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The Cost of WrestleMania, Week 6: Secondary Market Ticket Sales Remain Steady
The Undertaker returned to Raw and confirmed his role as Vince McMahon’s hired gun against Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32. Wrestling fans spent the last week thinking there must be more to it; why would the babyface legend Undertaker represent the heel owner Vince McMahon against the babyface Shane McMahon for control of WWE? Instead of answering those questions, Vince and company have side-stepped them, and instead are counting on the car crash value of Shane vs. Undertaker to draw.
Roman Reigns was absent from Raw this week in order to sell last week’s beat down at the hands of Triple H. Dean Ambrose stepped up and challenged Triple H to a title match, which will take place March 12 at a new WWE Network special called Roadblock.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks ended in a double pin, so it looks like the Divas Title may be contested in a three-way match. A.J. Styles and Chris Jericho look like they’ll be working WrestleMania 32 together one way or another, either as partners or opponents. Ryback continued his heel turn and Bray Wyatt gave another long-winded, rambling promo that ultimately went nowhere.
Expensive Floor Seats Still Available
Not much has changed over the last five weeks on the primary ticket market (Ticketmaster). There are still plenty of floor seats left, which have a face value of $2,360 per ticket ($2,437.46 per ticket with fees). The best pair of tickets available as of Wednesday morning (March 2) were Section L, Row L, Seats 10-11; these seats face what appears to be the northwest corner of the ring on the same side as the hard camera.
The cheapest seats available from Ticketmaster as of Wednesday morning were Section 247, Row 12, Seats 7-8 ($207 per ticket, or $229.59 per ticket with fees). These seats are in the second tier of seating right above the entrance stage.
eBay Sales Trends Continue
Over the last seven days, there were 31 new completed eBay listings for WrestleMania 32-related tickets, which includes Axxess, Raw and the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, essentially the same as the 30 completed listings from the previous week. Of the 31 completed listings this week, 16 were for WrestleMania 32 itself.
Once again, cheaper tickets had higher per-ticket markups than more expensive tickets. A pair of tickets in Section 444, Row 28, sold for $300 on eBay, compared to the original sale price of approximately $214. In other words, the buyer paid approximately 40 percent more per ticket over the original TicketMaster cost. Most other completed listings had an average per ticket mark-up of about 25 percent.
WWE is trying to keep fans guessing about the main event of WrestleMania 32. Dean Ambrose, the designated fall guy for the Fastlane main event, was once again inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture. Whether they want to admit it publicly, Vince McMahon and company have to know that fans are not excited about Reigns main-eventing WrestleMania for the second year in a row.
Ambrose is being thrust into the Daniel Bryan role, dangled over fans who are holding out hope that WWE will scrap its years-long Reigns plans in favor of the more popular Ambrose. Fans who don’t want to see Reigns vs. Triple H in the main event may be holding onto their tickets to see what WWE does.
The main focus of WWE right now is clearly the McMahons, with Shane challenging The Undertaker, who represents Vince and Stephanie, and Triple H reigning as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. WWE didn’t even try to offer any explanation this week as to why the babyface Undertaker would act as a pawn for the heel Vince against the babyface Shane. Instead, they’re hoping that whatever big spots they have in store for Shane will sell WrestleMania.
However, “Over the Hill in a Cell” will pit a 51-year-old Undertaker against a 46-year-old non-wrestler in Shane McMahon. That’s right: Shane will be older in his cage match at WrestleMania 32 than either Hogan or Piper were during their match at Halloween Havoc ’97.
More recently, Bellator MMA has drawn criticism for its presentation of main event freak show fights featuring older fighters past their prime and out-of-shape street fighters. Bellator 149 in February was headlined by 49-year-old Royce Gracie (younger than Undertaker) against 52-year-old Ken Shamrock. There were a lot of jokes made about the combined age of 101 between the two fighters, but Shane-Taker isn’t much different, with a combined age of 97. In fact, three of the top four stars of WrestleMania 32 are age 46 or older: Shane, Triple H, and Undertaker.
Barring any significant developments, next week’s Cost of WrestleMania column will compare secondary market ticket sales of WrestleMania 32 and NXT TakeOver: Dallas.