This week's Monday Night Raw was dominated by the storyline surrounding a WWE Championship match between The Miz and Bobby Lashley. MVP announced at the beginning of the night that the match would take place at the top of the second hour, but Miz managed to get it delayed twice — first by faking stomach cramps and then by running away as soon as the bell rang. The title match did eventually happen when Shane McMahon ordered it to be a Lumberjack Match, and Lashley squashed Miz in three minutes to become a WWE world champion for the first time.
So how did the audience react to this? According to ShowBuzzDaily the episode brought in an average of 1.88 million viewers across three hours. That's down slightly from last week's 1.89 but it's still above the worst-rated Raw of 2021 (Feb. 8, 1.71 million) and well above the record-low ratings Raw hit last year. It was also a rare episode where the dropoff from the first to the third hour was minuscule, going from 1.91 million to 1.81, and where the second hour managed to beat out the first (1.918 to 1.916). In short, most of the fans who tuned in stuck around to see Miz finally get beaten.
16 YEARS IN THE MAKING.March 2, 2021
In interviews leading up to Monday's match, Lashley talked about how his long career prepared him to finally take the reins as WWE Champion.
"I think [that Impact run] helped out tremendously because once you come into WWE and they say you're going to be a champion, there's going to be some uncertainties and insecurities," Lashley told Bleacher Report on Monday. "'Am I able to carry that ball? Am I able to do it? Am I able to have those big matches with everyone?' Because that's what you need to do as a champion, and when I was in Impact, I had those opportunities.
"There's no question in my mind whether I should be on top or not," he later added. "Some people already know it. You see Roman [Reigns] walk out there as the head of the table. He can't even look down his chin is so high up. He has that confidence because he's been in those matches with The Undertaker and Brock and all these different people. Same with Drew. Drew's the same way. Drew can't even see people that are under 6'5" because he's so high up right now, and he knows what he's capable of doing. Not everybody has that."