WWE pushed their March 5 live event at Madison Square Garden heavily on last night’s Raw. It is rare to see a house show so heavily promoted on national television. Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley was even teased, although that was eventually taken back on the air. Ronda Rousey has also been added to the show.
The reason for the peculiar hyping of the MSG house show is that Vince McMahon was upset at attendance for the WWE holiday event that took place at the venue. Less than 5,000 people attended the event. It was the worst Madison Square Garden attendance for WWE since 1940.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed WWE’s efforts to increase attendance for the next MSG event. Brock Lesnar appearing on a house show is not cheap. McMahon believes it is necessary to help garner interest for yet another slowly selling Garden show.
“At the end of the show, Jimmy Smith pretty much said that Lashley’s not going to be there. When he first said Bobby Lashley, I was like, ‘This is even worse than the other thing that they just did over the weekend!’ They know he’s not going to be there, but they really did make it clear. They said his name, but the second time he brought it up, they go, ‘He’s not going to be there.’
So, it’s going to be a mystery guy and who knows what that will be? But it is very interesting how much they pushed the Garden, because when they did that last show at the Garden and did whatever it was, I think it was 4,800 paid, 5,000 paid, which was the third-lowest since 1940, I knew Vince is not going to take this one sitting down. He’s going to do everything for the next Garden show that he can.
He put Ronda in there. He put Brock in there, which is really expensive. You know, Ronda’s doing a lot of house shows, so that’s not really that big of a deal, expense-wise. Brock is a big deal, expense-wise, to put him on a house show. I don’t remember the last time. Brock’s house shows, he’s done a few, and you know what? He didn’t really make a giant difference in the gate on those house shows. Certainly not even close to what they’re paying him, but they’re going with it on this one. The ticket sales, they’re about 5,500 tickets out right now. They were a lot lower, but they did the two-for-one and then pushing it on Raw like it’s something big will help. But still, 5,500 tickets and probably 1,500, 2,000 of those are probably comps, business trades. That’s pretty bad. This should jump it.”
WWE has been offering deals to sweeten the pot for fans who are on the fence about attending. Major stars will appear on the card. We will have to see if the strategy of promoting the event on television will make things better.
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Transcription by Ringside News