WWE | Pro Wrestling

Is Pay-Per View Becoming A Dying WWE Event?

Vince McMahon beltWith the launch of the WWE Network later this year, several reports from sources which includes both The Wrestling Observer and ProWrestling.net, WWE is said to have plans to air all their pay-per view events with the exception of the “big four” (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series), while still offering the other pay-per view events (at the regular $44.95) to cable systems that won’t carry or offer their network with certain packages.

Could this be a sign of things to come, at least for WWE with the number of pay-per view events they will make available to its fans? It’s no secret that pay-per view buys for the number one wrestling promotion have been extremely disappointing for several years.

Just recently, The Wrestling Observer posted a story that the preliminary numbers for TLC, WWE’s December concept pay-per view looks have less buyrates than last year. In addition WWE is now dropping the Money in the Bank pay-per view. WWE has spent a lot of time over the last two years attempting to re-build their pay-per view structure with new concepts and gimmicks that the public just isn’t buying.

Yes, I believe the bad economy has been a big part in the downturn on the number of buys for WWE pay-per view events, but at the same time, WWE hasn’t been offering me any big reason to want to plunk down $44.95 for any of their pay-per view events.

It is not clear how much longer WWE (and even TNA Wrestling) are obligated to offer twelve pay-per view events each year, but the WWE Network could be the company’s answer to scaling back the number of pay-per view events.

Even UFC took a nose dive in its pay-per view buyrates. Dave Meltzer at The Wrestling Observer reported the following as it relates to UFC 136:

“This would be the lowest number on PPV for a title match dating back to probably 2005, and this was a show with two title matches (also Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Kenny Florian) and Chael Sonnen’s return against Brian Stann. Two weeks between shows, and coming off a show with what to the public was a far stronger main event (the 9/24 show did almost double this one) also didn’t help.”

“When asked about UFC moving the PPV start time back to 10 p.m. Eastern, Dana White said they were getting hurt on the West Coast, and blaming it on the one hour earlier starting time, saying at 6 p.m., people are still eating dinner. It’s the attraction and the issues with running so many PPVs, not the start time. Boxing has started at 6 p.m. forever on the West Coast, wrestling has started at 5 p.m. forever on the West Coast. The old start time was better for the West Coast but worse for the East Coast. FOX wanting its shows at 8-10 p.m. and UFC wanting FOX shows as direct lead-ins to PPVs was also part of it.”

I don’t follow or watch MMA as much as I would like to. But for pro wrestling I don’t know what the answers are for increasing pay-per view buyrates, but if WWE and TNA are both under long term pay-per view agreements with both cable and satellite providers, one option each company could look at could be offering what they consider to be their non-big pay-per view events at 40-50 percent less in price, which might entice more fans to consider buying each of their events since re-vamping and re-naming their events with new concepts and gimmicks just hasn’t been working.

For more from Jerome Wilen check out his website, Pro Wrestling Ringside – http://prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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