The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of WrestlingINC.com or its staff.
The main reason a lot of fans felt that Battleground was a lackluster PPV was because it lacked a proper buildup and the storylines were rushed into the show. The reason they were rushed was because the WWE has mushed together three separate PPV events in just over a month. Because there is so little time in between PPVs, it handicaps in what the WWE can do creatively, since they have to develop big time matches in a short period of time in order to sell the PPV.
It is obvious why the WWE tries to cram as many PPVs into the year as possible. No matter how crappy the buildup or the storylines are going into the show, a WWE PPV is essentially guaranteed to hit over 100,000 buys. A show with any proper build or investment can hit around 200,000. The money the WWE makes from these sales easily covers all of the operating costs, so it makes sense to have as many of them as possible because the more you have, the larger the profit margins are going to be.
Even if the product is suffering and the storylines are very unappealing to some hardcore fans, the WWE is still secure in all of its other fans, fans who buy every single WWE PPV, that they can afford to piss off the burnt fans and still turn a nice profit.
Some fans really want to the WWE go back to its original PPV formula, and that is to only have four PPV events a year; the Royal Rumble in January, Wrestlemania in April, Summerslam in August and Survivor Series in November. Although I am all for fewer PPV events, the possibility of the WWE cutting its PPVs from twelve to four is preposterous. In pure numerical theory, those four PPV events would have to triple their buys to make up for the loss of PPV revenue. It is never going to happen.
I propose that the WWE cuts down on the number of PPV events, but only slightly. That way the WWE has more time to develop feuds, but the remaining PPVs do not have to post outrageous buy rates to turn a similar profit that they get under the current PPV system.
The beginning of the year is perfect for the WWE. The Royal Rumble is easily the second best event of the year (and some would argue it is better than Wrestlemania) and sets up "The Road to Wrestlemania" in a way that no other event could. I also like the idea of the February PPV, although I'm not sure if they should keep it as Elimination Chamber. The Elimination Chamber, like Hell in a Cell, is a match that should be held only when the situation calls for it, and not annually at a specified date. A February PPV however, gives the WWE a chance to further feuds that started at the Royal Rumble, as well as a second chance to start feuds that will lead to matches at Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania is obviously perfect, although I would suggest changing the date to late April instead of early April. The difference in weather between early April and late April in a northern city is tremendous, and that would give northern cities without a large indoor stadium, like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and others a better opportunity to host Wrestlemania.
Post-Wrestlemania deserves a little bit of a rest, so I think we stay right on schedule with Extreme Rules taking place in late May. If Wrestlemania stays in early April, that gives the WWE a good 6-8 weeks to build up feuds and deal with the post-Wrestlemania fallout. Extreme Rules is a gimmick PPV, which I am not that big of a fan of, but they can diversify the matches enough to at least keep the card unpredictable.
The first PPV I want to cut is the PPV in-between Extreme Rules and Money in the Bank. It has been represented under a variety of names, most recently Payback, but it always strikes me as an unnecessary show that the WWE just tries to jam in their to make some extra cash. There is no history here, so it is not like we are missing much.
The absence of a show in June allows to move on to the PPV in July. I think ideally this should take place on the second Sunday in July. It gives you another 6-8 weeks since Extreme Rules, which helps establish better feuds and matches. I also believe that this event should not be Money in the Bank. I love Money in the Bank, but I want to move it from this date for one reason: I want to bring back King of the Ring. Every WWE PPV is the same thing, a couple gimmick matches and matches for the titles and the WWE Championship in the main event. A one-night tournament will change things up. I think you can have the WWE Championship be defended and then the rest of the matches are part of the tournament.
To add some extra incentive, we can say that whoever is crowned King of the Ring will main-event Summerslam and challenge for the WWE Championship. Not only will this help KOTR, but it will also help inject some more prestige into Summerslam. One of the reasons Wrestlemania is so big is because the Royal Rumble helps hype it up. If Summerslam were to have an event to hype it up, it will certainly seem bigger. So, I think we should have King of the Ring in mid-to-early July and then Summerslam in late August.
Post-Summerslam is where I am going to be making the biggest changes. Instead of cramming together Night of Champions, Battleground and Hell in a Cell, we will only have ONE PPV event during that time. After Summerslam there will be another 6-8 week window before we hold Money in the Bank in early October. Money in the Bank is rapidly becoming one of the biggest wrestling events of the year, and out of all the gimmick PPVs the WWE has had, MITB has had by far the biggest success. A good amount of buildup for MITB will make it even better, build the feuds, have qualifying matches and set up much more anticipated MITB matches.
The rest of the year will go as planned, with Survivor Series in late November and TLC at the end of December to finish off the year. I think my plan is both an improvement over the current schedule, and it is also reasonable for the WWE to commit too. The WWE will go from twelve PPV events to nine, and hopefully the increased time allotted to build-up for the PPVs will make up for the loss of the three PPV events, that frankly where the biggest underachievers out of the PPV schedule anyways.
How would you set up the WWE PPV schedule? Would you leave it as is, or create a bunch of new events? Sound off below.