WWE May Be Doing More Harm Than Good With Duel-Branded PPV’s
Will extended PPV’s in an already busy pro wrestling schedule result in a negative outcome for WWE?
As you may have heard, WWE is planning on ditching single-branded PPV’s after WrestleMania 34 for multi-brand shows. The events after would include pre-shows and an extra hour to the event. That means Backlash in New Jersey on May 6th will start the new revolution. It was confirmed by Dave Melter of the Wrestling Observer that all shows will run over four hours long. This was done to help drive up subscriptions to WWE Network-related events, by getting all top stars onto every show. What does it mean? Well, it means that you should drink plenty of coffee, and for those that don’t drink it, start doing so now.
WWE sent out a press release with the revised schedule of shows, which cuts down several events. There will be no more multi-month PPV’s, which will be good for those who suffer from wrestling fatigue from time to time. This could also mean that Survivor Series won’t be the “one time of the year” stars from SmackDown and Raw compete against one another. I’m sure fans will be fine with that part of the decision. However, this new plan won’t resolve all of the new fatigue fans and even the wrestlers will feel.
This new business strategy may do more harm than good for everyone involved.
Let’s talk about something everyone can agree on: there is a lot of pro wrestling to watch on a weekly basis. Even without a PPV on Sunday’s, WWE churns out three hours of Raw, two hours of SmackDown Live and one hour of NXT. That does not include shows on the WWE Network like 205 Live, or even the other wrestling promotions who have programs out there. On a given PPV weekend, we could have a TakeOver special, a PPV and the previous cycle of shows. That is the definition of exhausting. Add four+ hours to some PPV’s that were former “filler” events, and it’s a lot to take in. The fans may be getting their money’s worth, but will lose their sanity in the process.
This new approach feeds off of the “Big Four” PPV model. The Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series are all treated like the Super Bowl multiplied by game seven of the World Series. Now, every event will be treated that way. The problem is simple though, in that not every event can live up to a Big Four PPV. With multiple titles on the main roster, how would WWE go about it? Would every title be on the line, like what Night / Clash of Champions was meant to be. Will there be designated title matches for specific PPV’s. Will every card have two to three “must watch” matches? There is a lot to think about when planning shows that are meant to blow the crowd away.
Add the pressure to do so every month and it may be a recipe for disaster. It’s already a problem with the current format.
As for the wrestlers, their traveling schedule is hard as it is. Each brand travels to a different town almost every night. Running a schedule like this could just be the straw that breaks several camels’ backs. We’ve had stars who were openly fed up with the company based off of their direction (Neville comes to mind). Now imagine those same stars going through the fatigue of traveling and what may be oversaturation.
A positive is that talent that don’t always get to be a part of the events may get a chance to shine. As long as they are utilized correctly that is. Past history has shown that is not always the case. WWE has an opportunity to change.
On another front, business-wise, it’s a genius move by Vincent Kennedy McMahon. If anything goes wrong, and the chances are likely, the boss can change it all back. Is there a true reward from this risk? One way or another, WWE will stick to their guns and find out. Either Pandora’s Box will open or WWE will be getting a lot of praise, and an apology by yours truly.
Also, in case you were wondering, I like my coffee with one sugar, not two.
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