John Cena wasn't quite the miracle worker, but his return was enough to keep the Memorial Day Raw viewership numbers above the all-time seasonal low -- even with the show going against the single most-watched NBA game in the history of cable television.
Raw did 3.22 million viewers, the second lowest non-football total other than a major holiday* where people don't watch television since 1997, beating only the 4/25 show that did 3.16 million viewers.
The surprise is that the third hour stayed above 3 million viewers.
Without the advertising of Cena, it was very unlikely the show would have beaten the 4/25 record low. His return was promoted for weeks and he did media like NBC's Today show that morning.
The seventh game of the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Western Conference semifinal did 15,996,000 viewers. The opening game of the Stanley Cup playoffs with the San Jose Sharks losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins did 4,081,000 viewers.
Raw was third for the night on cable.
The three hours were:
- 8 p.m. 3.28 million viewers
- 9 p.m. 3.32 million viewers
- 10 p.m 3.08 million viewers
*A note on the definition of Memorial Day not being considered a "major holiday": Holidays that kill ratings are July 4th, Thanksgiving night, New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve. Memorial Day and Labor Day ratings are usually similar to usual levels. This past Monday, far more people were watching TV than usual, actually.