It wasn't exactly surprising that WWE Monday Night RAW broke 3 million viewers the night right after Goldberg blitzed Brock Lesnar in a glorified squash match on Survivor Series. What is surprising is the ratings that this week's episode of Monday Night RAW put up without either Lesnar or Goldberg involved.
The part timers are a huge viewer draw for WWE's flagship program, but this episode didn;t really need them, as it broke 3.163 million in its opening hour. It actually managed to play to a bigger audience as well, with 3,110,000 million viewers as opposed to the 3,002,000 of the November 21st show (via CageSideSeats).
Even more impressive though is the fact that it didn't lose steam over the course of the 3-hour show, though any 3-hour program is going to lose some viewers. It held 3.130 million in hour two and then 3.039 million in hour three. It was fourth in the cable show rankings, which led off with Monday Night Football (13 million) and ranked fifth in the 18 to 49 demo.
The most significant aspect of that is the main event, which was announced midway through the show as a title match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. The fact that viewers are sticking around for a women's match is a huge step in the right direction, and they certainly delivered a classic as a reward.
Granted, not every show is going to do these types of numbers, but it's a great sign for the product that people are willing to tune in when neither of their splashy part time names are involved. That's especially a good sign considering that neither Goldberg or Lesnar are likely to show up on WWE television again until the immediate lead up to the Royal Rumble.
Though the ladies of RAW have dominated the spotlight lately, the better division overall continues to be on Smackdown Live, who have their own championship feud in Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss. Thanks to Charlotte and Sasha's performance at Hell in a Cell, their match has received a Tables stipulation, which should allow both fan favorites superstars a chance to shine.
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TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs hits the WWE Network on December 4.