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