From the WWE Rumor Mill: Original plans for pay-per-views following 2016 brand split
Thankfully this didn't work out; it would have been too much!
What's the story?
The current pay-per-view brand split is due to come to an end following this year's WrestleMania since it has been announced that Backlash in May will be the beginning of all dual brand pay-per-views moving forward. The split has lasted less than two years, but it seems that the original plans from 2016 have been revealed and it could be where the company went wrong.
In case you didn't know...
The brand split was brought back to WWE back in 2016 as SmackDown Live and Monday Night Raw became completely separate entities with completely separate rosters. A WWE Draft then took place which saw the two brands choose the members of their roster until a superstar shake-up then took place following WrestleMania last year.
Over the 19 months, it seems that WWE has tried to have two pay-per-views every month so that SmackDown and Raw were given an event each every four weeks. This added up to 16 pay-per-views in 2017 and could have been one of the main reasons why WWE decided to revert back to dual brand pay-per-views moving forward.
The heart of the matter
On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer shared that WWE was originally hoping to run 20 pay-per-view events each year, in the hope that more shows would lead to more WWE Network subscriptions since fans would feel that they were getting more value for money.
WWE obviously realised after a few years of this that they were spending far more money than they were making and it wasn't really affecting their viewers count. This was then dropped down to 18 and then to 16 back in 2017 and now it seems that the company has found a happy medium with the 12 pay-per-view events that they have planned over the next year.
WWE recently revealed their plans for the rest of the year on pay-per-view which includes only running one PPV event per month that will include stars from both SmackDown Live and Monday Night Raw. This obviously doesn't include the events which NXT will be putting on on the eve of WWE's main roster shows.
Leaving only a few weeks between shows meant that only rematches were taking place at the events and there was no time to build a believable storyline. Hopefully, a month between each show will now allow there to be a much better build-up to matches and better stories rather than matches that were just thrown together to make up cards on events.
Fans will subscribe to the WWE Network if the company puts on shows that go above and beyond what they expected. It's not about quantity, it's about quality and it seems that dropping the number could be the first sign that WWE have realised this.
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