This Week in ‘E – PPV Change-ups

WWE releases third quarter financials, reorganizes the pay per view schedule and has the balls to release a DVD set called “Best of RAW 2009.”

Opening Witty Banter
I’ve got absolutely nothing this week…

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
It’s that time of year again as WWE released their financial numbers on Thursday. Here are some boring details:

– Revenues totaled $111.3 million as compared to $108.8 million in the prior year quarter.

– PPV revenues were $14.5 million as compared to $16.4 million in the prior year quarter reflecting a 10% decline in total pay-per-view buys and a higher percentage of international buys, which are generally lower in price.

– SummerSlam did 369,000 PPV buys, down from 477,000 in 2008. Breaking Point did 169,000 buys, down from Unforgiven’s 211,000 in 2008. Night of Champions did 267,000 buys.

– WWE.com revenues were $4.5 million as compared to $4.0 million in the prior year quarter, reflecting increased sales of online advertising and expanded licensing of the website for international markets.

– WWEShop.com revenues were $2.9 million as compared to $3.9 million in the prior year quarter. The number of orders declined by 21%.

– Television rights fees revenues were $28.3 million as compared to $24.4 million in the prior year quarter. This increase was primarily due to Superstars debuting.

– Revenues from the live and televised entertainment businesses were $77.9 million for the current quarter as compared to $68.7 million in the prior year quarter, representing a 13% increase.

– Live Event revenues were $27.2 million as compared to $20.3 million in the prior year quarter. Revenues increased 34% primarily due to higher average attendance and an increase in the number of international events.

– North American events generated $16.6 million of revenues from 77 events as compared to $15.5 million from 77 events in the prior year quarter. North American average attendance increased 9% to approximately 5,800 from 5,300 in the prior year quarter. The average ticket price for North American events was $36.26 in the current quarter as compared to $38.21 in the prior year quarter.

– International events generated approximately $10.6 million in revenues as compared to $4.8 million in the prior year quarter. The quarter-over-quarter increase reflected five additional events in the current quarter and a 38% increase in average attendance to approximately 9,100 fans. These factors were partially offset by a 19% reduction in average ticket prices to $65.59, in part due to changes in foreign exchange rates.

– WWE Studios recorded revenue of $3.0 million related to four previously released films, including “Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia” as compared to $5.6 million in the prior year quarter related to “See No Evil,” “The Marine” and “The Condemned.”

– Home video net revenues were $11.2 million as compared to $11.0 million in the prior year quarter.

– Magazine publishing net revenues were $3.4 million as compared to $4.7 million in the prior year quarter. The decrease primarily reflects a reduction in subscription revenue and the publication of one fewer issue of WWE Magazine in the current quarter.

Eh…so WWE is still doing alright when it comes to making some money. I’m not worried about ol’ Vince going belly up any time soon.

WWE is planning another $5 price increase to their non-WrestleMania PPVs. The increase will start with Royal Rumble 2010. But in a good move that help hopefully help the backlash of the price increase by lowering pay per views down to only 13 a year.

Here is the tentative PPV schedule for 2010:

1.31.10 – Royal Rumble
2.21.10 – Elimination Chamber
3.28.10 – WrestleMania XXVI
4.25.10 – Backlash
5.23.10 – Extreme Rules
6.20.10 – The Bash
7.18.10 – TBD
8.15.10 – SummerSlam
9.19.10 – Night of Champions
10.03.10 – Hell In A Cell
10.24.10 – Bragging Rights
11.21.10 – Survivor Series
12.19.10 – TLC: Tables Ladders And Chairs

Well going back down to 13 is a start. Remember when they were up to something like 15 or 16 back in 2006? Thank God they’ve come to their senses a little bit. The $5 pay increase still blows, but perhaps if more people DON’T buy the shows they’ll further come to their senses. It also looks like Breaking Point was a bust; one-and-done. That TBD looks tantalizing as people hope that the show will be a WarGames centered show, but who knows?

If you ask me (and no one is) they should go back to a 12 a year rotation, starting with Royal Rumble, into the Chamber gimmick, then WrestleMania, then BattleBowl right after the draft, followed by WarGames, then King of the Ring, The Bash, Summerslam, Night of the Champions, an Extreme Rules/Halloween Havoc “Spin the Wheel” gimmick, Survivor Series and then whatever in December (Starrcade perhaps?)

The man who Chris Jericho used racial and homophobic slurs against at the Sacramento Horror Film Festival a couple weeks ago told TMZ recently that Jericho was an “asshole” and that Jericho’s apology was “crap.”

According to TMZ, Mr. Lobo, the host of the film festival, said he was deeply offended by the insensitive remarks, saying that Jericho’s claim that “everyone on stage was having a blast” was false.

“I don’t think [Chris] has the capacity to give an honest apology,” he said. “I don’t think it’s in his character.”

A couple days later, Mr. Lobo came out with a video mocking the whole situation.

WORK!

Speaking of Mr. Jericho, management has started to inform performers to limit their Twitter usage while on tour, especially after midnight.

I understand why WWE would be leery of its performers’ non-kayfabed Twitter interaction with fans, but if they are truly “independent contractors” like they preach, then there really isn’t anything they can really do. Jericho even poked fun of the mandate in his own Tweets.

Comedian and radio talk show host Dennis Miller will host WWE Monday Night RAW live on December 14.

It is apparent that WWE has big plans for their recent guest host gimmick and plan to keep it going as long as celebrities keep responding to it. Miller will host a special three-hour RAW telecast live from Corpus Christi, Texas, that will feature the return of the friggin’ awesome Slammy Awards.

Here is the statement from WWE:

World Wrestling Entertainment® announced today that comedian and radio talk show host Dennis Miller will host the 2009 Slammy® Awards during a special three-hour presentation of Monday Night Raw® live December 14 at 8:00 PM ET / 7:00 PM CT on USA Network from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX.

Created by the Academy of Wrestling Arts & Sciences in 1986, the Slammy Awards is considered to be WWE’s version of the Oscars. 2009 Slammy Award categories will include: WWE Superstar of the Year, WWE Match of the Year, and WWE Diva of the Year.

It is well known that Dennis Miller has an acerbic wit and can host a live talk show, but how will the comedian fare with WWE’s Superstars and Divas as emcee of the 2009 Slammy Awards? Miller joins the prestigious list of past Raw celebrity guest hosts, including NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal, Emmy-winning actor Jeremy Piven, television legend Bob Barker, Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell and rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, just to name a few.

Dennis Miller serves as the National Spokesperson for USA Cares, a Kentucky based nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to military families in need. Now in its sixth year, USA Cares has distributed millions of dollars in organizational and outside resources to deserving military families. For more information log onto to www.usacares.org.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms including television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 500 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Toronto and Sydney. Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. can be found at corporate.wwe.com.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, copyrights and logos are the exclusive property of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include the conditions of the markets for live events, broadcast television, cable television, pay-per-view, Internet, feature films, entertainment, professional sports, and licensed merchandise; acceptance of the Company’s brands, media and merchandise within those markets; uncertainties relating to litigation; risks associated with producing live events both domestically and internationally; uncertainties associated with international markets; risks relating to maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television distribution agreements; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition to these risks and uncertainties, our dividend is based on a number of factors, including our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan, our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends and such other factors as our board of directors may consider relevant.

I think Miller should do a pretty good job in the hosting gig, and the Slammys are always a fun time. The thing that worries me is that they’ve got this guest hosting thing planned all the way out until December at the very least. Please tell me this won’t last until WrestleMania.

WWE.com put up a post updating Jaime Noble’s injury status after his bout with Sheamus last week.

The story mixes kayfabe and shoot, but it seems as if it might be the storyline to write Noble out of the ring as an in-ring performer.

Lance Hoyt debuted on ECW this past week sans mullet and with the new moniker of Vance Archer. His profile is already up on wwe.com with this nice little burn in his profile: “Later, he competed in several regional wrestling promotions in Texas and Florida.”

Welcome to wwe.com’s little way of saying “suck it TNA.” And it his credit he looked far better in his ECW debut than old Kentucky Fatcat Braden Walker did in his, so maybe there’s hope for him yet.

On January 26th, 2010, WWE will be releasing a Best of Raw 2009 three DVD set.

Good Lord…three discs of awful Santino Marella skits, mis-pronounced names by guest hosts, John Cena overcoming the odds, Randy Orton chinlocks, Hornswoggle kicking Chavo Guerrero’s ass, DX insider jokes and Chris Jericho being awesome.

WWE was apparently very pleased with the WrestleMania XXVI pre-sale. The $750 ringside seats are already sold out.

I’m still angling my way into getting down there this year…

The Road to…Survivor Series
World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker (c) v. The Big Show v. Chris Jericho

WWE Championship
John Cena (c) v. Triple H v. Shawn Michaels

Rey Mysterio v. Batista

Team Mickie James v. Team Michelle McCool

Wrestler of the Week
Week of November 2 – 8: Chris Jericho
It was a fairly slow week around the WWE world, but once again Chris Jericho proved why he is one of the best in the world and deserves to be crossing every brand. On RAW he got into a great little exchange with Ozzy Osbourne and then beat his tag partner Big Show and John Cena in the main event triple threat match. That makes him, what 1 – 1000, against Cena? Then on Thursday he had a nice little match (and another victory) over the veteran Finlay. Then on his home show on SmackDown he got into an altercation with Undertaker, setting up their first-ever one-on-one TV match for next week’s show. Pretty good week for ol’ Lionheart.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Professional boxer Ricky Hatton will guest host WWE Monday Night RAW next week from Sheffield, England. Hatton, nicknamed “The Hitman,” is multi-time champion in lighter weight boxing classes in various boxing organizations. He was born and raised in England, so he will be able interact with the British fans quite well in his hosting spot. His last major fight was against Manny Pacquiao, a battle Hatton lost in the second round. While he has not worked with WWE in the past, he follows his fellow world-class boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather as a guest host for WWE RAW, a man Hatton lost to back in 2007. No matches have been announced, but being the show is held in England spoilers should be up on Pulse this afternoon or evening if you are so inclined.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Eison brings some love for the blue brand…and got to report on a JIMMY WANG YANG~! sighting.

Eison also covers Superstars and saw Jack Swagger beat Primo Colon for the 78th time this year and Paul Burchill actually win a match. How long before Tyler Reks gets future endeavored?

Innarelli and Bones got to witness HOYTMANIA~! run wild on ECW.

Marshall hops on the Ozzy Osbourne approved edition of RAW. But seriously the Chris Masters bit to Crazy Train may have been the best part of the show.

How They Rated
Superstars (10.29.09) – .9

SmackDown! (10.30.09) –

A.M. RAW (11.1.09) – .9

RAW (11.2.09) – 3.4

ECW (11.3.09) – 1.0

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Hack gets a plug just for purely mentioning the ECW Zombie.

Wheeler once again busts out the best RAW rant of the week.

For more relevant, interesting and exciting wrestling information from your truly, check out my gig as the Pro Wrestling Examiner over at Examiner.com.

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