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January 4, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Business year in review, Rock at Wrestlemania 32, tons more.


With so few companies able to draw 10,000 on a regular basis, this category is dominated by the WWE performers who have gotten the most big market main events during the year. Rollins at No. 1 breaks the streak of John Cena who had been No. 1 since 2009.

Cena’s 10th year in the top ten overall moves him ahead of Gene Kiniski, The Sheik, Ray Stevens and HHH, who were all top ten in nine different years.

He’s now tied with Yvon Robert and The Crusher with ten years in the top ten draws of the year. Those still ahead of him are Jim Londos (21), Lou Thesz (21), Bruno Sammartino (19), Strangler Lewis (18), Ric Flair (18), Hulk Hogan (18), Joe Stecher (14), Dick the Bruiser (14), Andre the Giant (14), Argentina Rocca (13), Killer Kowalski (13), Bill Longson (12), Buddy Rogers (12) and Whipper Billy Watson (11).

It should be noted that it’s a lot easier being top ten now because there are so many fewer shows that do 10,000, and the way the business is now, the top person will always be from WWE. Unlike a period when there were tons of flourishing companies all over the world, there really is WWE & UFC, and nothing else in their leagues, and UFC top fighters are generally only fighting two or three times a year. It means the top positions are going to always be the guys WWE pushes the most, and long-term longevity will be based specifically on tenure as a main eventer in WWE going forward.

In the past, with multiple promotions drawing big numbers all over the world, being top ten was a lot more difficult. In addition, the WWE shows aren’t drawn by big matches as much as if a PPV is coming, it usually does well, and if Raw is coming it also usually does well, while for other shows, it’s harder. The depth of stars who actually draw is tiny compared to the past, and the actual drawing power of those stars as difference makers is a ton in UFC, but really in pro wrestling it’s more the idea of a big show and if the company is a hot ticket as much as who is on top.

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