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.
Wrestle-1, the new promotion founded by the Great Muta, is about to get an influx of talent from TNA for an upcoming live event in March. Austin Aries, Abyss, Bobby Roode, Brutus Magnus, Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Frankie Kazarian, Gail Kim, Madison Rayne and Samoa Joe have been confirmed for the trip.
"It's tough, even Hulk Hogan was a tough loss to accept. Sting has been the cornerstone of the company, Jarrett founded the company and I think he might be the best heel in the business, and AJ Styles is just the best athlete I've ever been in the ring with. From three different perspectives it is a tough pill to swallow because they are three of the best. When you don't have them in the company you hope to god that the young talent steps up, guys like Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and James Storm seem to be stepping up. Will they replace Sting? You can't replace Sting, will they replace AJ? Probably not, AJ is irreplaceable, but will they become their own characters and do really well, yes they will do phenomenally well and it's not about replacing anymore, it's about making new stars."
- Kurt Angle on TNA losing stars recently
"From a wrestling standpoint, I'd love to have a guy like AJ Styles within the company to wrestle. I think the fans would, too. There was a tease of what could have been, but I don't think anybody saw what me and AJ Styles could do in there. On a personal level, I want AJ Styles to do whatever is best for him and his family, and if that's coming back to TNA that would be awesome. If that's working elsewhere, I completely understand that. If that will happen, I have no idea. I guess we'll find out. We all have to stay tuned and see what happens."
"Well, my opinions don't really matter because the storyline, for me, is just to entertain the fans and keep them engaged in what's going on with the company. I will say that any time that you have the opportunity to take the top prize in the company and take it internationally, and maybe compete and defend it in some territories and in front of some sets of fans that don't normally get to have that honor, I think that's a great thing for the company. That helps get the brand out there and helps put the product out there. A guy like AJ Styles is obviously a great talent and he's going to go out there and put on a performance that's befitting of a man who is the World Champion. So, from that standpoint alone, I don't see how there could be anything negative coming from AJ taking that belt all over the world and defend it against anybody that wants an opportunity. I know that's the same mindset I've had in my past when I've been world champion. Bring 'em all on, near and far, we don't like to sit here and pretend that the only wrestling is the wrestling that happens in our universe. There's professional wrestling going on all over the world and we want to acknowledge it and put our best against their best at any time."