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Thursday, November 11, 2010

AN ESSAY: REFORMING THE WWE PPV SYSTEM

I remember back in glory days (and yes I remember them, the 80's), when there was just the big 4; Wrestlemania, Summerslam, survivor series and the Royal Rumble. However, as WCW came into the picture, the number of PPVs started increasing dramatically, to the point when just over 5 years ago, there was 14-15 PPVs. There was a time when these PPVs mattered. There was a time when somebody actually cared. The problem is even though they got the hint, and reduced this number back to 12, we still have a plethora of useless pay-per-views, that all of us can't seem to get enough deep wallets to pay for.

So, about 15 months ago give or take month, the WWE in all its wisdom decided to start changing the names of their PPVs and then adding others, Out were Backlash, judgement Day, Armadeddon, Cyber Sunday (and survivor series), which surprisingly re-appeared (probably after insane backlash from fans, who didn't want a classic PPV slashed) . In was Extreme rules, money in the bank, hell in a cell, TLC, elimination chamber, fatal 4 way, and bragging rights.

I'm all for change. Lack of change causes stagnation (look at the world title picture on RAW for the last year and you'll know what I'm talking about). The problem is the change has to be for the better. There tends to be large emphasis on Gimmick matches or thematic ideas. The problem with this is that some of them work and others do not. Especially when they're pushed to the limit. So I've decided that after doing several Internet vlogs on this subject I thought I'd compile my thoughts on this subject and vent my spleen for all time.

Too many PPVs. Not only do I shell out $39.99 each month and $50 in April, what if I want to go see RAW or Smackdown, or even say, buy merchandise?No wonder Vince is a billionaire. If you want fans to pay their hard earned money, then at least spend the time to make the angles work. 2 weeks between Hell in a Cell and another PPV is is simply obscene. At this rate no wonder their fan base has to emigrated to the UFC (a fact they are in denial of), or streaming it on the Internet. The lack of proper story telling is also feeding this debacle, but that is a story for another time. So because I'm the Antichrist of wisdom, what I suggest is eliminating 2 of
the PPVs and go with a strong 10 PPV system. We start with a strong backbone of the original 4, make these strong and the rest will follow.

SUMMERSLAM
SURVIVOR SERIES
ROYAL RUMBLE
WRESTLEMANIA

We know why Summerslam and Wrestlemania succeed they are big money events and should be booked well in advance, but royal rumble and survivor series are successful for other reasons, mainly because of the purity of the concepts, being original,cool ideas, that you don't get to see very often, and because of what is at stake, the matches are all the more attractive.The Royal Rumble being the one event that even non-wrestling fans will try and catch.

Having said that, I think certain ideas can be tweaked, including the royal rumble. Remember back in WCW that crazy double ring? with 50 men inside?Imagine the rumble was bigger, there was a double ring, it went on for longer and was more intriguing? The chance of this happening is not likely, mainly because the WWE tends to ignore or just out right defecate all over any concept or idea that someone else came up with. Remember Raw Roulette? They have another name for that; it was called the Halloween Havoc pay per view in WCW. And why they even chose to name one of their own PPVs after a WCW pay-per-view (the great american bash), maybe because Vince is a crazy patriot or whatever, but for some reason, that seemed to be a PPV that the WWE could never get right and came to be known playfully as "the Great American Trash", because, no matter what , it sucked year after year. I'm glad it's gone.

SURVIVOR SERIES
I'm glad that they decided to keep Survivor Series, because the idea of elimination style matches is a cool idea, and they should really reserve it for this pay-per-view. All the matches should be elimination style. The Bragging rights idea is cool, but the way it's executed is just garbage. There is no intense rivalry between the two brands because superstars switch shows every 4 months anyway. There is nothing at stake. So why should we care? But with the right
backdrop, such as a Survivor Series elimination style match one brand could be pitted against the other, in an entertaining match for the midcarders, and still captivating if it is booked right. Creating a 7-on-7 elimination match as one of the main matches one month before a PPV who's main theme is elimination style matches, is just poor booking in my opinion.

Another idea would be to eliminate the elimination chamber pay-per-view. Why do you say? Recently the elimination chamber has been used in a messily thrown together shmozes to determine the number one contenders, and out of the blue champions, totally shaking up the title picture for no reason other than they can. The idea of this PPV centered around this concept, so close to wrestlemania is definite overkill for me. However, it made me think of how the elimination chamber match began, and its debut at survivor series. What a match! The idea of 2 brands in there each with their own elimination chamber match, is nothing to be ashamed of, every now and then a little plunder is cathartic, nonetheless. It was a cool match and it's an elimination style match, so the idea of a PPV centered around it is moot. It should return as the centrepiece of survivor series. There's no need for a PPV centered around this idea.

Do I have to site TNA: Lockdown as the reason why the concept of a steel cage centred PPV is wrong? Too much plunder. After the 3rd match, the crowd doesn't care.Do I have to ask why fatal fourway centered pay perviews is not a good idea? We see it all the time. Every week. We see TRIPLE THREATS all the time, why not call a PPV TRIPLE THREAT? sounds cooler than fatal fourway, but woops. You said threat. This is PG product. Can't let that happen. However, there are some ideas that are thematic and have worked well and proven that they sell. They are the following:

MONEY IN THE BANK
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

The money in the bank is a huge centrepiece at wrestlemania, and although you're diluting it with its own PPV, the matches are just off the chart, and never fail to disappoint. Keeping it far away from wrestlemania as possible will increase the excitement.

A PPV centered around every champion defending their title is a novel idea, as long as on every PPV every macth isn't for a title. The WWE has been guilty of this over the years.

THE RETURN OF THE KING
One PPV concept that really worked back in the day was THE KING OF THE RING mainly because you rarely got to see tournaments play out, and all the while with something at stake.
However, this time, I think they can tweak it to really mean something. How about the idea that the champions that night have to face 2 other men to keep their title? and when it's all said and done, the tWo champions face each other to be the last man standing, the king of the ring, the undisputed champion. Screw the crown and the throne and the sceptre.Switch it up. Make it cool.

I was a big fan of the extreme rules idea, mainly because you don't see crazy stipulations all the time, especially in the PG rated, post ECW era (or if you simple can't watch TNA). There can be one PPV where there are insane stipulations and high risk matches, like tables ladders chairs, hardcore. This is where TLC belongs, not in its own PPV. The WWE are trying to spread their ideas too thin. Taking every concept they have and trying to push it to the max. Unfortunately, not all of them work. Extreme Rules has the potential to be a great PPV to look forward to if the afforementioned craziness is kept to a minimum leading up to this event.

There are 2 PPVs that i would like to see the WWE bring back, the first is BACKLASH, because I loved the name, and the theme of the PPV was Wrestlemania return matches, and the end of feuds, and the other was NEW YEARS REVOLUTION. I loved the name of this pay-per-view, so appropriate for January, and quite possibly they could use the name as the main theme, where the theme of the pay-per-view revolves or changes year to year. So over the year my PPV schedule would look as follows:

MAY - BACKLASH
JUNE - KING OF THE RING
JULY - EXTREME RULES
AUG - SUMMERSLAM
SPT - NO PPV
OCT - MONEY IN THE BANK
NOV - SURVIVOR SERIES
DEC - NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
JAN - NEW YEARS REVOLUTION
FEB - ROYAL RUMBLE
MAR - NO PPV
APR - WRESTLEMANIA
 
 
That's it. I'm dry, but I'm always finding new ways to get agitated by the WWE's lack of regard for the fans money, and seemingly the fans lack of regard for their own money. These changes are not likely to be implemented but they sure would go a long way in freshening up the product, but as we all know a good PPV starts with good TV. Good TV starts with good story telling, and stars. STARS. We don't have very many. Don't get me started.Keeping the PPV system exciting is just one gear in the machine, but if the aforementioned isn't addressed, we are going be watching the same thing for a long time to come.

1 comment :

  1. This post should get an award, totally agree. The cage gimmick ppv's are pointless and stupid being there is NO blood allowed. Wrestling was so much better when there were only a few a year. Welcome to the site!

    ReplyDelete