WWE cuts back on PPVs, goes to monthly dual brand PPV format after WrestleMania (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


WWE has announced it is cutting back the PPV schedule and featuring all dual-branded events once per month. The casualties of the schedule are Payback, scheduled for May 27, and Battleground, scheduled for July 15. Also, Extreme Rules moved from September to July. The schedule is now as follows…

WrestleMania 34 – April 8, 2018

WWE Backlash – May 6, 2018

WWE Money in the Bank – June 17, 2018

WWE Extreme Rules – July 15, 2018

SummerSlam – Aug. 19, 2018

WWE Hell in a Cell – Sept. 16, 2018

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs – Oct. 21, 2018

Survivor Series – Nov. 18, 2018

WWE Clash of Champions – Dec. 16, 2018


Keller’s Analysis: This is a good move. I’ve never been an advocate for more than one PPV per month as I think it waters down the concept itself and confuses the marketplace. Having both Raw and Smackdown wrestlers on one major show fans can look forward to makes more sense than watering them down. The downside, of course, is fewer wrestlers getting on PPV, but at this point, WWE has been their usual selves in not promoting mid-card talent particularly well, at least not to the degree that many viewers would be disappointed if they didn’t get to see them on PPV. So the PPVs now will be more “special” and the talent pool on each will be deeper. Their internal data certainly indicated a big drop-off in interest with the single-branded PPVs, so having one big show with all big names together per month probably is better use of their promoting energies and people’s time. The next good move would be to cut back the Kickoff shows to 30 minutes with one warm-up match, start the PPVs at 7 ET, and end about three-and-a-half hours later. That way, there’s room for more matches than a typical three-hour single-branded PPV, but they don’t overdo it with the bloated four hour events with two hour pre-shows. A combined four hours from 30 minute Kickoff show to the 3.5 hour main show is probably the happy medium that would satisfy the most people. 

6 Comments on WWE cuts back on PPVs, goes to monthly dual brand PPV format after WrestleMania (w/Keller’s Analysis)

  1. I don’t understand the push for less wrestling, be it through cutting down on PPVs or the length of the kickoff shows. I’ll give you that the kickoff shows are mostly talk and recaps, but you’re still getting 3 matches mixed in during the two hour format versus 1 in a thirty minute format. It’s not as if people who can’t watch, or just choose not to, miss major story developments here either.

    I want the absolute most I can get for my network subscription fee. I rarely watch Smackdown PPVs anymore because I’m not into the show’s stories these days, but I like that the option is there. I watch every kickoff show in it’s entirety when I do catch a PPV, however.

    Also, to be honest, I want a Women’s wrestling show on the network.

    I get that people are busy, or just may not want to watch that much wrestling. On the flip side, cutting programming gives those of us who do less bang for our buck. I don’t like that idea unless it involves going to some type of pricing tier system.

    • I suppose the dual-branded PPVs will run longer than the single-branded, so it won’t be as big a loss of Network content as it immediately seems. It does feel like there will end up being less room for midcard talent, though and for non-title feuds. There is no really feasible way for them to defend every title every PPV, even with the cruiserweight title likely to become 205 Live exclusive and not seen on PPV at all.

      They’re also going to have a problem for Money In The Bank, HIAC, down the track Elimination Chamber… they’ve created the precedent they have to do men’s and women’s versions of the signature match, but with dual-brand PPVs it starts to become an issue of needing to do the Raw AND Smackdown version, in men’s and women’s, unless they do mixed-brand matches.

      I suppose you could do something like, at Backlash, having a match between a champion of Raw and a champion of Smackdown, in the men’s and in the women’s, for the rights to which brand gets the MITB match this year. Or else the MITB match could be a mixed-brand match.

    • Matches on the pre-show are considered lesser even though they really aren’t. I rarely watch the pre show since it’s often a combo of really bad acting and pre shown promos. I concur with the womens wrestling show. It is needed with the amount of talent but shouldn’t take away from the RAW and Smackdown women’s matches.

  2. On another plus, I doubt we would have to sit through ‘Raw v Smackdown’ Survivor Series as all PPVs will be dual-branded. All sports entertainers can keep the character integrity…

  3. There used to be tremendous suspense and build up for the quarterly pay per views. They often were the blow off matches culminating long, slow building, suspenseful feuds.

    Not sure quarterly PPVs would fly any more, but more often than not the monthly PPV matches often appear to be similar to or a slightly dressed up versions of Raw or Smackdown matches, with a few exceptions. The main events are usually very good as are a few of the under card matches which dramatically exceed expectations.

    Now, week after week, we see multiple false finishes, finishing moves kicked out of routinely, pins on comparatively simple moves, and a lot of less than believable scripted promos and feuds.

    One good thing about the current PPVs is that they are more affordable for the fans. In that way, the WWE has been more responsive to their fans than the other major sports, with their inflated ticket prices.

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