WWE has only broadcast a major international pay-per-view (PPV) event from outside of North America once in its history, SummerSlam 1992 in Wembley Stadium, England, headlined by one of the best matches in WWE history between Bret Hart and The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith.
The show was a huge live attendance success, drawing a $2.2 million gate and $1.5 million in merchandise, both record smashing figures at the time, and the crowd of 78,927 fans is still believed to be the largest legitimate figure for a WWE event ever, as the announced 93,173 number at the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III was grossly inflated by over 15,000 people so the company could pretend to hold the record for the building.
However, the PPV numbers were deeply disappointing, falsely blamed at the time on the location and the results being leaked in the two days before it aired in the United States and Canada, but that was in the days when Internet usage was not commonplace, so the vast majority of fans would have absolutely no access to any spoilers.
In fact, the real reason, was the huge decline in wrestling interest due to the steroid scandal that had engulfed the industry and top stars like Hulk Hogan consequently leaving the promotion.
Twenty-one years later that could finally change, as WWE is looking into doing a major PPV next year from an overseas stadium, probably in the UK once again, according to Dave Meltzer in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
"There is a meeting set for 11/9 with WWE officials and officials at Millennium Stadium (74,500 capacity) in Cardiff, Wales, over the idea of a mega-show, perhaps a PPV event... They’ve also had meetings with a stadium in London and Old Trafford, a soccer stadium in Manchester, that holds 75,000."
In his Friday news update, Meltzer clarified that the PPV in question was SummerSlam 2013:
"In the story in the current issue of the Observer regarding WWE scouting stadiums in the U.K., they are looking at doing next year's "SummerSlam" in a stadium location overseas."
The choice of SummerSlam is somewhat surprising, given that for the last four years it has been held at The Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California, allowing WWE's higher-ups and wrestlers to spend the PPV weekend rubbing shoulders with the local celebrities and Hollywood bigwigs.
Clearly, WWE are confident that the extra millions of dollars they'll inevitably generate from increased ticket sales will be enough to offset the lessened media buzz and any PPV buys lost through the show being aired on a few hour tape delay.
I think it's about time they gave this another shot and could lead to SummerSlam regaining its former spot from the Royal Rumble as the second biggest grossing event of the year for WWE.
What are your thoughts on this move, Cagesiders?