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The Rock's return to WWE spiked 7-year-highs in U.K. viewing figures for WWE programming.

The Smackdown show on February 18th (first show after Rock's return earlier that week) did 201,000 viewers, most viewers for a weekly WWE tv show on Sky since an August 20th, 2004 edition of WWE Raw.

The Elimination Chamber ppv on February 20th as a live tv special on Sky Sports 1 did 265,000 viewers, the most viewers for a WWE ppv as a non-ppv tv special in the U.K. since Wrestlemania 20 on March 14th, 2004 (which did 450,000 viewers).
Great news on one hand. On the other hand it doesn't say much about the WWE product in general.

On a side note. I didn't realise Wrestlemania 20 did so well over here. I know WM used to be on Sky for free TV but still.
 

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The UK is the second biggest market for the WWE and their biggest expansion there was fronted by The Rock. He's basically the biggest wrestling name to that population. In regards to the Wrestlemania viewership number for Wrestlemania 20, as I said, UK is the second biggest market and when the fans don't have to pay an additional £15 on top of the £40 they're already paying, it helps. Granted WWE has declined in popularity in UK since then too.

If you think the Wrestlemania 20 number is impressive though (which it is), you would think the Wrestlemania 17 number was amazing. I don't have the source on me right now, only memory, so don't want to throw out one carelessly but it was much more than that 450,000 for Wrestlemania 20.

To give people some perspective, WWE with European countries in addition to UK paying, today gets around 400,000 buys from the audience for Wrestlemania. That's from several countries when during it's heyday, they were getting those kind of numbers from UK alone. There's been a pretty big decline in popularity really since Austin/Rock left.

I still believe Wrestlemania 17 would've brought in around 1.6 million buys, if not slightly more, had the same international markets today had to pay for it in addition to just the domestic market back then. It was a massive event and basically the culmination of WWE's peak years.
 

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wow wrestlemania used to be free on sky...must of changed as soon as i started watching again
I'm pretty sure Wrestlemania's never been free, in fact I remember actually ordering this off sky becasue the fuckers took over an hour over the phone for it to go through.
 

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UK started charging for Wrestlemania since 21.

It was aired on Sky Sports before that. I think the whole SBO thing came along due to the Channel 4 and WWE deal issue. Royal Rumble 2002, I think, was the first Channel 4 WWE PPV that came appeared on Sky Box Office and people ordered it a lot. WWE must have seen that and thought it'd be a great idea to put more PPV's on SBO. While great at the time, things have changed.

These days, outside of Wrestlemania, I honestly wonder why WWE is still putting on so many PPV in the UK on SBO. It can't be worth their while. Over The Limit 2010 for example had less than 6,000 purchasers in the UK. That's seriously pathetic and a record low type of number.

I do know SBO puts on promotions of several PPV's at reduced rates in the UK but one would think WWE would be figuring out a way around what they're doing now. They're somewhat limiting themselves with SBO. This isn't the Attitude Era anymore or even 2002. People aren't going to pay in the UK for these PPV's.

If anything, WWE has seen a very weird cycle. Both Cena and Batista brought in viewers but over the past two/three years, they've been responsible for lots of viewers leaving too, especially Cena. I think it's a sign of WWE honestly not doing enough to build up new stars to take over as "top men" really. You have to keep that door revolving. They got complacent too quick.

While they're increasing profitabliity, that has little to do with the current starpower. It's all business streamlining. If they had the kind of business sense and processes today like in 2006/2007, they'd be far more profitable.

This is also why I shake my head when people honestly don't comprehend just how huge Hogan, Austin and Rock were for the business. You truly will not have anyone come close to that incredible level of starpower. Even Cena who people think isn't that far off, is actually really far, far off. His impact is far from being close to theirs.
 

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