The WWE Extreme Rules 2012 buyrate is officially in and one thing is clear. Brock Lesnar is not the same draw in the WWE that he was in the UFC. I would call the buyrate disappointing in that there was a lot of money left on the table thanks to some questionable calls from Vince McMahon.
I think there are a lot of things to take away from this. The first and foremost is that Vince McMahon has lost his touch when it comes to long term promoting. It was a very short sighted move putting this match on Extreme Rules. There is only so much that the WWE can draw on these “B” shows. Putting this match on SummerSlam would have probably doubled the buys. Brock’s extra 39.000 buys up from last year probably wasn’t what you’d expect from a guy you just paid $5 million.
Vince is out of touch when it comes to getting it right with his matches. It is my contention that he waited way too long to book The Rock vs. Cena. Then he brings The Rock back for his first match on the Survivor Series! Vince had the best knack in the business at one time for getting it exactly right when it came to the timing of promoting a match. Those days are over!
The notion that there is any kind of major crossover with pro wrestling and MMA was proven wrong here. Brock was the biggest draw in the UFC’s history. It is obvious (not that I ever thought differently) that MMA fans aren’t paying to watch pro wrestling no matter who is in the ring. This is a rude awakening to TNA Wrestling who just signed King Mo on the hopes that he would bring some MMA fans with him. When the biggest star in MMA is only bringing a few thousand fans with him, someone on Mo’s level isn’t going to bring more than a handful.
I also want to come back to a blog I wrote a few weeks back about John Cena not being a big draw. I wrote at the time that all of Cena’s big matches over the last year or so have been disappointing. The irony there is that it is always Cena’s opponent that gets the blame. Once again I am already reading about Brock being a failure. I said it then and I’ll say it again, John Cena doesn’t have the star appeal that past WWE headliners had in reaching out to casual fans or bringing back old pro wrestling fans. They just don’t want to see him wrestle. They don’t care if it is CM Punk cutting his “pipe bomb” promos, The Rock, or Brock Lesnar. A lot of those fans left because of Cena. Expecting them to come back to watch a big match featuring Cena is not going to happen.
The booking of the angle was arguably the best in years. Generally you can always point to something in the booking as a reason for a disappointing buyrate. I don’t think that applies here. Once again, I think it is a combination of all of the above factors, most notably the timing. I have to think that the same angle booked July-August would have done much better on SummerSlam , December-January on the Royal Rumble, etc.