How to Ensure Fan Interest in Every WWE PPV and Avoid Repetitive Pitfalls

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.Credit: WWE.com

For over a decade, WWE has held 12-15 pay-per-view events every calendar year. With the exception of shows like WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Money in the Bank, things can start to feel repetitive from month to month.

WWE has tried to remedy the problem by planning entire PPVs around a single stipulation like Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber, but there are still a handful of shows with no discernable difference. 

The popularity of other promotions in recent years has helped the industry grow in exciting ways, but WWE has been the undisputed king since Vince McMahon bought WCW and shut it down.

Being the top wrestling company in the world doesn't mean WWE should rest on its laurels. The fanbase needs to be engaged in new ways if it hopes to continue expanding around the world.

Making its monthly PPVs more entertaining is a good way to ensure people keep coming back for more, and the great thing is WWE already has the infrastructure in place to make any necessary changes.


More Creative Sets

Let's start with the simplest and least important thing WWE needs to change. When it comes to the stage and layout for most PPVs, distinguishing them from what we saw on Raw and SmackDown is almost impossible.

A few LED panels, a giant screen above the stage and some graphics on the ramp and ring posts is the extent of most PPV sets.

Back when WWE only held four or five pay-per-views each year, every event had something constructed to make it feel different from the last one.

The King of the Ring set was always covered in royal imagery, and SummerSlam was often accompanied by a beach-themed setup.

Throwing a few ladders on the stage for Money in the Bank didn't do anything special. The company should have done something like have Superstars step through a bank vault door for their entrance. 

It might seem like an insignificant detail, but there is a whole psychology behind set dressing in the entertainment industry. A few small things can make a big difference. 


Better Use of Themed Events

If you are going to call a PPV "Hell in a Cell," it had better include more than one or two matches inside the cage. Otherwise, it feels like false advertising on a certain level.

Basing an entire event around one stipulation would be difficult, so it makes sense for WWE to include several standard matches on the same card, but there is no reason why half of the bouts can't take place inside the cell. 

The King of the Ring was once an entire night devoted to a single tournament. The winner didn't receive a title or even a guaranteed title shot, but it gave them bragging rights.

Some Superstars took the gimmick and incorporated it into their characters, like Macho King Randy Savage and King Harley Race. 

One idea would be to bring it back as the Queen of the Ring and make it a women's tournament for the main roster to complement the Mae Young Classic on the WWE Network.

It should never feel like two PPVs in a row are the same show on repeat. WWE has a whole team of writers and decades of history to draw from to help add some variety to the schedule. It shouldn't be hard.


Cross-Promotional Events

This one is a little far-fetched, but one way WWE could spice up its lineup would be to hold one or two events every year with other promotions.

Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact and Lucha Underground would jump at the chance to work with WWE to gain additional exposure.

We could finally see The Bullet Club battle The Shield or The New Day vs. The Elite in a non-video game environment for the first time.

The UK Championship tournament was a great way for WWE to build some relationships in Europe, so it would be easy to plan an event featuring wrestlers from WWE and European indy promotions like ICW and Progress.

Jushin Thunder Liger made a special appearance at an NXT TakeOver event a few years ago, so NJPW and WWE have some degree of communication.

Fans are not going to just leave WWE because a few impressive Superstars from another promotion make an appearance, so there is no downside.

In fact, some fans who have stopped watching WWE but continue to follow other promotions may be enticed to return if their favorite LU wrestlers are going to appear on a WWE PPV.


Less Repetition in the Main Event Scene

WWE's biggest problem is repetitiveness. Unfortunately, this is an issue the company cannot easily rectify when it has many of the same top stars for years at a time.

AJ Styles faced Shinsuke Nakamura at four PPVs in a row. That is excessive even by WWE's standards, especially when you consider how many other singles and tag matches they had on SmackDown during their feud.

Finding a way to tell interesting stories without ending it too early or having it go too long is tricky when you produce 52 weeks of live television every year. There is no easy fix for this problem because everyone has a different idea of how to solve it. 

If WWE can find a way to add more variety to its storylines while also featuring its biggest attractions, every PPV will be better as a result.

What do you think WWE can do to make every PPV less repetitive?