While PPV buys haven't come back for Money In The Bank yet, other indicators have definitely been good signs for CM Punk and everything he's done over the last month:
- Wrestling websites, including ours, have seen big traffic and participation spikes. Specific to this site, our record traffic day was the day after Money In The Bank and July 2011 has been our record month. While normally that may be just be indicative of super hardcores being interested in an angle you'd expect them to love, a lot of the new traffic here at least has come from search engine referrals. A substantial amount of people have been searching for Punk's "Best In The World" shirt. Speaking of which...
- His merchandise sales, arguably the best gauge until we have PPV buys, were already strong. Since his promo in Las Vegas, they have exploded. His shirts have sold out at arenas while they quickly sold out of most sizes at WWEShop.com. In the few days, all adult sizes completely sold out online. The "Best In The World" shirt sold out at the Allstate Arena within minutes of the Money In The Bank show starting. Demand for the shirt was so strong that people were paying as much as $585 plus shipping for the shirt on eBay and counterfeits were quickly listed. It's now stocked on WWEShop, albeit in a modified version without "Chicago 7x17x11" on the back under "Best In The World."
- He's getting mainstream attention, like his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
- While TV ratings for full shows have been stagnant, those don't always reflect business. WWE was making major progress in 1997 and early 1998 while WCW was hammering them in the ratings war, plus promotions in the '80s like World Class and the UWF were doing in huge markets they couldn't draw flies in live. Plus, the overall Raw ratings were pulled down by the segments that weren't Punk's. On the Money In The Bank go-home show, his two segments were the only ones to gain viewers, and those segments did so in large volume.
- Punk himself noted on Bill Simmons' podcast that the recent promotion of him has led to him being recognized in public about ten times as often as he normally is.
- Living Colour's "Cult of Personality," Punk's new entrance music (WWE paying for it is a clear sign they see value in him, for what it's worth), has been skyrocketing up the iTunes top songs list since Monday night. As of right now, it's #97 in the US, #55 in the UK. Its placement on the rock charts is even more impressive: #1 in the UK, #3 in the US, and #5 in Ireland. The 2010 re-recorded version is #24 in Amazon MP3's Rock Songs chart, and has been in the top 100 Rock Songs for two days. In the Amazon "Movers & Shakers" chart for biggest gains in the last 24 hours (which means I should've looked yesterday for the really interesting figures), the 2010 version is #63 (sales up 17% from yesterday) and the 1988 original is #65 (sales up 16% from yesterday). I don't know if any of the WWE-produced songs have been charting since they've been pushing the iTunes downloads with graphics on TV, but I doubt it, since WWE would most likely brag about it incessantly on commentary and in "Did You Know?" bumpers. WWE entrance music albums have also not done well in recent years.
Honestly, though, I'd be shocked if PPV buys for Money In The Bank weren't up noticeably from last year and recent "B-level" shows. Interest was huge and the angle was hot with adult viewers, who have disposable income, as opposed to children, who don't. Even if Money In The Bank didn't get a boost over last year's show and recent "B-level shows," which I doubt, all signs point towards Punk being on fire.