Donald Trump’s stint at World Wrestling Entertainment didn’t last long.
The colorful business personality participated in a promotional stunt that began last week when he purchased USA Network’s “Monday Night Raw” show from WWE topper Vince McMahon in a scripted storyline. Company dubbed it the “Trump era.”
Given that the series is consistently one of cable’s top draws each week, purchase generated attention from the media, with some even believing it was true, forcing USA to issue a press release apologizing for the stunt.
But during “Raw’s” first-ever commercial-free broadcast Monday night, McMahon “bought back” the show, doubling Trump’s investment, and fired him. It was Trump’s first and only night in charge of the show.
KFC sponsored the broadcast, which also refunded ticket prices paid by attendees of the show in Green Bay, Wis., estimated at around $235,000.
Refund hadn’t been previously announced, and surprise move is part of McMahon’s attempts to get WWE fans more interested in attending its shows that travel across the country. It’s seen attendance fall during the recession.
It also was a way to boost “Raw’s” ratings. The stunt worked: “Raw” delivered a 4.5 rating/7 share, with 6.8 million overall viewers tuning in. The household rating was up 25% over the June 8 broadcast, which was watched by 5.5 million. It was the most-watched episode of “Raw” in more than seven years.
Although Trump is no longer the fictional owner of “Monday Night Raw,” “This may not be the end of the feud between these two world-class promoters,” WWE and USA said.