Monday Night Raw has endured a ratings problem throughout 2019, and the next four months will be even more difficult with the NFL regular season taking place.
Raw will have to compete with Monday Night Football for the next 16 weeks. This week, the New Orleans Saints will host the Houston Texans, followed by a late night contest between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. As such, WWE may struggle to bring in strong ratings this upcoming week.
However, there are big plans in store for this week's episode of Raw - which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York. WWE Hall of Famer 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin will make a special appearance this week, and AJ Styles will go up against a rising superstar in Cedric Alexander.
But that might only be the start of a monumental evening. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Ringside News), "Raw is expected to be loaded this week as far as an attempt to put on a good standalone show, with Monday Night Football returning.
Not only that, but Meltzer suggested there will "be an attempt to make news on this show," citing "the competition aspect" and the fact that this is the go-home episode ahead of the Clash of Champions pay-per-view.
It was reported by Mike Johnson of PW Insider Elite that Austin was brought back in order to help sell tickets for the MSG show. Obviously, his presence will help WWE get some strong ratings before a large number of fans turn the channel to Monday Night Football for the remainder of the evening.
How Does MNF Impact Raw?
Monday Night Football draws in several million viewers each week, so WWE will have serious competition there up until December. Not only will Vince McMahon and co. have to outlast AEW in its Wednesday night wars, but they'll have serious competition with the NFL. Sunday Night Football also figures to affect WWE's pay-per-views buys and ratings as well, so we'll see how Vince and officials work around all of this.