In recent years, WWE has found varying degrees of success running a Premium Live Event (PLE) internationally. For every Clash at the Castle, there has been an inaugural Crown Jewel. Between Backlash drawing an all-time crowd, Money in the Bank taking place at The O2 Arena in London in less than two weeks, and AEW announcing pay-per-views in Canada and England, more wrestling fans are getting excited for wrestling events abroad.
WWE in particular has markets they have already gone into and untapped markets that could feasibly host an international PLE. Perhaps they have a strong enough market in place that avidly supports the product. Maybe a few of the company’s best wrestlers are from a certain country that would rally behind them. There are four markets in particular that come to mind: Australia, Ireland, Mexico, and Germany.
Australia has played host to just one international PLE: the first rendition of WWE Super-Showdown, another international show in 2018 in which Triple H fought the Undertaker. Back then, WWE’s most popular main roster Australian wrestler was Peyton Royce. Then, a revelation came in the form of Rhea Ripley.
Ripley has become arguably the most popular wrestler in the company since joining the Judgment Day and becoming Dominik Mysterio’s mami. Ripley has had a year to remember, winning the women’s Royal Rumble, beating Charlotte at Wrestlemania for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and successfully defending it against Zelina Vega and Natalya at Backlash and Night of Champions, respectively.
The time is now for Ripley, and thus the time is now to dive into the Australian market. WWE can let her wrestle in the main event and that alone would draw significant local interest. Perhaps they will also learn from their previous show in Australia that they do not need to add in a legends match that ultimately is setup for a rematch at a show in Saudi Arabia.
Australia certainly has facilities large enough to host a PLE, big or small. The risky maneuver would be to host one of the big four PLEs (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series). They did nearly fill out Melbourne Cricket Ground, so there is a precedent to go off of, and a good one at that. Though it would be a stretch to go for a sellout of one of the big four in a large arena, a second-tier PLE like Extreme Rules could work in a smaller indoor arena such as the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.
Throughout the last decade and change, WWE has had at least one popular Irish wrestler on their roster, be it Sheamus, Becky Lynch, or Finn Balor. Now, all three are on the roster and, one way or another, are over with the fans. Sheamus has reinvented himself again as the leader of the Brawling Brutes, Finn Balor is the leader of Judgment Day, and Becky Lynch has been a fan favorite ever since she first turned heel many moons ago.
Of the many international PLEs WWE has put on, surprisingly none have come from Ireland. Perhaps it is due to the lack of indoor arenas that could support a crowd expected of a PLE and no significant Irish stars having appeared not named Fit Finlay.
Ireland and the United Kingdom alone have wrestling fanbases strong enough to fill one of the larger stadiums in Ireland for a wrestling event. Ireland in particular has deserved a PLE While it would be hard to commit to Wrestlemania being in Ireland now, it is entirely feasible a Summerslam at Aviva Stadium would sell out. It would have to be Summerslam, though, as Ireland is one of the cooler countries on the planet, temperature-wise.
If there is one international PLE that felt like a waste of potential, it was Beast in the East. It was not for lack of trying, though, the show had some good matches. It was doomed by a lack of advertising and being crammed into a very tight summer schedule in 2015. If the United States and Canada are the premier producers of wrestlers, Japan has third place locked up.
Not only does WWE have some great Japanese wrestlers such as Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Iyo Sky, they have several roster members who once wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). To name just a few: AJ Styles, Finn Balor (known then as Prince Devitt), Cody Rhodes, Ricochet, and even Brock Lesnar (though his tenure was a rocky one).
The audience in Japan is certainly there, and the facilities are, too. The Saitama Super Arena has multiple configurations that would all fill up in a hurry for a wrestling event. It also rests just northwest of Tokyo, so isolation is not a problem. If WWE wanted to host a big four event there, they would likely do it at the National Stadium.
The big issue, though, would be travel expenses. Flying out all the personnel, all the equipment needed to set up for a big four event would add thousands upon thousands of dollars in expenses they can avoid paying by having the event elsewhere. That is the price of an international PLE, but it would absolutely be worth it, especially in a market like Japan.
This will also be a stretch, as none of WWE’s international PLEs have taken place in Germany. Their top European wrestler having a ring name with murky origins does not help, either. If that barrier can be cleared, one way or another, a PLE in Germany could do wonders.
Gunther alone would still be a significant draw. In a company where Roman Reigns is still being marketed as the top heel of the company, one could argue Gunther truly carries that distinction. While Reigns has not defended his title since Wrestlemania, Gunther has proven his worth as a workhorse to the extreme. He has already put on multiple five-star matches, per Dave Meltzer, during his reign as Intercontinental Champion.
This section is not about Gunther, though. Germany has always had a wrestling fanbase with WWE regularly visiting the country for house shows and European tours. The facilities are there, as well, for WWE to host whatever PLE they please there. Perhaps they go for an indoor arena such as Lanxess Arena in Cologne and keep it small-scale. That would be the easy option.
Germany would also be the popular option for an international PLE, given the NFL’s latest efforts to appeal to the German market. While WWE would be competing with the NFL in terms of drawing fans, WWE has all year to hold a PLE there as opposed to the four-month window the NFL has.
All four countries mentioned have strong potential as future PLE locations. With AEW running shows in Canada and England, the time is now for WWE to push internationally. Where they go is up to them, but these four locations can all be reliable locations moving forward.
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