Grandest stage: 'Wrestlemania' not quite the same but still has big show feel to it

03/29/15 by Rennie Detore

The inception of the WWE Network has taken some serious steam out of the pay per view business as it pertains to professional wrestling, namely the monthly shows that once cost $40 per month and now are included with the $10 per month subscription service.
The majority of the WWE pay per views haven't done all that well in recent years as wrestling's popularity has waned in the last 15 or so years since the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock graced the squared circle on a full time basis.
That "attitude" era has given away to a more kid friendly product, which still produces about four million viewers each week on their Monday show but nowhere near the numbers in the late 1990s. That also has trickled down to the pay per view business with buy rates in the neighborhood of a few hundred thousand customers on average on a monthly basis with spikes for larger scale shows.

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"Wrestlemania," however always was the one caveat in the deal as the show typically retailed for $70 to buy with around one million or so people taking part in the monthly, spring time extravaganza.
With the network, "Wrestlemania" is now part of the $10 per month package, which is highly questionable given how well the show always performed in recent years.
This year's show lacks a bit of the luster the event was did since it is the second year in a row it is part of the network lineup rather than its own entity. The matches have some star power, such as Sting, the long time WCW wrestler who finally is stepping foot in a WWE ring, to wrestle the part time wrestler slash Chief Operating Officer, Triple H.
Brock Lesnar, easily wrestling's biggest draw, is defending his WWE Championship against Roman Reigns, an up and coming superstar who has drawn boos from the crowds because he's being pushed as the next greatest thing and he's clearly not ready.
Both of these matches will have clear cut winners, although the title match wasn't so much the case. Lesnar just re signed with WWE for three years, which makes his victory almost a certainly. Sting beating Triple H is the feel good ending we all want to see as fans as well.
The other noteworthy moment is The Undertaker, who has been a fixture with the WWE since 1990, against Bray Wyatt. Undertaker coming back means little as he was defeated last year by Lesnar and thus ended his 30 wins 0 losses streak at "Mania."
Wyatt, in the meantime, is one of WWE's gems of a younger talent and desperately needs this win, but it won't happen. Undertaker isn't coming back to lose two years in a row.
While most of what occurs tonight at "Mania" won't feel quite the same as it has in recent years, WWE has put together its best card of the year clearly and that should translate into a few new subscribers, but you have to wonder if some within WWE aren't wishing the pay per view model had stayed put for "Wrestlemania."

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