WWE can't get a higher rating or many viewers simply because its not entertaining. It may be entertaining to you but you need to think of people other than the IWC, they are not dedicated fans, they are the fans that have a short attention span. They want to be entertained all the time, and if you don't cater to those fans, they will stop watching your product and see something else thats entertaining.
This is why the attitude era fans (the ones that helped score an average 6 rating each week) no longer watch wrestling. Its no longer entertaining to THEM. No matter how shitty WWE gets, the kids and the die hard IWC will still be there (which is why the rating stays pretty much around the 2-3 mark).
I bumped into some old friends who don't watch wrestling anymore, they said 'who the fuck is that mexican guy that won the rumble'? The only reason these guys mentioned wrestling to me is because they read on my facebook post that Booker T and Diesel came back and now they are watching WWE again because of that (and the fact that Austin is doing tough enough).
So there is proof that the older wrestling fans that no longer watch wrestling become interested in the product again when they see older names like Austin, Diesel, Booker T.
While IWC goes like 'OMG Miz and Punk are the best heels'. The causal viewer doesn't feel the same way, they don't find these guys at all interesting. WWE needs those fans, because without them they will never reach their high ratings again. Everyone that I know who no longer watches wrestling says the same thing 'its boring, looks more fake, slow, not entertaining and very embarrassing'.
And most of you keep saying that WWE is PG goes they can grab their fans young and keep them for years to come. This is the most ridiculous statement I have heard. If its true, then what happened to all those 'young kids' that they were catering in the Attitude Era and Post War Era? Those kids are now in their early 20's. They don't follow wrestling anymore? WWE ditched those kids and no longer cater to them, so they obviously failed to keep them in their audience as they got older. It's going to be the same when today's kids are in their early 20's WWE will not have them anymore. The only ones that watch are the die-hard fans (the minority).
The average age right now is around 6-12 year olds that WWE is targeting. When these kids become 16-18 years old, they are not gonna watch WWE because they will mature and find it much embarrassing to watch the product with hornswoggles and dance offs. Kids loved the attitude era, it was edgy and you wouldn't be embarrassed to admit that you watched WWF. Yes most of you think Attitude Era had bad wrestling and blah blah blah, but those casual fans don't think like that - thats the product they enjoyed and helped make that high rating. You have to think like a casual fan in order to know how they feel and what the like/dislike about watching WWE.
WWE needs to cater to an audience that will keep on watching for years to come. Even after attitude era (2002-2005) they still managed to score some decent numbers, cause the casual fans still stuck around after attitude era for a few more years, but lost interest when product started changing more and more.
WWE should drop the PG rating. Those kids aren't gonna stick around in their mid-teens, only a few (1/100) will become hardcore fans, the rest won't! They should target a more mature demographic, the 14-24 demographic. The 14-24 demographic, their brains are still building, its the best time to grab those fans cause they will end up watching the product more than kids. They don't have to have blood, sex and the hardcore stuff. But need to have characters that have charm and can keep the wrestling fan tuned in. No one on the current roster has the charm that Hogan, Austin, Rock did, not even Cena. Because if someone did have that charm, the numbers would be much higher, no matter what era it is. Hogan was not part of Attitude Era, Hogan was 80s and some 90s, he drew huge numbers so it proves that environment can be different as long as the characters are entertaining.
You and Me find Punk a great villain, and a great entertainer, the casual fan doesn't find much charm in Punk. The casual fan doesn't find much charm in Cena (unless they are kids or girls).
Sorry for the long post, we can all list reason for why WWE isn't as big as it once was, but it all comes down to the casual fan. And this is the case in the Music Industry also. Some 80's bands would easily sell out arenas/stadiums in the 80s, but in 2011 they can only sell out concert halls and clubs - the only fans that go to see them are the hardcore fans - so what happened to those other fans that filled out the stadiums/arenas in the 80s? They were casual fans, they no longer find those artists appealing. Don't get me wrong, there are many bands from 80s that still sell out Stadiums, this is because either their hardcore fan base is much larger than their casual fan base (ACDC) or the music was simply timeless or they know to maintain their fan base and cater to each and every one of them, not just the die hards.
The amount of people in the USA that have been a WWE/WWF fan at least once in their life is probably a big number. Probably greater than 25,000,000 people. This means they have seen the show on a weekly basis, even if they only watched it for a year, for ex: some one who has only watched WWF in 1999, never seen in again, they still count. So thats a huge number of people, sure some have passed away, left the country but it still a big number. WWE has a potential of reaching out to those 25,000,000 + people who are/were wrestling fans, even if they can cater to 3,000,000 of those past fans, the ratings/viewership will go up and eventually more will follow