SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
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.