Back when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were WWE’s top heels as the leaders of the faction known as The Authority, the husband-and-wife team notably popularized the catchphrase “best for business” when defending their unpopular on-screen decisions as villainous executives. And given how WWE has often received flak from fans for frequently focusing its programming on part-time wrestler Brock Lesnar, it appears that the former UFC fighter’s recent Universal Championship win over Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules might be a real-life example of WWE doing something that is, just as the catchphrase states, “best for business.”
On Monday, WhatCulture cited a post from the Twitter user “nWoWolfpacTV,” who shared a graphic featuring data from recent WWE live events across the United States that was taken during the reigns of several former Universal and WWE Champions. Using a sample size of 16 events, the Twitter user revealed that Rollins — who lost his title at Extreme Rules when Lesnar cashed in his Money in the Bank contract — drew an average of 3,334 fans at house shows he appeared in during his most recent title run.
Meanwhile, nWoWolfpacTV noted that Jinder Mahal, whose six-month WWE Championship reign on SmackDown Live in 2017 was heavily criticized, attracted an average of 3,497 fans while representing a “weaker brand.” In a separate tweet, they pointed out that current titleholder Kofi Kingston is, at the moment, the fourth-worst drawing WWE Champion in the company’s history, as only 2,940 fans on average have attended house shows he has participated in since winning the title at WrestleMania 35.
— PWStream (@PWStream) July 21, 2019
As explained by WhatCulture, the underwhelming statistics presented by nWoWolfpacTV seem to be representative of WWE’s general issues with declining attendance figures, rather than a lack of support for specific wrestlers as champions. However, the publication opined that they are nonetheless “interesting,” as Rollins’ popularity as Monday Night Raw’s top babyface apparently wasn’t enough to convince fans to show up to live events.
“[WWE’s] lack of money-drawing stars has never been so apparent, and it’s hard to imagine this problem solving itself,” WhatCulture added.
While it hasn’t been two full weeks since Brock Lesnar beat Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship — thus possibly explaining the lack of live event audience data for his current reign — the graphic posted by nWoWolfpacTV also featured a number of other notable takeaways.
Per Ringside News, it wasn’t surprising that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was listed as the best-drawing champion ever, as WWE’s house shows did great business during the company’s “Attitude Era” in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, the late Eddie Guerrero was the worst draw among the former world champions listed in the graphic, as his sole WWE Championship reign attracted a mere 2,591 fans per event, based on a sample of 23 house shows.