UPDATE: The market burnout (WWE held five events in the New York market since September) likely played a role. In addition to WWE’s five events in the area, AEW held three, so there have been a total of eight major wrestling events in the past three months. They included:
September 10: WWE Madison Square Garden Smackdown – 13,327 (10,800 paid)
September 15: AEW Prudential Center Dynamite – 13,190 (11,500 paid)
September 22: AEW Arthur Ashe Stadium Dynamite- 20,177 (18,300 paid)
November 21: WWE Barclays Center Survivor Series – 12,646 (10,500 paid)
November 22: WWE Barclays Center Raw – 5,500 (4,000 paid)
November 29: WWE UBS Arena Raw – 5,900 (3,600 paid)
December 8: AEW UBS Arena Dynamite – 9,800 (9,300 paid)
December 26: WWE Madison Square Garden Holiday show – 6,828 (5,300 paid)
Big prices for the Garden also didn’t help, as well as the fact that the previous shows WWE held in the market were TV events. This was a house show. COVID-19 wouldn’t have played a role, as there was a ‘solid’ number of walk-up people buying tickets.
ORIGINAL: WWE had to make several changes to their post-Christmas live event at Madison Square Garden last Sunday, as several talent missed due to COVID-19. The advertised main event was Big E vs. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins in a steel cage, but that ended up changing. Instead, it was Edge vs. Owens, marking Edge’s first house show match since 2011.
The show ended up being the lowest-attended December 26 MSG event in over a decade. WWE usually always holds a show at the Garden on the day after Christmas, and it usually means big money for the company. In this case, it had a total of 6,828 people with 5,300 paid. This is a significant drop from 2019, where 10,795 were in attendance for an advertised street fight between Owens and Rollins. Between 2010 and 2018, MSG events usually drew between 13,000 and 14,500, with WWE getting the latter in 2010 (John Cena vs. Wade Barrett in a cage match) and 2012 (John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler in a cage match). There wasn’t a show in 2020 for obvious pandemic-related reasons.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter also notes that it was the third-lowest paid attendance for a wrestling show at the Garden since 1937.