It was not a banner year for the WWE or pro wrestling in general on pay-per-view in 2008!
Only one event (WrestleMania XXIV) made it into the top 10 (No. 3), and that event featured a boxer (Floyd Mayweather) in it's featured bout!
Seven of the top 10 were UFC, and the other two were boxing.
Although WrestleMania XXIV did get over 1 million buys worldwide, it only had 670,000 buys in the U.S., down from the 760,000 in the U.S. of WrestleMania XXIII.
That's almost 100,000 fewer homes from one year to the next!
Overall the WWE is expected to gross between 125 and 130 million dollars in pay-per-view revenue in 2008, about half of the all-time record for pay-per-view revenue set by any organization during a calendar year. World Wrestling Entertainment, did approximately $260 million on pay-per-view during its heyday in 2001.
The WWE also cut the number of pay per views from 16 to 14, and in my opinion they should cut them even more. I think it would increase the number of buys, perhaps leading to more events in the top 10, and make for better storylines and fueds helping build interest and the number of viewers.
See my previous article for more information on that...
Of course, wrestling is cyclical and right now it's popularity is down, partially because there really is no break out/crossover star that appeals to the masses like Hulk Hogan did in the '80s and Stone Cold and The Rock did in the late '90s.
I am not willing to put a nail in the wrestling coffin yet; however, if things don't improve and UFC keeps rising pro-wrestlings worst days may still be ahead.