The 23rd February episode of Raw did a 4.1 rating and just over 6 million viewers. The only other episode to top 6 million viewers in recent years was on 26th February 2007, which was based around the Vince McMahon and Donald Trump hair vs hair angle. Before that you have to go back to 6th May 2002, which was headlined by Edge & Hulk Hogan vs Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho.
As you may have guessed, this is the first year in recent times that WWE has not had its WrestleMania plans put in place by November. That tends to be when the main events are chosen and the seeds are sown for the start of the build towards them. This time around everything except the Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels match has been overhauled from what was originally envisioned. Things were revamped again at key creative team meetings on the 4th and 5th March, when the finishes in the main matches were revised for fear of leaks and to keep them in line with post-Mania plans. Michael Hayes gave the rest of the staff a talk about how what is decided in these meetings has to stay in such meetings. The recent multitude of changes in creative direction are a direct result of several storylines being leaked over the past year.
John Carle, a writer on the Smackdown side, was released last week. This stems from a fight he had with another writer, Chris DeJoseph (a.k.a. Big Dick Johnson), in front of several witnesses at a rental car shuttle a few months ago. Carle was pulled from the road and, along with other writers, told that he would not be brought in for WrestleMania. This has not helped morale and several sources have noted that frustration is at an all-time high amongst the creative team because of Vince’s bombastic nature approaching WrestleMania.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 11th March 2009 (subscribe here)
Tags: Raw, wrestlemania, WWE