WWE have released their monthly "Key Performance Indicators with updated metrics through March 20, 2014. This information included estimates for the final two traditional PPV WWE events - Royal Rumble (held January 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh) and Elimination Chamber (held February 23, 2014 in Minneapolis). Royal Rumble 2014, headlined by Batista winning the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar killing Big Show and a title unification rematch with John Cena versus Randy Orton, had 465,000 worldwide buys (estimated at 317,000 North American buys). Elimination Chamber 2014, headlined by Randy Orton keeping his title in an Elimination Chamber match, Batista earning the nickname "Boo-tista" in his fight with Alberto Del Rio and the epic Shield vs Wyatt brawl, had 183,000 worldwide buys (estimated at 125,000 North American buys.) Last year's Royal Rumble, with John Cena winning the rumble and The Rock vs CM Punk had 483,000 buys (299,000 North American Buys). Last year's Elimination Chamber, with another CM Punk The Rock battle and Jack Swagger winning the Elimination Chamber, had 241,000 buys (181,000 North American Buys). These datapoints aren't very comparable since this year's PPVs did not The Rock on them. (Though Brock being on this year is notable.) The better comparison would be looking back two years: Royal Rumble 2012 (Sheamus won the rumble) had 483,000 buys (299,000 North American buys) and Elimination Chamber 2012 (CM Punk won Raw Chamber; Daniel Bryan won Smackdown Chamber; Cena vs Kane in an Ambulance Match) had 194,000 buys (138,000 North American buys). Also, consider the December PPV, TLC 2013, which had 181,000 buys (140,000 North American buys) for the John Cena vs Randy Orton title unification match. While Royal Rumble 2014 was down in terms of worldwide buys vs Royal Rumble 2012 (465k vs 483k), domestically things were up (317k vs 299k) which is a good sign. Elimination Chamber was more in line with TLC 2013 than it was with Elimination Chamber 2012. However, considering that Dish Network (typically 17% of WWE's PPV buys) refused to carry Elimination Chamber 2014, the domestic number (125,000) is very good. With full PPV coverage, EC2014 would have probably hit 150k domestic buys which would have surpassed both TLC2013/EC2012. Also, knowing that WWE Network was going to launch the day following Elimination Chamber 2014 likely convinced some potential PPV buyers to save their money for that. Ultimately, going into the biggest show of the year, the climate certainly doesn't seem to be a raging inferno. Raw Ratings have been nothing special for this time of year. However, the fact that the floor didn't drop out for Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber is remarkable, and demonstrates how the PPV business, while declining, was certainly not on death's door.
I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter (@mookieghana)