WWE's first-ever Battleground pay-per-view event is this Sunday. If you watched Raw last night, it felt listless for a "go home" show.
The Rhodes family vs. The Shield storyline was moved forward, but it was the only one that didn't come off as spinning its wheels. Perhaps the strangest part of the show was that the only hype for Alberto Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship defense against Rob Van Dam was RVD showing a YouTube video of him doing his 10 coolest moves.
This highlights a larger problem: Not only is WWE running two pay-per-view events in the month of October, but when you factor in Night of Champions, it's three PPVs in six weeks. That's way too much. If I didn't have to watch it, I'd skip it, especially after how flat Night of Champions was.
The experiment with more than one PPV event in a calendar month goes back several years to when Raw and Smackdown had their own PPV shows. That experiment didn't last very long, so WWE chipped away at the number of PPVs until it was back to 12 per year:
|Year||Month||Shows||Gap||Gaps before & after that month|
|2013||October||Battleground & Hell in a Cell||3 weeks||3 week gap before, 4 week gap after.|
|2012||April||WrestleMania & Extreme Rules||4 weeks||6 week gap before, 3 week gap after.|
|2011||October||Hell in a Cell & Vengeance||3 weeks||2 week gap before, 4 week gap after. Last year to have 13 PPVs.|
|2011||May||Extreme Rules & Over the Limit||3 weeks||4 week gap on both sides of the month.|
|2010||October||Hell in a Cell & Bragging Rights||3 weeks||2 week gap before, 4 week gap after.|
Which month gets two shows appears to be determined by when WrestleMania is and how WWE can work around it.
If WrestleMania falls at the end of March, there's no reason to double up. If it's like last year, where WrestleMania fell on April 1, they can come back four weeks later and just happen to be in the same calendar month. Since WrestleMania fell on April 7 this year, they had to move the 12th show away from that season. I guess October got the nod, since WWE has doubled up there several times in the past.
At any rate, it takes a toll on the booking and the fans. The booking goes into a relative holding pattern, while fans usually pick the show that seems like it will be more important. Last night's Raw just felt like it was holding everyone over until they get past Battleground, so they can get down to business and shoot the "important" angles. Since Hell in a Cell three weeks later has a Hell in a Cell match, it would seemingly take precedence over a "new" event with a generic name.
What are your PPV buying plans for October?
It's fairly obvious that the main event storyline in WWE right now, the Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan feud, isn't ending this Sunday. CM Punk vs. Ryback (with Paul Heyman) is the second-most pushed feud, and there's no way that's ending after the first match, especially with another PPV inside of the same calendar month. Only the Rhodes Family vs. Shield match seems like it has any immediate consequences.
Generally speaking, two events on the same cable/satellite bill is a bit hard to swallow. The shows cost at least $44.95 each (most providers charge $10 more for the HD feed, but some include it in the lower price). Most promotional bundles of TV, internet, and voice service nowadays cost $90 to $110 plus equipment fees and local taxes. Spending $90 to $110 on PPVs effectively doubles the monthly cable bill.
With those prices in this economy and without the shows being must-see, it's just not a good idea at all right now, and I hope WWE can go back to a more realistic schedule next year.