It wasn't long ago that literally any type of match could be utilized at any pay-per-view event in the WWE. Thanks to the emergence of gimmick pay-per-views, however, much of the mystery has been eliminated, and it has made events far too predictable and uniform.
At least five of the 12 pay-per-views on the yearly calendar are currently gimmicky in nature, and that has, in turn, taken away from the other events. Elimination Chamber, Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank, Hell in a Cell and TLC all specialize in certain matches that are rarely seen throughout the year.
It used to be that a Hell in a Cell match could be used at any time to settle a score, but they are essentially only seen at Hell in a Cell now aside from extra special exceptions such as The Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania.
No Way Out is looming, and although I wouldn't officially classify it as a gimmick pay-per-view, it seems possible that it may take on a steel-cage theme. If that happens, then half of the company's pay-per-view slate will involve unnecessarily themed events. A couple such shows over the course of the year are fine, but the WWE is overdoing it to say the least.
Certain Stipulations Are Limited
As mentioned previously, the WWE used to use any stipulation at any time, and that is part of what made the product so interesting. That is much less the case now, however.
If three TLC matches (or some variation of them) are utilized at TLC, the odds of the creative team using them at other points during the year are lowered. Steel-cage matches and no-disqualification matches are used throughout the year, but something like a TLC or Elimination Chamber is generally only used one night per year.
Fans would like to see such stipulations spread out more, but the WWE has found a formula that it seems to enjoy. So it's doubtful that it will change any time soon. I have to believe the purpose behind a gimmick pay-per-view is that fans can relate to the name of the event, but it doesn't seem to work so well. I firmly believe fans would like generically named pay-per-views just as much, if it meant they could see different match types throughout the year.
There Isn't Enough Variation
Seeing as the WWE exists throughout the year without any sort of offseason, boring the fans is something the creative team must be cognizant of. Viewers of any show or event are prone to getting burned out if they see the same things over and over, so working on interesting gimmick matches throughout the year would seem to be a good idea. Instead of doing that, though, the WWE would rather concentrate all of them into a small window of time for no good reason.
In one respect, it is somewhat of a treat when the fans get to see a Hell in a Cell or TLC match since they are so infrequent, but it would be better to have three such matches spread across the entire year rather than having three in one night. That lack of variation leads to complacency, and it hurts the overall entertainment value of all the pay-per-views on the calendar. Keeping match types fresh is a very easy way to keep the overall product fresh, but the WWE neglects to do that.
Gimmick PPVs Reek of Laziness
It might take a little extra work, but developing feuds over the course of several months and ending them with a big gimmick match is something that has worked for a long time.
Due to impatience and overall laziness, however, that type of development is all but gone. It's much easier for the creative team to see the name of a gimmick pay-per-view on the calendar and simply book gimmick matches for that event because that is what they think they're supposed to do.
A lot of it is probably due to a top-down directive from Vince McMahon, and if that is the case, the writers are being unfairly handcuffed. Gimmick matches just aren't special anymore because they don't serve an actual purpose.
If every event had one or two matches with special stipulations during the year, we would likely see much better resolutions to feuds. The WWE has become far too rigid and formulaic in that regard, though, and despite the fact that pay-per-view buys are down almost across the board during the past year, there haven't been any signs of a forthcoming change.
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