Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
In March of 2001 the WWE buys their competition WCW from Turner Broadcasting after years of feuding. This and the shutdown of ECW caused an influx of talent to the WWE. To counter this WWE created an invasion angle between the 3 brands however it flopped after awful booking. So on March 25th 2002 the WWE changed the wrestling landscape for years to come. They split there 50 plus man roster into two and created a brand split. TV Shows Raw and Smackdown turned into brands with WWE taking there big stars and splitting things up. Now fast forward 4 years later and we have a new brand under the ECW name.
Now with 3 brands the WWE has tried to create a lot of things. We saw draft lotteries, trades, and contracts come into play on WWE Television. However one major change was when WWE in 2003 started brand only Pay Per Views at WWE Bad Blood which was headline by Triple H vs. Kevin Nash for the WWE Championship in the Hell in a Cell. However over the years WWE Buy Rates have tumbled while new kid on the block Ultimate Fighting Championship has flourished. Whether or not UFC is just the trend of the week is up for argument however the success has forced the WWE to question their business. This questioning has led to them going backwards again and going back to the 3 brand pay per views. So in this column I?m going explain exactly why this will be an awful idea.
Now first I want to explain why the original brand only Pay Per Views have failed. First off WWE created a huge divide between brands over the years as many of us know Raw is the A Show, Smackdown is the B Show, and ECW is the C Show. So if you know Smackdown and ECW are not up to Raw?s level then why would you want to buy their Pay Per Views? Also another huge issue with brand only shows is WWE doesn?t bother to announce people working the show. Case in point Smackdown Pay Per View Great American Bash 2004 WWE only bothered to announce 4 matches before the show and the buy rate showed it. However this didn?t teach the WWE anything because their biggest failure to date was ECW December to Dismember where they only promoted 2 matches resulting in one of the worst WWE Buy Rates ever.
However the biggest flaws in these Pay Per Views are the same flaw in the Brand Split which is a lack of star power. However bringing the brands back together will not solve it. WWE has what I?ve read they call the big 9 which is Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Lashley, Edge, John Cena, Batista, and Randy Orton who are their main event talent. These are the stars who WWE builds main events around. This is fine that?s how you set up a Pay Per View however WWE fails to build the undercard wrestlers up so when it comes time for new Main Eventers and better undercards for Pay Per View the talent isn?t there. So instead of seeing the same matches on every Pay Per view you have the newer stars to plug into the spots which create fresher match ups. This will in turn create more interest in your Pay Per Views. However with 3 brand this will become a difficult task to do.
Now let?s go to the reason the 3 brand Pay Per Views will fail now because I have no doubt in my mind this is a bad idea. First off the over exposure of talent will become apparent very quickly. See the big 9 as I named earlier are all going to be on every Pay Per View every month 16 times a year. That?s 16 matches not to include 5 hours of WWE TV to deal with and eventually these stars will become annoying and stale. Case in point WCW for years continued to push Luger, Sting, Savage, Hogan, and the Outsiders way past the point when people cared because we have seen them. It?s not the 1980s where the big matches only happen on Pay Per Views we have 5 hours of WWE Television to see big matches and wrestlers every week. So when you?re trying to sell Pay Per Views you need to be able to switch up your talent or your doomed to repeat the WCW mistake.
Also a huge draw back is 16 Pay Per Views a year is just too much for any show. Having all 3 rosters on 16 separate shows that are in some cases 2 weeks apart is an awful idea. It?s over exposing your talent, your matches, and will hurt your bottom line. Not only does WWE have to worry about the amount of time between their shows but you also have TNA Pay Per Views to deal with. So in a span of 3 weeks WWE fans could lose around $110 dollars if they decided to buy the TNA Pay Per View as well. Now if these are the same wrestlers and the same matches why would fans waste money on the show? I?m sure someone will say why would they have the same matches and the answer is simply you can?t build a new Pay Per View worth buying in 2 weeks so you will see tons of rematches.
Another huge question that WWE doesn?t answer is how will these new 3 brand Pay Per Views effect the big 4? Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Summerslam, and Wrestlemania will no longer have that special effect of all 3 brands on one show. Also you have to worry about redoing matches that you have recently done. I really believe 3 brand shows all year will affect these shows in terms of buy rates because the matches won?t be as special. So when it comes time for Wrestlemania you?re going to have to ask how WWE keeps the marquee matches off after 16 straight Pay Per Views.
Also this will affect the roster in terms of creating new stars. With 3 brands on every show you have only 8 matches at most to give away and unless it?s the Royal Rumble or Survivor Series a lot of workers will not get opportunities to be on Pay Per View. Case in point Kane, Carlito, Johnny Nitro, Chris Masters, Chavo Gurerrero, Fit Finlay, Rob Van Dam, Sabu, CM Punk, and worst of all Mr. Kennedy aren?t even on Backlash tonight. That?s some of your biggest and younger stars on the roster. This is without the injured Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry, and Booker T on the roster. What?s going to happen down the line when you don?t have even more space for these stars? How do you create bigger stars without Pay Per View matches? How do young stars know there doing ok if there kept off of 16 Pay Per Views a year?
The fact of the matter is there are so many drawbacks to this 3 brand Pay Per View idea that down the line I believe it will hurt the bottom line of the WWE. Sure you might see a couple of decent buy rates and maybe the quality raises a bit but over time I think both will end up becoming weaker. The way to make things work is simply that you give all 3 brands 4 Pay Per Views while keeping the big 4 3 brand Pay Per Views. By doing this you one get more time to build up your matches so instead of having 2 weeks between shows you have in some cases almost 2 months to build up your matches. To make these more successful WWE officials need to focus on creating a very competitive undercard. This means don?t have only 3 matches on the card that have a reason give 7 solid matches that have a reason. Make the undercard titles mean something and more importantly allow wrestlers to build themselves on Pay Per Views. If you allow your brands time and freedom to build up there shows Brand only Pay Per Views should not only raise in quality but also in Buy Rates.
That is my opinion and that?s all for this week. Feedback is welcomed.
Jason ?Xtremefalls? Simmons
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