Last year, WrestleMania 28 saw one of the most anticipated bouts in WWE history. For an entire year, we waited with great anticipation to see The Rock collide with John Cena in Miami.
It was a match we thought could only transpire in video games, the type of dream encounter laid out in an edition of WWE Magazine.
In fact, the clash was dubbed a "once in a lifetime" affair not to be missed at any cost. Suffice it to say, the WWE Universe heeded the tagline to the tune of 1,253,000 pay-per-view buys (source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter via WrestlingInc.com).
However, the financial success of WrestleMania 28 proved to be too difficult to ignore for the WWE brass.
The well had to tapped again, even if it meant reneging on the promise that Rock and Cena would meet only once.
So, it was—the sequel was in order for WrestleMania 29, but this time the outcome was a foregone conclusion. There was seemingly no way that the WWE's golden goose, Cena, would lose again to the part-timer, Rock, on consecutive tries.
The gut instinct of fans—whether it was being lied to about "once in a lifetime" or being turned off by the main event's predictability—paid off for their wallets, but not for WrestleMania 29's purchase total.
Consequently, WrestleMania 29 drew only 1,048,000 buys, which is 205,000 fewer than the previous year (source: ir.corporate.wwe.com).
To put things in perspective, 205,000 buys, by itself, would be a respectable number for any 'B' WWE pay-per-view. For example, according to PWTorch.com, it's higher than a handful of WWE monthly offerings in 2012, including Over the Limit (167,000) and No Way Out (194,000).
All in all, hopefully the 16.4 percent plummet in buys from WrestleMania 28 to 29 will serve as a lesson to WWE's decision makers to continue challenging fans, as opposed to dulling their senses.
The goal of any entertainment-based company should be to leave fans wanting more, as well as exhibit a willingness to adapt to new circumstances that present themselves along the horizon.
Long-term planning is commended, but stubborn shoehorning, even in the face of game-changing developments, is the folly of failed businessmen.
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