FOLLOW Mr. Tito on Twitter: @titowrestling
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - What Will the WWE Do if Survivor Series 2013 Fails to Draw?
By Mr. Tito
Nov 5, 2013 - 9:48:50 PM
Would you just look at those "awesome" Monday Night RAW viewership numbers. The first hour started off with 4,069,000 viewers and the second hour dipped slightly to 3,951,000. Maybe we could give RAW some leeway for this drop provided that the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears was on, which was a good game and features 2 traditional Midwestern National Football League teams. OK, we'll be nice... The end of RAW featured a confrontation between Triple H/Stephanie McMahon and the Big Show in the ring to "settle" the lawsuit filed by Big Show. That capped off a third hour that had 3,643,000 viewers.
Say that again? 3.6 million viewers, which represents about a 10% decrease from the first hour of RAW. Aside from NFL Football, there must have been something occurring during the 3rd hour that made fans want to change the channel. Oh, I guess fans aren't that excited about the Big Show challenging "the Authority" in Triple H/Stephanie McMahon/Randy Orton? You don't say?
At the 3rd Quarter results conference call on Thursday, Vince McMahon spoke to investors about the "disappointing" SummerSlam 2013 buys, notably compared to 2012's numbers, suggesting "didn't buy the attraction, as most of you know these events are attraction driven." OUCH! Shots fired! So what was the attraction of SummerSlam 2013? The obvious 2 special attraction matches were Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk, which was a dream match for many fans, and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan where Daniel Bryan was finally getting a major spotlight match with the WWE and against John Cena. Funny that the numbers come out and suddenly both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan get to feud with the Wyatt Family. Oh no, they aren't being scapegoated...
Let's review SummerSlam buy numbers, shall we?
SummerSlam 2006: 529,000
SummerSlam 2007: 537,000
SummerSlam 2008: 477,000
SummerSlam 2009: 369,000
SummerSlam 2010: 350,000
SummerSlam 2011: 296,000
SummerSlam 2012: 358,000
SummerSlam 2013: 296,000
Several things to note here... SummerSlam buys are downward trending, obviously. The lack of quality produced by the WWE Creative Team and I believe online piracy of Pay Per View events have eroded the old Pay Per View model. I believe that the WWE increased prices on the shows too much and have priced out many fans who were once OK regularly buying WWE Pay Per Views. $44.95, on top of spending money for other monthly Pay Per Views, is not cheap. Without anyone dropping the hammer (yet) on online streaming of Pay Per Views. They tried it with their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of 2011 but that bill was stopped cold. I'm quite surprised that the WWE's relationship with Comcast hasn't prompted something.
But what I find interesting is the years 2011 and 2013. By chance, what did those years have in common? Aside from featuring the WWE's current scapegoats, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, what did each of the main events happen to have? Triple H as the "Special Guest Referee"... What else did it have? The legitimate threat that the Money in the Bank wrestler whom fans did not like (Alberto Del Rio in 2011, Randy Orton in 2013), would cash in and steal from Punk/Bryan's big SummerSlam moments. Yet, that's never blamed... Fans saw funny business a mile away from both Pay Per Views with Triple H as referee.
Now, that's not to rip Triple H specifically... I believe that the novelty of Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H for the first time caused a stronger buyrate during 2012 than 2010 and 2011. Brock vs. Triple H was a dream match that many older WWE fans have wanted to see for years dating back to how separate the RAW and Smackdown brands were during 2002-2004. Triple H is still a good wrestler and you can certainly read about his many positive contributions as a wrestler in my latest FINAL COUNTDOWN - The Top 10 Triple H Accomplishment sin Pro Wrestling column... But in a non-wrestling capacity, he's not drawing. He was an utter failure as "Chief Operating Officer" during 2011 and RAW ratings are regularly hitting under 3.0 since his "heel" turn at SummerSlam 2013. Anytime you talk down to your ENTIRE roster without allowing them to get retribution, it won't draw.
Triple H was added as an "attraction" to each of the SummerSlam main events for 2011 and 2013 as "special guest referee". Yet, why doesn't he own the blame? Why doesn't Alberto Del Rio or Randy Orton, who were practically known to be winning the WWE Title at the end of each event, receive blame? The WWE seems quick to blame former Ring of Honor wrestlers for anything yet their home grown developmental yes men wrestlers aren't drawing flies themselves. Just look at how bad both guys have drawn in the spotlight as top superstar on Smackdown shows, particularly Randy Orton during 2011. Both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were flushed down the booking toilet after SummerSlam 2011 and 2013, so how on earth are they to blame?
I believe that longtime WWE fans are revolting for how Daniel Bryan was treated immediately following his WWE Title victory at SummerSlam 2013. Bryan has been unable to hold the WWE Title for more than 24 hours but yet he's to blame? He took ass kicking after ass kicking by Randy Orton and Triple H. Triple H was the main culprit ruining Bryan's matches against Orton and yet we can't see Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan? WWE fans actually asked their Pay Per View providers for refunds following due to the reversed Night of Champions PPV and some idiot providers actually gave them out! Thus, for FOUR consecutive WWE Pay Per Views, the WWE screwed fans out of their money by teasing that Daniel Bryan was a legitimate WWE Title contender but their chips were placed on Randy Orton. Damn it, I told you so!.
So what will happen when Survivor Series 2013 draws a LOW buyrate that is "disappointing" and struggled to give fans a good "special attraction".
As it stands now, it looks like the Survivor Series 2013 card will shape up as follows:
- Big Show vs. Randy Orton (c) for the WWE Title
- CM Punk/Daniel Bryan vs. Wyatt Family - Survivor Series Style Match
- Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship
Oh boy, thrilling. Granted, it has to defeat just 208,000 buys from 2012's show, which was down from 281,000 buys during 2011. The bar for a Survivor Series event has been set very, very low. But I believe a combination of poor booking, lower viewership out of disgust for the treatment of Daniel Bryan, and I believe a weakening economy (saving up for Christmas expenditures with higher healthcare premiums paid for 2014) are factors to go under 200,000 for a freakin' Survivor Series event. It could happen... I figure we'll have a ton of stipulations added to matches, especially as viewership during the 2nd and 3rd hours might remain under 4 million for RAW during the rest of 2013. I would be willing to bet that John Cena and CM Punk/Daniel Bryan stuff are moved to the 3rd hour to protect Orton/Big Show/Triple H. Wait and see...
And I'm not bashing Big Show. I'm happy for the guy. Since the day he arrived in the WWE during 1999, the Big Show has been completely wasted. Instead of pushing him as unstoppable 7 foot monster, he's suffered in the midcard and given heel turn after heel turn and stupid gimmick after stupid gimmick. WWE should have reviewed tape from the Big Show when he was in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as the Giant. People don't give the Giant credit for growing WCW but he was the WCW Champion before the New World Order (NWO) arrived. Shortly after he became WCW Champion, the NWO arrived and by August 1996, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan took his title. Since then, the only time he was booked convincingly was during 2002 when he was going after Brock Lesnar on the Smackdown brand.
Good for Big Show on getting a serious WWE push. I bet he takes the WWE Title at Survivor Series and possibly sets up Triple H vs. Big Show for the WWE Title at the December Pay Per View. WWE is far more serious about a guy above 6 foot like the Big Show (well above it) than they are for a guy below 6 foot in Daniel Bryan. Even though fans are naturally yelling "YES! YES! YES!" off the top of their lungs for Bryan and haven't taken Big Show seriously for years until he began piggybacking off of Bryan (Big Show even does the "YES!" chant!), it's Daniel Bryan who is depushed and feuding with the Wyatt Family.
Only with Kane could I argue that a Main Event talent has been more wasted. Good for Kane, by the way, with the new corporate gimmick. He was looking good in the suit!
When Survivor Series 2013 bombs, it's time for WWE management to admit what an utter failure Randy Orton is as a Main Event draw along with how one-sided the Authority angle has been booked. It's a Triple H dick-measuring contest with HHH using measuring tape when the rest of the roster have been given 12 inch rulers. Unless you're a huge fan of Randy Orton and Triple H, this current WWE is not for you.
And what a shame... SummerSlam 2013 was a gem of a Pay Per View. I'm willing to bet that the 296,000 buys is offset by strong Blu-Ray sales is an indication of that. But the show's conclusion with Triple H helping Randy Orton win the WWE began what could be a legitimate shrinking period for the WWE. Fans are fed up being told who to cheer for and the WWE is failing to recognize it. Daniel Bryan has been BURIED by a WWE who feels Randy Orton and his 10+ title reigns is a better draw. What-the-fuck-ever...
No chance in hell that I would ever buy Survivor Series 2013 with Randy Orton vs. Big Show as its headliner and CM Punk/Daniel Bryan lurking somewhere on the midcard and not as a "special attraction" to the show. What a joke.
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
MR. TITO COLUMN ARCHIVES on LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @titowrestling