So aside from the individual and commercial gains that were already established, in what other areas can we look back fondly at the WWE’s efforts over the past calendar year?
In the first of two articles, my WWE Review of 2012 series begins to draw to a close as we first take a look at four positives that we can take from the year that was with World Wrestling Entertainment.
This was a topic discussed in one of my other recent articles and something that I feel was one of the true success stories of 2012.
Given what was essentially free reign over the company’s talent development, Triple H set about rejuvenating WWE NXT and transformed it into a genuine and successful developmental territory.
Unlike in FCW, budding Superstars are now given greater exposure as they look to make the transition into the WWE, which is a benefit to both us as fans and the talents themselves.
It’s a system that has already provided us with up-and-coming stars such as Seth Rollins and Big E Langston, and one that looks set to continue with more of the same into 2013 and beyond.
With the WWE going through a fairly bleak time, kudos to Triple H for looking to safeguard the company’s longer-term future and produce the next wave of main-event stars in the professional-wrestling industry.
Though this event had less of an impact going forward than the renovation of talent development, it was a brilliant moment for the WWE nonetheless—and one that deserves to be celebrated.
First off, the achievement in itself is remarkable and creates a very impressive piece of professional-wrestling and television history.
But the way the show itself was booked was also deserving of praise and recognition.
While many will remember Raw 1,000 for the huge returns of legends such as D-Generation X, The Rock and The Undertaker, the segments in which many of these icons featured were also beneficial to the younger full-timers with whom they interacted.
For example, DX’s entertaining exchange with Damien Sandow gave the latter a valuable spot in the limelight, while the Rock’s segment with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk also thrust them even further into center stage.
It was a brilliant blend of the past and the future, a passing of the torch if you will—from the WWE’s former heroes to the new stars of years to come.
WrestleMania yielded the highest PPV buyrate in WWE history, and thus it was very difficult to leave such a blockbuster event off of this list
We were also treated to one of the greatest matches of all time in Triple H vs. The Undertaker, while CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho and The Rock vs. John Cena also delivered in what was on the whole a hugely entertaining wrestling spectacle.
However, WrestleMania also had some wider-reaching implications for the WWE.
Of the two PPVs prior to ‘Mania, Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, both actually produced lower buyrates than their 2011 installments.
In the following eight months, though, from Extreme Rules to Survivor Series, 75 percent of PPVs improved upon their buys from the previous year.
Thus, WrestleMania could be considered the show that convinced fans the WWE still could deliver and kick-started 2012 to transform it into a highly successful year on PPV for the company.
Speaking of PPV success, there were a number of unexpectedly impressive shows scattered throughout the year.
Extreme Rules was certainly the biggest winner, increasing its buys on the 2011 show by over 25 percent and putting on one of the best wrestling shows of the year.
Other shows, including Night of Champions, Over the Limit and No Way Out, also improved upon past figures, with each show increasing its buys by at least 24,000.
It all made for an all-round successful year for the company, and though many will argue that buyrates aren’t the sole determinants of success, many of these PPVs also played host to some of the most dramatic matches of the year.
With the company’s flagship PPV improving and showing signs of repeating such success in 2013, in addition to the improvement to such aforementioned B-list shows, fans can be pleased with the company’s upturn in fortunes.
It makes for a very promising sight indeed regarding the WWE’s future.
While there were undoubtedly more positives to be taken from 2012, I feel these four points are some of the most prominent and important instances to appreciate from the past 12 months.
While some may have appeared to be merely one-off events, more often than not each also had one eye on the future, paving the way for stars to grow and establish themselves as bigger names, enabling them to go on to excel on the main-event stage.
It’s incredibly difficult to predict what 2013 has in store, but if 2012 is anything to go by, the signs are indeed promising.