WWF/WWE Pay-Per-View (PPV) Buy Rates – 1993 to 2003

In the world of professional wrestling, the success of pay-per-view (PPV) events is often a key indicator of a promotion’s popularity and financial health. From 1993 to 2003, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which was rebranded as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2002, experienced a significant transformation in its PPV buyrates, a journey deeply intertwined with the rise and evolution of its iconic Attitude Era.

The early 1990s marked a period of rebuilding for the WWF, as the company navigated through various challenges including a waning audience interest and intense competition from rival promotions such as World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). However, the landscape began to change dramatically as the WWF ushered in the Attitude Era around 1997. This new era was characterized by edgier, more adult-oriented content, spearheaded by larger-than-life characters like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and Mankind. The Attitude Era not only revitalized the WWF’s domestic and international appeal but also significantly boosted its PPV buyrates.

The peak of this era coincided with groundbreaking events such as WrestleMania XIV and XV, which drew record numbers of viewers, captivated by the intense rivalries and compelling storylines. The WWF’s strategic move to incorporate more dramatic elements and mature themes resonated with a broader audience, propelling the company to unprecedented heights in PPV sales.

By 2001, the WWF had effectively outlasted its competition, with the acquisition of WCW and ECW assets marking the end of a significant era of competition. This monopoly, however, gradually led to a decline in PPV buyrates by 2003. Without significant external competition, the WWE struggled to maintain the creative intensity and urgency that had fueled its rise during the Attitude Era. The absence of a credible threat or rivalry led to a perceived stagnation in storyline innovation, which, coupled with the departure of key superstars who had become household names, resulted in a noticeable drop in PPV buyrate enthusiasm.

This period from 1993 to 2003 remains a pivotal chapter in wrestling history, illustrating how competition and innovation can drive the success of sports entertainment, and how its absence can lead to a plateau in consumer interest.

SummerSlam 1993195000250000
Survivor Series 1993128000180000
Royal Rumble 1994146000200000
WrestleMania X283000420000
King of the Ring 1994148000185000
SummerSlam 1994235000300000
Survivor Series 1994169000
Royal Rumble 1995194000225000
WrestleMania XI261000340000
In Your House #1172000180000
King of the Ring 1995139000150000
In Your House #2155000155000
SummerSlam 1995205000205000
In Your House #3162000160000
In Your House #49400090000
Survivor Series 1995135000
In Your House #584000
Royal Rumble 1996269000
In Your House #6186000
WrestleMania XII301000290000
Good Friends, Better Enemies165000
Beware of Dog #1116000
Beware of Dog #2117000
King of the Ring 1996158000
International Incident99000
SummerSlam 1996157000
Mind Games131000
Buried Alive110000
Survivor Series 1996160000
It’s Time97000
Royal Rumble 1997196000
The Final Four141000
WrestleMania XIII218000237000
Taker’s Revenge142000
A Cold Day in Hell163000
King of the Ring 1997144000
Canadian Stampede171000
SummerSlam 1997235000
Ground Zero136000
Badd Blood 1997186000
Survivor Series 1997284000250000
D-Generation X144000
Royal Rumble 1998325000
No Way Out 1998179000
WrestleMania XIV809000730000
Unforgiven 1998306000
Over the Edge 1998214000
King of the Ring 1998320000
Fully Loaded 1998347000
SummerSlam 1998655000700000
Judgment Day 1998350000
Survivor Series 1998506000
Rock Bottom300000
Royal Rumble 1999716000650000
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre455000
WrestleMania XV863000800000
Backlash 1999390000
Over the Edge 1999400000
King of the Ring 1999406000
Fully Loaded 1999334000
SummerSlam 1999565000600000
Unforgiven 1999300000
No Mercy 1999298000
Survivor Series 1999406000
Armageddon 1999337000
Royal Rumble 2000569000590000
No Way Out 2000435000480000
WrestleMania 2000757000824000
Backlash 2000593000650000
Judgment Day 2000386000420000
King of the Ring 2000440000475000
Fully Loaded 2000386000420000
SummerSlam 2000520000570000
Unforgiven 2000564000605000
No Mercy 2000499000550000
Survivor Series 2000385000400000
Armageddon 2000449000465000
Royal Rumble 2001533000625000
No Way Out 2001523000590000
WrestleMania X-79700001040000
Backlash 2001382000375000
Judgment Day 2001302000405000
King of the Ring 2001345000445000
SummerSlam 2001435000570000
Unforgiven 2001340000350000
No Mercy 2001333000325000
Survivor Series 2001471000450000
Vengeance 2001326000307000
Royal Rumble 2002708000670000
No Way Out 2002462000575000
WrestleMania X-8707000860000
Backlash 2002379000400000
Judgment Day 2002313000373000
King of the Ring 2002271000320000
Vengeance 2002318000375000
SummerSlam 2002425000540000
Unforgiven 2002240000300000
No Mercy 2002242000300000
Survivor Series 2002276000340000
Armageddon 2002265000335000
Royal Rumble 2003400000585000
No Way Out 2003348000450000
WrestleMania XIX427000560000
Backlash 2003262000345000
Judgment Day 2003240000315000
Bad Blood 2003287000385000
Vengeance 2003261000365000
SummerSlam 2003326000465000
Unforgiven 2003216000360000
No Mercy 2003188000275000
Survivor Series 2003276000450000
Armageddon 2003171000240000

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