How to Book & Build a WWE PPV in 2 Weeks
We’ve been down this road one too many times within the past 5 years. These were dark times, when children couldn’t play in the streets without a care in the world and WWE infested a calendar year with 15 pay-per-view events and booked themselves into a chronological corner.
Since January 2006, there have been four occurrences where WWE would broadcast two pay-per-view events in the span of three weeks. This including Sunday’s ‘Hell in a Cell’ event following September 19th’s ‘Night of Champions’ by two weeks.
Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the booking overload brought upon themselves in the span of four weeks when three pay-per-view events were scheduled in November and December 2006. Instead of making you relive this tragedy, here are the dates of infamy:
November 11, 2006: Survivor Series
December 3: December to Dismember
December 17: Armageddon
There are some good things that have been happening to WWE’s PPV calendar for the past couple of years; and no, I am not talking about the rebranding of the events. It deals with their calendar in general. Since June 2008, WWE had never backed itself into this corner. Their scheduling had always allowed for at least three weeks of program-building and promoting leading to the event.
On an even more astounding note, I hope your wallet is paying attention; the number of PPVs released by WWE has declined since 2007. WWE PPVs have decreased from 15 in ’06 & ’07, 14 in ’08 & ’09, to 13 this year. This is a big reason why WWE decided to hike up the price of their PPVs in the first place, so that they could limit themselves and put out a potentially more entertaining product than they have in the past.
The bigger question remains…
Will ‘Hell in a Cell’ be just as bad as any other 2-week-built PPV WWE has released?
In the past year, WWE boards of investors’ conference calls have placed a tremendous amount of emphasis on international growth. WWE’s recent tour of China had been in the works for nearly 2 years, as well as more extensive touring in Europe, Australia, and Asia. With the United States’ economy trying to convince itself that it is out of recession, WWE has looked to other countries that might have the disposable income it craves.
Because of this grueling extensive touring abroad, WWE has found itself in another corner in regards to its television product. Tonight’s “Raw” (9/27/10) will be its third taped edition in the past three months. This is not as much an indictment on the television program and how its ‘spontaneity’ will be lacking, but more so on the impact it places on building a PPV.
Here is the “Creative Calendar” we are looking at right now in regards to WWE, “Raw”, and the ‘Hell in a Cell’ PPV:
September 19: “Night of Champions” PPV
September 20: “Monday Night Raw” (2 editions: One live, one taped)
September 21: “Smackdown” (Taped)
September 22: 9/21 Smackdown Spoilers released on various websites
September 24: Final episode of “Smackdown” on MyNetworkTV
September 27: “Monday Night Raw” (Taped edition from 9/20)
October 1: Live premiere of “Smackdown” on SyFy Network
October 3: “Hell in a Cell” PPV
I know this may seem hard to grasp, but WWE has not done itself any favors with the endeavors it had planned. Vigorous international touring, a major television program shifting to a brand new network, and an impatient wrestling media fueled on speculation and ego does not make for a very well-received PPV.
Regardless of what the numbers are for this PPV, live gate or PPV purchases, there is plenty of blame to go around. However, there is not one particular reason or excuse that will receive the majority of this blame. Ironic as it may seem, WWE Creative would definitely not be one of them.
It wasn’t WWE Creative’s idea to double its international touring calendar for 2010. It wasn’t WWE Creative’s idea to have one of its two major television programs move to a new network AND make it a ‘go-home’ broadcast leading to a pay-per-view.
However, it was WWE Creative’s idea to have a driving sense of finality and resolution from their previous PPV, ‘Night of Champions’. So far, there are only three matches booked for the card:
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton © (WWE Title – Hell in a Cell)
Undertaker vs. Kane © (World Heavyweight Title – Hell in a Cell)
Wade Barrett vs. John Cena (Barrett Wins: Cena joins Nexus, Cena Wins: Nexus Leaves WWE)
It seems that every other PPV that comes from any wrestling organization, complaints are made left and right about how we don’t know the entire card to even make a decision on whether to purchase or not. Let’s be brutally honest; are you telling me that you need more than these three matches to decide whether to purchase a PPV called “Hell in a Cell”?! What more do you need?
What is happening right now, in regards to the calendar and the corner WWE Creative has found itself in, is a clear case of déjà vu from 2008. Take the example of “Judgment Day” leading to “One Night Stand”. Here is a reminder of the cards:
Judgment Day 2008
John Cena def. JBL
John Morrison & The Miz © def. Kane & CM Punk (WWE Tag Team Titles)
Shawn Michaels def. Chris Jericho
Mickie James © def. Beth Phoenix & Melina (Women’s Title – Triple Threat)
Undertaker def. Edge by countout (Vacant World Heavyweight Title)
Jeff Hardy def. MVP
Triple H © def. Randy Orton (WWE Title – Steel Cage)
One Night Stand 2008
Jeff Hardy def. Umaga (Falls Count Anywhere)
The Big Show def. CM Punk, John Morrison, Tommy Dreamer & Chavo Guerrero (#1 Contender’s for ECW Title – Singapore Cane Match)
John Cena def. JBL (First Blood Match)
Beth Phoenix def. Melina (“I Quit” Match)
Batista def. Shawn Michaels (Stretcher Match)
Triple H © def. Randy Orton (WWE Title – Last Man Standing)
Edge def. Undertaker (World Heavyweight Title – TLC, If Undertaker loses: He will retire from WWE)
Two weeks was given to build the One Night Stand card from the Judgment Day card. Instead of asking whether the PPV itself was good or bad, what matches were the best or worst, a bigger question needs to be asked:
Did WWE Creative even need two weeks to build One Night Stand 2008?
A pay-per-view with a stipulation-laden foundation, One Night Stand 2008 might have needed some building just to tell you what the matches and the stipulations were going to be. There was no need to remind us of why Triple H and Randy Orton or Edge and Undertaker hated each other.
Throw in a continuation of the Cena-JBL program and Batista making a cameo appearance in the Michaels-Jericho program and you have a pretty decent PPV. Again, I am not talking about the matches themselves and how they panned out; I am talking about the reasons for why people would want to give Vince $40.
Three matches have been announced for ‘Hell in a Cell’. Is it enough for you to make the purchasing decision?
What’s the point of me hypothetically or metaphorically asking you that? You’re just going to find a pirated stream, watch it, and complain about it anyway as if you actually bought the damn thing…
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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