WWE will reportedly be making an official announcement soon regarding pay-per-view changes, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It is expected that the announcement will be the end of brand-exclusive pay-per-views, starting with WWE Backlash in May. WWE has confirmed the upcoming announcement after a Ticketmaster e-mail sent this week revealed that the WWE Backlash pay-per-view on May 6th will now be a dual-branded show after previously being announced for the RAW brand, as noted. Originally only 5 events were scheduled to be dual-branded this year – the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Money In the Bank, SummerSlam and Survivor Series.
Adding more pay-per-view events has added costs without a lot of new revenue, with the exception of the live gates, since they really aren’t increasing WWE Network subscription numbers at a high rate. There also may have been issues with storylines slowing down due to longer gaps in between brand-exclusive events.
WWE ran 16 pay-per-view events in 2017 and cut back to 14 this year but they had a goal of running 12 – one per month. They currently have 13 more scheduled to take place after January’s Royal Rumble – Elimination Chamber, Fastlane, WrestleMania 34, Backlash, Payback, Money In the Bank, Battleground, SummerSlam, Extreme Rules, Hell In a Cell, TLC, Survivor Series and Clash of Champions.
In another pay-per-view change that has not been confirmed yet, there’s belief within WWE that the former B shows will be increased by 1 hour to be four-hour pay-per-views with two matches on the one-hour Kickoff pre-show. One of the main reasons for the increase likely has to do with having to fit top stars from both brands on one show. The Observer points to how the biggest complaint with WWE pay-per-view events has been the length of the top shows and now every show will be 5 hours long.
The Observer notes that both shows will be pushing the same pay-per-view each month and all the top stars would be on it, but one major negative is that a lot of middle & lower card talents won’t be featured on pay-per-view as much, if at all, and less pay-per-view time means less focus on TV. It was also speculated that we may see more stipulation matches on TV that would have usually been used for pay-per-view with some of the midcard feuds.
Another negative could be that there will be title matches relegated to pre-shows, which will hurt their significance. There also could be more multi-person matches as a way to get top talents booked on pay-per-view, more matches on each show meaning rushed matches, less spots for non-title matches. It’s possible that most of the shows will feature two main title matches, two secondary title matches, two women’s title matches, two tag team title matches and the cruiserweight title match.