Each month, the superstars of WWE’s two brands (RAW and SmackDown LIVE) compete in pay-per-views. These special events see deep-running feuds reach their boiling points and championships put on the line. They have always been a part of the WWE landscape, and have had to evolve with the times.
However, Fastlane marked the end of another era for the WWE PPV. The SmackDown LIVE event was the last brand-exclusive PPV, meaning that every single PPV will now be co-headlined by both brands. This also means that RAW and SmackDown will no longer solely own a special event, bringing an end to an era that had come about following WWE’s 2016 brand extension. However, this also means that there is less need for so many of them.
While WWE superstars would usually compete monthly in a PPV, the brand extension ended up resulting in two PPVs per month on quite a lot of occasions. This led to the company producing 16 PPVs in 2017 alone (which is tied as an all-time high with 2006).
But now, with both brands united for every single PPV, there will only be 12 of the special events. And this is definitely a good thing. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at why, in this case, less is more for WWE.
Stronger Programming With Similar Goals
Although WWE produced more PPVs than usual last year, there was never a double dose of the same brand. A RAW PPV was always followed by a SmackDown one (or vice versa). However, there were a few exceptions to this rule.
When these branded PPVs were followed by one of the “Big Four” events (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam or Survivor Series) then either the RAW or SmackDown superstars did have to compete at two consecutive PPVs – as both brands were always involved in the “Big Four”.
This resulted in one show having much longer to prepare for the marquee event, while the other had to overcome their solo PPV first. For example, as the superstars of RAW produced Elimination Chamber a few weeks back, the red brand’s sole focus as of late has been the spectacle of WrestleMania. But since SmackDown’s Fastlane only took place this week, the blue brand’s superstars have two weeks less to prepare for the Grandest Stage of Them All. And as WrestleMania is dual-branded, both brands should have equal time to prepare for it.
For a while there, it all got a little crazy on the pay-per-view scene. With WWE having to churn out more than one PPV on a number of months, it just resulted in diluted programming and half-baked stories. This wasn’t allowing the writers the time to fully prepare storylines, and as a result, a lot of the programs often fell flat.
With fewer PPVs, WWE is now under significantly less pressure. Not only do they have a smaller number of Sunday night specials to produce, they also get more time to focus on both RAW and SmackDown. And with the permanent arrival of dual-branded PPVs, both brands will now strive towards the same goals at the same time, leaving none of them at a disadvantage. This will allow both shows to remain in sync with each other, and this will result in all-around stronger programming. On this occasion, less is definitely more.
Are you happy that WWE has reduced their amount of annual PPVs? Do you think to make all PPVs dual-branded is a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments below!
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