The WWE PPV event occurs on Sunday, March 10 at 7 PM Eastern and can be eligible WWE Fastlane 2019. You may view it on the WWE Network as is the case with all live events. Seriously, the WWE Network is worth the Purchase Price of entry for the NXT programming independently.
As if you needed evidence that the pro wrestling company has shifted completely from the way it was consider this–because I write this we’re one week out from bell period of WWE Fastlane 2019 and there are just four matches confirmed for the card. There is every reason to believe that over the next 7 days a number of other games will be added to the event and it’ll likely wind up with 8 or 9 (give or take a few). This could be unthinkable not to just an’old school’ wrestling promoter but Vince McMahon and the WWE only a few years ago.
For decades the traditional wisdom was simple: TV was used to install angles to get folks into stadium seats and afterwards to get PPV buys. Any promoter–such as Vince McMahon himself or for that matter his dad Vincent J. McMahon–could be apoplectic when there was a week to go before a huge show and/or PPV event and the card was only half reserved. The common practice was to have the card less or more’set in stone’ at least a few weeks before a significant event so the TV product could shift focus from setting up feuds and angles to promoting the games on the card as’must see’.
Pro wrestling exists in a different universe. If you want to get semantically correct the’pay per view’ show does not exist any more–at least in the United States. Instead of placing $49.95 or whatever in your cable bill for the large WWE cards they are streamed live on the WWE Network. The metric has gone from purchase rates to community subscriptions. By way of instance, in 2018 that the WWE Network added a half million subscribers during the run up to Wrestlemania. Of course the $64,000 question is how many of these audiences remained busy paying subscribers. The WWE frequently runs’deals’ before they record quarterly earnings to pump up the subscriber amounts. This is not any different than the community TV’sweeps week’ or for that matter any other publicly held firm. All of them do things to depict their company in the most favorable light when reporting earnings.
The pro wrestling business could be due for some more modifications –at least as it related to the WWE. Their financial priority is no longer PPVs or even WWE Network subscriptions. This past year, they signed prices with USA and Fox worth a combined $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion over five years from October 2018 to September 2024. This large money was mostly for rights to broadcast Raw and Smackdown. At some point logic suggests that the WWE would love to put their most significant games in their main platform –and the one with the most financial upside. Not long after they signed the deal I’ve speculated that the concept of the’important pro wrestling show’ (call it a PPV or anything ) might go the way of jobbers in masks and blading on TV:
Will the conventional format of the pro wrestling product change dramatically? Based on the amounts at play it will need to. Historically, television was a promotional car to get people to visit the Atlanta City Auditorium, the Columbia Township Auditorium, Olympic Auditorium, etc. . watch the live events. Thus the propensity toward wrestling demonstrates during the 1970’s heavy on’squash matches’, promos and angles. During the’Monday Night Wars’ between WCW and WWE during the late 1990’s, TV evaluations became a significant metric–arguably *the* main metric–although the simple dynamic of this product stayed the same. There were more competitive matches on tv however, the promotions were in a constant’construct’ toward another PPV event. Over the past almost two decades television has continued to rise in value and large games, title changes, etc. have become more commonplace. Even with new platforms like the WWE Network the exact same premise continues to date–there could be more* significant stuff on TV but the focal point remains the’Big 4′ PPV events and specifically Wrestlemania. At this point, but this is as much due to’tradition’ as anything else.
So what’s next? I’d love to think that there’s still a place for’big events’ with stacked cards but at a certain stage this could go by the wayside with the most significant matches only interspersed with the remaining weekly tv programming. However it ends up, these are interesting times for the work of professional wrestling.
We are already seeing changes in how what we will euphemistically call’PPV events’ are reserved and promoted. Instead of the booking being proposed well in advance we’ll see several games’come together’ on WWE programming this week. These seismic changes are on balance a good thing. I can now subscribe right to NJPW World and also most of the other major Japanese promotions and get a ridiculous number of live and archived content. When I first began watching Japanese wrestling it was a matter of investing or purchasing videotapes meaning that the most ardent enthusiast was weeks if not months behind the actual product. From top to bottom the quality of the pro wrestling merchandise around the world is probably better than it has ever been.
For now, we will still call it the WWE’s second’PPV occasion’. Here are the betting odds for WWE Fastlane 2019 using the four supported matches and a couple of other’rumors’ which have been making the rounds: