Nostalgia sells. That’s what we can draw from the number of buys Wrestlemania 27 reportedly received less than a month ago.
Variety is saying that PPV purchases were up 30 percent this year and 15 percent overseas. While so many self-proclaimed experts across the Internet have decried the show as one of the most disappointing events they’d ever purchased, it’s clear that the show captured the interest of a mainstream audience better than any other show in a decade.
WWE pumped weekly programming with the Rock, Steve Austin and Trish Stratus, all stars of the most recent wrestling boom from Attitude Era through to the early turn of the century.
Following in the long-standing tradition of crossing over with pop culture, much as they have with Cyndi Lauper, Pamela Anderson and Donald Trump before, WWE heavily promoted Snooki from Jersey Shore for the program.
Notice, just two of these names actually participated in a match: a retired women’s wrestler and a reality TV star.
The success of this show hinged on one man and one man alone: the Rock.
His fame eclipses anything the WWE currently has to offer and his mere presence for the month leading up and at the show was enough to draw one of the company’s highest buy rates of all time. Now, he’s booked for the main event of Wrestlemania 28.
Vince McMahon, as we can see by the insistence on leaving John Cena’s clean-cut baby face character without any adjustment, doesn’t waver quickly from what works. He’s revolutionized the business on several occasions, but that only comes when his profits are in question.
We sit around and wait patiently, hoping that one of these days Vince will see that something is stale, something needs a shot in the arm, however, if the coffers continue to be stuffed, nothing is going to change.
Vince McMahon just drew 1 million PPV buys on the shoulders of a man that hasn’t wrestled a match in nearly a decade. He did it with a former reality television star that is still too green in the ring to be a world champion in the main event.
Mind you, I love the Miz and think he belongs among the top players on the show, but in any other era, his work rate isn’t at the level necessary to be a headliner just yet.
He jumped his North American buys by a third without a viable tag team division or women’s division. He did it without a meaningful match for a midcard title.
He’s doing all of these things that we sit at our computers and pine about being necessary for a great television product. Vince doesn’t care what we have to say. He wants to know what people’s checkbooks tell him.
This is a scary scenario for us wrestling fans, even the devout WWE supporters such as myself.
It has appeared for sometime that the company was actually beginning to push some new stars: Miz, Del Rio, Cody Rhodes and now the unlikely addition of R-Truth to that list. Three of these four men played major roles in Wrestlemania, but I have to question whether or not they’ll receive any credit for the huge buy rate.
Will Vince see them as the future draws, or will he see dollar signs in the shape of the Rock, Undertaker, Triple H, Steve Austin and other popular TV stars, continuing to suck every last cent he can out of the Attitude Era and ephemeral celebrity types?