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First off, I’d like to give thanks to Dr. Davin Davis for linking to not one, not two, but THREE of my articles I wrote last month.  It’s nice to know that there are people I don’t know personally who are reading this webpage.  Here’s hoping more people start linking to my articles, because the more people that read this little webpage, the happier I am.  Okay, now it’s time to get down to business.

I want to talk specifically about WWE’s Pay-Per-View scheduling, especially over the past couple of years, this year included.  It seems that ever since I began watching WWE programming (in early 2006 after a very long period where I didn’t watch any of their shows), there has been a very large number of pay-per-view events every year.  Currently, there are 14 WWE PPV events scheduled for this year.  Four have already taken place, and the fifth will be happening in two weeks.  So what’s the big deal about this?  Well, there are a number of problems with having this many big shows every year.  First, it’s a huge strain on the consumers who want to keep up with the storylines, both outside and inside the ring.  Second, it puts a strain on the wrestlers, who have to put on their absolute best even more days throughout the year than they already do.  And third, it makes it very difficult for the writing team to give some feuds the build that they properly need in order for the matches at the PPVs to mean much.  I might as well talk about these in the order I listed, so I’ll start from the top.

We all know the world is in an economic crisis, if you will.  I don’t really like using that word, but everybody else seems to be using it, so for now I’ll go along with the rest.  Hundreds of people are losing their jobs every day, and thusly are unable to pay for their houses, cars, and food to feed their families.  And that isn’t even counting the many amenities that we have living in America.  I can attest to that.  So, in these tough times, why is Vince McMahon making us shell out $55 fourteen times a year?  That’s $770 a year he’s asking us to spend on his company and their shows.  And this doesn’t even factor in the cost of cable or sattelite TV that’s required to watch 3/4 of the broadcast TV shows they’re putting on.  That boosts the cost of keeping up with WWE programming into the thousands of dollars every year.  Money that a lot of people need for more important things like shelter and food.  WWE really needs to cut back on the PPVs so we (the consumers) don’t have to spend the money we might need to pay off a car loan instead.  Of course, if you’re spending your car payments to watch a WWE PPV, there are problems you’ve got that I can’t solve, except by yelling at you.  Firstly, there needs to be fewer PPV events every year, and secondly, the cost needs to be lowered dramatically.  I read that just about every other country in the word pays no more than half of what the US consumers pay for a PPV.  Austraila, I believe, pays around $20 for a show.  That doesn’t counteract what they have to pay for other amenities (like $100 for a heavily edited video game that costs half that here), but still, if the various PPV sellers around the country saw and learned from the example countries like Australia set for pricing PPV events, maybe more people would be willing and able to buy them and keep up with the breakneck pace of the storylines written by WWE Creative.

Now, for this next part, I know that adding a couple more days onto a WWE wrestler’s already hectic schedule might not sound like very much, especially when very few are expected to pull off a match like HBK-Taker at WM25.  But when you consider that these shows are the biggest dates of the year, there is always added pressure on the talents to impress the entire viewing audience (which, thanks to the overwhelming price and number of shows each year, is dwindling from show to show).  Wrestlers are expected to perform at their very best when they are involved in a PPV, so putting that much extra pressure on these talented men and women is going to drain them physically, mentally, and emotionally just that much more quickly.  Which especially goes for the main event talents like John Cena, Edge, HHH, Undertaker, Randy Orton, and the like.  Each big show they’re expected to put on a five-star match means a shorter career in the long run.  We all know that a lot of these guys expereince burnout and have to take time away from the business.  Sometimes that time away turns into full retirement.  And that deprives the fans of watching some of their favorite wrestlers.  I know that last bit sounded a touch shallow in the eyes of a wrestler, but if there were fewer big shows every year, they might just be able to keep on going a little longer and earn a little more money for their inevitable retirement.

Lastly (for now, at least), we have the issue of building a feud.  A really good feud is built over weeks and months, leading to a great series of matches that will be remembered for years to come.  When you’ve got three weeks between PPV shows, trying to build an epic feud is entirely out of the question.  Trying to build even a halfway decent feud is difficult at best, and impossible at worst.  You have to look at the recent and upcoming WWE PPV schedule to realize what I’m talking about here.

Wrestlemania 25 – April 5

Backlash – April 26

Judgment Day – May 17

Extreme Rules – June 7

Great American Bash (which I’ll likely be attending) – June 28

That’s four consecutive PPV events with three weeks of build between them.  I can’t honestly expect WWE Creative to come up with great feuds in that amount of time.  Sure, they could build over a number of PPVs, but that just means that I, the consumer, have to pay even more money to see how a feud turns out in the end.  Also, having three weeks of build makes the mid- and undercard feel somewhat forced.  A #1 contender for the IC or US title will be declared usually a week, maybe two, before the PPV, giving absolutely no time to actually build the program between the wrestlers.  They’ll be lucky to find out if there’s any chemistry in the ring between the performers before their big match, and when they finally do have their match, there’s no guarantee that any chemistry will even appear.  That’s when you get clusterfucks like the three previous HHH-Orton matches that stunk up the place.  Of course, that was built over months and still didn’t deliver, but that’s because those two have no chemistry in the ring.  It’s when you try to force chemistry that some of the worst matches occur.  But I’m getting off-topic.

My point here is that there needs to be more time between shows in order for the proper amount of build to be created, so the matches actually MEAN something.  They’re making us pay an arm and a leg to watch these supposedly important matches, so why not give a little extra time to build the feud and make us invest emotionally in the matches?  I know that I, personally, would actually consider purchasing a PPV show if it was $20 and there was 4-5 weeks of build beforehand to establish roles and characters for each match.  PPV matches should be major builds for feuds that are continuing on, and major blowoffs for feuds that are ending.  I’m not saying that ALL feuds should end at a PPV, but there needs to be incentive to pay for nd watch these shows, not just three weeks of pseudo-build and a couple of title matches no one cares about.

Since I’m feeling frisky at the moment, I’ll even create a revised Pay-Per-View schedule for the WWE to use from now on, so long as they credit me for it.

The Big Four (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series) will stay in their respective months.  Each other month will have just one PPV show, with four to five weeks of build in between.  12 shows, 12 months, 52 weeks.  Here’s how I’d schedule it.

Third week of January – Royal Rumble

Third week of February – No Way Out

Fourth week of March – Wrestlemania

Fourth week of April – Backlash

Fourth week of May – Night of Champions

Fourth week of June – Great American Bash

First week of August – Summerslam

First week of September – Unforgiven

First week of October – No Mercy

Second week of November – Survivor Series

Second week of December – Armageddon

Okay, so I strayed from my original plan.  11 shows in 12 months.  But it gives ample build for the Big Four and four weeks of build for every other show.  You may have noticed I took out Extreme Rules and Cyber Sunday.  Those are gimmicky PPV shows that don’t need to be included anywhere.  I also took out Judgment Day because it was just crammed in there.  I’m all for making certain PPVs a bit gimmicky, but not TOO gimmicky.  Like keeping No Way Out the Elimination Chamber PPV and Unforgiven the Championship Scramble PPV.  Also, Survivor Series NEEDS more traditional Survivor Series matches!  At least half the card needs to be eliminaiton matches like they did back in the olden days.  Night of Champions has its own gimmick, but it’s a very entertaining gimmick.  I wish that was the show that was still scheduled to be in Sacramento, but for some entirely unknown reason, WWE switched it with the Great American Bash.  So I get the GAB instead of eight championship matches.  I might not go.  It all depends on the card and how well the feuds were built.  I’m pretty sure that three weeks won’t be enough time to build matches I can get emotionally invested in.

So, there you have it.  My thoughts on WWE’s Pay-Per-View scheduling nightmare.  I’ll be back next week, maybe with some recaps of the four TV shows WWE puts on every week, and in a couple of weeks will be my Judgment Day picks.  I wonder if I’ll be able to beat my Backlash percentage…you’ll have to wait and see.  Until then, I’ll keep wriitng and I hope you keep reading.

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