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WWE Raw ratings rebound strongly following Extreme Rules

Whether it was curiosity coming off the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, or more likely, over Brock Lesnar and the Universal title, Raw rebounded strongly last night to 2.86 million viewers, a 16 percent increase from last week even going up against the Home Run Derby, which traditionally has hurt Raw numbers.

Based on the ratings pattern -- a huge first hour, which is unusual for the summer -- there was something very big that people were interested in. This would either be the curiosity of how the Lesnar Universal title story would play out, or possibly Hulk Hogan. Given that Hogan didn't even make the Google trends list on Sunday or Monday, his return didn't resonate strong enough for it to play out as a factor.

Plus, the big audience drop in the second and third hours showed that whatever people were tuning in to see and find out, happened in hour one. The show led off with Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman talking about the Universal title, setting up Lesnar's defense at SummerSlam on August 19 in Brooklyn's Barclays Center against the winner of next week's Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns match.

WWE needed a big boost and clearly this angle playing out the way it did worked, since Raw had its lowest rated episode in the 25 1/2 year history of the show last week, a 1.72 rating. Going against the Home Run Derby, with nothing special promoted, it would have been expected to do even worse.

Instead, it was one of the better numbers over the last several months, largely due to the big first hour.

The Home Run Derby did 5.57 million viewers, while the celebrity softball game, which followed it on ESPN and featured The Miz, did 2.54 million viewers from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.

The three hours for Raw were:

  • 8 p.m. 3.12 million viewers
  • 9 p.m. 2.86 million viewers
  • 10 p.m. 2.62 million viewers