There are many wrestling fans out there that would say that the WWE simply has too many pay per view events. This has been a complaint since before there was even a WWE Network or even two shows on cable television every week. The storylines can get rushed and too saturated pretty quickly with an abundance of pay per views, but that hasn’t stopped Vince McMahon and company from pumping one out (and sometimes two) every month.
These events are supposed to showcase the culminations of feuds and perhaps crown new champions. Since things have gotten too predictable and buyrates have seen a decline. When it comes to the lowest pay per view buyrates that the WWE has had, you will notice something in common; they come from the same era. After the Attitude Era ended, pay per view buys got slashed.
But which ones had the fewest buys? We only considered the ones that aired before the inception of the WWE Network, or else the entire top (or bottom) 15 would all be from the past year and a half. Here are the least watched WWE pay per views of all time, and a quick note, the sales numbers are in North American sales only:
15 Breaking Point 2009 - 105,000 Buys
The 2009 edition of Breaking Point came when the WWE was still split into three separate entities (Raw, Smackdown and ECW). The name was chosen by the fans, but they still didn’t care enough to order the pay per view to make it successful, as it only brought in 105,000 buys. The main events saw John Cena defeating Randy Orton in one of their many matchups while CM Punk defeated the Undertaker in a submission match for the World Heavyweight Championship (with the WWE again re-enacting the Montreal Screwjob at the Bell Centre), but the most notable match was The Legacy vs. D-Generation X.
14 Bragging Rights 2009 - 105,000 Buys
As you can probably tell already, 2009 was a pretty rough year for WWE pay per views. Bragging Rights took place in October of that year, pitting the superstars of Raw against those from Smackdown. It also didn't help that it was the WWE's third pay per view in six weeks. Wouldn’t you know it, the main event featured Randy Orton and John Cena again (get the picture?), drawing in 105,000 buys. The match was given a high grade, though, as it was a 60 minute Anything Goes Ironman Match for the WWE title that John Cena would end up winning.
13 Night of Champions 2013 - 103,000 Buys
It was a night that was designed for even the smarkiest fans in mind when the main event featured Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, a handicap match that had CM Punk fighting Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose taking on Dolph Ziggler and even Rob Van Dam fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship in his home state of Michigan. Fans didn’t flock to their TV sets for this one, though, as it collected only 103,000 buys. It’s a shame, because many of the matches were highly rated.
12 TLC 2011 - 98,000 Buys
The 2011 edition of TLC had a massive card with nine matches airing on TV, but that was only able to grab the attention of 98,000 homes who were prepared to buy. The highlights of this pay per view include Triple H defeating Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer Ladder Match, Daniel Bryan cashing in his Money in the Bank on The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship, and CM Punk defeating The Miz and Alberto Del Rio in a triple threat TLC match for the WWE Championship. One has to wonder if John Cena's absence from this card affected the buyrates.
11 Hell in a Cell 2011 - 98,000 Buys
Hell in a Cell 2011 was missing a lot of feuds that people cared about, which may be the reason that it drew only 98,000 buys. The World Heavyweight Championship match featured Mark Henry taking on Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match, and the main event featured a triple threat between Alberto Del Rio, John Cena and CM Punk for the WWE title. You would think that with a tagline of “John Cena Goes to Hell” would bring people in, but that didn’t appear to be the case for this stinker.
10 Survivor Series 2013 - 98,000 Buys
At one point, Survivor Series was one of the four major pay per views of the year, but people have lost interest. This was one of the final pay per views before the WWE Network started, so maybe people were being patient. Then again, when your main feud is Randy Orton versus the freaking Big Show, which was named the worst feud of the year by The Wrestling Observer, you shouldn't be surprised so few were interested. Meanwhile John Cena and Alberto Del Rio were fighting for the World Heavyweight title once again. The only matches that weren’t considered duds were CM Punk and Daniel Bryan against the Wyatt Family and the Survivor Series match itself, and only 98,000 fans bought in.
9 Cyber Sunday 2008 - 92,000 Buys
Cyber Sunday was once an annual event for the WWE, but it ended with the 2008 edition that only collected 92,000 buys. Even bringing back Stone Cold Steve Austin as a special referee for the main event between Batista and Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship wasn’t enough to gather interest. Even the Honky Tonk Man won the Intercontinental Championship during this event where there were no memorable matches, just a bunch of average ones.
8 Fatal 4-Way 2010 - 88,000 Buys
Gimmick pay per views have been around for quite some time now, but it’s hard to believe that they made one for a match as common as a fatal four-way. This 2010 pay per view had 88,000 buys, and was the only one of its kind. It’s hard to believe the most memorable match of the night came between Evan Bourne and Chris Jericho, but that’s the way it goes. In the main event, Sheamus defeated John Cena, Edge and Randy Orton for the WWE Championship with Rey Mysterio winning his fatal four-way earlier in the night for the WHC.
7 Capitol Punishment 2011 - 85,000 Buys
Nobody really remembers this pay per view very well, but they certainly remember the odd poster featuring John Cena, Rey Mysterio and Barack Obama. The one time pay per view event received just 85,000 buys, replacing Fatal 4-Way from the year before. Hmm, if only there was a great June PPV you could slot in for that month...
While people like R-Truth enough, having him main event a pay per view in a singles match wasn’t a huge appeal, as he lost to John Cena for the WWE title. Perhaps the most memorable match of the night came between Randy Orton and Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship.
6 Battleground 2013 - 81,000 Buys
Battleground is a B-level pay per view that has been able to stick around since it was first created in October of 2013. This first Battleground featured Daniel Bryan taking on Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship, which ended in a no contest, not pleasing the 81,000 people that bought the pay per view. There weren’t any instant classics coming out of this pay per view, with the best one coming between Cody Rhodes and Goldust against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
5 TLC 2012 - 75,000 Buys
The 2012 version of Tables, Ladders & Chairs had only 75,000 buys, and those people missed a great pay per view that had an odd ending. There were two match of the year candidates coming out of this pay per view that came nine days before Christmas, with The Shield defeating Team Hell No and Ryback in an epic TLC match. The main event was also a classic as Dolph Ziggler defeated John Cena in a ladder match (thanks to shenanigans, of course) for the Money in the Bank contract that belonged to Ziggler.
4 Over the Limit 2011 - 72,000 Buys
The May pay per view known as Over the Limit is no more, and the 2011 event that brought in only 72,000 buys is a part of that. If you didn’t watch this pay per view, the only match that is worth talking about that you missed was between Randy Orton and Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship. Other than that, you got a “Kiss My Foot” match between Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole to go along with Cena winning yet another “I Quit” match, perhaps the worst "I Quit" match of all time, against The Miz.
3 Bragging Rights 2010 - 71,000 Buys
Bragging Rights has apparently never been a draw for the WWE, and the 2010 pay per view brought in just 71,000 buys thanks to a soft card without many big name matchups. The highest rated match of the night was the first one, when Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler in a champion versus champion match. The main event suffered as Wade Barrett defeated Randy Orton due to a disqualification, meaning he didn’t win the WWE Championship that was on the line. They also took half an hour to settle a 14-man elimination tag match that nobody cared about. Also on this card was another Undertaker versus Kane match, with Kane burying his brother alive for the second time, thanks to help from The Nexus.
2 Vengeance 2011 - 65,000 Buys
Vengeance was the pay per view that took over the Bragging Rights event in 2011, but it suffered even more than its predecessor. Vengeance featured a main event of Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena in a Last Man Standing match, but people had seen enough of that already as only 65,000 people bought the pay per view. However, it was still a pretty solid match, but the others didn’t have much appeal. Mark Henry and The Big Show ended in a no contest, and that was with the big gold belt on the line. You can skip this one on the WWE Network.
1 December to Dismember 2006 - 52,000 Buys
The lowest buyrate in the history of the WWE comes thanks to the 2006 event, December to Dismember that was exclusively for talent in the ECW brand. The opening match was memorable as Team Xtreme (Matt and Jeff Hardy) defeated MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro), but it was quickly forgotten. Bobby Lashley won the main event in an Elimination Chamber match for the ECW title that also featured The Big Show, Rob Van Dam, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk and Test.