After a "WrestleMania" that was seen by over 1.4 million WWE Network subscribers, and a "SummerSlam" weekend that had 4 straight nights of selling out the Barclay’s Center, anyone looking in from the outside would assume WWE is doing great, right?

Check the numbers. "Raw", WWE’s flagship show, hit a rating of 1.75 Nielsen rating in May. This was one of the lowest ratings of the show since 1997. That’s 20 years between lows.

Sure, WWE business wise is thriving; they made over $729 million in revenue for 2016, which is a record-high in revenue for the company.

As for the ratings, the numbers have been floating around that 1.75 low ever since then. This has been a trend for years, and with "Monday Night Football" back for the fall, it looks to stay that way for the time being.

'Part-time problems

As of mid-September, Brock Lesnar, the flagship show’s main champion, has appeared a total of ten times on "Raw" since winning the title at "Wrestlemania 33" in April (from Bill Goldberg, another part-timer). You know what your top champion showing up on less than half of your main shows since winning the title means to your audience? It's obvious I'm not the only one that thinks this is a bad idea. Just look at the ratings.

The part-time dilemma doesn’t end there.

The aforementioned Bill Goldberg, along with The Undertaker were the focal point of this year's "WrestleMania". The most recent "Royal Rumble" also had Lesnar, Goldberg, and Undertaker; the three had eliminated a combined 10 of the "Royal Rumble's" entrants, including younger, full-time fan favorites like Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, and Luke Harper.

In the following week leading to "WrestleMania", the three part-timers appeared sporadically. And by the time after "WrestleMania", Goldberg and Undertaker were gone, while Lesnar was (and still is) the absentee champion of Raw.

Three long hours

The length of the show has also proven to be a negative factor to the ratings. The audience has slowly eroded since "Raw" moved from 2 hours to 3 hours, which started in July 2012.

Average Nielsen rating for "WWE Raw" in August, dating back to 2012:

  • August 2012: 3.05
  • August 2013: 3.05
  • August 2014: 2.96
  • August 2015: 2.70
  • August 2016: 2.23
  • August 2017: 2.21

One can wonder why "Raw" needs 3 hours every single week if the pay-per-views, the events which "Raw" is responsible for promoting, are also 3 hours long. Add in WWE’s secondary show, "SmackDown", for two hours, and at the most, viewers will be watching eight hours of WWE programming a week. Isn’t that a bit overkill?

Things are getting desperate. John Cena, the company's biggest star, who was initially exclusive to SmackDown, has now been branded as a free agent, and now appears on "Raw". Seems too obvious to be a coincidence, right?

So, if your main champion barely shows up, and the show he’s on is 3 hours long every single week, what are your top guys fighting for?

Wrestling won’t become hot again anytime soon. And with the focus of the main show of the biggest wrestling company in the world being on people who barely show up will just reaffirm that.