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WWE Survivor Series 2012 Buyrate Analysis

I am not a big fan of WWE pay per view buyrates but every once in awhile they matter. The WWE Survivor Series 2012 buyrate is one of them. The headline this year is that the show did not deliver the big numbers past Series events have drawn.

The Wrestling Observer has the full breakdown but the numbers are in for Survivor Series and whether they are good or not will depend on your criteria. The number came in at 212,000 buys for a show headlined by John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Ryback for the WWE championship in a Triple Threat Match.

The number is getting bashed on most wrestling blogs and websites. The story here is that the number is way down from last year and the lowest in Survivor Series history. Last year’s number featuring the return of The Rock did 281,000 buys which was considered a bit of a disappointment. If 281k was a disappointment, Vince McMahon must be having an ulcer from this year’s numbers.

Digging deeper in the numbers, the show did a domestic buyrate of 122,000 which is down from 155,000 from Hell in a Cell. That is practically unheard of! Some have pointed to GSP’s return the night before impacting business but I think that is a bit of a cop out. The obvious takeaways here is that the Ryback factor drew the bigger number last time and that CM Punk in a routine match is just not a draw.

I am probably in the minority here who think that the number is actually pretty good. 212,000 buys in 2012 for a pay per view with a headliner you’d see on any other pay per view is impressive to me. Comparing the number to Brock Lesnar’s return which drew 263,000 buys, I think that is pretty good. However, a look at past events puts a much different spin on it.

Comparing the number to last year is a bit unfair since you had the first match back from The Rock in years. Granted the main-event was more of a squash match, this was still The Rock. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that this year’s match would outdraw The Rock but apparently that is the running theme across the Internet regarding the general reaction from this year’s numbers.

The other big story here in my mind is the impact that the extra RAW hour is having. Ratings as a whole are way down this year for Monday Night RAW. A big part of this is the watered down RAW, losing more viewers than ever. I can’t help but conclude that the lower ratings are helping drive away an audience that may have watched or bought pay per views in other years.

I also think that the decision to put Punk over Ryback at Hell in a Cell hurt the number. Not only did Punk go over, but it was a cheap finish. Fans felt cheated after investing so much time in the Ryback vs. Punk storyline. The writing was on the wall at this point that Punk was going over, killing the intrigue that helped boost Hell in a Cell. In my opinion the WWE should have put Ryback over at Hell in a Cell and switched the belt back to Punk at Survivor Series. I can’t help but believe they would have had a bigger number.

Is this a trend resulting from the extra RAW hour and lower television ratings or the case of a weak main-event? We’ll find out shortly.

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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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