This Sunday’s upcoming WWE Bragging Rights pay per view is facing some stiff competition in regards to attendance and pay per view buys.
Bragging Rights will be WWE’s eleventh’s pay per view this year and the third one in five weeks. It is only the second year for the “Bragging Rights” brand and is less than a month before one of WWE’s tent pole pay per views, Survivor Series, which also features team versus team elimination competition.
However it is the competition it is facing from other sporting events that will surely cause the pay per view to produce less than stellar buy rates for the company. The pay per view, which will be held Sunday night, October 24, live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is dealing with local and international competition for its attention.
The night before Ultimate Fighting Championship presents UFC 121, headlined by UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar defending against Cain Velasquez. While UFC 121 will be held in Anaheim, California, traditionally WWE pay per views suffer when they air the night after a UFC show. However this one magnifies things as Brock Lesnar is a Minnesota boy and his fights draw major attention here in the Twin Cities. Additionally the two promotions draw a lot from the same fan base, especially for a UFC fight headlined by “The Next Big Thing.”
The local wrestling promoters in Minneapolis are looking to capitalize on the popularity of the weekend by running a ridiculous three different shows on Saturday night, October 23. Minnesota Independent Wrestling will present a show at the Chanhassen American Legion Hall and will feature “Playboy” Pete Huge. Meanwhile the Intercontinental Wrestling Association will host a show in Savage, Minnesota and the legendary Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie has a show in Hopkins on the same evening. As a fan it seems as if there is not enough talent to fill three shows in the Minneapolis metro on the same night, let alone on the same night as hometown hero Brock Lesnar fights on pay per view and the “big boys” from WWE prepare to come to town the next evening. While I appreciate the logic in trying to capitalize on the weekend, it seems like bad business and will split the fan base for everyone.
Then the day of Bragging Rights, the hometown Minnesota Vikings and their quarterback Brett Favre will travel to the hostile territory of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to meet their arch-rivals in the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings-Packers rivalry is a far more historic and well-built rivalry than anything pro wrestling has put on in years. That game will naturally air on television as part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football and air directly opposite Bragging Rights. Many fair-weather pro wrestling fans who may want to travel to see some live pro wrestling will just as likely stay at home to watch a far more entertaining rivalry, with legitimate and completely unknown results.
And to top it all off, should it go to game seven, the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies will also clash that Sunday night, live on Fox.
Apparently WWE, the Target Center and TicketMaster have all realized this already, as e-mails have been sent offering $20 off on tickets to Bragging Rights as enticement to be a part of the pay per view. Internally WWE has already been downplaying the success of the pay per view and are certainly not expecting a high buy rate or even a sell out in the arena.
WWE will still make money on the pay per view even with lower than projected buys. However the past few PPVs have suffered from lower than expected buy rates, television ratings for the flagship show, Monday Night RAW, have been down and long-term fans have been down on the product recently. The arena for the show was booked last spring and surely without knowing at the time the plans of the UFC and the Vikings.
This is the first WWE pay per view in Minneapolis since 2005 so surely hardcore fans will be excited for the experience, but this the last possible weekend that WWE needed to book a pay per view in Minneapolis. Regardless, this upcoming weekend will be a great time for football and fight sports fans in the Minneapolis metro. I know as a Minneapolis local, I will sure be busy those two days.