With the quarterly WWE earnings report came the buy totals for second quarter pay-per-views. I think that everyone assumed that Capitol Punishment would be the dog-of-dogs, but in fact Over The Limit, headlined by a cage match with Cena, Miz, and Morrison, had only 140,000 buys (down from 197,000 in 2010), whereas the CP PPV with Cena vs R-Truth had 170,000 buys (compared to 143,000 last year, when the event was known as Fatal Four Way) A 25% drop from the previous year was reversed into a 20% gain this year, and I don't think that all of that can be attributed to abandoning the Fatal Four Way concept.
So it seems that the R-Truth experiment that pretty much everybody panned when his push started has been a success. I don't see them taking the focus off of Punk/Cena(/HHH) any time soon, but do you think the guy deserves to remain in the main event mix going forward?
Anyone new is always a good thing, but the whole “half-assed push for new guys” thing has become such a self-fulfilling prophecy that they had already undermined Truth’s push before they even got to the PPV. Dave Meltzer talks about this at length in the new Observer, and the buys listed are worldwide. Domestically both OTL and Punishment were unmitigated disasters, with Punishment in particular landing in fourth place overall on the biggest bomb scale. It’s really international PPV buys that are keeping the concept alive at this point. So hell yeah, put Truth or Morrison or Miz or whoever you want on top, it’s not like the numbers can get any worse.
Still no word on numbers for Money In The Bank yet, but Punk is not moving house show numbers at all, and we all know what ratings have been like, so those banking on him becoming the next Rock or Austin are in for a rude awakening. House shows generally respond really quickly to a hot angle, and there’s nothing of the sort going on. Here in Saskatoon, for instance, there’s a RAW show with Cena and Punk both advertised pretty heavily around town, and tickets aren’t moving at all.