From the WWE Rumor Mill: 2018 Pay-Per-View schedule released
Next year's PPV schedule has been released, though it's not good reading for SmackDown Live - especially in the summer months.
What's the story?
The 2018 WWE pay-per-view schedule has been released and will feature more Raw shows than SmackDown, according to a report published by PWInsider.
In case you didn't know
There have been rumours circulating that the WWE had planned to decrease the number of PPVs news year, in their continuing efforts to cut down costs.
Some of the other cost-cutting measures have included abolishing pyrotechnics, cancelling Talking Smack and other WWE Network programmes.
The heart of the matter
The WWE had 16 pay-per-views for 2017 with 14 being split evenly between Raw and SmackDown exclusive shows. The pay-per-view schedule for 2018 will feature 14 shows with five Raw exclusives and four SmackDown exclusive events.
The schedule ahead of next year's PPVs is as follows:
Royal Rumble: January 28 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Elimination Chamber (Raw): February 25 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Fastlane (SmackDown): March 11 - Columbus, Ohio
WrestleMania 34: April 8 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Backlash (Raw): May 6 - Newark, New Jersey
Payback (SmackDown): May 27 - Baltimore, Maryland
Money in the Bank: June 17 - Rosemont, Illinois
Battleground (Raw): July 15 - Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
SummerSlam: August 19 – Brooklyn, New York
Extreme Rules (Raw): September 16 – San Antonio, Texas
Hell in a Cell (SmackDown): September 30 – Nashville, Tennessee
Tables, Ladders and Chairs (Raw): October 21 – Boston, Massachusetts
Survivor Series: November 18 – Los Angeles, California
Clash of Champions (SmackDown): December 16 – San Jose, California
The biggest changes to the schedule for 2018 are that the Money in the Bank PPV will become a dual-brand show, whilst brand-exclusive events have switched.
The Raw brand will get the Elimination Chamber, Backlash and Battleground while SmackDown receive Fastlane and Payback. Extreme Rules is set to remain a Raw exclusive, though will take place during the fall months as opposed to summer.
Once Payback is complete in May, SmackDown will have no brand-exclusive shows until Hell in a Cell in September.
While this is the schedule right now, the shows can change if a collective decision to grant SmackDown more shows is made. The names of these PPVs may also change, like they did this year - fans expected Bad Blood for a July return - they instead received Great Balls of Fire.
As you can see, the pay-per-view schedule clearly favours the flagship show and there's no telling what impact this could potentially have on ratings for SmackDown during the summer months.