Before the WWE Network and Peacock, Pay-per-views were one of the biggest revenue generators for WWE and buyrates were one of the biggest indicators of the company’s success.
Lets look at the most financially successful WrestleMania’s in WWE history when it comes to the overall buys:
WrestleMania 24 — 1.058 million PPV buys
The event took place in front of nearly 75,000 WWE fans at the Orange Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The huge crowd generated $5.85 million in ticket sales at the show, and over 60,000 visitors during WrestleMania weekend boosted the local economy to the tune of over $50 million, making the event a huge financial success for everyone involved.
Ric Flair lost a ‘Career’ match against Shawn Michaels, meaning he had to retire. The main event was The Undertaker’s World Heavyweight Championship victory over Edge, but the most highly promoted match on the card was the no-disqualification match between The Big Show and boxer Floyd Mayweather. Despite Mayweather giving up a 16-inch height advantage, and several hundred pounds, still found a way to win.
Wrestlemania 27 — 1.059 million PPV buys
The Rock served as the special guest host and the crowd showed up with 71,617 in attendance at the Georgia Dome, earnings $6.6 million at the gate, putting the event second all time in terms of gate receipts behind WrestleMania 28.
As the event’s host, The Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment kept a close eye on the WWE Title Match between John Cena and The Miz, ultimately delivering a Rock Bottom to Cena in the process.
The Undertaker extended his WrestleMania winning ‘streak’ to 19-0 with a No Holds Barred victory over Triple H. Edge, wrestling his final match up to that point, and was able to retire as World Heavyweight Champion after beating Alberto Del Rio.
WrestleMania 21 — 1.085 million PPV buys
Tickets sold out within one minute of going on sale, making it the fastest selling event in WWE and Staples Center history at that point. The company made $2.6 million in gate money from the sold-out crowd of 20,193 at Staples Center, as well as the huge pay-per-view buyrate.
The card itself was absolutely packed with highlights: Edge triumphed in the inaugural Money in the Bank match; both John Cena and Batista became bona fide superstars with world title victories over JBL and Triple H, respectively; Randy Orton came closer to ending The Undertaker’s streak than anyone in recent years; and the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All” also provided an all-time classic between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels.
WrestleMania 23 – 1.2 million PPV buys
WrestleMania 23 was held at At Detroit’s Ford Field, and set an all-time record audience of 80,103. The event brought in a huge $5.38 million in gate receipts.
WrestleMania 23 included one of the more bizarre moments in WWE history as Donald Trump’s wrestler Bobby Lashley beat WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s wrestler Umaga in a “Hair versus Hair” match. Lashley won, meaning Trump got to shave McMahon’s head.
The show also included The Undertaker defeating Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena retaining the WWE Championship against Shawn Michaels and Mr. Kennedy wining the Money in the Bank ladder match.
WrestleMania 28 – 1.217 million PPV buys
The main event match between John Cena and The Rock was advertised one year in advance with a tag “Once in a Lifetime.”
The card also saw The Undertaker go 20-0 by winning the Hell in a Cell match over Triple H, CM Punk retained the WWE Title against Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in 18 seconds.
The show was watched by 1.2 million people across 120 countries, and had 78,363 in attendance at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, generating $8.9 million in gate receipts, a new company record.