The collection of WWE PPVs has slowly larger each and every 12 months. The first WrestleMania in 1985 was once industry-defining. By 1987, WWE had 4 common PPVs: Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and Summerslam. In 1993, WWE added King of the Ring, for a complete of 5 common PPVs. It wasn’t till 1995 that the corporate added the In Your House PPVs, which ended in one PPV tournament per 30 days. Originally, WWE deliberate those PPVs as minor occasions: they might closing most effective two hours, and they’d price much less for lovers to buy them. But finally, they too ran 3 hours in period.
Now, speedy ahead to lately. How many hours of content material does a WWE fan devour in a median 12 months?
WWE hosted 20 PPVs in 2017, now not together with particular tournaments just like the Mae Young Classic and the United Kingdom Tournament. WWE scheduled 19 PPVs for 2018.
These presentations reasonable 3 hours in period, now not together with the pre-show which has as much as 3 “dark” suits. There are single-branded PPVs which can be completely Raw or completely SmackDown (even though they are going to quickly transform cross-brand, if the rumors are true), along with the “big” occasions like WrestleMania, which characteristic each rosters. Including their overlapped, joint occasions, Raw will host ten PPVs in 2018. SmackDown will host 9 PPVs.
Then, there is the weekly presentations: Raw (3 hours), SmackDown (two hours), NXT (one hour), 205 Live (one hour), NXT (one hour), and Main Event (one hour). That’s 8 hours of in-ring content material consistent with week–over 30 hours of recent content material in a median month. Perhaps–and I am most effective half-joking–this is the explanation why WWE lovers are so unswerving. They merely should not have the time to stick with the rest.
Usually, when critics talk about the sheer quantity of WWE content material, they center of attention on fan burnout and fatigue. That’s legitimate: whole suits can tackle a rehearsed sameness. There’s most effective such a lot of instances you’ll watch two competition do their run the ropes / shoulder take on / dropdown / leapfrog / hip toss spot ahead of it turns into tiresome. The suits transform much less about who wins and who loses, and extra about how neatly the wrestlers execute their films and promote their fighters’.
But there is any other, larger worry with having this many PPVs in a 12 months. The wrestlers can not inform efficient stories–nevermind narrative arcs–in such slim time frames.
Let’s use a realistic instance as an example this level. WWE Payback, a Smackdown unique PPV, is on May 27. WWE Money within the Bank, a joint PPV, is on June 17. SmackDown has 3 weeks between those two PPVs–six hours of weekly tv, with commercials–to advance its storylines and promote Money within the Bank to doable subscribers. Meanwhile, SummerSlam is in August.
Imagine you might be on WWE Creative, and there are 4 weeks till Payback. It’s extra urgent to e book and promote the minor, tangible PPV in lower than a month than concern in regards to the main, intangible PPV that is 3 months away. But when Payback is over, what do the writers do for a follow-up act–especially in the event that they already booked their must-see fit at Payback, they usually most effective have 3 weeks to create one thing new? They may use the SummerSlam storylines to strengthen Money within the Bank; but when they do this, then what occurs at SummerSlam? Do they cannibalize the WrestleMania 35 storylines to strengthen that?
The finish result’s that the whole lot feels rushed for the reason that feuds will get scrunched in combination like an accordion. WWE is valuing expediency over narrative construct. In the outdated days, a feud may take months to percolate to a boil. Today, everything of that feud is filled into a brief, two-month window. And after that feud’s over, what is subsequent for each wrestlers? There’s most effective such a lot of variations that WWE Creative can e book. That’s how staleness units in–when lovers have already observed all of it, and the corporate has conditioned them to be expecting instant gratification.
Sometimes, permitting conflicts to simmer is the easier choice. There’s a perfect behind the scenes tale about Jim Cornette and Vince Russo, two of the principle ingenious forces in WWE all the way through the overdue ’90s. Kane had simply debuted at Badd Blood, the place he Tombstoned the Undertaker after ripping the door off Hell in a Cell.
According to Cornette, Russo sought after to stick with up in an instant by way of having Kane put the Undertaker via a desk on Raw. But Cornette identified that that they had half of a 12 months till WrestleMania; if Kane put his brother in the course of the announcer’s desk, what may they do to boost the stakes additional over the following six months? So as an alternative, WWE de-escalated the feud in the intervening time. Undertaker refused to struggle his brother; it was once most effective after Kane attempted to burn him to demise on the Royal Rumble that he acquiesced.
This was once again in 1997-1998, when there have been 12 PPVs consistent with 12 months and no cut up roster. Would WWE be this affected person, and let a feud construct for this lengthy, in 2018? It’s extremely not going. Every week, the WWE superstars do the figurative an identical of hanging the Undertaker in the course of the desk. No plot level ever will get stored for later. And even though it is simple to criticize WWE’s temporary, hotshot reserving, the PPV time table leaves the writers with few different choices in the event that they wish to stay their jobs.
It’s too overdue for 2018, which has already been scheduled and set in stone. But for 2019, 15 PPV occasions, fairly than 19 or 20, can be a marked development. With fewer main occasions each and every 12 months, the rest ones may have extra status and significance. The writers can then center of attention at the larger image fairly than hitting a chain of plot issues.
Sometimes–even within the pageantry-driven, over the top melodrama this is skilled wrestling–less can also be extra.