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12/3/12 9:26 AM
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Member Since: 12/10/08
Posts: 852

From last weeks observer

The 10/28 Hell in a Cell PPV was an unexpected huge success, doing 152,000 domestic buys and 48,000 overseas for a total of 200,000, based on first company estimates that came out this week.

The domestic number was only slightly shy of the year-high 159,000 for a "B" show set by Backlash, which featured the return of Brock Lesnar, in a match with John Cena. The number beat the 2011 Money in the Bank domestic number after the C.M. Punk promo (146,000), and this number would have to be considered the greatest real success to date for a show that Punk has headlined.

The numbers were up 55% domestically from the 98,000 number last year, but down 43% internationally from the 84,000 last year, for an overall increase of 9.9%

There are a lot of different factors to look at here, which all played a part. This year's Hell in a Cell had a seven week build since Night of Champions, since WWE eliminated the Vengeance show from this year's schedule.

Last year, Hell in a Cell came two weeks after Night of Champions. It's a proven fact that it's very difficult to draw with a two week break, and even a three week break usually leads to shows doing a lower number. Whether seven weeks makes it easier than four weeks isn't really proven since it has happened so rarely.

There is an argument that it would be, but with UFC this year, when there were two different long breaks due to originally planned dates falling through. One led to Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, which did big numbers, but it's hard to say the long break was the reason since that match was expected to do roughly as well as it did and perhaps even better. The second led to Jones vs. Vitor Belfort, which, even with the long break, drew the worst numbers of Jones' title reign and did the same or lower than what would have been expected for that show had their been a normal break. Based on that, the seven week break difference should be negligible. However the increase over a show with a two week break should have been significant, which it was.

Internationally, this year's show aired on Sky instead of on PPV in the U.K., which is still the company's best overseas PPV market.

The other factor, and this is the big one, is this number was drawn on a show that John Cena did not wrestle on. If you look at the previous "B" shows that have done well over the past few years, every one of them was expected. Lesnar's return realistically was expected to do better than it did. Most expected Punk's Money in the Bank match to do better than it did. The Elimination Chamber matches in 2009 and 2010 came at a time when Chamber matches had always drawn big.

Hell in a Cell has been historically a draw, but after the 2009 show, it fell off greatly in both 2010 and 2011. Both years also only had two-week builds.

But the key is still the match. If it wasn't the right main event, they would not have been at this level no matter how many weeks were between shows. There were those who expected the number to be up from last year due to longer time, plus the Ryback momentum, but very few expected a number at this level.

What it shows is that Ryback vs. Punk was a match people wanted to see as much as any "B" show PPV main event, except Lesnar vs. Cena, in a couple of years. It's a feather in the cap of both. But Punk has never come close to this level except once, which was under unusual circumstances. The fact is, this was not even the main event the company wanted. The originally scheduled main event was Punk vs. Cena in a Hell in a Cell match, and Ryback only got a main event because Cena hadn't recovered from elbow surgery that was more serious than expected.

This seems to indicate that fresh match-ups, or new guys in main events, can do better business, or at least did in this one instance, than bigger names in the same spot would. Again, this is not just Ryback doing a number above normal, but doing it on a show with no Cena.

Whether this shows that Ryback is a genuine drawing card will be determined to a degree by Survivor Series. A three way that involves Punk and Cena should do average numbers. Anything above average is the Ryback factor. That would also determine whether Ryback losing in the manner he did was bad for business.

If the success isn't repeated, it will say one of two things. The first would be that the increase from largely the unique set of circumstances. This show featured an undefeated challenger who was booked like a challenger from the past, beating everyone in sight, going against the champion in a match that by its nature was supposed to not have a screw job ending since DQs and count outs aren't allowed, and you are led to believe there would also be no outside interference. The second is that Ryback himself had genuine money drawing momentum, but it was all about his being unbeaten, and he was hurt by the loss. Judging crowd reactions on Raw, or television ratings, may tell you that was the case. But if the PPV is strong a second time, then the loss didn't hurt and Ryback was more than a one-shot draw. It won't be up 55%, simply because the year-to-year comparison would be to a show with The Rock in the main event, as bad as the opponents and premise of the main event were. If the numbers are big by Survivor Series modern standards, it shows the volume of the crowd reactions being down by Ryback really don't mean anything and the lower ratings are a different animal that doesn't correlate to people spending money on the product.

Another point also is, are they better off having cut out the Vengeance show? Yes, this show was way up domestically, but not internationally. If you go with the idea that the costs of a "B" show are going to be around $1.35 million (they vary, but this figure would be close), then last year the two October shows brought in around $5.4 million in total revenue at a cost of $2.7 million, so the company made $2.7 million on PPV for the month. This year, we are talking $3.6 million and a cost of $1.35 million or it's $2.25 million in PPV for the month. So it's slightly lower profit for the month, but in the long run the profit being so close with one show instead of two factored against the long-term burnout can be argued as a positive. But the key to all this is the big unanswered question. Was this increase in numbers due to skipping a show, or due to Ryback being hot, or due to the unique situation where they had an unbeaten babyface challenger given a huge push into a title match with stips that didn't appear to allow for an out. If it's the first or second reason, that's good. If the key was the third reason, that wouldn't be good.

This year's show was built really around two matches, Punk vs. Ryback and Sheamus vs. Big Show for the World title, but the latter match wasn't going to move numbers.

The 2011 Hell in a Cell had a far weaker main event, Cena vs. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE title in the cell, as well as Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry for the World title in the cell.

Another point brought up is that they went from three Hell in a Cell matches on one show a few years ago down to one, and they were more successful with one, which tells something about watering down the value of a concept by doing it multiple times on the same show.
12/3/12 10:18 PM
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Sofa King Cool
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Member Since: 12/1/05
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Bump Phone Post
12/4/12 9:20 AM
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Member Since: 4/3/11
Posts: 2795

Okay, I didn't want to admit that Ryback is over because I've seen this fucking shit before, but after hearing the crowd last night, and reading this...

The WWE Universe fucking loves Ryback and fresh faces in the ME.  Weird.

12/4/12 4:09 PM
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Member Since: 1/15/06
Posts: 8732
I hope you guys like right Ryback, because they are going to push the living hell out of him now. Phone Post
12/4/12 6:31 PM
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Member Since: 11/20/10
Posts: 20574
As much as I dislike Ryback and hate to say this, I think from a business perspective it might have been a good idea to have let Ryback win the title that night.... Phone Post

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