With WWE releasing their fourth quarter numbers today, it is always interesting to look at how the WWE PPV buyrates are standing up compared to past events. Here's a rundown of the four events covered in this quarter with the headline matches.
2006 - 197,000 buys - World Champion Booker T vs. Fit Finlay vs. Batista vs. Bobby Lashley, Undertaker vs. Kennedy (single brand PPV).
2007 - 271,000 buys - World Champion Batista vs. Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison match, three Triple H vs. Randy Orton matches.
2008 - 261,000 buys - World Champion Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels in a ladder match, WWE Champion Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy.
2006 - 228,000 buys - World Champion Booker T vs. WWE Champion John Cena vs. ECW Champion Big Show.
2007 - 194,000 buys - World Champion Batista vs. The Undertaker with Steve Austin as referee, WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels.
2008 - 153,000 buys - World Champion Chris Jericho vs. Batista with Steve Austin as referee, WWE Champion Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy.
2006 - 383,000 buys - World Champion Booker T vs. Batista, Team DX vs. Team RKO, Undertaker vs. Kennedy in a First Blood match.
2007 - 341,000 buys - World Champion Batista vs. Undertaker in Hell In A Cell, WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels.
2008 - 319,000 buys - World Champion Chris Jericho vs. John Cena, WWE Champion Triple H vs. Edge vs. Vladimir Kozlov.
2006 - 239,000 buys - Batista & John Cena vs. Fit Finlay & Booker T, The Undertaker vs. Kennedy in a Last Ride match (single brand PPV).
2007 - 237,000 buys - World Champion Batista vs. Edge vs. Undertaker, WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho.
2008 - 193,000 buys - World Champion John Cena vs. Chris Jericho, WWE Champion Edge vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy.
It should be noted that 2006 also featured the first, and last, December To Dismember, headlined by an ECW Elimination Chamber, drawing 90,000 buys.
Obviously, the numbers don't pain a pretty picture, as all four shows were down in buys from last year, and with the exception of No Mercy, were down from the 2006 versions as well. No Mercy in 2006 was a "Smackdown Only" show.
Of course, it should be pointed out that the decline in buys does not mean that the shows are not profitable, as they are. They're just not drawing the same audience they did last year, and that has to be a cause for concern in Stamford. Hopefully the recent ratings turn around will be reflected in the PPV buys for the first quarter of 2009.
For more on the fourth quarter numbers, click here.