TLC 2011 marked the 100th PPV since January 2005.
In the past seven years, over two hundred wrestlers (see also: WWE SUPERSTARS™) have competed on pay-per-view. Interestingly, the main superstar, who truly ascended to the top spot in the WWE during this 7 year period, and competed on the vast majority of PPVs, John Cena, didn’t wrestle on either the first event (New Year’s Revolution 2005 – a RAW branded PPV from Puerto Rico) or last event (TLC 2011 – a TLC themed PPV from Baltimore). There was two men did compete on both cards - Triple H (hold-over from the Attitude years) and Randy Orton (besides Cena, the other major ascendant during the past hundred PPVs events).
Cena and Orton both wrestled on more than eighty pay-per-view cards.
SEPARATE BRANDED PPVS – missed 9 branded PPVs
• Raw PPVs while Cena was on Smackdown!: didn’t perform on Raw PPVs New Year’s Revolution 2005 or Backlash 2005
• Smackdown! PPVs while Cena was on Raw: didn’t perform on Smackdown! PPVs from Great American Bash 2005 to No Mercy 2006
• ECW Cards: ECW One Night Stand 2005 and December to Dismember – 12/3/06
INJURIES – missed 7 PPVs
• Cena tore his pec on 10/1/07 and missed No Mercy, Cyber Sunday, Survivor Series and Armageddon. He returned to win the 2008 Royal Rumble.
• Cena herniated his disc at Summerslam 8/17/08 while wrestling Batista and missed Unforgiven, No Mercy, Cyber Sunday. He returned at Survivor Series to defeat Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship.
OTHER – missed 2 PPVs
• Survivor Series – 11/21/10 * Cena was the ref in the Wade Barrett/Orton match *
• TLC – 12/18/11 – Cena did not wrestle selling the effects of Kane’s chokeslam
PPV Counts by Performer (matches wrestled; does not count other appearances on PPV (#1-20)
Far and away, Cena & Orton have had the most PPV matches over the past hundred PPVs, including no less than 16 PPV matches which involved each other (not counting the one Royal Rumble they both participated in – 2011’s 40-man extravaganza.)
Over the past 7 years, only about half of the PPV wrestlers are still around.
Among the top twenty, only about half of the wrestlers (Cena, Orton, Big Show, HHH, Punk, Miz, Kingston, Henry, Swagger) are currently active on WWE television.
PPV Counts by Performer (matches wrestled; does not count other appearances on PPV (#21-40)
Again, among the next twenty, barely half the wrestlers are still with WWE (Rhodes, Phoenix, Ziggler, Christian, Sheamus, Khali, Truth, DiBiase and Booker T commentating).
PPV Counts by Performer (matches wrestled; does not count other appearances on PPV (#41-60)
Similarly, the ratio of active WWE talent to the future endeavored folks is pretty consistent: Kelly, Barrett, Alberto, Santino, Drew, Evan, Natalya, Regal and injured reserve-list Layla.
One dramatic change over this past seven-years has been the decreased emphasis on PPV revenue and increased TV Rights Fees demanded for programming.
(based on WWE SEC filings; adjusted 2005 & 2006 to match Calendar years; estimates for Q411)
As domestic buyrates has plummeted, the lion’s share of poorly performing PPVs have been in the past 18 months- Fatal 4 Way (2010), Bragging Rights (2010 & 2011), Elimination Chamber (2011), Vengeance (2011). Several years ago, it was the Cyber Sunday and Taboo Tuesday PPVs which had the dubious distinction as being the annual buyrate stinker but now those PPVs cracking 200,000 buys would be looked upon fondly compared to today’s PPV buy average. Honestly, the only true outlier from the 2005-2009 days is the infamous December to Dismember ECW PPV in 2006 – a debacle that won Wrestling Observer’s “Worst Major Wrestling Show of the Year”, marred the Elimination Chamber’s streak as a drawing stipulation, ended Heyman’s association with WWE, and essentially killed off the ECW PPV brand.
Another key learning from this table is just how important Wrestlemania is to the overall WWE brand. 2011’s success on that one show created a serious financial improvement, though overall it did not serve to buffet the company throughout the entire year. Over the past seven years, WWE has floated numerous ideas (Branded PPVs transitioning to Themed PPVs), championships (World Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, ECW Championship, US Title, IC Title, Divas Championship, Women’s Championship, Smackdown! & RAW Tag Team Titles, Unified Tag Titles, Cruiserweight Championship, Ryder’s “Internet Championship”) and new match concepts (Championship Scramble, Elimination Chase). Not to mention all the TV shows that have come and gone (Velocity, Heat, NXT, ECW, Excess and so forth.)