WWE Raw: McMahon makes controversial decision to increase viewership

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WWE and Vince McMahon have faced many problems so far this year, and the return of the NFL's Monday Night Football coverage is just the latest one they've had to face.

The world of wrestling entertainment remains popular, but as the company and its Chairman Vince McMahon strive to improve the subscription figures of its new online streaming service, WWE Network, luring new fans is crucial to the success of the business.

Need to improve

McMahon has been incredibly successful at expanding his entertainment wrestling business beyond red neck America. A lot of WWE's viewership now is what you'd like to call a casual viewership. They will tune in and watch, but the product has to be good. And although McMahon loves his wrestling diehards who will watch week in week out regardless of the quality that WWE produces, it's that floating viewership that becomes more valuable to McMahon.

For eight months of the year, WWE's flagship programme, Monday Night Raw, competes fiercely with rival US programmes. But WWE is not the only strong contender on a Monday night, with arguably the NFL's most important game of the week battling head to head with Raw in Monday's primetime slot during fall and winter.

Battling the NFL

During the four months from September to December when the NFL dominates the Monday night slot, Vince McMahon and the WWE have to think outside the box to make sure they entice those viewers in the toughest of times.

And on the most recent Monday Night Raw, WWE tried to do exactly that with the orders coming down from Vince McMahon to be creative with the script.

But what they did was so very un-McMahon like. They tried to tailor the scheduling of the show to make sure their best bits were on when the NFL was at its half-time break.

"On Monday Night Raw, WWE did a heavy push to draw traffic away from the NFL during halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts game. In the opening segment, John Cena locked Paul Heyman in his dressing room and told fans to tune back in “at halftime”, where he would either fight WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, or his advocate," WrestleZone reported.

"Although WWE originally promoted the segment for half way through the night, they continued to stall with backstage segments and promotional clips until the NFL game finally went to halftime. By the time Cena actually went back for Heyman and came back down to the ring, it was 9:55PM ET."

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Interesting decision 

It is one of those moves from McMahon that can either be seen as incredibly clever or a sign of him backing down and admitting that his product is a failing one.

The old McMahon might have gone toe to toe with the NFL and let the best man win. But recent criticisms about the Raw product, which has included a terrible storyline with Jerry Springer and the Bella Twins, seem to have forced McMahon's hand and made him realise the only way to get the audience tuned in and aware of the upcoming pay-per-view Night of Champions was to back down.

It was a ploy that seemed to disrupt the flow of the show, but what do you think WWE fans? Should the WWE have done what they did on Monday Night Raw? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Vince McMahon

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