Any casual WWE fan can now tell you what stipulation the next pay-per-view main event will be. All they have to do is look at the name of the PPV.
WWE’s upcoming event is Tables, Ladders and Chairs, which will undoubtedly feature at least one match involving one or more of its namesake foreign objects.
So far, WWE has already announced two matches. The main event is a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match between WWE champion CM Punk and Ryback. Current World heavyweight champion Big Show will be facing Sheamus in a chairs match as well.
These two matches, in particular, are the results of month-long feuds, so they should be able to stand on their own without a gimmick match to hype them up. But most pay-per-views are now based off of one special match type, and that definitely has its drawbacks.
Limiting these gimmick matches to a certain event makes the booking predictable.
Whereas a storyline is supposed to have its eventual ups and downs, the scheduled themed pay-per-views hasten any anticipation for the fans.
Fans have a better idea of what to expect with this format, and the product becomes less exciting. But the themed pay-per-views hide the biggest concern WWE currently has: their storylines.
The storylines need to build anticipation for the upcoming pay-per-views, but the script is switched now; the storylines are dependent on the theme of the upcoming pay-per-view.
Both upcoming championship matches are perfect examples of this change in focus. Both Survivor Series matches ended with a foreign object in play that signaled a continuation into the next big event. Sheamus knocked Big Show out with an arsenal of chairshots, and CM Punk walked away with his title with the help of a three-man powerbomb though a table.
Truly, there are only a few instances where the themed pay-per-views work, but it is not because of the promoted gimmick. Instead, it is the unpredictability of the match itself.
The Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank and Survivor Series matches all share this quality and are arguably the most successful themed pay-per-views.
Should WWE get rid of their themed pay-per-views?
The manners in which these matches utilize unpredictability differ. For example, the Royal Rumble match relies on the number of entrants, but the Money in the Bank ladder match focuses on the danger and grand payoff of winning. Regardless, they work.
Having pay-per-views that do not have a theme ultimately puts more pressure on creative to come up with something worthwhile.
In order to spark interest once again in the WWE product as a whole, the feuds must be entertaining enough to keep the fans' interest. Gimmicks are a premium.
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