You remember the Royal Rumble right? I know it was a full week and a half ago but it already seems like ancient history. There’s a good reason for that and it’s something else that shows the issues with WWE’s current pay per view schedule. Today we’re going to take a look at that schedule and see why the Royal Rumble is becoming more and more worthless every single year.
By the time you get to the Wrestlemania build, a lot of the momentum from the Royal Rumble has been lost. Take this year for example. Randy Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble but before we get to put the focus on him, there’s “Elimination Chamber 2017” to get through. That’s quite the big show to deal with before getting to the biggest show of the year. While the Brand Split has helped with this issue a bit as there’s only one pay per view per show, it doesn’t exactly do much to help them individually.
In a rare exception, “Monday Night Raw” is actually in a slightly better position this year, which is likely due to it not having the Royal Rumble winner. This year there isn’t a major challenger to the Universal Title at “Wrestlemania XXXIII” so things need to change a bit. With the Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar main event already set for Orlando, there’s a good chance that Goldberg will take the Universal Title at “Fastlane 2017”, thereby setting up the match with Lesnar even stronger. As a bonus, there’s a good chance that former champion Kevin Owens will have something for “Wrestlemania XXXIII” as well.
So that brings us to the problem: one show is fine but the second doesn’t need to be there. As you probably guessed, the show that doesn’t need to be around is the one from the brand that didn’t win the Royal Rumble. That allows you to have a long stretch for the Royal Rumble winner vs. the World Champion while the other show has its own card to set something up. Say, perhaps, the Elimination Chamber show?
Think about it for a minute. What sense does it make to have the same brand get the two big gimmick matches in the same month? It really should be as simple of a switch as to have “Monday Night Raw” or “Smackdown Live” get the Elimination Chamber if the other brand wins the Royal Rumble. Why is this so complicated?
Ah yes: the show is called Elimination Chamber and we have to know if it’s going to be a “Smackdown Live” or “Monday Night Raw” pay per view. I’m sure there isn’t a solution as simple as just calling the show ANYTHING else. I mean, we haven’t had a Roadblock in awhile so let’s just add another one of those because we need multiple road themed pay per views around this time.
Does it really matter that much to know which brand the pay per view is going to be that far in advance? Are ticket sales going to crumple if a show is a “Monday Night Raw” show or a “Smackdown Live” pay per view? Just have it be a WWE show until the Royal Rumble ends and then announce the brand. I mean, it might help to have there be more than a two week build so just put the show later in February instead of doing it as fast as you possibly can.
At the end of the day, you just don’t need two shows between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. We’re stuck with a four week build to the biggest show of the year for the sake of a generic, nothing show like Fastlane. Other than maybe the title change, couldn’t they just do that as a big TV show instead of a pay per view? The point of Wrestlemania is to have it be the biggest show of the year, not just another show with the standard amount of build up time.
Look back at some of the greatest Wrestlemania builds of all time. Not only have we known most of the matches in advance but they haven’t been changed with about a month to go before the pay per view. At this rate, the only thing that is likely to stay the same is Orton getting the title shot off winning the Royal Rumble. By the time we get to Orlando we could have a new opponent for Orton and an entirely different Universal Title match. Isn’t that a bit much for about two months?
What was the point of this again? Ah yes, the Royal Rumble losing its meaning. Doesn’t that seem to be the case already? Other than Orton winning, it’s not like the show and the match itself means much at this point anyway. When Braun Strowman interfered in the Universal Title match, it was to set up a match at “Fastlane 2017”. When Bayley lost the Raw Women’s Title match to Charlotte, it was to set up a rematch on another episode of “Monday Night Raw”.
Am I missing something or is the Royal Rumble as a whole basically made worthless at this point? Sure it’s fun at the time and one of the most exciting shows of the year but that doesn’t mean it’s a show that’s going to leave a lasting mark. Once Orton faces whoever he’ll be facing at “Wrestlemania XXXIII”, the show can go into the archives with its one major note over and done with.
This isn’t the worst thing in the world and it’s far better than the times when the Royal Rumble winner would use up their title shot in February but I really don’t care for the current system. I get the idea of having a pay per view a month (because WWE doesn’t get the concept of overkill) but this is starting to become detrimental to one of the biggest shows of the year and ultimately the biggest show of the year as a result. It’s a bit more difficult to care about the biggest match of the year when we had a regular pay per view just a month before.
In other words, the whole problem here comes down to the Brand Split and WWE’s obsession with having so many pay per views. Could they really not just skip Fastlane and let the Elimination Chamber decide the other Wrestlemania title match? Are WWE Network subscriptions really going down if there isn’t another car/road themed pay per view that isn’t even the most interesting in the first place?
The whole thing boils down to the fact that all these pay per views make the Royal Rumble feel less important. I know they’re not going to get back to four pay per views a year but it really wouldn’t hurt them to get back down to one pay per view between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. It’s worked for years and I really don’t see why it couldn’t work again in today’s WWE world.
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