Adding more Pay-Per-Views - Boon or bane to the WWE universe?
Today we take an in-depth look at the current pay-per-view landscape and the way it's changing, especially with the coming Brand Split.
As a child, my earliest memories of pay-per-view events date back to the mid 80's. I can still remember the pageantry surrounding WrestleMania 3, where "The irresistible force meets the immovable object" was the headline leading up to this historic event. It was a night of suspense, excitement, and disbelief.
Movie stars, political personalities and folks from all walks of life had made their way out to The Pontiac Silverdome where an announced crowd of over 93,000 fans packed the venue. It was on this memorable night that Hogan defied odds and slammed the Giant. Harley Race met The Junkyard Dog in a match of royal proportions and Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat faced 'The Macho Man' Randy Savage with the lovely Miss Elizabeth in his corner.
In that same year, 1989, there was a grand total of four pay-per-view events for the entire year. One thing each of those events shared, was anticipation. There was no Judgement Day, no such thing as Vengeance, or Rebellion. Instead, we had Wrestlemania, The Royal Rumble, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. Each event was spread apart by a few months, which gave an ample amount of time to prepare, build storylines and most importantly, sell the event.
The year now is 2016 and boy have things changed. This year alone, we will see a grand total of 12 pay-per-views. Along with the more historical events that we have grown up watching, we now have events such as FastLane, Payback, Money In The Bank and Battleground, just to name a few. We will also see the return of an old WCW favorite, Clash of Champions, which will take place in September. As it stands right now, we have a PPV every 3-to-4 weeks. Just as one comes to an end, the build for the next one begins immediately.
So, this brings us back to the original question at hand, are more pay-per-views a good thing, or are they a bad thing? Well, let's take a look at both sides of that very argument. First, you have to think about things from a financial standpoint, which is the angle WWE officials must view the subject. The WWE Network has all but completely wiped away all of those income streams the company was enjoying from cable and satellite providers.
With the birth of the WWE Network, that was one issue the company was forced to face. Instead of making millions from $55 Wrestlemania buys, they now depend on the number of people who subscribe to the Network. Not only that, but it is very important they retain a big portion of the fans who subscribe, in order to guarantee that monthly fee. WWE Network subscriptions are extremely vital to the financial success of the company.
With that said, there's an obvious idea in place that the more PPV-type of events they can schedule, the more subscriptions they will likely secure. Each of the monthly events is a new opportunity for JBL, Cole and Saxton to sell you on the idea of how important it is that you subscribe right away, so you don't miss the event.
On the other side of that very same argument, you have those who feel the industry is watered-down with entirely too many PPV'S. Some of us miss the days when we were forced to eagerly anticipate the next event, which was months away. There was more time to build title feuds, more time for controversy and more time to mold and superstar into a nearly unbeatable phenom. Sure, the events were few and farther between, but the spectacle and the hype surrounding the show was something that hasn't been matched in many years.
We are in a season of change, as wrestling fans. The Brand Split is only days away and with that, there's a strong possibility that we will see even more PPV'S. In fact, it is highly likely that we will see two per month, with Raw and Smackdown both getting their own monthly pay-per-view. So, at this point, is the question really whether or not more is better, or is it when will there be too many?
At what point will we finally come to the conclusion that dozens of pay-per-view events per year is indeed too much? I guess time will be the ultimate judge for that question, but as for now, do we believe more is better, or should we go back to the old ways of business when too much of a good thing...is simply just too much?