EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson attends a press conference to announce that MetLife Stadium will host WWE Wrestlemania 29 in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
As my colleague Geno Mrosko reported on Monday, WWE released on their website that WrestleMania 28, headlined by John Cena vs. The Rock, had met their goal of drawing 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, beating their previous record of 1.25 million for WrestleMania 23 in 2007 for Vince McMahon getting his head shaved when his wrestler Umaga lost to Donald Trump's representative Bobby Lashley. However, it was a wee bit suspicious that WWE could announce hitting their target right on the button so soon when concrete numbers usually take a few more weeks to come in. Were they guilty of rounding up the real numbers so they could garner some good publicity before the memory of the show faded?
According to Dave Meltzer on his April 17th radio show that indeed was the case. The current preliminary estimates are actually a bit below 1.3 million, probably in the 1.22-1.26 million range, but WWE expects to wind up with the number they prematurely announced when late buys are accounted for. However, there have been cases where such early estimates have been slightly overinflated, so WrestleMania 28 breaking their PPV record is far from guaranteed at this stage, even though it is likely to be the case.
Still it's much better than the 1.1 million buys Meltzer first guesstimated ten days after the show. Where the discrepancy lies is that the show did much better numbers overseas than expected, bucking the recent trend of significant year on year declines in PPV business, likely because of The Rock's international fame as a big time movie star. The break down is about 744,000 buys in North America and 500,000 in the rest of the world. This year, even UFC may be hard pushed to beat that domestic number for one of their shows, between their growing pains on FOX, Georges St. Pierre's injuries and Nick Diaz's and Alistair Overeem's recent drug test failures. Which would surely be something that would put a big smile on Vince McMahon's face after Dana White kicked his ass on PPV in North America on WrestleMania weekend in 2010.