The expectation was that ratings for Monday Night Raw would rise this week because fans would tune in to see if CM Punk would make his return or not. However, the opposite took place. WWE saw a 12 percent drop in viewership, which has to be a bit alarming since it is the time period between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania 30.
When Batista made his return on Monday Night Raw, WWE officials were said to be rather upset with the lackluster reaction from the audience. However, management then saw the television ratings for the segment and placed the blame on the Dayton crowd instead.
"It's ridiculous. I hate to sound like I'm attacking the WWE or (I) devalue what they did because Vince McMahon, say whatever you want -- and he's always smashing us and talking s—t about us, but I will tell you this, I was watching WWE I was a little kid and Vince was the commentator in WWE -- this guy has been kicking ass, breaking rules and doing things that people said he couldn't do over and over and over again. Now I'm older I don't get the whole thing, it doesn't work for me, but what he's able to do, the ratings he's able to pull and the things he's done ... And when I look at his model and he's basically taking everything in and devalued it. Saying everything we do is worth $10. That doesn't make sense to me," White said during a media luncheon on Monday. If he pulls in 2 million subscribers, he's crushing it. So it's a risky move, it's a crazy move, but Vince has been doing risky, crazy s—t since the beginning of time. If anybody can do it, maybe Vince can do it."
- UFC president Dana White on Vince McMahon and WWE Network
Impact Wrestling drew in one of the highest ratings that the show has seen in a couple of years this week. The belief is that WWE fans tuned in this week to see what would happen during the match between Sting and Brutus Magnus, as many are hoping that the legendary performer will end up at Wrestlemania 30 this year.
AJ Styles might have a little more leverage in his ongoing negotiations with TNA, as Impact Wrestling managed to score a dramatic increase this week. Approximately 25% more people tuned into the episode, which featured Styles's final match, than they did the previous week.
A lot of WWE fans tuned away during the segment involving Triple H, Big Show and Stephanie McMahon on Monday Night Raw this week.
With CM Punk leaving WWE due to unhappiness, a lot of eyes have now focused on Alberto Del Rio, who has openly talked about leaving the company whenever he is upset with the way that his character is being utilized. The belief is that he is unhappy about being fed to Batista.
Aside from half hearted programs with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio really has not been given a full program by WWE to work with since wrestling John Cena at Survivor Series 2013. However, the feeling backstage is that Del Rio is assured a spot at Wrestlemania 30 to draw in the Spanish media.
Batista won Royal Rumble 2014 by eliminating Roman Reigns in the end. Other contestants during the match were Alberto Del Rio, Alexander Rusev, Antonio Cesaro, Big E Langston, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, El Torito, Erick Rowan, Fandango, Goldust, Great Khali, Jack Swagger, JBL, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Kane, Kevin Nash, Kofi Kingston, Luke Harper, R Truth, Rey Mysterio, Ryback, Seth Rollins, Sheamus and the Miz.
"And I really wish Edge were still here. It killed me when I was out injured and he ended up having that final match with Alberto Del Rio. He was there while I was with the Nexus and he was just such a joy to be around. He's a good human being and just knew so much. He was always helping. Its guys like that that I wish were around still."
- Ryback on the retirement of Edge
While the initial plans had him working a match against Sin Cara, WWE may have changed their mind on how to use Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania 30. There are those within the company that are now leaning towards him working a match against Alberto Del Rio with his mask on the line.
Former world heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio has been takng some time away from the wrestling ring recently because of a concussion, but he's set to make his return to WWE this week during a live event in New York City.
While he won't be utilized in the main event title picture again any time soon, WWE still views Alberto Del Rio as a valuable marketing asset. The former world champion was one of the handful of wrestlers who were on hand for the Wrestlemania 31 press conference.