There are many reasons cited for the declining number of PPV buys in recent years. Internet piracy, rising costs, the amount of PPVs, lack of buildup and the rise of MMA have all contributed to recent buyrates, which have dipped under the 100,000 mark.
But the real problem is simple. John Cena and Randy Orton, the two top stars on their respective brands, cannot take a clean pin.
Vince McMahon is playing the same game that has caused so much disdain for TNA head booker Vince Russo. Back in the day, few PPVs ever ended with a cheap finish. Nowadays it’s expected for matches involving Cena or Orton that doesn’t end with them pinning their opponents.
Take Capitol Punishment for example. Cena retains after a child splashes R-Truth in the face with soda. Orton retains even though Christian had his foot under the rope. You know what the real funny thing is?
People paid money to see this.
Now cheap finishes do more than make the buyer hit himself or herself repeatedly with the television remote or other objects. It makes those who don’t order the PPV happy that they didn’t and even less likely to order the next PPV. How does WWE like them apples?
There’s obviously a lot of appeal behind having face champions retain their titles. It “sends the crowd home happy.” But cheap finishes don’t send anyone home happy. Not even McMahon, who surely can’t be happy that his PPV buyrates are sinking.
I refuse to believe that PPV buyrates can’t go up across the board. Maybe not to the numbers that they used to be at five years ago, but there’s still money to be made in the PPV business. WrestleMania hit its 1,000,000 buy mark. People still care about wrestling.
The difference is that WrestleMania was well hyped. The matches weren’t predictable at all save for the Miz, Cena, Rock confrontation.
There used to be legends who were on the same level as Cena and Orton. They have all left the building. The two who haven’t, Undertaker and Triple H, will never play a consistent year-round role as a WWE performer ever again. We are in a new era of WWE.
But McMahon doesn’t want to admit it. He doesn’t want to let R-Truth or The Miz get a clean pin over Cena. That, above all else, is what is killing this business. The intelligent audience knows this and that’s why Sunday nights no longer involve WWE PPVs for a huge number of the fans.
I’m not just talking about this past PPV either. There’s definitely a perfectly reasonable case for why Randy Orton should be World Heavyweight Champion. He’s being established as the star of SmackDown. It’s also reasonable that R-Truth would not go over on his first PPV WWE Title match.
What’s not reasonable is that we the audience knew this would happen. Did any of you really think that either Christian or R-Truth had a snowball's chance in hell of becoming champion? Didn’t think so…
With Money in the Bank coming up, we can assume that the only possible way that either Cena or Orton will lose their belts is if someone cashes in the briefcase. But too many times before it’s been due to interference or a triple threat match where they weren’t even pinned.
Enough’s enough. The top stars in the WWE aren’t making the company any money since there’s no one around who can beat them. Those who could such as Edge and Batista are off golfing or doing some other leisurely activity.
Moses once called to Pharoah, “Let My People Go.”
I call to Vinnie Mac, “Let My People Win.”