It’s a topic that has attracted plenty of criticism from the IWC for some time now, and one that in light of recent events has been thrust into the limelight once again:
The WWE’s gimmick-themed PPVs.
For the last few years, they have been a staple part of the WWE calendar, replacing former events such as Armageddon, Backlash and Judgement Day.
And though they may not have been the most popular shows, they have certainly delivered us their fair share of memories.
Many regard last year’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view as one of the highlights of the entire year–and quite rightly so–and who could forget some of the brilliant Money in the Bank moments over the years?
Furthermore, it’s encouraging to see the WWE having the ambition to evolve and innovate its product, considering it enjoys what is essentially a monopolistic status in the professional wrestling industry.
But despite such positives, it has become all too noticeable that the quality of these gimmick-themed PPVs is somewhat on the wane.
Take the first ever Hell in a Cell PPV for example; there were no less than three Cell matches on the PPV’s card, thus living up to the event's name.
Last year, however, there was just the one contest inside the structure, rendering the show’s name rather redundant.
Have the WWE's gimmick-themed PPVs been deteriorating in quality?
And unfortunately, this trend of decline continued last night.
While events such as Hell in a Cell 2012 and TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs 2012 didn’t have cards stacked with appropriately gimmick-themed matches, they still provided us with some memorable moments.
Hell in a Cell saw Ryback and CM Punk take to the top of the cell to settle their differences, while the Shield’s match at TLC was littered with impressive spots and bumps.
At Elimination Chamber there were very few, if any, moments of such effect.
The chamber structure was hardly utilised in the one match in which it featured, apart from the odd suplex onto the steel floor, and ultimately I can’t remember the last time I was less-surprised by a WWE PPV.
Furthermore, I can’t help but feel the Creative Team missed a trick with the Shield’s six-man tag match.
Putting the sextet inside the Elimination Chamber would have provided us with a unique concept, as such matches in the past have always been every man for himself.
It may have been slightly more complicated to book, but it would have at least added some excitement to the proceedings.
Did Elimination Chamber prove that Gimmick-PPVs need to be changed?
However in the end, having just one chamber match on the card is not enough to justify naming the entire PPV after such a stipulation.
One of the reasons that Extreme Rules was so good last year was because there were in fact five matches on the card with varying stipulations, including a Street Fight, a two-out-of-three falls match and, of course, an Extreme Rules battle.
But for the WWE to place so little emphasis on what is essentially the focal point of the PPV just doesn’t make sense.
It gives the show a distinctly mundane feel, rather than making it the exciting spectacle that a PPV event should be.
Having said that, the company could still save themselves with the gimmick-PPV idea, but it’s going to take a lot more commitment to the cause.
Stacking the card with themed matches will work, but by only announcing one or two stipulated matches, much interest in the show is lost.
It may be profitable in the short-term to load the WWE calendar with gimmick themed-PPVs, but if the quality continues to fall then it is certainly not a long-term recipe for success.
Last night’s Elimination Chamber PPV proved that something needs to be done regarding the PPV calendar in order to save the company from mediocrity.
But what do you guys think?
How would you rate last night’s show?
And does something need to be done about the WWE’s PPV calendar?
Comment below with your thoughts on this subject, as well as any opinions you may have on the issues discussed in the article.