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.
Some last minute replacements were added to Royal Rumble 2014. Initially, Xavier Woods and Wade Barrett were given spots in the big match, but WWE officials decided to remove them and replace them with JBL and El Torito instead. The feeling backstage was that the fans would react better to those the latter two performers.
That big push for Wade Barrett isn't likely to take place any time soon. The feeling is that WWE is giving him television time each week, in order to fill up the three hours of Monday Night Raw. Plus, his segments are said to amuse the script writers in the creative department.
Many backstage in WWE are surprised that Yoshi Tatsu has managed to stick with the company. He has not toured with the main roster for quite some time now. He also was replaced by Wade Barrett last year when the company needed to do some promotions in Asia.
While his removal was a last minute decision like it was for other performers, Wade Barrett was pulled from Royal Rumble 2014 earlier in the week. The unknown person that was supposed to replace him ended up not being thrown into the match after all.
"I've given up my spot in this year's Royal Rumble to make way for a WWE legend. It's top secret, but just between us, here's a clue: Voodoo."
- Wade Barrett on giving up his spot at Royal Rumble 2014
There is some concerns within WWE about Wade Barrett, as his match against Tyson Kidd, another under utilized performer, has been receiving a horrible reaction from the audiences at various live events during the past week.
The push for Wade Barrett is not off to a good start, as WWE didn't even bother to include the Bad News Barrett segment on the Hulu broadcast of Monday Night Raw. Management usually cuts things that they do deem to be of high priority.