Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson celebrates after defeating John Cena at...

Dwyane 'The Rock' Johnson celebrates after defeating John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII in Sun Life Stadium. (April 1, 2012) Credit: AP

The WWE announced today that WrestleMania XXVIII set a new pay-per-view purchase record, with 1.3 million homes worldwide buying the show.

The number makes the show a huge success for the WWE, and also indicates that the experiment of building toward the Rock vs. John Cena match for a full year was well worth it.

Naysayers may wonder if the buy rate could have been even better had some dfferent creative decisions been made. But any way you slice it, it's clear that this year's installment of WrestleMania was a big hit. It beats 2007's WrestleMania 23 as the most-watched WWE pay-per-view of all time. The achievement is especially impressive given the growth of illegal pirate streams over the last five years.

The big buy rate figure may also lend credence to the notion that television ratings don't mean nearly what they used to. In the weeks leading up to this year's WrestleMania, Raw's rating hovered in the low 3's, and the last Raw before the big show drew just a 3.05. To compare, the last Raw before WrestleMania 23 five years ago did a 3.9 rating.

The strong buy rate, despite the relatively low TV numbers, may indicate how viewing patterns have changed, with fewer people than ever relying on the first-run, live airing of Raw, and more people turning to DVRs, the Internet and social media to follow WWE.

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