As we reported last week, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar won’t be at Hell in a Cell, and WWE’s back-up plan is, well, less than ideal.
Now, if you’re looking to lay blame for this situation, the logical, sensible conclusion is that this is probably somehow that butthole Brock Lesnar’s fault. He decided he’d rather be somewhere shooting something, or the mere thought of working two PPVs in a row got him dangerously winded, but nope, Brock Lesnar not being at Hell in a Cell doesn’t have much to do with Brock Lesnar at all.
According to The Wrestling Observer, WWE no longer thinks the champ needs to be a part of big events. Back when pay-per-views were exclusively sold through pay-per-view, the feeling was the champion needed to be on every show to push buys, but now that most fans get the shows through a monthly subscription service, WWE doesn’t feel compelled to stack the cards any more.
So yes, the exact thing everyone feared would happen to PPVs when the WWE Network was announced is happening. Even though the Network continues to struggle, without that immediate, monthly pressure to generate PPV revenue, WWE feels safe to rest on their laurels.
Don’t get me wrong, moving away from a “save everything important for PPV” approach isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d be okay with a new model. Unfortunately WWE is still totally structured around building to these big shows, and if said shows are unimportant the product starts to feel really hollow. If WWE wants to de-emphasize the importance of the PPVs, they need to alter the entire way they do business.
Speaking of WWE not adapting to their new reality, word is recent PPV payouts, once a major part of top performer’s incomes, have been absolutely terrible since Wrestlemania. Basically, there is no new formula, WWE is just paying guys for the few traditional PPVs still being sold and totally stiffing them on WWE Network revenue.
What do you folks think? Where do you see the big monthly shows going? How do you feel about WWE possibly moving away from the pay-per-view model?