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Dr. Darin Davis

Minnesota independent pro wrestler discusses past experiences and the current state of pro wrestling

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Category: Stats

A couple of months ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

After looking at the data, there was enough variation there that a one week sample wasn’t going to tell me anything. So I decided to look at the trend of a longer period, like a month.

After experimenting with a few different ways to graph this, the best way I can think of is to show the trend for each program separately. I’m also showing a rolling 4 week average that could be useful as I get more data. I’m showing the “Percent of Episode Viewed” for each program. I also had a suggestion to make sure the vertical scales were all set to 100% so that you could compare the graphs.

Here is the data for WWE Monday Night Raw through August 2008:

Raw % of Episode Viewed (August 2008)

Raw % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

My Raw viewership is holding steady at about 60% of the episode viewed. Higher viewings are usually after PPVs where I tune in to get the results. For example, there was a PPV on 8/17, which caused a bump in Raw viewing time.

Here is ECW:

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

ECW viewing is staying around 40% of the episode viewed. ECW and Smackdown take a little bit of a hit after a PPV because they give you a similar PPV recap (they don’t assume that you watch Raw, or in the case of Smackdown that you even have cable). Since Raw airs first, I skip through the recaps on the other two shows.

TNA:

TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

TNA is holding around 60% of an episode viewed. Pretty steady week to week. They go off in directions that I’m not interested in, but they’ve got a lot of talent that I enjoy watching. And of course they have Daivari Sheik Bashir.

Smackdown:

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (thru August 2008)

Smackdown sits a little above 40%. Again, there’s a dip on the 8/22 episode because of me skipping the PPV recaps. Even though ECW and Smackdown are kind of the “B squad” for the WWE, new talent like former TNA wrestler K-Truth and the loss of JBL from the announce team can make the program interesting. Also, Minnesota wrester Bam Neely makes appearances on both ECW and Smackdown.

So how did the month of August look overall? Below are the 4 week averages for Percent of Episode Viewed and Time Until First Match (time from the start of the program until the opening bell of the first match, or first “unofficial” brawl):

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Overall Percent of Episode Viewed (Aug 2008)

Looks like TNA takes the slight edge over Raw for my time. ECW and Smackdown are distant 3rd and 4th.

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Overall Time Until First Match (Aug 2008)

Raw continues to have the biggest delays until the first match of the program, followed by Smackdown. Anything more than about 10 mins means that you went through the whole first segment and through a commercial break before seeing any in-ring action. I guess maybe some people like that. I still haven’t gone and looked to see how the actual ratings compare to my viewership, but I’m guessing that it wouldn’t show me anything I don’t already know. When I used to look at the ratings, the interview segments at the top of the show or the top of the 2nd hour (or the overrun, since the Raw program regularly goes over by a few minutes) where the highest rated quarter hours according to Nielsen.

A little over a month ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

After looking at the data last week, there was enough variation there that a one week sample wasn’t going to tell me anything. I mentioned last time that I decided to look at the trend of a longer period, like a month.

After experimenting with a few different ways to graph this, the best way I can think of is to show the trend for each program separately. I’m also showing a rolling 4 week average that could be useful as I get more data.

Here is the data for WWE Monday Night Raw during July. The “Time Until First Match” graph didn’t look too useful as it bounces all over the place, so for now I’m just showing the “Percent of Episode Viewed” for each program.

RAW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

RAW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 My Raw viewing time looks to be trending upward, but I can’t imagine it breaking 80%. As you’ll see in a few graphs it’s my most watched program of the past month.

Here is ECW:

ECW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

ECW % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 Sharp dropoff in the last week. Time will tell if it continues. As I mentioned last time I think it is due to several wrestlers that I tuned in for (C.M. Punk, Kofi Kingston) have either been “traded” or are temporarily wrestling on other shows due to them holding title belts.

TNA % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

TNA % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 TNA is trending down. Sick of the whole “Sting in the rafters” thing again and some of the other out-of-ring time wastes.

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

Smackdown % of Episode Viewed (July 2008)

 This one is kind of surprising considering my previous opinion of Smackdown was low enough that I didn’t even watch it. The WWE draft/talent exchange must have helped.

To wrap up the month, here are some bar charts of the 4 week averages of each program (the red data points above) shown together for comparison.

July 2008 % of Episode Viewed (4 week average)

July 2008 % of Episode Viewed (4 week average)

 Raw is my most watched program, followed by TNA. ECW and Smackdown are about even.

July 2008 Time Until First Match (4 week average)

July 2008 Time Until First Match (4 week average)

Raw continues to chew up the most time at the top of the program with non-wrestling material but it still was my most watched. I think I watched more of the opening than usual to find out what was going on with the general manager position, so we’ll see if I watch less since that storyline is mostly resolved.

It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between my viewing and the actual ratings for the program, but I don’t want to create more work for myself. In the past, the interviews and all the parts I normally skip through were the highest rated, so I don’t know if it would be worth looking at. I’ll think about it.

About a month ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

I think this will be the last weekly update I give on the viewing stats. It’s becoming clear that this thing is kind of like the stock market: up, down, up, down… Week to week things change quite a bit in one direction and then the other, so I think it will be the longer trend that may show something. I’m still planning on tracking each show, but I’ll only post something about once every 4 weeks to see if there are any noticeable changes. We’ll see how that ends up looking. I have 4 weeks of data for July, so I’ll probably post something on that later this week.

For the week of 7/28/08:

Time To First Match (wk of 7/28/08)

Time To First Match (wk of 7/28/08)

Last week Raw was back up above 20 minutes before airing the first match. They had an excuse the previous week because they were coming off a PPV. No excuse this week, and ECW was right up there with them.

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/28/08)

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/28/08)

Even though Raw had a long wait until the first match, I ended up watching more of this program than any program in recent memory. For some reason the show held my interest more than usual. There was one match that stood out, and maybe the whole general manager shakeup was enough. ECW viewing was way down. My main reasons to watch ECW were CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and seeing Bam Neely. Those guys have moved around to other programs so that’s probably why the Raw and Smackdown viewing was higher.

Raw Highlights:

  • William Regal vs. CM Punk

ECW Highlights:

  • None

TNA Highlights:

  • Petey Williams

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin

A few weeks ago, I decided to keep track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

Still haven’t worked out how I want to show week-to-week changes for each promotion. I think I’ll only show those once a month, but I haven’t really thought any more about how to display it.

For the week of 7/21/08

Time Before First Match (Wk of 7/21/08)

Time Before First Match (Wk of 7/21/08)

The WWE had a Pay-Per-View on 7/20/08. What seems to be the trend is that after a PPV the first part of the programming consists of speeches and interviews related to the outcome. I would expect the “time until the first match” to increase. Both Raw and Smackdown increased, but ECW dropped by 5 mins. TNA was about the same as last week.

Percentage of Viewing Time (Wk of 7/21/08)

Percentage of Viewing Time (Wk of 7/21/08)

Partly because I hadn’t read up on any PPV results, I watched more of the Raw program this week to find out some of the match outcomes. ECW was identical to last week, TNA down a bit, Smackdown up. Smackdown was up because of finding out that Bam Neely is not a mute.

Highights for this week…

Raw Highlights:

  • Kade vs. London

ECW Highlights:

  • Evan Bourne

TNA Highlights:

  • 4-way
  • Table Match

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Bam Neely speaks

This is the follow-up to what I started last week where I will be keeping track of my viewing time of WWE Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and WWE Smackdown over the period of several months to see if I’m able to tell anything about the direction of the quality of the programming (e.g. am I watching less, more, or about the same).

I just have the data for the week this time. I had intended on having a couple of additional charts to show trends from week to week, but I haven’t quite figured out how to display that yet. I thought I would just do a line chart with the data points for each week, but it comes out looking like a mess. It might be a bit before I find the best way to display it, so for now I’ll just show the numbers for the current week.

For the week of 7/14/08

Time To First Match (wk of 7/14/08)

Time To First Match (wk of 7/14/08)

Quite a reversal this week, with Raw going from 28 minutes to 4 minutes until they showed their first match, and TNA going from 2 minutes last week to 18 minutes. (I’m counting the brawl on the ramp between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho as the first match for Raw. Otherwise it would be 7 mins).

TNA did have a Pay-Per-View the Sunday before, and there is probably a correlation between that and spending the first part of the program on non in-ring activities.

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/14/08)

Percentage of Episode Viewed (wk of 7/14/08)

For the actual viewing time, I switched the chart to show it as a percentage instead of minutes, so I don’t have to scale the ECW totals since it is a one hour program. I’m assuming 100% is 90 minutes for the 2 hr shows, and 45 minutes for the 1 hr ECW.

RAW, ECW, and Smackdown viewing went up a bit, and TNA came down. Raw had less filler at the start, TNA had more, and Smackdown had a couple of decent matches (see below) which would account for the change.

This weeks highlights…

Raw Highlights:

  • Kofi Kingston match

ECW Hightlights:

  • Evan Bourne
  • Hardy’s

TNA Highlights:

  • Kaz vs. Petey Williams

Smackdown Highlights:

  • Kendrick vs. Yang
  • Umaga vs. Kennedy

After the 6/30/08 broadcast of WWE Monday Night Raw, which I thought was one of the weakest in a long time, I started thinking about how someone would measure how good or bad they thought a particular wrestling program was on any given week. Raw was the least liked (by me) of any in recent memory, but was it the worst so far this year?

Sure, for any given show you can say “I loved it”, “I liked it”, “Didn’t like it”, or “Hated it”. You could say, “It wasn’t as good as last week”, or “It was better than the one last week”. But was it better or worse than the one two weeks ago? And by how much? How much more do you like TNA vs. Smackdown? Is there any way to measure them and do a comparison?

I think I mentioned before that I have a TiVo, and that I don’t watch any wrestling programming “live” (or any TV for that matter). Most people’s first reaction to that is, “Oh, because you want to skip commercials”. But it’s actually more general than that. I have home improvement shows I record that I might only care about one particular featured project they are doing. There is a cable access local news channel I watch (Channel 12) that I may only care about certain stories. The ones I care less about I fast forward through at a higher speed (2x, 20x, or 60x). The less I’m interested in it, the higher the speed I fast forward through it. The stuff I really care about I watch at normal “real-time” speed.

For wrestling, the same thing applies. If there is an interview or a match I don’t care about, I zip through it fairly quickly (20x speed). If there’s a match that I have only a limited interest in (maybe the outcome or a few high spots), I may watch it slightly sped up (2x speed). If I’m really into it, I’ll watch it at normal speed.

Taking this into account, it seems like the amount of time it takes me to watch a program would be a measure of how much I liked it. Not counting commercials, a 2 hour program would take me about 90 minutes to watch if I liked everything and watched it at normal speed. If one week it took me 75 minutes to watch it and another week it took me only 45 minutes, it seems like it would be pretty easy to tell which one I liked better, and even how much better. If one of those weeks was 6 months ago and I can’t remember anything about the program, I would still be able to tell whether or not I liked it better.  Or looking at a trend over time whether a program like Raw is getting more interesting, less interesting, or about the same. Again, this would be just in my opinion. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the ratings, or how any other fan feels about the programming.

Another measure I thought of after watching this week’s July 7th Raw was to keep track of how long a viewer has to wait from the start of the program until the first wrestling match. It was a looong time on Monday.

OK, this whole thing may be a little geeky (most likely it is a LOT geeky), and I don’t know how many people will be interested in it, but I thought if I was going to do something for my own curiosity, I might as well make it public.

Starting this week, with this post, I’m going to be providing a weekly update and comparison of Monday Night RAW, ECW, TNA, and Smackdown based on my data. I’m planning to do it for at least a few months.

I mentioned before that I haven’t been watching Smackdown for quite awhile. There were a few reasons why I haven’t. The two biggest reasons were that I couldn’t stand listening to JBL (I might have actually said the announce team before, but it’s actually just JBL), and that one more wrestling program a week was just too much, even for me. If I had to drop one, I’d drop Smackdown. But since JBL returned to active wrestling, and the WWE draft a few weeks ago put Jim Ross as the play-by-play man on the Smackdown show with Mick Foley, and because I wanted to see how Smackdown measured up to the other programs, I’ve decided to start watching it again at least for as long as I do this experiment.

So here is the data for the week of 7/7/2008:

Week of 7/7/08

Minutes From Start Until First Match

As you can see here, Raw continues its tradition of filling the opening, and in this case almost the first half hour, with interviews and other non in-ring activity. TNA’s 2 minutes may be unusually short, but we’ll have to see.

Total Viewing Time In Minutes

Total Viewing Time In Minutes

Here is the total viewing time for each program this week. Looks like TNA is the “most liked” by me this week, with Smackdown being the least. ECW has a slight edge on RAW, but given that it has been scaled by 2 (i.e. I only spent 21 minutes watching ECW)* it means they are pretty much the same. RAW’s 28-minutes before the first match hurt it I’m sure.

[*Note: I’m thinking about changing this to a percentage of the total program time instead of minutes so I don’t have to double the ECW viewing time for the chart.]

Here are this weeks highlights…

RAW Highlights:

  • Ric Flair DVD commercial (yes, I stopped and watched a commercial)
  • Kofi Kingston match (but I’m still not taking back my original opinion 😉 )
  • Some kid running into the locker room to get on camera

ECW Highlights:

  • Tony Atlas appearance (except for the end)
  • Evan Bourne

TNA Highlights:

  • World X Cup matches
  • Awesome Kong match

Smackdown Highlights: