Thanks in part to a WWE Hall of Famer who has a proclivity for delivering big numbers, Monday Night Raw set an all-time ratings record.
And it wasn't a good one.
While not entirely unexpected, last week's Raw set a record low TV viewership number as the second and third hours of WWE's flagship show went up against the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, whose audience for the ad-supported broadcast and cable networks reached 84 million, toppling a record that had stood for 36 years.
As Trump — who was inducted into the celebrity wing of WWE's Hall of Fame in 2013 — might say, that number was huge.
Not so huge was Raw's relatively paltry showing Monday night. The popular WWE brand drew an average viewership of 2.478 million and a 1.8 rating, a number that marked a new low for the show, dating back to the '90s.
While Trump was trading barbs with Hillary Clinton in a contentious debate that drew Super Bowl numbers, Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon were exchanging promos in their own power struggle on Raw, but with far less impressive results.
If Vince McMahon had to have a bad night, it's likely that he would happily concede the setback to longtime friend Trump, who counts the WWE owner as one of just 41 people he follows on Twitter.
Foley, however, shared a different view than his boss in a Facebook post.
“Trump was like a boxer who gasses out quickly after throwing a furious flurry in the first couple rounds, who then blames his opponent for having the audacity to train,” said the figurehead WWE general manager. “You can fill in the blanks on any sport or any contest from MMA to a spelling bee. Donald Trump was the MMA fighter who was choked out by a more experienced, better prepared fighter. The same cheap shots he had used to great effect against lesser-caliber contenders in the Republican primary didn't land at all at the first presidential debate — and then his people blamed Secretary Clinton for having the audacity to show up prepared to fight.”
Political wrangling aside, WWE's “New Era” appears to have hit a speed bump.
Raw averaged 2.46 million viewers for the three-hour broadcast, with the unopposed first hour drawing 2.8 million, the second hour pulling in 2.3 million and the third hour bottoming out at 2.2 million.
The previous standard-week, low point for Raw was a 1.8 in October 1996. A Christmas week episode on Dec. 23, 1996, scored a 1.5 rating to set the all-time low.
Monday night's third hour, one of the least-watched hours in the history of the show, continued the troubling streak of Raw's third hour declining from the second hour for the 28th consecutive week.
This capped off a month with the lowest average viewership in more than 20 years for Raw. For the month of September, the show averaged 2.719 million viewers. As a comparison, the show averaged 4.127 million viewers in September 2012, the year Raw moved to three hours.
Raw, however, wasn't the only popular Monday night show to take a major ratings hit. Monday Night Football's game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints — two teams with meager national followings — drew an overnight rating of 5.7 and eight million viewers, down 33 percent from last week and the lowest number in the history of the franchise.
Politics isn't finished interfering with WWE programming, The first vice presidential debate will go head-to-head with Smackdown on Oct. 4, while the second presidential debate will go up against WWE's No Mercy pay-per-view five days later on Oct. 9.
WWE will bring its Live Holiday Tour to the North Charleston Coliseum on Nov. 27.
Among those slated are WWE champion Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, tag-team champs New Day, women's champ Charlotte, Sasha Banks and many more.
Seats start at $15 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the North Charleston Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Old School Championship Wrestling returns to the Hanahan Rec Center on Oct. 9 with a Halloween-worthy “Caged Carnage” main event between former WWE stars Gangrel and Kevin Thorn. Their rematch, stemming from an initial meeting in March, will he held inside a cage. NXT standout John Skyler will challenge Kevin Phoenix in another featured bout, while Brandon Paradise defends his OSCW title against the high-flying Tracer X. The Washington Bullets, one of the top duos on the indy scene, will defend their belts against three other teams.
Also scheduled to appear include Brady Pierce, Jon Cruz, Zane Riley, The Beautiful Bald Besties, Rob Killjoy, James Drake, Josh Powers, Chrisifix, BJ Hancock, Dean Richards, Nick Kismet, TJ Boss, Zuka King, Joshua Cutshall, Logan Creed, Ms Harden and Reginald Vanderhoff.
For more information, call 843-743-4800 or visit www.oscwonline.com.
Two-time WWE divas champ Paige announced last week on Twitter that she will be undergoing neck surgery. She is expected to be out of action the rest of the year.
The 24-year-old Saraya-Jade Bevis also knocked down rumors that she will be leaving WWE with boyfriend Alberto Del Rio (Jose Rodriguez). Del Rio, 39, recently negotiated his release from the company.
Paige's month-long suspension for violation of the WWE Wellness Policy ended two weeks ago. She has not been seen on television since July's brand draft sent her to the Raw brand.
WWE agent and former Ring of Honor champion Jamie Noble (James Gibson) was stabbed twice outside his West Virginia trailer park home last week.
According to Pro Wrestling Sheet, the stabbing occurred after a driver pulled in behind Noble's car and accused him of cutting him off on the road. Noble reportedly apologized, but the heated discussion escalated and Noble was forced to his accuser down. At that point, according to reports, two more men got out of the car and at least one stabbed Noble twice in the back before fleeing the scene.
Noble was taken to a local emergency room for treatment.
Noble, 39, held the WWE cruiserweight title in 2002.