The shine is off this apple now.
When John Cena went down to injury in late September, WWE was forced into making a hard decision, namely putting Ryback in a headlining slot opposite CM Punk with the WWE championship on the line at Hell in a Cell. The buyrate was expected to take a hit but the opposite happened.
Unfortunately, the booking was such that Ryback had to be beaten. Still, once the numbers came back, Vince McMahon saw all the dollar signs in his eyes he always hoped "Big Hungry" would be good for, so he abruptly re-booked the entire Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) just one week after announcing its main event.
Instead of a traditional five-on-five elimination match, WWE went with a triple threat with Punk defending against both Ryback and Cena. Where could they go wrong with this, right?
As it turns out, the show did just 212,000 buys, according to the Wrestling Observer, down big from last year's event that featured The Rock teaming with John Cena against The Miz and R-Truth, which brought in 281,000 buys.
In fact, here are the numbers Survivor Series has done in the past six years:
2007 (Batista vs. Undertaker): 341,000 buys
2008 (John Cena vs. Chris Jericho): 319,000 buys
2009 (John Cena vs. Triple H and Shawn Michaels): 235,000 buys
2010 (Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett): 244,000 buys
2011 (The Rock and John Cena vs. R-Truth and The Miz): 281,000 buys
2012 (CM Punk vs. Ryback vs. John Cena): 212,000 buys
This doesn't bode well for the TLC show that just went down this past Dec. 16 in Brooklyn. The advertised main event was Ryback hooking up with Team Hell No to take on The Shield in a tables, ladders, and chairs match. It should be noted that Ryback lost again, the third PPV in a row he's been beaten.
None have been "clean," so to speak, but he hasn't been winning. This after he was built up through a string of dominating victories.
Tsk tsk, WWE.