There have been recent talks among WWE officials about potentially scaling back on the current number of pay-per-views in favor of hosting more live specials on the WWE Network, according to Daily Wrestling News.
Normally, the WWE hosts 12 pay-per-views each year, or simply one every month. Last year, the company hosted two PPV’s in the month of may — one of which was a WWE Network special — thus bringing the total to 13 shows. Below is a list of the traditional PPV schedule as of last year.
- Royal Rumble
- Extreme Rules
- Elimination Chamber (billed as WWE Network special; hosted on several PPV providers)
- Money in the Bank
- Night of Champions
- Hell in a Cell
- Survivor Series
- TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs
If Daily Wrestling News’ report comes to fruition, there would potentially be at least two PPV’s cut from the schedule and replaced as WWE Network live specials. The talk among the company officials was that WWE would run six-to-seven live specials on the WWE Network in addition to its big four PPV’s (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series).
The NXT Takeover specials, which have been tremendously praised by fans of WWE’s developmental brand, would not count towards that quota. Therefore, that would bring the total count of WWE’s yearly PPV’s to approximately 10-11 shows.
Running live specials on the WWE Network is something the company has already done on numerous occasions and produced well-received results. The first major WWE Network special was The Beast in the East which emanated live from Tokyo, Japan, on July 4, 2015. That event was headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston, Chris Jericho vs. Neville, and Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor for the NXT championship. This event also marked the first time that WWE aired an event held in Japan live.
On October 3, 2015, the company hosted another WWE Network special, Live From Madison Square Garden. Despite MSG being considered WWE’s home base for much of the company’s existence, the company had not run a televised wrestling show from the venue since Survivor Series 2011 — an event that featured The Rock’s first match in seven years.
At Live from Madison Square Garden, the show was headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show; Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship on the 25-year anniversary of Jericho’s pro wrestling debut; and John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Steel Cage match for the WWE United States championship. While the evening featured several solid matches, the show was merely a bridge to get to WWE’s following PPV, Hell in a Cell, as Bill Hanstock of SB Nation wrote.
However, WWE was able to air a live event from MSG and avoid having to pay enormous television fees by using the network. That’s likely something the company will keep in mind when considering the future of its PPV and WWE Network schedules.
Something to keep in mind is how WWE has used Lesnar as a focal point for these WWE Network specials. “The Beast Incarnate” has limited dates on his contract with WWE, so when he’s scheduled to wrestle at a live event, the company heavily promotes it.
No plans have been finalized at this point but with the WWE Network being a viable means of PPV distribution, the possibility of running more live specials is a real possibility in the future.
[Featured Image via WWE]