The WWE PPV event occurs on Sunday, March 10 at 7 PM Eastern and can be eligible WWE Fastlane 2019. You may watch it on the WWE Network as is the case with all live events. Seriously, the WWE Network is worth the price of admission for your NXT programming alone.
As if you needed evidence that the pro wrestling company has shifted completely in how it was consider this–because I write this we are one week out from bell time of WWE Fastlane 2019 and there are only four matches confirmed for the card. There’s every reason to believe that within the next 7 days a range of different games will be added to the event and it’ll probably wind up with 8 or 9 (give or take a few). This could be unthinkable not to just an’old school‘ wrestling promoter but Vince McMahon and the WWE just a couple of decades back.
For decades the traditional wisdom was straightforward: TV was used to set up angles to get folks into stadium seats and afterwards to get PPV purchases. Any promoter–such as Vince McMahon himself or for that matter his father Vincent J. McMahon–could be apoplectic when there was a week to go before a huge series and/or PPV event along with also the card was only half reserved. The frequent practice was to possess the card less or more’set in stone‘ at least a few weeks before a significant event so the TV product may change focus from setting up feuds and angles to promoting the games on the card as’must see‘.
Professional wrestling today exists in a universe that is different. If you would like to get semantically correct the’pay per view‘ series doesn’t exist any more–at least in the United States. Rather than placing $49.95 or whatever on your cable bill for the big WWE cards they are streamed live on the WWE Network. The metric has gone from buy rates to network subscriptions. For instance, in 2018 the WWE Network included a half million readers throughout the run up to Wrestlemania. Of course the $64,000 question is how a number of these viewers remained active paying subscribers. The WWE often runs’deals‘ before they record quarterly earnings to pump up the subscriber amounts. This is no different than the network TV’sweeps week‘ or for that matter any other publicly held company. All of them do things to portray their business in the most favorable light when reporting earnings.
The pro wrestling business could be due to a more changes–at least as it related to the WWE. Their financial priority is no longer PPVs or even WWE Network subscriptions. Last year, they signed deals with USA and Fox worth a combined $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion over five years from October 2018 to September 2024. This big cash was primarily for rights to broadcast Raw and Smackdown. At some stage logic suggests that the WWE would love to set their biggest games on their main stage–and the one with the maximum financial upside. Not long after they signed the deal I’ve supposed that the concept of the’major pro wrestling series‘ (call it a PPV or anything ) could go the way of jobbers in masks and blading on TV:
Will the traditional format of the pro wrestling merchandise change dramatically? Based on the numbers at play it will have to. Historically, television was a promotional car to get folks to visit the Atlanta City Auditorium, the Columbia Township Auditorium, Olympic Auditorium, etc. to watch the live events. Hence the propensity toward wrestling shows during the 1970’s heavy on’squash matches‘, promos and angles. During the’Monday Night Wars‘ between WCW and WWE during the late 1990’s, TV ratings became an important metric–possibly *the* main metric–although the basic dynamic of this product remained the same. There were more aggressive matches on television however, the promotions were in a constant’build‘ toward the next PPV event. Over the past almost two decades tv has continued to grow in value and big matches, title changes, etc. are becoming more commonplace. Even with new platforms like the WWE Network exactly the exact same premise continues to date–there could be *more* significant things on TV however, the focal point remains the’Big 4′ PPV occasions and in particular Wrestlemania. At this point, but this can be as much because of’heritage‘ as anything else.
So what’s next? I’d love to think that there’s still a place for’big events‘ with piled cards but at some stage this could go by the wayside with the most significant matches just interspersed with the rest of the weekly television programming. However it ends up, these are interesting times for the work of professional wrestling.
We’re already seeing changes in how what we’ll euphemistically call’PPV events‘ are booked and promoted. Rather than the booking being planned well in advance we will see several games’come together‘ on WWE programming this week. These seismic modifications are on balance a fantastic thing. I can now subscribe right to NJPW World and also the majority of the other major Japanese promotions and get a ridiculous amount of archived and live content. When I first started watching Japanese wrestling it was an issue of trading or buying videotapes meaning that the most ardent fan was weeks if not months behind the actual product. From top to base the quality of the pro wrestling merchandise around the globe is probably better than it’s ever been.
For the time being, we will still call it the WWE’s next’PPV occasion‘. Here are the betting odds for WWE Fastlane 2019 with the four supported matches and a couple of other’rumors‘ which have already been making the rounds:
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