WWE Battleground 2013 will struggle to attract viewers.
Champions, challengers and rivals will face off at the inaugural edition of WWE's newest event, but the real battle will be convincing fans to hand over their money for the pay-per-view.
Crammed in between Night of Champions and Hell in Cell with rematches aplenty and uncertainty about the outcome of the WWE Championship match, Battleground won't impress in terms of buyrates. The pay-per-view is more of an underdog than Daniel Bryan has been in his WWE title matches.
WWE's biggest, most famous shows usually have no issue raking in cash, as evidenced by WrestleMania 29 pulling in 1,039,000 buys, per WrestleZone.com.
It's the newer, less marquee shows that tend to struggle. Go just a few months back to Payback.
Headlined by John Cena against Ryback, Payback had 186,000 buys, per CagesideSeats.com, down from the 196,000 buys earned by last year's June pay-per-view, No Way Out. The circumstances surrounding Battleground will have it lucky to even duplicate what Payback did.
Fans just experienced a hugely disappointing Night of Champions.
While SummerSlam boasted three great matches, Money in the Bank delivered thrilling ladder matches and Extreme Rules had the best bout in the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar trilogy, Night of Champions didn't have any standout matches.
Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio struggled to gain momentum, and Bryan and Randy Orton have had better matches on Raw together than they did at the pay-per-view.
Those two championship matches headline Battleground as well. The card will get additional bouts in the coming days, but the fans who bought Night of Champions won't be thrilled to pay for an event that looks largely the same as that one.
It's not that those four Superstars won't impress in the ring—it's the way their Night of Champions bouts ended that will dissuade fans from ordering Battleground.
Del Rio pulled a trick out of the classic heel tactics book when he got himself purposely disqualified. He refused to let go of his cross armbreaker when Van Dam reached the ropes, so he retained the title in anticlimactic fashion.
Going into the rematch, can fans be confident they won't see another non-finish? Even matches where the opponents can't be disqualified can end this way, just ask those who watched Cena and Ryback end a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules without a winner.
Wrestling's past is filled with championship battles that have ended in draws, count-outs and disqualifications, but there seems to be a distaste for this kind of ending today. That's the distaste that will be lingering when fans decide whether or not to see Van Dam's second shot at Del Rio.
The WWE Championship match from Night of Champions will be an even bigger factor in Battleground hurting financially.
At Night of Champions, Bryan did what Triple H said he couldn't do: He defeated Orton and walked away WWE champ. It was a short-lived celebration, though, as Triple H stripped Bryan of the title the very next night. While that result furthers the storyline and makes the ultimate payoff even more satisfying, it gutted the Night of Champions match's significance.
It's almost as if the emotions one invested in seeing Bryan overcome his foe didn't truly exist, that Bryan's win was a mirage. Some fans felt strongly enough about Bryan's win being overturned that they asked for refunds and got them. You think those fans are likely to turn around and buy Battleground?
Should Bryan win again, there won't be a celebration from fans, but instead caution and distrust. Will it really be the moment that Bryan climbs to the mountaintop, or will we see him get knocked off it by Triple H one more time?
There's a feeling that the audience is not assured of a definitive ending here, either, even if WWE is planning on having one.
Another issue making fans less eager to throw down cash is the fact that Hell in a Cell is just around the corner.
When budgeting for the month, one might lean toward Hell in a Cell over Battleground, because at the very least, there will be a cage match to look forward to. The Bryan and Orton feud is likely to end inside "Satan's Structure," as it's an excellent way to draw a feud to a close.
Why not wait until then to give WWE close to $50?
Battleground is not just competing with Hell in a Cell for fans' money but for our disposable income. Is the event worth not going to the movies, eating out and drinks at the bar? So far, the event hasn't shown itself to be compelling enough to win that battle.
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