Many baulked at the incredible sum, but the reason the former UFC star was able to command that kind of money was that the WWE was confident it would recoup its investment. And if we look back at the numbers, you’d probably have to say that the company was right.
In Lesnar’s first pay-per-view back he headlined Extreme Rules with John Cena, helping the show post a 22 percent increase in buys. The same year at SummerSlam, he closed the show with Triple H, and that event saw another healthy 21 percent increase in buys.
Since then he’s been pushed as arguably the most dominant superstar in WWE history, shattering The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania 30 and nearly doing the same to John Cena’s neck at this year’s SummerSlam.
But despite this overwhelming success, there’s an interesting story emerging that could suggest that Lesnar isn’t the draw he once was. As reported by Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Marc Middleton of Lords of Pain): "Secondary market ticket prices for WWE Night of Champions are the lowest so far for a pay-per-view led by Brock Lesnar. This is because the event isn't sold out while other events with Lesnar at the top of the card sold out well in advance."
So does this mean that Lesnar’s popularity and drawing power are waning?
Possibly, but in all honesty, probably not.
First off, let’s take a look at the Night of Champions venue. The Bridgestone Arena can accommodate 19,395 fans for basketball games and up to 20,000 for concerts according to Wikipedia. Many of the other PPVs that Lesnar has headlined—and sold out—were in slightly smaller venues with capacities closer to the 15,000-17,000 range, so obviously this added size could be one reason for the spare tickets.
Furthermore, this Night of Champions clash is of course a rematch. As great as Lesnar’s showdown with John Cena was at SummerSlam, the second time around is often much less appealing. WrestleMania 29 was testament enough to that.
It’s also worth noting ticket sales for the event itself isn’t the clearest indicator of drawing power, given the geographical limitations involved. Buyrates tend to be a better method of judging popularity, given the greater ease of access and the broader audience.
Nevertheless, it could be a possible cause for concern. Given the fact that Lesnar now holds the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, that’s essentially two possible drawing points that the company have consolidated into one.
Perhaps they would have been better off keeping the two star attractions separate, opening up the possibility of staging multiple main events—as was the case at SummerSlam 2013 and the various WrestleManias in which Brock has appeared.
Of course, there’s still time for the event to sell out and for the PPV to bring about a noticeable uptick in Network subscriptions. But it’s an interesting point that this is looking like Lesnar's weakest-selling show—particularly as he’s so hot right now.
PPV buyrates courtesy of 2xzone.com.
Please feel free to share your own opinions on this one, and let me know in the comments below what you think about this news and any of the points covered in the article.