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CALDWELL'S TAKE

CALDWELL: Instant Analysis on the WWE Raw & TNA Impact TV Ratings

Jan 5, 2010 - 6:30:45 PM


By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

Pro Wrestling was legitimately relevant last night. It was reflected in "WWE" and "TNA" becoming Trending Topics on Twitter and combined TV viewership of nearly 8.0 million viewers (with some overlap) that established the peak level of today's available wrestling audience.

Raw delivered its largest audience since the Raw after Summerslam with 5.6 million viewers. Impact delivered its largest audience ever with 2.2 million viewers and a peak of nearly 3.0 million viewers for Hulk Hogan's debut to start the second hour opposite the beginning of Raw.

WWE and TNA will have a tough time matching anything at that level in the short-term, but as much as TNA said beforehand that the ratings were irrelevant, TNA might have earned a regular Monday night timeslot. Stay tuned in the weeks to come.

If there's one thing to definitely conclude from the ratings for last night's TNA Impact, we know that know TNA didn't blow their first Monday night show by delivering an opening segment that contained a "This is bull----" chant from their fans.

Jeff Hardy appearing at the end of the first segment gave TNA momentum to what has to be considered a ratings victory for the promotion.

The first quarter-hour opened with a 1.58 quarter-hour, then climbed to a 1.70 quarter-hour in the second hour, which featured Ric Flair, and peaked for the hour with a 1.78 third quarter-hour rating before video packages and commercials filled the fourth-quarter hour.

TNA built momentum in the first hour, kept viewers tuned in for the start of the second hour, and didn't lose too much of an audience while WWE Raw was on the air for the final 105 minutes of Impact.

Sure, TNA Impact dropped 38 percent from a 1.88 quarter-hour for Hulk Hogan's debut (9:00-9:15 p.m.) to a 1.16 quarter-hour at the end of the hour (9:45-10:00 p.m. EST). However, TNA rebounded in the third hour with steadily-increasing ratings before peaking with the A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle match.

WWE also delivered on the night. Raw captured the male 18-49 demo at a level usually reserved for the Raw after WrestleMania. The show was also up 6.9 percent in viewership compared to the average of 2009's TV viewership.

Wrestling fans were given a taste of the first Monday Night Wars last night with big names, big stars, good wrestling, and big surprises. If the promotions want to stay relevant, though, they will have to build momentum with storylines that have more shelf-life than an NWO Reunion.


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