may be that fans are burnt out on three hour Raw. I've written about it many times in the past. I don't think WWE's going to cut the third hour because it's making them money and it's likely drawing more viewers than whatever else USA Network could put in that timeslot. The number may be down this week, but Raw is always among the top ten most watched cable shows every week in America.

I'm not sure if this rating being down is something that WWE is going to be worried about or if they'll simply shrug it off by saying there's so much other competition on television that September is always a slow month. That's part of it. I think it's on WWE, though. If the shows are better more people will go out of their way to watch it.

The Bryan/Orton story isn't clicking with viewers. Punk needs to move on from the Heyman angle. The midcard needs to be booked better. A lot of the momentum that WWE had in June, July & August leading into SummerSlam was awesome. It's been a struggle since then.

I hope that next week's Raw has an increase in viewership and that it's a better show because what we got on Monday was pretty bad. But at least we got to see a "little person" dressed like a bull, so there was something special at least.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

- Here's the poster for Survivor Series. Posters don't really mean anything as far as what will happen on the show, but I'm sharing this one because it's cool.

Love the Wyatt Family. Are the alligators (or perhaps crocodiles) real? Unlikely. But that looks damn cool either way.

 

- If you read my Canton's Corner column you saw me go on and on about how I hoped that those WWE #RestinPieces tweets were about an Undertaker comeback possibly for Survivor Series. It turns I was wrong. Dead wrong. Yes I went there. Here's what it actually is.

McFarlane Toys and WWE announced today a new licensing agreement to produce the first-ever WWE limited-edition collectible statues. The WWE ICON Series will include both current WWE Superstars and Legends.

For its first statue release, McFarlane Toys has chosen one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Undertaker. A fan favorite and multiple-time WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion, The Undertaker's accomplishments have cemented his place among the greatest in WWE history.

The statue depicts The Undertaker, in amazingly authentic detail, with the enigmatic character that makes him a WWE icon. The Undertaker statue stands over 17.5-inches tall, with a special base that includes LED spotlights, a plaque highlighting some of The Undertaker's historic accomplishments. WWE fans will be able to own a piece of history, as each statue will feature a piece of the ring skirt from The Undertaker's Inferno match against WWE Superstar Kane from the February 22, 1999 edition of Monday Night Raw.

The Undertaker statue is limited to only 850 pieces, and each one is individually and sequentially numbered. As an added bonus, each statue will include a Certificate of Authenticity hand-signed by the internationally acclaimed artist and creator of McFarlane Toys, Todd McFarlane.

The limited-edition collectible will retail at $295 and will be available on the McFarlane Toys online store and WWE Shop starting Friday, December 6, 2013. A limited quantity of statues will be available through Diamond Select Retailers. (WrestlingINC)

Here's an image of what it looks like from McFarlane.com:

Personally speaking, it doesn't interest me too much. The image is pretty sweet, though. I'm sure there's a certain fan base that this appeals to and it's smart for WWE to team up with McFarlane Toys because even a casual follower like me knows who Todd McFarlane is.

Let me know when there's one of those for this man.

I mean you, Berzerker. Sorry Mr. Fuji. Huss! Huss!

---

My apologies for no Headlines on the site the last couple of days. We're re-scheduling the Monday Headline duties and Lonestar was on vacation, so he wasn't available on Tuesday. We do our best to have Headlines up Monday to Friday, but sometimes things happen to prevent it from happening every weekday.

That's all for me. Check out the other great work here on TJRWrestling, comment on the articles (don't be shy) and have a great day.

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport