Before the dawn of the WWE Network, WWE success was often measured through pay-per-view buys of company events, and the highest earning of them all is certainly Wrestlemania. If the numbers are anything to go by, here are the top 10 most PPV buys in WWE history.
The tenth place on our list goes out to the Wrestlemania 25. It managed to gain a staggering amount of 960,000 pay per view buys. The main appeal of this event, besides the celebration of the 25th anniversary, was the epic confrontation between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The Heartbreak Kid, loved by many, came down to the ring like an angel, descending from a high point, wearing only white. On the other side, The Undertaker came in followed by a roaring thunder and surrounded by the darkness in his trademark raincoat. Though it was a close match, The Undertaker came out victorious, ending with his world-famous Tombstone Piledriver.
With 975,000 buys, the 22nd Wrestlemania positioned 9th on our list of the most PPV buys in WWE history. This event had many highlighting features, the first of them being the introduction of John Cena and his brutal victory over the Triple H. Many believe this event is the starting moment of what can be called Cena Era, his rise to glory.The second important match within this event was, no doubt, Shawn Michaels taking on Vince McMahon himself in an intense confrontation that ended with Michaels taking the win. And, finally, Rey Mysterio’s winning of the title against both Kurt Angle and Randy Orton, in the name of his late friend Eddie Guerrero. People really got their money’s worth.
The 20th Wrestlemania took place in 2004 at Madison Square Garden. It managed to attract 1,007,000 PPV viewers, making it the 8th entry on our list. This event had a great number of high-profile matches that would have attracted the audience even without extensive marketing that was used. The event included the match between Christian and Chris Jericho; a tag team confrontation between Evolution, consisting of Batista, Ric Flair and Orton, against the fan-favorite Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection, which was The Rock and Mankind; Goldberg taking on Brock Lesnar; the late Eddie Guerrero fighting Kurt Angle; and an epic match between The Undertaker and Kane. To top it all, at the end there was a match between Chris Benoit, Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
People say that the 17th Wrestlemania was the best one ever. Only 7th on our list, it gained 1,040,000 PPV buyers. The show’s focus was on its main event of The Rock fighting Stone Cold Steve Austin with whom he had a long-lasting feud. Their main cause for conflict was the fact that Austin’s wife Debra had to become Rock’s manager against her will. This match ended with Stone Cold winning the title and after that sharing a beer with Vince McMahon. Besides this main event, both The Undertaker and Triple H made an appearance, as well as The Hardys, The Dudleys, etc. Vince McMahon also participated in a match against his own son. It was quite an event.
The 29th Wrestlemania achieved 1,048,000 pay per view buys making it the 6th highest-grossing event on this list of most PPV buys in WWE history. The event marked the last time Wrestlemania was broadcasted in this format, as the next year saw the introduction of WWE Network. This show was a slight disappointment for the fans as they were seeing for the second time an encounter between John Cena and the Rock. One of the highlights of the event was certainly a match between CM Punk and The Undertaker, although it was not given the promotion it deserves. Despite the producers’ doubt, The Undertaker was still in good shape and gave an excellent performance.