Before the coronavirus pandemic, WWE posted its lowest Raw ratings ever for an episode during WrestleMania season. Ryback says it’s because WWE’s formula is the problem as they don’t allow young stars to become Superstars and attract new fans.
He talked more about that on the latest “Ryback TV Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report With Raj Giri.”
“There’s gonna be a time when we’re talking about them not being able to break 2 [million viewers],” Ryback said of the ratings number. “I think it’s inevitable with the direction it’s going. Something has to change. For them the priority became, ‘How can we make as much money as possible and minimize getting the talent over as much as possible?’ They found a brilliant way to do that but it’s a dangerous game they’re playing and it’s catching up on many levels.”
He added that today’s Superstars are not at the level of past stars because WWE won’t allow them to elevate themselves.
“You look at it with a guy like The Fiend. I think WrestleMania being cancelled ? the best part about that is that it saves The Fiend from putting over John Cena,” stated Ryback. “It really bothers me. I’ve talked to guys up there and they laugh and say, ‘Cena’s back to f***ing bury The Fiend.’ It’s not John, it’s the system that allows it. The business model has to change to getting guys over.
“The thing too with Roman ? I love Roman. He can mail it in but he’s allowed to stay in that role because he works really hard. But you go back to Rock and Stone Cold, they were thinking of ways 24/7 to outdo each other to get more over. Whereas Roman can just go to bed at night and show up and he’s still in that slot. Not to say he doesn’t work hard, but he knows he has that slot. He’s in Vince’s inner circle for whatever reasons but you’ve taken away that competitive element with the talent.”
Ryback said he thinks that numbers will continue to go down even with hardcore audience. In order for that to change, WWE needs to create more larger than life Superstars because that’s what people want to see.
In other ratings news, last week’s Backstage episode had a record-low number of viewers. It had just 35,000 viewers and Ryback mentioned that both the formula and the time slot work against the show.
“The night needs to be switched on that and they’ve gotta be on FOX. Even if they keep it on FS1, they’ve gotta get it on a better night and ideally be on FOX right after SmackDown,” Ryback said before mentioning how successful Talking Smack was. “The problem with [Talking Smack] was that talent were allowed to go out and get over. This is why it was cancelled. They didn’t have control over the talent going out and getting themselves over.
“I’m sure FOX isn’t thrilled with all of this. I still say that me and Punk sitting there in two suits ? with a security guard in between ? and let us analyze the show and take jabs at one another… I guarantee that would be the best-rated show.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Ryback TV Shooting Blanks Wrestling Report With Raj Giri with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.