Curtain Jerker, 1/23/13: Promo Effects

15 Submitted by on Wed, 23 January 2013, 08:00

cena

 

So word from the newsies is that Cena’s show-ending promo from Raw went over about as well backstage as John Laurinaitis’ old dress code policy did.

In other words, to Cena’s peers, his promo was garbage.

To me, it was actually one of his less-annoying promos in recent times. Sure, he was a little off subject and irreverent, but it reminded me of one of those off-the-wall promos Piper’d cut about 20 years ago. He may have pandered a bit much, but it was at least lively and built to something: that the Royal Rumble won’t be like any other Sunday.

The criticism, however, stems from the fact that Rock and Punk had each cut a serious, steely “I need to win the WWE Championship” promo earlier in the night, and Cena’s work of abstract art paled in comparison.

Speaking of those Rock and Punk promos, I can safely say that I’m looking forward to the WWE Championship match now more than ever, and it’s because of their promo work (particularly Punk’s icy rebuttal after Rock was laid out by The Shield).

Could this be what WWE has been missing all along?

The last 3 PPVs that I ordered with great anticipation were WrestleMania and Extreme Rules last year, and Money in the Bank 2011.

All of them featured heavy, non-standard promotion for the main events and, oddly enough, they all involved Cena. But these types of promo builds are a rarity these days.

Maybe it’s because Vince knows that kids will hang on Cena’s fecal jokes, and beg their parents to buy those $55 PPVs he headlines, as opposed to the bitter generation that hails a Punk/Bryan World Title feud, and then streams the PPVs they face off on.

Or maybe going the serious route is the way to go?

MITB ’11 and ER ’12 had larger buyrates than usual, because fans wanted to see Cena/Punk and Cena/Lesnar, thanks to characters that stood out (Punk in his breakthrough, Lesnar returning) and the work that went into building the fights.

So here’s my question: would you be more inclined to buy WWE PPVs if their big matches took these approaches? Or could it be that 12 PPVs a year is simply too many to sustain so many intriguing feuds.

Lemme put it this way: how would YOU configure the PPV calendar, and booking, that you think would still be profitable, while also being interesting to a wide range of fans?

Difficulty: you can’t lower the prices.

(Follow Justin on Twitter!)

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Justin Henry is WrestleCrap's inquiring newsman, thirsting for knowledge always. He enjoys the art of satire, as you'll find in many of his works here at WrestleCrap. Drop him a line on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/jrhwriting)
15 Responses to "Curtain Jerker, 1/23/13: Promo Effects"
  1. Down With OPC says:

    I’d cut the calendar to 8 PPVs a year:

    Mid January: Royal Rumble
    Mid February: Elimination Chamber
    Late March: WrestleMania (I say late March as opposed to early April as I have a bias with my birthday being in March.)
    Mid May: Extreme Rules or Night of Champions
    Late June: Money in the Bank
    Mid August: SummerSlam
    Late September or early October: Give the axe to Hell in a Cell, but keep whatever
    Mid to late November: Survivor Series

    Now, the only thing about this is that I feel WrestleMania is still too close to Elimination Chamber. Two solutions here are to possibly move Royal Rumble and EC back a couple more weeks (as well as leaving ‘Mania in April), though then RR is getting too close to the Holiday season when people have no money. The other solution would be to axe the Chamber entirely (or put it in the Sept/Oct/ slot), which would allow more time for TV buildup to ‘Mania, and cut down to 7 PPVs a year.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      Either move the Elimination Chamber to another month or axe it entirely. Having ten guys get title shots in one night sort of overshadows the Royal Rumble. The pay-per-view is too often an excuse for a presto-change-o title switch to set up for a Wrestlemania match.

      Plug: http://art0donnell.blogspot.com/2013/01/old-gray-rumble-just-aint-what-she-used.html

      • Mr Z says:

        I agree with taking the Elimination Chamber out from between the Rumble and Wrestlemania. It would allow for a longer build up and make the Rumble seem more important. You make some good points in that article Art0Donnell.

        I’d also get rid of Night of Champions altogether. I got why they did it at a time when there were 9 championships. There’s a few less now. This past September Night of Champions had every title on the line. The next month at Hell in a Cell, every title was again on the line.

      • Down With OPC says:

        I just read your article, and it makes me want to get rid of Elimination Chamber even more. That, or the Royal Rumble as a PPV will have to say good-bye. Something has to happen at least, one of these moves, and/or getting rid of the World Title. At this point, I don’t even know if WWE could pull of a Unification match; they might just Cruiserweight belt the World Title. At least then it wouldn’t be jobbed out in 18 seconds at WrestleMania.

      • Clifton says:

        Move the Elmination Chamber to Late June, only have one actual Elimination Chamber match, and have the winner get a title shot of their choice for Summerslam (since they push Summerslam as their other big show). Move Money in the Bank to late September/early October.

        • Jerm says:

          I think the elimination chamber match should be the main event of Survivor Series, like when it debuted. It fits the theme of the show and is far removed from the other big events like the Rumble and Mania.

  2. JR says:

    All the WWE needs to do is drop the December pay-per-view…. and if they really want to turn an additional profit on PPVs don’t use internet darlings on them.

  3. me says:

    They’ll never limit the PPV’s as long as they are making money, call me old school (ok, just old) but I miss the long term build ups that really got me into the storylines. The only ones I’ll spend money on, but not always, are the Big 4, Wrestlemania, Survior Series, Royal Rumble, and Summerslam. I would buy Money in the bank if they brought out Shelton Benjamin, and his momma, once a year ala Undertaker at Wrestlemana :)!

  4. Just Josh says:

    Truthfully, they need AT MOST 6 PPV’s for the year. Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Summer Slam, Money in the Bank and 1 other. PPV’s like Elimination Chamber just proves that there are too many PPV’s. There shouldn’t be anything between Rumble and Wrestlemania.

    Also, I am sold on Royal Rumble, because Rock and Punk sold me on it. I needed a big promo like that to sell me, as the match itself isn’t much of a draw anymore. The big promo is something I need to see/hear about before I’ll go out of my way to see a PPV now.

  5. Jozzy Von Rokkenstein says:

    I’d go back to the “Big 5″…Rumble, Mania, KOTR, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series…

    I’d build feuds and characters would get intertwined thus leading to deeper character development and the PPV build/payoff would thereby be much more significant.

    I’d end the brand split officially and only have 1 World champion, 1 mid-card title, and a cruiserweight division.

    I’d bring back managers/valets and restore some credibility and mystique to the business. THAT is what’s missing now…nobody cares who wins/loses, and there isn’t any big build/payoff…todays product flat out sucks!

    We’re far too over-saturated and I think no more than 2 shows a week is more than enough at 2hrs long each.

    • 80sGuy says:

      I agree with most of that, save the 2 hr. thing at the end.

      They are doing the 3 hrs in an annoying fashion, but we’re also getting to see some talent who would normally not be on there or future endeavored, and it’s talent that we need to be seeing.

      When it was 2 hrs it was the same 2-4 people doing the same, tired bullshit over and over again. Honestly. Even though the 3 hr time frame has way too many recaps, ads, self promotion, and shitty booking of interesting characters, there’s still opportunity for somebody with hardly any exposure to get noticed (see: 3MB).

      If they would start showcasing more f’n people instead of pushing Rock winning the championship clips every damn time they come back from break, or the patronizing fluff, then we would have a great 3 hr program, ala Nitro in its good years.

      There could be plenty of things done, showcase cruiserweights again (bring back LaParka and Silver King!) and, if done right, take Smackdown to 3 hrs and build the Women’s division up.

      There’s so much opportunity, but WWE can’t get their f’n heads out of the bullshit, mass marketing, screw any product quality as long as we’re squeezing money out of people, corporate mindset that is prevalent in this shitty, shallow, throw away society we have today.

  6. Mark Cardoso says:

    I say cut the PPVs from 12 down to I say 6. Keep the main 4 (Rumble, Maina, Slam and Survivor) but use the two extra ones to perhaps break a gap. I’d bring back king of the ring and put in JUne and keep the extra PPv for say NXT to build their talent for a spot in the rumble .

    Now away from PPVs the next thing I would do is cut the TV shows. Smackdown no one reallyw atches now cause all it is is now is RAW’s rematch show. So I would axe smackdown and put NXT in its place to build new talent. Maybe bring in a Rawe or Smackdown star to mix it up with the younger talent and get a feel for them. I would also cut RAW down to 2 hours cause its goddamn too long.

    Now for Saturday Morning Slam, as much as DEal likes it, I would liek it to become what the show at its time once was. yes Wrestling Challenge esque where mid carders squash the local guys that way they get built up on RAW for when they get squashed by the main eventers, or heck suerprising us by pinning one ( like 123 kid did with razor back in the earlier RAWs).

    Normally I would suggest they bring back saturday Night’s main event to fill the gaps that the PPVs were for but let’s face it, Monday Night RAW is practicallt a weekly SNME.. Who would pay money for Now ay out when they can watch it for free on MOndays?

    I maybe wrong on some accounts here but just an idea I have.

  7. Mr. Man says:

    I would keep the big five and maybe add some 2-hour In Your House PPVs in between.

    Late January: Royal Rumble
    Late February: In Your House
    Late March / Early April: WrestleMania
    Late April / Early May: In Your House
    Late June: Money in the Bank
    Late July: In Your House
    Late August: SummerSlam
    Early October: In Your House
    Late November: Survivor Series
    Mid-Late December: In Your House

  8. Nick Nutter says:

    I say keep the big four, but under one condition: The Survivor Series needs to be the Survivor Series. All matches should be four on four or five on five, except for maybe two world title matches. The survivors of each Series match would then go on to a Battle Royal at the end for the title shot of their choice at the Royal Rumble. (Yes, this is basically BattleBowl, but with a less ridiculous concept to set it up.)

    Money In The Bank is just that: Money In The Bank. That stays.

    You’d need a PPV in late May to even things out, so why not put Extreme Rules in there, with the occasional Hell In A Cell feud-ender or an Elimination Chamber if there are a lot of contenders. That way, those types of matches won’t feel like obligations that you know are coming, and, hey, MIGHT ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING AGAIN.

    As for the promo builds, hell yes, everything you said was spot on. Those were three Pay Per Views I needed to see because of the incredible BUILD UP. Matches aren’t just to see dudes flop around and pretend to hurt eachother; they have to have a compelling reason to do so. And when given the right material to work with, even Cena can do it well.

  9. Frank says:

    I’ve always wished WWE would bring back the old WCW PPVs, and you know, hold off the big matches like MITB and HIAC and Elimination Chamber matches. Also with a bit more time inbetween PPVs, they can build up feuds to try and get a larger buyrate.

    Jan: Royal Rumble
    End of March/start of April: WrestleMania.
    End of June: Bash at the Beach
    Mid-August: SummerSlam
    Mid-October: Fall Brawl
    End of December: Starrcade.

    Since Survivor Series doesn’t really mean anything anymore, than I figured it can be ditched for Fall Brawl and a War Games match. As for PPVs I’ve bought, I only bought one, and that was WrestleMania XXVI, I really enjoyed the fact that they were having Edge vs Jericho for the belt, actually seeing Bret in the ring, and yes, I took a perverse pleasure in watching all the Hart’s kill Vince. Also HBK was one of my favorite wrestlers ever, so I wanted to see his final match. Might not have been the greatest ‘Mania ever, but I still love it.

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