Vince McMahon decided to open Raw 25 with the most entertaining segment of the night in order to get more casual viewers watching the show.
In the wake of Raw's 25th-anniversary show, it appears that there are mixed reviews on how much of a success the event was. While some of the segments that took place were terrific and memorable, the idea to stage the show across two venues was probably a misguided one. It seems that a lot of the fans in attendance at the Manhattan Center weren't very pleased with how little action they got to see compared to what was going on at the Barclays Center over in Brooklyn.
On paper, the tradeoffs probably seemed fair. Brooklyn got Stone Cold while Manhattan got The Undertaker. D-Generation X closed out the action at the Manhattan Center while Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar ended the night at Barclays. In reality though, it seems that fans in Manhattan were left to watch the majority of the show on big TV screens.
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While the entire evening wasn't planned out to perfection, things got off to a great start. Stone Cold and Vince McMahon opened the show and that was no accident. According to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated McMahon opened the show with that in an attempt to attract as many casual viewers as possible right off the bat. After all, when WWE was at its most popular, the rivalry between Austin and McMahon was the company's crown jewel.
Clearly, the plan worked too. This past Monday's Raw generated the best ratings the show has had for almost three years. Over 4.5 million viewers tuned in on Monday night, the last episode that generated those kinds of numbers was the night after WrestleMania 31. What's more is the first hour of the show was the highest rate of all three, pulling in 4.8 million viewers. A lot of those would have been tuning in to see the boss get stunned and to watch Austin down a couple of cold ones.
Many fans may not think it, but clearly, on some level, Vince McMahon does know what the fans want. He could have kept that segment until the very end of the show after three hours of everything else. He knew that fewer people would have been watching by that point though, and by starting the festivities with it more fans would have tuned in and stuck around to see more of the show.