Back in July of 2008, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown to see if I would be able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming. This is assuming that if the quality (in my opinion) is better, I will watch more, and if the quality drops (again based on my tastes), I will watch less.
I tracked all four shows for a year before deciding to change things up and measure them differently (you can find the results of the that year-long experiment, including the charts and data, on the TV Viewership Stats page).
In July of 2009, I started collecting some different data about the same wrestling programming. What I was measuring this time was the number of matches per hour, and the quality of those matches as judged by a simple rating system.
The rating system I used was not one to five stars. It was closer to how I rate programming using my TiVo (Thumbs Up/2 Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down).
Since the WWE decided to shut down the ECW promotion, I stopped reporting on ECW and just did the other three.
The Final Results
After 52 weeks of collecting data from July 7th 2009 to July 9th 2010, here is a summary of the rating results. If you want to see more details, take a look at the TV Match Ratings page.
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Rating Totals
For each of the three brands, the thumb ratings have been totaled since I started collecting data the week of July 7th, 2009. Just to be clear, each “One Thumb Up” rating counts as one point, each “Two Thumbs Up” rating counts as two, and each “Thumb Down” rating counts as negative one (which subtracts from the total).
Here are the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down ratings for the three programs:
Despite all of the negative press it gets, TNA pulled out ahead of Smackdown and way ahead of Raw in the quality of the matches (in my opinion). TNA would have been even farther ahead on positive ratings, except that they have had so many bad matches since Hogan and company showed up that it pulled their total down (remember a really bad match gets a Thumbs Down which reduces the total by one).
Avg Ratings Over Time
One other thing of note was the average ratings per match over time for each brand.
The Raw guest host format has certainly affected the WWE programming. They are consistently at the bottom, even though it is supposedly the WWE’s “flagship” program. About 1 in 20 Raw matches is considered great.
If you take a look at the trend of TNA, you can see the damage Hulk Hogan and his cronies inflicted after the first of the year (about the midpoint of the charts). The average rating of each TNA match was climbing until Hogan took over. At its peak about 1 in 3 matches was great. It has been steadily falling since then, up until the last few weeks where it leveled out.
Smackdown has been fairly consistent over time, equaling TNA in the last couple of months. About 1 in 5 matches are considered great.
Take a look at all the stats and my “brilliant” conclusions over on the TV Match Ratings Page