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Updated – Actual WWE Money In The Bank 2011 Buyrate Is In…And The Verdict Is

C M Punk wins the WWE title at Money in the BankMany in the pro wrestling community have been waiting anxiously for WWE Money in the Bank 2011 buyrate numbers. WWE CEO Vince McMahon revealed the numbers today on a conference call, which while still up may not the home run CM Punk fans hoped for.

Vince McMahon participated in a conference call today discussing WWE financials with shareholders. The final Money in the Bank 2011 numbers won’t be revealed until the next report, however Vince said that Money in the Bank is up 20% from last year which is nice, but not much more than Extreme Rules.

The CM Punk angle grabbed the attention of many pro wrestling fans and stirred a lot of interest and buzz on the Internet. However, Punk critics point to the RAW ratings and argue that his appeal is dare I say, “overrated.” I could make arguments for both sides but the bottom line here is that it is really impossible to gage one way or the other whether Punk’s angle has moved the needle or sustained it in terms of RAW numbers.

Yet at the end of the day Punk’s success comes down to drawing money. Drawing a bigger rating for a week or two is nice, but pay per view is really where you make your bread and butter as a WWE superstar. There was a lot of pressure on Punk to deliver the goods here. A big number could influence a change in WWE presentation and carve out a new, edgy path for a future WWE. On the flip side, a bad number would justify the status quo and back up Punk’s critics who say that he can’t draw on top in the WWE. So what is the verdict?

I’d say a 20% increase on a SummerSlam or Royal Rumble would be a winner. A 20% increase on WrestleMania would be historic. A 20% increase off a July “B” show is good, but not the blockbuster numbers predicted by CM Punk’s fans going into Money in the Bank. I’d say he passed his first test with a B, but the final exam is yet to be determined.

Last year’s WWE Money in the Bank pay per view headlined by Sheamus vs. John Cena did 189,000 buys. Domestically the show reportedly did about 99,000 buys. That would obviously put this year’s number at around 227,000, and say about 120,000 domestic. That looks great initially but according to CM Punk fans before Money in the Bank, this buyrate was supposed to be gigantic. Sorry Punk fans but 20% is not a gigantic increase.

Editor’s Note: See the update below. After publishing this blog the actual number came out which was much different than what Vince McMahon had projected.

Let’s put this into some more perspective. The buyrate would still be down from Night of Champions 2009 headlined by Triple H vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton in the same spot, which did 267,000 buys. Money in the Bank 2011 would still ne about 10% above than Extreme Rules 2011 a couple of months earlier. Extreme Rules did around 209,000 buys overall. MITB did do much better than Over the Limit and Capitol Punishment, so that is certainly a positive.

The Extreme Rules number 2011 really dampens Punk’s impact here in my opinion. I loved the angle as did most that read the blog, yet at the end of the day you would have expected CM Punk vs. John Cena with that storyline to do more than 11,000 or so more buys than The Miz vs. John Cena in an I Quit Match. Yet again the positive and this is huge, is that Money in the Bank did increase interest and buys from 170,000 for WWE Capitol Punishment a month earlier to 226,000, and that is with a RAW falling on July 4.

I think at the end of the day this is a great start for Punk, but it all depends upon what your expectations were for him and the Money in the Bank pay per view numbers. I think it is a huge positive to grab 56,000 fans in a month, while at the same time you would have expected MITB to crush everything including Extreme Rules which it didn’t.

So what is the verdict on CM Punk as a top draw? To be determined if you ask me, but a great start nonetheless.

Update: Apparently Vince McMahon’s numbers were a little off, well a lot off.  The official Money in the Bank 2011 buyrate was 185,000 buys, 132,000 domestic. The number is only up 13% from last year. Was Punk a flop or would the number have been even lower without the Punk angle? I guess we’ll find out when the SummerSlam 2011 buyrate comes in.

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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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