2017 is a little over half gone, and right now, counting the ones that have already happened, there are 15 PPVs (pay-per-views) scheduled for WWE’s 2017 calendar year, with three more being rumoured but unconfirmed. If the rumoured events happen, that means WWE will have had a PPV event once every three Sundays on average, not counting the NXT PPV events.
We are now firmly in the WWE Network Era, and per WWE’s 2016 annual business report, available here, WWE Network subscriptions net revenue now dwarfs traditional PPV net revenue by more than a 13 to 1 ratio, so there is no longer a financial pressure on WWE to have PPV events. Their primary purpose now is storytelling, which can be done on RAW and SD Live, so this begs the question: why are there so many PPVs? And are there too many? The brand split may be the reason for there being so many, but as to whether there are too many, I believe the answer to that question is, quite simply, yes. 18 is too many. So is 15, for that matter. I think the magic number is 12. I would feel differently if WWE were making popular gimmick PPVs, like Money in the Bank, happen twice to allow both brands to benefit, but that isn’t happening. Smackdown Live are the only beneficiaries of the Money in the Bank gimmick this year, for example. It should also be said that the storytelling as well as the matches at the PPVs this year have been subpar, with Battleground being one of the worst in recent memory.
So what does the ideal schedule look like? That’s a matter of debate, but here are my two cents on the matter. Let’s say there are 12 PPVs, here is my ideal schedule:
- January – Royal Rumble (Both)
- February – No Way Out (RAW/SDL)
- March – Unforgiven (RAW/SDL)
- April – WrestleMania (Both)
- May – Payback (RAW/SDL)
- June – Backlash (RAW/SDL)
- July – Great American Bash (Both)
- August – SummerSlam (Both)
- September – No Mercy (RAW/SDL)
- October – Coronation (Both)
- November – Survivor Series (Both)
- December – Armageddon (RAW/SDL)
In my ideal schedule, each brand shares six shows, with the final six being split up by either coin toss or some other method. Once someone wins the first event, the rest can alternate back and forth. The PPVs named for match types are gone, since I feel the special match types, like Hell in a Cell, need to be a surprise and something special, not a scheduled annual event. Also, I feel the MITB matches need to happen at Mania, with the winners having until the next Mania to cash in. Some of the older fans will recognize some PPV names are back.
In October, there is a new PPV called Coronation. This is not a new event; it’s a twist on an old classic. At Coronation, the finals for a few tournaments take place. Starting after SummerSlam, tournaments are held to name the King, Queen, and Team of the Ring. Adding to the fun will be the new rule that in each tournament, there will be two brackets. One side will be past champions as well as current champions, and the other side will be people who have never won the title. If the champion wins, they get the glory, but if they lose at any point in the tournament, the winners are the new champions.
That is my ideal PPV schedule.