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Dr. Darin Davis

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


Tag: Raw

Here’s a summary of what the WWE announced during their supplemental draft yesterday. These were draft choices that were made in addition to those announced on Monday Night Raw.

Monday Night Raw

The Monday Night Raw program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Brie and Nikki Bella

+THE Brian Kendrick


+Carlito and Primo


+Chavo Guerrero

+Mr. Kennedy

and loses the following Superstars:

Charlie Haas

Dolph Ziggler

Cryme Time

DH Smith


Candice Michelle

Mike Knox

Other than Knox (and Candice before the last couple of injuries), Raw doesn’t really lose anything. They gain Kendrick and Kennedy (who I thought was already part of Raw but since he’s been out so long I couldn’t remember).

It’s good to see a “little person” can still hold down a job in this economy, but enough with the Hornswoggle please. What is he going to do on his own without Finlay? What is Festus going to do without Jesse?

And DH Smith is still on the payroll? What does he do during the 6 months between TV appearances?


The ECW program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Hurricane Helms


+DH Smith

+Zak Ryder

+Ezekiel Jackson

and loses the following Superstars:

John Morrison


Ricky Ortiz

Alicia Fox

ECW loses more than they gain, especially if you count the loss of CM Punk from the televised draft. Jackson has potential, though.


The Smackdown program gains the following WWE Superstars:

+Charlie Haas

+Dolph Ziggler

+Cryme Time

+John Morrison



+Mike Knox

+Alicia Fox

and loses the following Superstars:

Brie and Nikki Bella

Hurricane Helms

THE Brian Kendrick



Carlito and Primo

Chavo Guerrero

Zack Ryder

Ezekiel Jackson

Mr. Kennedy

This could be a wash. Gain Knox and Morrison. Lose Kendrick, (the sometimes present) Kennedy, and Jackson.

The supplemental draft probably won’t make a big shift in my viewing habits of these programs. They seem to rotate people around unofficially anyway (especially in the last month or so where Miz & Morrison wrestled Carlito & Primo on every show).

The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not planning on tracking any viewing stats on the new WWE program on WGN that starts this week. 7 hours of wrestling a week is more than enough for me.

The WWE had its annual draft this past Monday night. Let’s take a look at who got switched around and I’ll comment on how it will affect my viewing of the various programs.

Note that this doesn’t include the Supplemental Draft that is supposed to happen on Wed.

[If you haven’t seen me mention it before, last July I decided to track my viewing time of Monday Night Raw, ECW, TNA, and Friday Night Smackdown to see if there were any trends that would give me an indication of the quality of the programming. Less viewing = lower quality or less interesting, in my opinion. You can see this data on the TV Viewership Stats page.]

The following WWE “Superstars” have moved to Monday Night Raw:


+Big Show

+Matt Hardy

+Triple H

+The Miz


and the following are leaving Raw:



Chris Jericho

Rey Mysterio

Other than maybe Maryse, I really don’t care too much about watching any of the people that were added. As far as those that are leaving, I watched Jericho, but I’m pretty much over the gimmick. Mysterio will be missed (well, not really missed since he’s just on another station).

Since the “don’t cares” will be taking up airtime on Raw, and Mysterio gone, I’m guessing my Raw viewing will go down. (see graph below – click for a larger view).

Raw Viewing Before 2009 Draft

Raw Viewing Before 2009 Draft

The following WWE “Superstars” have moved to ECW:

+Vladimir Kozlov

and the following have left ECW:

CM Punk

Since I generally like Kozlov’s gimmick, but not as much as Punk, I have to say ECW will hold steady or go down slightly. My viewing of ECW has gone up in the last several weeks, partly because of the return of Evan Bourne, and partly because of talent from the other two shows turning up.

ECW Viewing Before 2009 Draft

ECW Viewing Before 2009 Draft

The following Superstars are going to Friday Night Smackdown:


+CM Punk


+Chris Jericho

+Rey Mysterio

and the following are leaving Smackdown:


Big Show

Matt Hardy

Triple H

Vladimir Kozlov


With CM Punk and Mysterio heading to Smackdown, my viewership will probably stay the same or go up slightly (considering Kozlov is moving). The others that left are “don’t cares”. Smackdown viewing has been all over the map, but there were a couple of weeks where it didn’t get recorded, so I don’t know if that explains it bouncing around (I just used the previous week’s numbers in both cases).

Smackdown Viewing Before 2009 Draft

Smackdown Viewing Before 2009 Draft

I’ll update this later in the week after the Supplemental Draft takes place.

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 % 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 % 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.

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: