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.
To add even further interest in the story line, Paul Heyman has revealed that he has paid the $10,000 fine for Brock Lesnar. He is selling the Wrestlemania 30 match by letting people know that his client will be allowed to be as brutal as he wishes to be.
Aside from being utilized to help promote Brock Lesnar, who works a limited schedule, there does not appear to be much of a story line for Paul Heyman backstage. After being split apart from Curtis Axel and Ryback, management hasn't shown an interest in adding new guys for the former ECW owner to work with.
WWE has started teasing the upcoming release of the Paul Heyman DVD, which will be called The Paul Heyman story. The company plans on making the documentary of the former ECW owner available to the public some time in August of this year.
WWE has contacted Jim Ross for some work. The longtime commentator is being brought back into the fold to help out with the upcoming Paul Heyman DVD being produced. The belief is that he will be telling some stories on the former ECW owner.
Paul Heyman is expected to make his return appearance on Monday Night Raw this week. Those rumors heated up further over the weekend when it was mentioned that Brock Lesnar was supposed to show up on WWE television this week as well.