Is WWE Suffering from a PPV Overload?
At around 1984, Vincent Kennedy McMahon hit the jackpot. He had found the reason his company would differ from the competition, the reason he'd never have to lift a finger again and the reason why WWE has been a cornerstone of the Sports Entertainment industry for nearly 25 years.
That reason is Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania was a promoters dream; it had wrestlers, it had celebrity's and most of all Vince McMahon knew what to do with it. Where many people would have crumbled at the first hurdle or have had an idea but could not make it work, Vince McMahon knew how to attract viewers, he knew how to attract audiences and he knew how to make money while he did it.
Wrestlemania became the first proper wrestling PPV (they had one a couple of months earlier but that failed). Profiting from the fact that people had money to burn he created his second annual PPV, Survivor Series another attraction that would make Vince rich.
Eventually, Vince settled on the 'Big Four' for the time being, fast-forward 20 years and now WWE is cramming 13 PPVs into a single year, meaning sometimes two PPVs are held in a month. In 2006, there were 15.
The 13 PPVs are usually divided into three classes by most people:-
A - The original big four PPV's - Mania, Royal Rumble, S Series, and Summerslam
B - The better of the remaining PPV's - eg. Backlash
C - The worst PPVs WWE has to offer, often contains much filler on the card and has predictable results - eg. Judgement day
The point I'm trying to make here is that WWE doesn't need 13 PPVs a year. The whole point of a pay-per-view is that they're meant to be special, something that you watch RAW or Smackdown for weeks in a row to know whats going to happen at the next PPV.
Instead now the majority of PPVs are just a way of joining the three brands together to fill out a card, they are practically just another Monday Night RAW or Friday Night Smackdown with the titles on the line.
It was great to have a build up of maybe two months between two superstars and then have a huge pay-off at a PPV. Now we are getting feuds that last less than a month.
One of the main reasons the other title divisions bar the two major titles are becoming painful to watch, and this could have a knock on effect on the WHC and WWE title division.
Due to the short space in between PPV's, the four brand shows in between have to be dedicated to the brands top title (I'm not saying that a PPV shouldn't be built around the main event, but a card needs more than one good match), and because all the time is being put into the main event we are seeing random matches between two superstars for belts like the Intercontinental title.
Two superstars have had a limited amount of time to build a feud and have been rushed into a match together.
This will eventually damage the main event picture, too, when guys like Randy Orton have retired, who is going to carry the company then, a superstar who has never really been in a five-star match or a long feud that has the ability to give the superstar the push he needs.
Furthermore, remember when it was great to see a gimmick match, well the majority of gimmick matches have lost the WOW factor that made people buy an event just to watch, a match like the Ladder match is being staged at nearly every PPV to decide pointless feuds, rather than having a ladder match every six months to decide a feud like Razor Ramon v Shawn Michaels or the Dudleys v the Hardy Boys v Edge and Christian, we are now seeing the match sometimes on RAW.
I mean, was there the need a couple of years ago to have Kane and Hurricane defending the tag titles in ladder match, the match should be kept for people who are specialists (like Edge) and not giving it to 300-pound plus wrestlers who can't do anything with the match.
Personally, I'd like to see WWE reduce their PPV schedule to around seven or eight a year. They could have Backlash, Night of Champions, Summerslam, Unforgiven, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and then Wrestlemania and space them out over the year.
This would give time for feuds to grow, gimmick matches to seem special, and allow brand shows like RAW to hold the one off World Title match making the brand shows seem less missable because at the moment you could probably miss three of the four RAW's before a PPV and still be able to catch up.
Honestly, the only feud worth watching was HBK v Y2J, two superstars who used to benefit from a shortened PPV schedule. In 1998, a three-month feud wouldn't have seemed too uncommon, but now it's the opposite, where we often have to watch a short and crappy feud, and when we do see a feud of two months or more, it's a treat.
Only when it does happen a bunch of five-year olds become restless watching something that lasts longer than a month and we don't get chance to see a payoff to a feud that deserves one. Shame.
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