The final WWE RAW segment involving Bret Hart and Vince McMahon brought the show its peak rating Monday, but Hart was not the show’s only big draw for its battle with TNA iMPACT!
Behind the 4.4 overrun rating for the Hart-McMahon confrontation was a 4.1 for the DX vs. JeriShow match. The latter segment actually appeared to siphon a greater portion of viewers from TNA, as it corresponded with the second-lowest quarter hour on iMPACT! (the TNA show drew a 1.17 head-to-head with the Undisputed Tag Titles bout).
Bret Hart’s first major segment, his show-opening confrontation with Shawn Michaels, drew a 3.7 rating. TNA’s 9PM quarter, which included Hulk Hogan’s first appearance before the crowd, peaked with a 1.9–combined, 5.6 percent of cable households were watching professional wrestling from 9-9:15PM.
As noted earlier, Monday’s special edition of TNA iMPACT! posted a 1.5 cable rating with an average of 2.2 million viewers for the three hours.
While not quite in the ballpark of the WWE RAW rating, the rating is TNA’s all-time best figure and is thus a clear positive for the company. Though there was some private hope that the show would post a number in this territory, the “on the record” expectation was that the show would pull its normal Thursday audience.
It exceeded it.
Not everything was positive, however. In something of an alarming trend, the show’s viewership average consistently declined over the three hours. After starting with a strong 1.7 rating with 2.5 million viewers in hour one, the show dipped to a 1.44 for hour two and then a 1.22 for the final hour.
The decline was, to some extent, inevitable, as a portion of the 8PM audience was naturally going to head over to the RAW telecast at 9PM. But the drop from hour two to hour three could not be explained in such a manner; it either means that the departing viewers were bored with wrestling for the night or simply more intrigued by WWE’s program. Either way, it reflects negatively on the iMPACT! broadcast.
Also worth noting is the fact that the show peaked with a 1.9 rating for the 9PM quarter hour, which included Hulk Hogan’s first appearance. This segment went head-to-head with Bret Hart’s first on-camera appearance on RAW; if TNA could draw its best figure against the second most anticipated WWE RAW segment of the night, it has no justification for bleeding viewers between 9:15 and 11PM.
Further proof of that reality is the fact that the final iMPACT! segment was the hour’s peak with a 1.3. Up partially against Bret Hart’s final RAW appearance for the evening, it again proves that TNA was able to keep viewers tuned into Spike TV if it had something interesting to offer.