Boxing and MMA have the fights the most people bet on and that the most people pay to see, both in real life and on TV. These sports have massive backing from the media and equally massive fan communities, not to mention their huge exposure and (once again) massive amounts of sponsor money flowing into them. This doesn’t mean that American wrestling is the poor cousin of fighting. Even though it focuses way more on entertainment than its counterparts it is as much a sport as any, with its own share of professional athletes and money fights. Here are the ones with the biggest loot attached to them.
3: WrestleMania 21
WrestleMania 21 or the 21st annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 3, 2005. The event featured performers from both Raw and SmackDown!, with matches from both headlining the show.
The Raw headliners of the event were Batista (Dave Bautista) and Triple H (Paul Michael Levesque) facing off in a World Heavyweight Championship match, while the SmackDown! highlight of the night was John “Bradshaw” Layfield versus John Cena title fight for the WWE Championship. The event also featured a match between The Undertaker and Randy Orton, with undercards like Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels. This event marked Stone Cold Steve Austin’s part-time return to the ring and it was the final event to feature Eddie Guerrero, who passed away later that year.
The tickets to the event sold out in less than a minute, making it the fastest sell-out for the Staples Center ever. The event was seen on PPV by almost 1.1 million people.
2: WrestleMania 23
WrestleMania 23 was held at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on April 1st, 2007. This was once again a joint brand event, with performers from Raw, SmackDown!, and ECW stepping into the ring. The professional matches taking place at the event were John Cena vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship, Batista vs The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship, and for the ECW Champion Bobby Lashley (representing Donald Trump) vs Raw’s Intercontinental Champion Umaga (representing Vince McMahon).
The event set the all-time Ford Field attendance record of 80,103 fans and was seen on PPV by more than 1.2 million viewers.
1: WrestleMania XXVIII
The WrestleMania event with the highest number of PPV buy-ins was WrestleMania XXVIII that took place on April 1st, 2012, at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The main event was “The Rock vs John Cena: Once in a Lifetime” that Dwayne Johnson won, later called the “Most Anticipated WrestleMania Match of All Time”. The second main event was The Undertaker facing Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.
The number of PPV buy-ins was at a record high that wasn’t broken ever since: 1.217 million people wanted to see the event on TV.