The Rock's Impact on Business in WWE
The Rock has given WWE a boost by virtue of his latest run, lifting WWE's numbers like he would a foe for a Rock Bottom.
The WWE champ is a star in and out of the ring, bringing a buzz from outside the ropes that no wrestler has ever brought before. The beloved Superstar has brought his electrifying presence to WWE pay-per-views and weekly shows with mostly positive results.
The Rock was an integral part of WWE's most financially successful era. His fame has ballooned since, thanks to his success in the movie world.
How has that translated to his impact on WWE?
He hasn't been WWE’s savior, but a look at the numbers for pay-per-views and Raw displays that he has for the most part, been a considerably valuable addition to the roster.
The Rock defeated CM Punk for the WWE title at Royal Rumble 2013.
The promise of The Great One getting a title shot aided buyrates for the event, even if the increase wasn't immense. Wrestling Observer (via CagesideSeats.com) reported that the 2013 Royal Rumble garnered 498,000 buys. That was an increase of 52,000 over the previous year.
From 2009 to 2012, Royal Rumble's numbers wavered. Their up-and-down journey swung upward with the addition of The Rock. It was the highest the event has earned in terms of buys since 2008.
Much has been said about the failure of Survivor Series 2012.
Looking at the buyrate numbers that Wrestling Observer (via CagesideSeats.com) lists for the last several Survivor Series pay-per-views reveals that the show itself is languishing, and The Rock could only do so much to boost interest.
When The Rock headlined the 2012 show, it got 281,000 buys. The numbers from the event aren't staggering, but they're the best the event has seen in the last four years.
The 2009 show earned 235,000 buys. Last year's show coaxed a lowly 212,000 buys.
The Rock isn't a miracle worker. He improved the numbers, not catapulted them. Even he can't turn the long-staggering pay-per-view into WrestleMania.
The Show of Shows seems to be popular regardless of who is involved, but The Brahma Bull's involvement in the last two gave the event an injection of hype.
When picking apart WrestleMania's numbers, it's hard to pinpoint an individual's effect on fan interest. WrestleMania's mystique grows with each year. Still, it's hard not to think The Rock had a hand in the recent surge in WWE's WrestleMania income.
The Rock was a part of the next two WrestleManias. Those shows earned $6.6 million (h/t ProWrestling.net) and $8.9 million respectively (h/t HollywoodLife.com). The pay-per-view buys jumped as well, with 1,059,000 buys for WrestleMania 27 and 1,217,000 for WrestleMania 28.
It's impossible to calculate how much of all that is Rock's doing, but WWE is sure to associate him with growing numbers.
On the Monday night after The Rock won the WWE title, the ratings for Raw were the highest they had been since Raw 1000 (h/t SE Scoops).
Raw drew a 3.7 rating as 5.02 million viewers tuned into see the new champion.
Wrestling Observer (via WrestleZone.com) writes that the average rating for the show in 2012 was 3.03. It doesn't take a lot of math skill to see that The Rock's presence shot the show's ratings well above last year's average.
No single star is going to bring Raw back to 1999, to an 8.1 rating, and being the coolest show on the planet. In this current era, in a time where viewers are overloaded with options, 3.7 is pretty darn good (h/t PW Insider).
WrestlingInc.com reported that the following Raw earned a 3.56 cable rating with 4.81 million viewers. That's a bit closer to the 2012 average, but still among the better numbers WWE has seen recently.
The Rock provided a shot in the arm for SmackDown ratings as well, the show going from 1.8 without The Rock to 2.2 with him (h/t ProWrestling.net).
The numbers show why WWE is willing to put the WWE title on a guy who can't make every Raw, who isn't the workhorse that CM Punk was during his reign. The Rock has helped WWE's numbers, but hasn't been a magician capable of teleporting the company back to the Attitude Era.
In recent weeks, The Rock has shown WWE the extent of his drawing power.
Once he returns to his other life, WWE must find a way to keep its numbers up. The company can't depend on him to elevate its numbers. He is going to be gone. The rest of WWE has to shine on without him.
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