For a couple of years now WWE have been marketing gimmick PPVs hard. Some have been successful, like the upcoming TLC PPV, while others have flopped, like the Breaking Point or Bragging Rights PPV.
Originally I assumed that WWE was doing these PPVs as a way to make a quick buck before moving back to normalcy. I have apparently been proven wrong, as WWE still produce these events on an annual basis and show no sign of stopping soon.
So with Donald Wood listing five reasons why these PPVs are good for business, I am here to list five that will argue his points.
Back in the days before these PPVs took place, special gimmick matches happened at any time of the year. Hell in a Cell could be seen at any time for January to December and not just because the calender dictated it was time for such matches to take place.
The thing is, sometimes a match type would never be seen during a certain year or it would be witnessed several occasions. The best part about them was that they were usually a surprise and a treat.
Now we know that in February we will see Elimination Chamber matches, TLC matches in December and so forth. These matches have become routine and in a company like WWE routine is boring. For a company that doesn't like it when fans know what is coming up it is kind of ironic.
Certain matches like the Hell in a Cell were used because two wrestlers needed to end a rivalry. A Ladder match was set up to give a certain wrestlers the advantage. But now because of the set nature of these PPVs, wrestlers are thrust into matches they have no real reason for getting into because they are in a match's selected month.
Hell in a Cell in particular has suffered a lot because of this line of thought. It was a match to end feuds but since the PPV for the match started I could only say two of the matches were worthy of taking place (Cena vs. Orton for their long standing rivalry and Undertaker Vs. Kane for their connection to the match).
Since the matches have had certain storyline benefits taken away it has weakened its ability to help create stars. Once upon a time in someone was able to defeat Edge or Shawn Michaels in a Ladder match it was a big thing. Brock Lesnar taking out Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match pretty much solidified his status as the WWE Champion.
This Sunday, no matter who wins the gimmick matches they will have won just another match.
If a PPV is going to have a gimmick then the biggest matches need to be in-line. This is why we are getting to see Triple H Vs. Kevin Nash in one of the most ridiculous matches of the night. A Ladder match where one has to climb the ladder to retrieve a sledgehammer that allows them to legally use it against the other competitor.
Even if we forget the fact that most ladder matches these days are no DQ and henceforth weapons are legal anyway or the fact that if one gets the Sledgehammer the other could just use the ladder as a weapon, its still a ridiculous overbooked match for what will essentially end in a pinfall or submission.
Then consider that both Triple H and Kevin Nash are power wrestlers. This will lead to a stiff and slow contest. Scraping the bottom of the barrel doesn't even cover it.
How many times do you think WWE's creative team have sat down and decided that they don't have to try hard this month because the gimmick will sell itself. After all its TLC, there will be high flying matches, people being put through tables and a hardcore aspect that will capture the fans interest.
"Whats that? There is a gimmick PPV next month? Well, lets book this match to end in a DQ and resolve it next month." Says Creative Team Member #1. "We have nothing for several superstars to do this month? Lets just throw them into that PPV's gimmick with a basic story because the match will sell itself." Declares Creative Team Member #2.
Selling matches on the gimmick opposed to the feuds hurt everyone. The superstars fail to benefit from it because their characters do not get to develop throughout the build up. Fans do not get to see true storys in the build up to what should be momentous occasions. WWE fails to pull in buyrates because no one is interested.
Punk Vs. Del Rio Vs. Miz has not really got much more beyond the basic triple threat formula for the WWE Championship. Since no reason was required for it to become a TLC match no extra effort was required to be placed into the story from the creative team.
With WrestleMania season fast approaching they probably don't want to waste what they see as their best ideas on a second rate PPV.
I am not one to usually rag on the PG rulings of today's WWE. I think it is perfectly possible to achieve an entertaining wrestling show without blood, chairshots to the head and major use of weaponry. As long as the storylines are strong and the in-ring action is entertaining I am happy with the product.
The problem lies with WWE's reluctance to let these matches go. The reason why a lot of these gimmick matches that have had PPVs tailored around them were so popular in the first place was because they were brutal.
Mixing two elements from two different fan expectancy creates a watered-down product. Hardcore fans can find no solace in the lack of over-the-top violence and people who back the PG product see little entertainment value in what is perceived as a substitute for true talent.
In the end everyone loses.