DC’s Book Review – Gimmick Pay Per Views
by Dale Clarke on September 3, 2009

World Wrestling Entertainment have recently changed up their pay per view schedule a fair bit and with that of course comes some changes to the pay per views output, namely the number of gimmick matches that appear on a card. While Breaking Point isn’t the first pay per view to focus on a single gimmick, TNA’s been doing it for years with Lockdown, it is the first pay per view based around submission type matches.

The biggest problem with gimmick pay per views is that eventually, all the matches lose that special lustre that is present when a special match is held during a regular pay per view. Matches like the Elimination Chamber and Hell in a Cell match are made that much better by the knowledge that they only happen once or twice a year. When a gimmick match is held periodically like this then there is actual excitement at the idea of getting something different.

This is one of the main reasons why I have never understood the booking of an all gimmick pay per view. Sure, it’s intended to boost buy rates by selling the gimmick but for me it takes away from the entire experience of watching a wrestling event, because every match is the same. As a result spots are inevitably reused and face it, after having the same gimmick match six times on one show the seventh match is never going to feel fresh or new regardless of the competitors.

I must admit, I’m a sucker for a gimmick match if it’s done and built up correctly. That means plenty of story building between the wrestlers involved and an actual reason for a gimmick match to be needed. That does not mean just throwing it on a card to boost ratings and buy rates because it seems like a good idea. Sure, gimmick matches raise ratings but that is only because people have been following a feud and want to see this big climax to it. It’s meant to be a special event, not a convoluted mess of a pay per view with a new name and a special tag line to it.

One recent example is Ring of Honor who in their time has not put on an overly large amount of gimmick matches. The reason? Because they never needed to. Any potential specialty match is kept until the end of a feud and only if that feud has been built up as particularly heated. That’s the way it should be and that is the real way you get people to watch your product.

World Wrestling Entertainment need to focus more on building up the storyline’s and providing great wrestling than using publicity stunts like an all submission based pay per view because when people tune into wrestling it isn’t primarily for the gimmicks but to see their favourite wrestler engaged in a storyline they actually care about knowing that when the feud does blow off its going to actually mean something, not feel cheap because you’ve already seen three submission type matches before hand.

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Dale Clarke

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    “World Wrestling Entertainment need to focus more on building up the storyline’s and providing great wrestling than using publicity stunts”


  • Walter Kovacs

    They at least understood that having ALL the matches be gimmick would not work, so they’ve limited it to 3 [4 if they do it with the ECW match as well]. And so far they’ve at least had a variety of gimmicks.

    DX vs. Legacy is a submission match where falls count anywhere. Orton/Cena is an I Quit match. Punk/Taker is a straight submission match. Only the last of the three seems like it will be a ‘legitimate’ submission match, since the first is basically a brawl around the arena with submissions thrown in, and the I Quit match can go a number of ways (Rock/Foley was hardly a psychology based deconstruction of a body part working to submission … unless you are talking about Rock taking Foley’s head apart).

    So far the gimmick PPVs for the WWE are a bit better than Lockdown ‘all cages all the time’.

    They do seem to be building to a point where most gimmicks will have a ‘home’, thus preventing them from showing up too often. There will probably not be an elimination chamber match outside of No Way Out (especially as it’s not really a gimmick that blows off a feud, but a ‘tournament’ style gimmick). Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble. Extreme Rules is a vague mix of match types. Breaking Point has it’s submission ‘based’ main events, which are rarely seen (outside of I Quit). Next month is Hell in the Cell … and we’ll see what they do with that. Survivor Series has it’s elimination matches. Night of Champions isn’t really a gimmick, but instead a promise that, at least for one PPV, the secondary titles will get spots on the card. I’m not sure what Bragging Rights is about, but I’m guessing it may be some sort of anti-Night of Champions where there are no title matches, where the prize is ‘bragging rights’ (not sure, but it doesn’t seem like a specific gimmick type … unless it’s a King of the Ring style tournament perhaps.

    In general though, there are only a few PPVs where they are having a single “gimmick”, and in those cases, it’s only for a few of the matches. Part of the reason is that, most tickets are sold ahead of time, and it’s impossible to really know what matches you are going to see that far in advanced. However, you know that you will see the Royal Rumble at that event, a couple of Elimination Chambers at No Way Out, etc, etc, etc … most of the PPVs will at least have one match you ‘know’ about before hand. It also helps to try to make the PPVs seem different when there are so many.

    Then again, the WWE did book Undertaker vs. Vince in a buried alive match AND Kane vs. Shane in an ambulance match at the same PPV … when both gimmick matches are basically the same (incapacitate your opponent in order to put them into something in order to win) in addition to having a pair of “brothers” fighting a father/son duo in seperate matches. So far their PPVs that have multiple matches with the same gimmick haven’t reached that level of redundancy.

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