Last week, a number of sites that track ratings for WWE shows reported that the Punk/Bryan/Ryder vs. Del Rio/Miz/Ziggler main event two weeks ago on RAW was a ratings flop. That supposedly led to the trio of champs to receive reduced roles this past Monday night, with Ryder appearing in a mixed tag match playing the part of a smitten teen, Bryan in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it run in, and Punk not even closing the show in his own city. Ratings for this past Monday are now in and while the rating is essentially the same, a run of troubling second hour drop offs ended.
It’s been surmised that Vince McMahon may be on the brink of making some panic moves with worries abound that Ryder or Bryan may have short-lived title reigns. I’m not willing to take the events of one Monday Night Raw and assume changes are in the make. Let’s look at the supposed panic moves.
For one, having the gauntlet match close Raw would have given the ending away, if Punk & Ziggler were still in the ring at 11 pm ET. At that point we would all know that no match with Johnny Ace would happen, since Punk would need to defeat Ziggler and Mark Henry in two minutes to leave any in ring time for the interim Raw GM. The win by Dolph Ziggler was actually a nice surprise, setting up what should be a PPV quality match in the main event next week (however, I have a feeling that if the 1/2/12 videos are a promo for anyone but the Undertaker, that person will return & interfere in the match). This simply seems like the WWE was planning ahead, not demoting Punk. Sure, it was Chicago…better than what happens to JR every time they are in Oklahoma!
As our own Bobby Shark has written, the big question with Zach Ryder is what now? Mixed tag matches? A schoolboy crush on Eve? Let’s not jump to conclusions yet. Jack Swagger was busy this week & will probably be involved in the Punk-Ziggler match next week. I agree with Shark, that Swagger is the best opponent for Ryder. Strong competition for Ryder & it gives Swagger a little more ammo when bickering with Ziggler. They need to fill a little of Ryder’s time – if he’s still fawning over a Diva and beating up on Tyson Kidd when the Rumble rolls around, it’s time to worry.
Daniel Bryan did go from the main event on Raw one week to being a distraction to save Show the next. Fine. Let’s see what happens on Smackdown this week. If he’s not in the main event there and involved in multiple segments, there might be trouble brewing. That said, he’s a Smackdown guy. Let’s wait and see what happens this Friday night and go from there.
I’m putting my trust in Vince and the WWE creative team – they don’t have a perfect record, but I’m still watching after all these years, so they are doing something right.