Report: WWE Morale Takes "Bigger Hit" Since Premiere Week

Distressing times behind the scenes...

The numbers ever since WWE SmackDown's debut on FOX have been eye-opening, to say the least. After pulling close to four million viewers for the premiere on October 4, the audience for the subsequent episode fell 25 percent, and lost close to another half a million for this past Friday's show.

The rough news doesn't end there. NXT's upgrade to a two-hour program on USA Network has been convincingly beaten by AEW Dynamite head-to-head in all three match-ups so far. In the most recent week, NXT sunk to a mere 712,000 viewers, getting routed by AEW, and numerous other cable shows, in key demographics.

Other issues have been plaguing WWE throughout this month. These include overwhelming negative response to presentation (the Seth Rollins/Fiend finish, the ending of Kofi Kingston's WWE title reign, the layout of both nights of the Draft), and the firing of an ostensibly-key personnel figure in SmackDown executive director Eric Bischoff.

Bryan Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Live that morale backstage at WWE has diminished greatly throughout the month.

Said Alvarez, "Morale has not been good for a long time, but apparently the morale has taken an even bigger hit since October 1.

"If you recall, the belief within WWE, at least Vince McMahon...their idea was, "Oh, we're going to FOX, and a new boom period is going to kick off...There's clearly no boom period in sight."

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.