Overseas PPVs

Hey Scott,

Why doesn't the WWE ever run PPVs outside of North America? Is it basically just a matter of the time difference? It seems to me — with past examples such as SummerSlam '92 in London and the 2002 Global Warning Tour show in Melbourne, Australia — that running a PPV every few years outside of the normal North American loop would really freshen things up. Those two shows had massive crowds in large stadiums, and I imagine WWE could easily run a stadium show every now-and-then that would really be a strong opportunity for the WWE brand. They haven't even done a UK-only PPV in over a decade and those crowds were usually extremely hot, fun audiences despite the fact that most of those UK-only PPV cards were garbage.

If it IS mainly because of the time difference, what about running a PPV every few years in Mexico or Puerto Rico where the time zones largely line up with those in the normal PPV stomping grounds of the U.S. and Canada? That first New Year's Revolution show (I believe it was 2005?) took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico and I remember it being an incredible crowd that was into the show all night. There were really unique touches during that show like the crowd counting along in Spanish. With these dead stretches between WrestleMania and SummerSlam, I feel like the company is throwing away opportunities to at least bring a different atmosphere to the PPVs that usually take place during this time. 

I mean, I can understand the issue with the time difference when it comes to live PPVs that are held in the UK or Australia, but the only possible issue I can see with running another PPV in Puerto Rico is that it might make for a difficult turnaround for Raw the next night — and even then, I can't imagine that the logistics are much more difficult than what they've faced in the past. Any insight?

​Yeah, it is absolutely the time difference for international shows.  They still have it in their head that a taped show means people will see SPOILERS and then not buy it.  This is of course a meaningless distinction in the post-Network world, but there it is.
As for shows in Mexico, they no longer have Alberto Del Rio under contract and thus can't make him World champion for those tours.  So you can see their problem. ​

Worst PPVs?

Hi Scott,

I always ask for you recommendations on what to watch and I realise I'm doing it wrong. What are the worst PPV shows you've ever endured during the last 10 years of WWE programming?

No Way Out 2002 and Bad Blood 2003 instantly jump out as being really bad shows with no redeeming qualities. Do you have any more that are worth flat out avoiding?

Thanks.

​I barely even remember what happened year-to-year past the brand extension point, let alone which PPVs were terrible.  I remember Bash 2004 as being terrible (the one with Paul Bearer getting killed by cement mixer) and of course this year's Royal Rumble was legendarily awful, but it's a blur to me beyond that.  ​

Resurrecting WCW PPVs


Hey Scott, maybe you've discussed this already, but here goes anyways.  In your opinion, do you see any worth/chance of WWE using any of the old WCW PPV Themes?  What would be the harm to the product to run Bash At The Beach, or a Halloween Havoc, or Spring Stampede?  Hell, even Hog Wild?  Say whatever else they will against WCW, at least they tried to use different settings for their shows.  Even Nitro would be broadcast live from non-traditional venues.  Is it simple a "we won't do it because WCW", or what?  Granted, some of these shows that WCW ran failed in  spectacular WCW fashion, but surely the WWE Juggernaut should be able to succeed where WCW failed.  Thanks for all of your work,

Ozzy

PS:  DS9 Season 7 Review?

Geez, I'm still only 7 episodes into the fifth season of Sons of Anarchy (FUCK YOU, CLAY!), not to mention that I wouldn't even remember what was going on at the end of DS9's sixth season.  Those reviews were binge-watched in the days when I worked early mornings and had all day to fuck around and do whatever I wanted.  That was long before marriage and a 4 year old and stuff.  
As for the WCW PPV idea, we've been calling for that forever, especially the change in visual presentation that the product so desperately needs.  Everyone has to learn to work WWE style, and all the production guys have to learn to direct Kevin Dunn style.  Doing a show from the beach or a theme park or ANYTHING would break up the monotony so much.  Remember the train station where they did the first Shotgun Saturday Night?  That was FUN!  Do a show from the fucking ECW arena, whatever.  SOMETHING.  

10 WCW PPVs worth watching on the Network

Hey Scott,

Not that you need a primer, but I wrote this for the younger fan looking to dip their toes into the WCW realm. Wouldn’t mind hearing some of your picks.

Hell of a list.  I’d throw Halloween Havoc 89 on there, and 95 for the Horsemen deal and pre-Russo prescience of what the business would become under him.  Also 98 was an amazing undercard with one of the worst advertised main events in history.  I think Bash 91 and Uncensored 95 are also required viewing for the same reasons as Souled Out is.   

About the PPVs…

The theory behind the WWE Network being viable was that putting the minor PPVs on there for free would be too good for wrestling fans to pass up, right? Every serious fan makes sure the network is in their cable package, ratings for those shows are high, WWE can request big ad dollars for the shows, and then they're making money.

So — with the network on continued hiatus or whatever — wouldn't the thing to do at this point be farm some/all of the minor PPVs out to existing cable networks, to demonstrate that viability to potential investors and advertisers? Put Battleground or whatever on USA, or E!, or NBC if it's not football season, and have some solid numbers to show people who might put money into the network?

Or is that too logical in the face of continuing to make a pittance on PPV buys?

Well they're hardly making a "pittance".  150,000 buys x $60 = more money than any of us will ever see in a lifetime.  The issue is less "PPV is not viable/profitable/worth it" and more "The dream of the network will mean more money than even Scrooge McDuck could fit into his vault" and thus they're willing to sacrifice one revenue stream for the risk of creating a torrential revenue river.  Point being, there's no reason not to keep milking the PPV cash cow as it stands, especially with the network being vaporware at the moment.  Plus they already have a three-hour show on USA, and I could see it being tough to differentiate to network execs what exactly the difference between RAW and PPV is at this point.  

Blog question – Consecutive PPVs

RedSox1981 here.  Steady reader and infrequent poster.  I was reading the post about wwe.com's 15 Best Ever PPVs, and I posed this question in a reply and was told I should submit this as a question for the blog, so here we are.

What you would you say the best back-to-back-to-back PPVs would be for any company?  My first thought would be the 2001 Royal Rumble, No Way Out, and Wrestlemania X-7.  Maybe other readers would have different ideas. Conversely, would would be the WORST grouping of three consecutive PPVs you can think of?  You could honestly throw a dart at any month for WCW 2000 and work in either direction from there, but I'm curious to see what the readers could come up with.

WWE's had a pretty solid year for PPV, actually, but 2001 is hard to top.  Getting the Benoit-Jericho ladder match, then HHH-Austin three stages, then Austin-Rock on three consecutive shows is an awesome run, no doubt.  If WM2000 wasn't in there like a sore thumb you could have had a rare five-pack of greatness in 2000, with Rumble-NWO-WM-Backlash-JD.  You could also go back to 1989 for Chi-Town Rumble/Wrestlewar/Great American Bash. 
As for the worst, yeah, Russo's 2000 run made for some hideous stuff.  Probably Bash at the Beach/New Blood Rising/Fall Brawl would be the worst combination but there's SO many more.  At least these days WWE doesn't do strings of bad shows anymore, because Vince generally changes the entire direction two months in and evens things out again.

WWE planning to do away with PPVs

…at some point in the future, anyway.

Well, the thing is that if they do get the network off the ground and they DO get, say, 2 million subscribers or as an outside dream 4 million, they'll be able to burn money instead of coal to heat Titan Towers and have enough left over to eat money sandwiches for work every day for the rest of their lives.  WWE will literally be all profit and they can tell the PPV industry and eventually USA to go fuck themselves once and for all.  

Now, obviously I give this network a 0.0001% chance of launching and an even slimmer chance of getting anything above the paltry 100,000 or so subs that the Classics on Demand channel has, but absolutely there is money here. I just don't think it's attainable.  But hey, I know nothing about the TV industry outside of what I read, so maybe they can pull it off.  I hope they do, because it would be pretty awesome to pay $13 a month and get all the PPVs and old Nitros and stuff.

Since they’re going to beat gimmick PPVs into the ground anyway…

Why not a tag-team tournament every year?  It puts the spotlight back on the tag titles and existing tag teams, and it also gives the writers lots of opportunities for wacky combinations where it actually has some consequence beyond a Raw or Smackdown match.  Plenty of possibilities there.  Maybe one guy in an established team decides to screw his partner and find a new one.  Maybe there's a superstar nobody wants to team up with because he's a jerk.  Maybe you do randomly selected teams to fill a couple of spots.  It just seems more interesting than another PPV full of rehashed stuff from the last three weeks of TV.



I would lose my shit if they ever brought back the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament, but I honestly don't think they'd have enough teams to fill out the field unless they used thrown-together singles guys.  But holy shit, could you imagine a tournament with this field with say the winner declared tag champions, thus forcing Hell No to defend three times potentially:

1.  Daniel Bryan & Kane v. Kassius Ohno & Antonio Cesaro (or Wade Barrett & Cesaro as the European Invasion)
2.  Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara v. The Primetime Players
3.  Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow v. The Usos
4.  John Cena & The Rock v. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
5.  CM Punk & Brock Lesnar v. Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez
6.  Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose v. Sheamus & Ryback
7.  Randy Orton & HHH v. Primo & Epico
8.  Big Show & Mark Henry v. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
Just for fun, let's see how we could do this:
Quarterfinals:  
Ohno & Cesaro v. Mysterio & Sin Cara (Kane and Bryan break up to give the Kings the match)
Rhodes Scholars v. Cena & The Rock (seems like the likeliest pairing)
Heyman Guys v. The Shield (Brock hitting an F5 on poor Ricardo to advance?  EPIC.  Ryback would walk out on Sheamus to put the Shield through)  
Evolution v. Show/Henry 
Semifinals:  
Ohno & Cesaro v. Cena & The Rock (again, seems like the likely pairing based on heel-face alignment and star power)
The Shield v. Evolution (I was torn here but I think they'd do an angle where Brock apparently opts out of the tournament after one match because his contract doesn't stipulate working more than once, leaving Punk to get beat 3-on-1.)
Finals:  Cena & The Rock v. The Shield  (Team Crock continues their steamroll into the finals, while Brock returns for a brawl with HHH, sending the Shield onwards)
Winners and tag champions:  The Shield  (This way they get a big rub from beating the biggest stars and don't have to get beaten yet.)  
But hey, as I always say, tournaments are awesome.

December PPVs

Hey Scott,


I had an interesting take on something. I've been watching a lot of WWE PPVs lately from the month of December, and a lot of it is pretty darn good. I mean, December seems to have the reputation of a filler month PPV, and while there were some stinkers in there like 1998, 2003 and perhaps one of the worst PPVs of all time in 2004, I think it has delivered a handful of quality shows, moments and matches. For example:
95 – Bret/Bulldog
97 – Beginning of Rock/Stone Cold rivalry
99 – McMahon/Helmsley era begins, Jericho's first title win
00 – Six pack Hell in a Cell
01 – Undisputed title match series
02 – HBK/HHH 3 Stages of Hell, Benoit/Guerrero
05 – Taker/Orton Hell in a Cell
06 – Fatal 4 way tag team ladder match
07 – Edge/Batista/Taker, Jericho/Orton, HBK/Kennedy
08 – Edge/HHH/Hardy, Cena/Jericho, Orton/Batista, Mysterio/Punk
09-12 – I feel all 4 of the TLC PPVs have been very entertaining top to bottom cards and have provided a slew of great matches.

In my opinion, it seems like December is a highly underrated month in the pantheon of WWE PPVs. Would love to get your thoughts and some good discussion going on the blog, thanks.


My right hand shift key is working properly again!  Holy fuck that annoying.  Ever try to adjust your typing by only using one side of the keyboard?  What a pain.
Anyway, the December PPV has traditionally been the one I will skip and ignore 99% of the time, and given that it's drawn some of the lowest buyrates in the history of the company, many people agree with me.  In fact they should just scrap it and go right from Survivor Series to Royal Rumble.  This past one was the first December PPV I've actually ordered, not counting Starrcades.  All the other ones I've ranted on right away were either watched at friend's house or done on DVD when it was released soon after.  I think I still have the 2010 show on DVD sitting on my review pile, in fact.  It just tends to be SUCH a forgettable show I don't know why they even bother with it.  Yeah, the last couple have been great but does anyone really remember stuff like the Punk-Del Rio TLC match?  
So in conclusion, fuck my keyboard, it sucks.  

Why There’s No Need To Buy PPVs

Not so much a question as pointing out something I noticed.  I've said for a while now that if WWE had 4-5 PPVs a year I would probably order every one, but as the formula stands now I'm only going to buy the Rumble and WrestleMania. (Maybe one extra PPV a year if it seems "must see" like MITB 2011).

We all know most PPVs aren't worth ordering anymore and it's tough to even tell the difference between a 3-hour HD Raw and a 3-hour HD PPV.  Here's a comparison of a recent PPV card with last night's Raw, just for fun…

WWE No Way Out – June 17, 2012 – East Rutherford, New Jersey
– SHEAMUS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
– Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
– Christian vs. Cody Rhodes
– PRIME TIME PLAYERS vs. PRIMO & EPICO vs. THE USOS vs. JUSTIN GABRIEL & TYSON KIDD
– Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
– Sin Cara vs. Hunico
– CM Punk vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
– Ryback vs. Jobbers
– JOHN CENA vs. BIG SHOW

WWE Raw – December 10, 2012 – Newark, New Jersey
– R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett
– PRIMETIME PLAYERS vs. PRIMO & EPICO vs. THE USOS vs. RHODES SCHOLARS
– Eve Torres vs. Alicia Fox
– SHEAMUS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
– Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder
– AJ Lee vs. Vickie Guerrero
– Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston
– JOHN CENA vs. BIG SHOW

Sadly, the majority of the fans probably didn't even notice that they just rehashed the No Way Out PPV less than six months after it took place. Do they even remember that PPVs cost a lot of money and there's zero incentive to purchase most of them?

Nope.  Or to be more eloquent, no, and they don't give a fuck.  They're serving two masters right now, with the PPV buys driving the traditional wrestling way of doing business, and the TV ratings driving their new rights-driven way of doing business, and as a result one often clashes with the other.  It's a totally crazy way of doing things, but that's what the business in 2012 has become for them.  Just wait and see what happens if their network ever launches.

TNA cutting back on PPVs

Scott,


What do you think about TNA cutting back on PPVs? 

Are they just trying to be smart with their money and give the product breathing room, or is this a sign that they're running out of money?

They don't HAVE any money, they're being kept alive at the whims of Panda Energy and Spike TV in that order.  Running 12 PPVs a year at this point is just something they'r doing because it's something they've always done.  There's no way the paltry amount of buys they get possibly justifies the cost of doing the shows, so the more they can cut back, the better.  Honestly they'd be 1000% better off cutting down to Lockdown, Slammiversary, Destination X and Bound For Glory and then just doing everything else as Clash-style (as opposed to Styles Clash) TV specials on Spike or maybe even a different Viacom property like MTV2 as something different.  

Fwd: gimmic ppvs

Scott —


They invented all these "gimmick" pay-per-views to make the fall pay-per-view season more interesting: Night of Champions (last year's main event: not a title match), Hell in the Cell (one Cell match, but whatever) and TLC (which at least has a tables match, a ladder match, a chair match and a TLC match). But when they get to Survivor Series, which was the original gimmick pay-per-view, it's more or less a normal card with one "VINTAGE SURVIVOR SERIES" match.

I don't get it? I love the first two Survivor Series (especially those 10-on10 matches with the tag teams), so why not do a bunch of elimination matches instead of the same old thing. Otherwise, what exactly makes a Survivor Series? My thoughts: Team Cena/Ryback + others v. Team Heyman (4 or 5 man teams, I don't care), Team Sheamus v. Team Barrett (here I'd want Cesaro and the three man band with Barrett), Daniel Bryan's team v. Kane's team (I'd break up all the tag teams and put a member on each team, with the winning team winning his team the right to be the "Captain" of Team Hell No), Randy Orton's team v. Alberto Del Rio's team. And a ten-chick match, if they still have ten chicks (I guess they always throw Ryder in there).

I just think a bunch of elimination tag matches, especially with some creative booking (like captains getting eliminated and whatnot) would be more fun then the standard junk. Also, if Barrett, let's say, pins Sheamus in an elimination match, wouldn't that set up a title shot for him the next month instead of some stupid Smackdown Battle Royal?

– Joe

That's thinking about it far too logically for them.  The Survivor Series thing is a vicious circle — they downplay the history and tradition of the show because it doesn't draw anymore, and it doesn't draw anymore because they've downplayed all the history and tradition.  Honestly, if they actually had feuds that were heated enough to where it would justify settling things in elimination matches and then a title match on top, they'd be fine.  But everyone is mired in 50/50 booking and they can barely even book backwards long enough to justify their stupid Hell in a Cell PPV concept, so of course Survivor Series is going to get the shaft.  You can easily add meaningful stips as well, like whoever eliminates the most people gets a title shot of their choice at the next PPV, or gets #30 in the Royal Rumble, or whatever.  Something to make it seem IMPORTANT.  Which it's not at the moment. 

Pointless PPVs (question for your blog)

Hey Scott, long time reader and supporter. Of all the PPVs you've seen over the years, what are some of the most pointless shows you've ever seen? For example, in my opinion, one of the first that comes to mind is Fully Loaded 1998. I know at this point the WWF (and WCW) had 1 PPV a month, but coming after the very good King Of The Ring show and Summerslam being the main show that everyone looked forward to that summer, Fully Loaded could've very well been another episode of Raw.

Oh, now that's an interesting question.  
A lot of NWO era stuff in WCW was pretty pointless, like Slamboree 97.  The Battlebowl PPVs were worthless.  The Starrcade with the Iron Man tournament (89) meant nothing.  The Robocop show was basically a placeholder.  More recently, whatever PPV had the HHH/Punk v. Miz/Truth tag match was so completely forgettable that I don't even remember what show it was.  

Greatest WCW PPVs

Hey Scott,
Love the blog and visit it daily. Had a question for you. With the recent release of the WCW Clash of the Champions set (which per your suggestion in your review, I picked up and is a phenomenal set by the way), I was in a WCW mood. I was curious what you would rank as your top 5 (or more) WCW pay-per-views of all-time. I know you rave about Bash '89. Would love to hear your input, thanks.
Steve

Maybe I should do a Book of Lists on Kindle this summer, or a more detailed version of my "Guide to Every PPV Ever" rants.
So yeah, Bash 89 is clearly my favorite.  The Bash/Bash combo of 96 is also awesome, featuring the Outsiders powerbombing Bischoff through a table at GAB and then of course the Hogan turn at BATB 96.  Spring Stampede also produced some great stuff, most notably 94 with the Flair-Steamboat main event and 99 with Blitzkrieg's one PPV match and a fantastic Benoit/Malenko v. Raven/Saturn tag match.  Halloween Havoc 89 is an underrated show, with a great Flair/Sting v. Funk/Muta cage match on top and a tremendous Pillman-Luger US title match.  And Superbrawl II was a great show up and down the card during the thick of the Dangerous Alliance.