Dave Meltzer has reported in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE's last pay-per-view of 2011, TLC or Tables, Ladders and Chairs, drew 182,000 worldwide buys, 100,000 of which came from North America. The numbers were ever so slightly down from last year's ones of 191,000 worldwide and 101,000 North American. However, the initial estimates usually turn out to be slightly lower than the final totals, so purchases will probably be even or slightly up compared with last year, at a time when WWE's PPV business has been declining, so this has to be considered fairly positive news for the company.
Especially considering that WWE's top star John Cena was nowhere to be found on the event, the first time Cena had missed a PPV show since Cyber Sunday in October 2008 I believe, while last year he headlined TLC in the blow off to his hot feud with Nexus leader Wade Barrett, which was ably supported by two intriguing World title bouts, Randy Orton vs. The Miz in a Tables match and Edge vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio in a TLC match. No matches in 2011 could quite compare: the main event was a poorly put together TLC match between CM Punk, Miz and Del Rio, Kevin Nash was so completely unover with modern WWE fans that his Ladder match with Triple H was a waste, and the feud between Mark Henry and Big Show had started to run out of steam. Thus, on paper this year's PPV was weaker than the same event last year and thus would not have been expected to do as well as it did.
I think this relatively solid number has to be chalked up to the TLC idea being one of their few B-show PPV concepts that is guaranteed to do pretty well. Its timing just before the Christmas break likely also helps. Finally, its evidence that Punk has become a safe pair of hands to headline a PPV with, now that he's drawn a reasonably successful number without the help of facing a more well established peer like Cena or Hunter.