WWE: 5 Ways For Vince McMahon To Fix The Lack Of Pay-Per-View Buys
The fourth quarter report is in, and the news isn't all good. The WWE saw a drop in pay-per-view (PPV) buys, with every event drawing fewer buys than the year before with the exception of WWE Survivor Series.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, the WWE had a total of 927,000 PPV buys compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, where it only had 786,000 PPV buys.
In total, the WWE saw a staggering 23 percent drop in PPV buys.
PPV's have always been an integral part of the WWE, but the amount of people buying them as of late shows that something has gone wrong.
What's the matter with WWE PPV's, and how should they fix it?
Here's a list of five ideas, each one building on the other...
Bring Down The Price
Let me get this straight, if I want to see 61-year-old Jerry Lawler take on The Miz for the WWE Championship I have to pay $44.95?! Give me a break.
I know what the WWE's theory is: the smaller amount of people buying PPV's means it should raise the prices to make up for it. Wrong.
Doesn't anybody in the WWE front offices watch the news? The economy is in a complete state of disarray and millions of people are struggling. The last thing somebody wants to do is fork out $44.95 for a WWE PPV.
I might not have a business degree, but this is the most common-sense solution available. If WWE wants people to buy their PPV's, they need to lower the price.
Hold Fewer Pay-Per-Views
It was just a few years ago when the WWE was holding up to 15 PPV's a year, and now the number is down to 13. That's not low enough.
Just take a look at the way the WWE scheduled its events for 2010. At one point in time the WWE held three PPV events within a five-week span.
This isn't rocket science. We're living in hard times, and the WWE wants people to order 13 PPV's for $44.95, including three in a five-week period.
Are you kidding me? And the WWE wonders why nobody is buying its PPV's.
I know people will criticize this idea because they think less PPV's for a lower price means the WWE will see less profits.
I don't think that would be the case. If you just take the number of PPV's down to about 10 and spread them out, I believe the WWE would be pleasantly surprised.
With that being said, holding 10 PPV's for a lower price isn't enough, and there is a risk that the WWE would see lower profits. As I said earlier, each one of these ideas builds upon the next. This brings me to the next idea...
Give Each Pay-Per-View Its Own Personality
No Way Out used to be the annual WWE February PPV, and it was considered to be a throw away event leading up to WrestleMania. This is no longer the case.
Elimination Chamber is the new annual WWE February PPV, and it has huge implications on WrestleMania.
Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble, and he is going on to WrestleMania to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship. But who will represent RAW and go on to challenge for the WWE Heavyweight Championship?
The Elimination Chamber will sort this out for us.
The WWE has given its annual February its own personality, and it has now become a special part of the build to WrestleMania.
The WWE needs to make PPV's special again, but it needs to do it without going over the top. The past few years we have seen the WWE attempt to give each PPV its own unique personality, but it has done so in a very lazy way.
In 2010, the WWE held a money in the bank ladder match at WrestleMania, and then held two money in the bank ladder matches at its new WWE Money in the Bank PPV. Even worse, the WWE also held a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs PPV. That is the definition of overkill.
Gimmick matches can be spectacular and help make PPV's special, but when they're used too often, fans don't think they're seeing anything special.
The key here is to give each PPV its own personality, but doing so without going overboard.
Bring back Backlash, which was always special because it was as connected to WrestleMania as the Royal Rumble is and the Elimination Chamber has become.
Keep the Money in the Bank PPV, but don't run two of the ladder matches in one night, and don't run one at WrestleMania. Have the winner of the match get an automatic title shot at SummerSlam.
Bring back the King of the Ring PPV and have the winner automatically receive a title shot at Survivor Series.
Keep Night of Champions as it has its own unique personality being the only PPV to have every title on the line.
Bring back Cyber Sunday which was unique because it was the only PPV that gave the fans a voice.
Last but not least, create a WWE Legends PPV similar to the legends themed RAW that aired earlier in the year.
There are your 10 PPV's, with each having its own unique personality.
Don't Save All The Dream Matches And Great Feuds For WrestleMania
This is a real problem. Years ago we used to be able to see dream matches on PPV's other than WrestleMania, and we used to be able to count on a great feud or two leading into PPV's other than WrestleMania.
This is no longer the case.
Almost every dream match or great feud is saved for WrestleMania.
WrestleMania is the WWE's Super Bowl, and we should expect the event to deliver. However, saving every dream match or great feud for the big event makes other PPV's less special.
I have plenty of friends who don't follow wrestling like they used to, but they'll order WrestleMania to see Bret Hart take on Vince McMahon, or to see Shawn Michaels take on the Undertaker.
Where are they for every other PPV?
They don't care.
Draw them in, make them want to see a dream match leading into SummerSlam, Survivor Series, or Night of Champions.
End The Brand Split
The roster is too thin and is lacking stars, and there is only one way to solve the problem: end the brand split. The brand split has run its course and it's time for it to end.
Ending the brand split would not only make the quality of television go up for RAW and Smackdown, but it would also build on the last idea.
If the idea is to have more dream matches and great feuds on all the WWE PPV's, the WWE must end the brand split.
It would lead to fresher feuds, which leads to fresher matches, which leads to the final result: more PPV's worth watching.
The photo says it all...bring back Jim Ross.
This is in the honorable mention section for a reason, the return of Jim Ross probably isn't going to spike the buyrates.
Although that may be true, wrestling fans love Jim Ross and he can make a lower card match on a PPV seem like the most important thing going on at the time.
Let's be honest, the current crop of WWE announcers are terrible. It took a heel turn by Michael Cole to make him entertaining for the first time in almost 14 years.
Jim Ross adds to the presentation of the event, and having him call a PPV would make it special.
Good ole' JR misses calling matches, but he doesn't miss the wear and tear of the road. That's fine. He doesn't need to broadcast RAW or Smackdown, he only needs to broadcast PPV's.
The last idea: rebuild the championships.
The women's division and tag team division need a complete overhaul. It seems so long ago when the Hardy's, Dudley's, and Edge and Christian were tearing down the house for the WWE Tag Team Championships, and it actually meant something. These days a tag title match on a PPV is usually a throwaway match.
Unify the World Heavyweight Championship with the WWE Championship. There is no need for two world championships, and it lessens the value of them.
Keep both the United States Championship and the Intercontinental Championship, but make them worth something again.
Ending the brand split and unifying these two titles would be a disservice to the younger guys. Both of these titles could still play a role in elevating younger guys.
With that being said, neither one of them is prestigious anymore. The only way to fix that is to have great feuds and great matches for each title.
Once again this is a simply theory. If you have championships that are prestigious, you're able to have more matches people want to see.
If WWE puts all of these ideas into action over time, one by one with each building on the other, I believe it will see PPV buys go up, as well as profits.
This is just one man's opinion. Please feel free to comment with your own ideas.