WrestleMania 29, which emanated from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on April 7, 2013, was initially expected to be the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) in the history of pro wrestling. Indeed, it blew away the record for the largest gate ever and hopes were high that it would break the mark for highest buyrate set by WrestleMania 23 and flirted with last year by WrestleMania 28.
It now looks possible the eventual number, which hasn't come in yet and won't fully be known for a couple months, could fall well short of that, and possibly worse.
Bryan Alvarez has it in the latest edition of Figure Four Weekly (subscription required but recommended):
We don't have an official number and it will be months before we do. However, three different sources this week stated that very early estimates do not, in fact, look good, and one number I was given was downright shocking. Keep in mind that a number this far out can fluctuate wildly, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of buys worldwide
He goes on to note that WWE adjusted its own internal projections based solely on the Elimination Chamber buyrate having come in lower than anyone could have expected for what was, on paper, a strong show.
The same could be said for WrestleMania 29 but the one major mark against it is that most fans felt it was far too predictable, no different than Elimination Chamber. John Cena was always going to beat The Rock in the main event to win the WWE championship before "The Great One" gave his glowing endorsement on the way out, CM Punk was always going to fall victim to Undertaker and his streak, and Triple H was always going to let his ego reign supreme and book himself to go over Brock Lesnar in their rematch from SummerSlam last year.
All of that happened too, and if fans knew as much beforehand, could the star power and appeal of the WrestleMania brand be enough to carry it to a record buyrate? It looks likely that won't be the case.
This could mean WWE may finally take a hint and move away from the "Returning Legend Era" in favor of pushing new stars. That doesn't mean just putting a guy in a main event program; that means deciding someone like Daniel Bryan can be a big star and letting him main event a WrestleMania.
We'll see if that's what happens or if WWE stays the course and continues bringing back big name part-timers in the hopes someone on the undercard will get over with the increased exposure. But if that exposure isn't increased all that much, is it worth it?
Cagesiders, what do you think of all this?