The wrestling pay-per-view landscape changed in 2012 when the WWE Network launched with a $9.99 subscription price, making WWE’s biggest shows more affordable for fans.
It now looks like WWE may be going back to having fans pay for each individual pay-per-view if a deal is worked out with ESPN.
Dave Meltzer noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that there have been talks between ESPN and WWE regarding content on ESPN+. Nothing is signed but if they are able to come to terms then it would likely mean that some, or all, of WWE’s major shows would move to ESPN+ in a deal similar to what UFC has where fans would order their big shows through the ESPN app.
Currently, fans who want to purchase a UFC pay-per-view would do so at $64.99 per show. The purchase also includes a month of ESPN+, which costs $4.99 per month.
Several years ago, Dana White said that his feeling on the WWE Network was that Vince McMahon is a very smart guy but he was devaluing his pay-per-view business by putting those shows up on the WWE Network for $9.99. It turns out he was right and WWE is now looking to cash in by getting a similar deal as UFC.
If WWE is able to sign a deal with ESPN+ then this deal has the potential to expose many more people to their product. ESPN gives more TV coverage to UFC ahead of their big pay-per-view events and you would expect more coverage for big WWE pay-per-view events, especially WrestleMania.