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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier - A (scary) History of WWF/WWE Main Event Matches on PPV
By PEN15
Nov 23, 2013 - 11:35:52 AM


Nov 22 - A History of Main Events

A History of WWF/WWE Main Events


Just stats to start. Here is a list of events, with their main event/marquee matches. I’ll explain after the list, in case you don’t notice the obvious trend for yourself.


1995

Royal Rumble --- Hitman vs Diesel II; Rumble
Wrestlemania --- Diesel vs HBK I
In Your House --- Sid vs Diesel
King of the Ring --- Diesel/Bam Bam vs Tatanka/Sid
In Your House --- Sid vs Diesel II
Summerslam --- Diesel vs Mabel
In Your House --- Diesel/HBK vs Yokozuna/Bulldog
In Your House --- Diesel vs Bulldog
Survivor Series --- Diesel vs Hitman III (no DQ)

1996

In Your House --- Hitman vs Bulldog
Royal Rumble --- Hitman vs Undertaker; Rumble
In Your House --- Hitman vs Diesel IV (steel cage)
Wrestlemania --- Hitman vs HBK (iron man)
In Your House --- HBK vs Diesel II
In Your House --- HBK vs Bulldog I
King of the Ring --- HBK vs Bulldog II
In Your House --- Vader/Owen/Bulldog vs HBK/Sid/Ahmed Johnson
Summerslam --- HBK vs Vader
In Your House --- HBK vs Mankind
In Your House --- Undertaker vs Mankind
Survivor Series --- Sid vs HBK II
In Your House --- Sid vs Hart

1997

Royal Rumble --- Sid vs HBK II; Rumble
In Your House --- Hitman vs Austin vs Undertaker vs Vader (final four)
Wrestlemania --- Sid vs Undertaker
In Your House --- Austin vs Hart
In Your House --- Austin vs Undertaker
King of the Ring --- Undertaker vs Faarooq
In Your House --- Hart Foundation vs Austin, Goldust, Shamrock, LOD
Summerslam --- Hart vs Undertaker
In Your House --- Undertaker vs HBK I
In Your House --- Undertaker vs HBK II
Survivor Series --- HBK vs Hitman
In Your House --- HBK vs Shamrock

1998

Royal Rumble --- Undertaker vs HBK III; Rumble
In Your House --- Austin, Mankind, Owen, Charlie vs HHH, NAO, Savio Vega
Wrestlemania --- Austin vs HBK
In Your House --- Dude Love vs Austin
In Your House --- Dude Love vs Austin II
King of the Ring --- Kane vs Austin
In Your House --- Austin/Undertaker vs Kane/Mankind
Summerslam --- Austin vs Undertaker
In Your House --- Austin vs Undertaker vs Kane
In Your House --- Kane vs Undertaker
Survivor Series --- Rock vs Mankind
In Your House --- Rock vs Mankind; Austin vs Undertaker

1999

Royal Rumble --- Rock vs Mankind; Rumble
In Your House --- Rock vs Mankind; Austin vs McMahon
Wrestlemania --- Rock vs Austin
In Your House --- Rock vs Austin
Over The Edge --- Austin vs Undertaker
King of the Ring --- McMahons vs Austin; Undertaker vs Rock
Fully Loaded --- Austin vs Undertaker
Summerslam --- Austin vs HHH vs Mankind
Unforgiven --- HHH vs Bulldog vs Mankind vs Rock vs Big Show vs Kane
No Mercy --- HHH vs Austin
Survivor Series --- Big Show (Austin) vs HHH vs Rock
Armageddon --- Big Show vs Boss Man; HHH vs Vince

2000

Royal Rumble --- HHH vs Cactus Jack; Rumble
No Way Out --- HHH vs Cactus Jack
Wrestlemania --- HHH vs Big Show vs Rock vs Foley
Backlash --- Rock vs HHH
Judgment Day --- Rock vs HHH
King of the Ring --- Rock/Kane/Undertaker vs HHH/McMahons
Fully Loaded --- Rock vs Benoit
Summerslam --- Rock vs HHH vs Angle
Unforgiven --- Rock vs Kane vs Benoit vs Undertaker
No Mercy --- Angle vs Rock
Survivor Series --- Angle vs Undertaker; HHH vs Austin
Armageddon --- Angle vs Rock vs Austin vs HHH vs Rikishi vs Undertaker

2001

Royal Rumble --- Angle vs HHH; Rumble
No Way Out --- Angle vs Rock
Wrestlemania --- Rock vs Austin
Backlash --- Austin/HHH vs Kane/Undertaker
Judgment Day --- Austin vs Undertaker
King of the Ring --- Austin vs Jericho vs Benoit
Invasion --- Booker T, Dudleys, Rhyno, DDP vs Austin, Undertaker, Kane, Jericho, Angle
Summerslam --- Angle vs Austin; Rock vs Booker T
Unforgiven --- Angle vs Austin
No Mercy --- Angle vs Austin vs RVD
Survivor Series --- Angle/Austin/Booker T/Shane McMahon/RVD vs Rock/Undertaker/Jericho/Kane/Big Show
Vengeance --- Angle vs Austin; Rock vs Jericho

2002

Royal Rumble --- Rock vs Jericho; Rumble
No Way Out --- Jericho vs Austin
Wrestlemania --- HHH vs Jericho
Backlash --- HHH vs Hogan
Judgment Day --- Undertaker vs Hogan
King of the Ring --- Undertaker vs HHH
Vengeance --- Rock vs Undertaker vs Angle
Summerslam --- Rock vs Brock
Unforgiven --- Brock vs Undertaker
No Mercy --- Brock vs Undertaker
Survivor Series --- Elimination Chamber #1; Big Show vs Brock
Armageddon --- Angle vs Big Show; HHH vs HBK



Let’s now skip from the Attitude Era to 2010

Royal Rumble --- Undertaker vs Mysterio; Sheamus vs Orton; Rumble
Elimination Chamber --- Elimination Chamber for WWE Title; and World Title
Wrestlemania --- Cena vs Batista; Jericho vs Edge; Undertaker vs HBK
Extreme Rules --- Cena vs Batista; Jericho vs Edge
Over The Limit --- Cena vs Batista; Big Show vs Swagger
Fatal Four Way --- Sheamus vs Cena vs Orton vs Edge
Money in the Bank --- Mysterio vs Swagger; Sheamus vs Cena; 2 MITB Ladder Matches
Summerslam --- Kane vs Mysterio; Team WWE vs Team Nexus; Orton vs Sheamus
Night of Champions --- Kane vs Undertaker; Sheamus vs Cena vs Orton vs Edge vs Jericho vs Barrett
Hell in a Cell --- Kane vs Undertaker; Sheamus vs Orton; Barrett vs Cena
Bragging Rights --- Kane vs Undertaker; Orton vs Barrett
Survivor Series --- Kane vs Edge; Orton vs Barrett
TLC --- Miz vs Orton; Barrett vs Cena; Edge vs Mysterio vs Del Rio vs Kane

2011

Royal Rumble --- Edge vs Ziggler; Miz vs Orton
Elimination Chamber --- Elimination Chamber for WWE Title Shot; and World Title; Miz vs Lawler
Wrestlemania --- Edge vs Del Rio; Cena vs Miz
Extreme Rules --- Cena vs Miz vs Morrison; Christian vs Del Rio
Over The Limit --- Cena vs Miz; Christian vs Orton
Capitol Punishment --- Cena vs R-Truth; Christian vs Orton
Money in the Bank --- CM Punk vs John Cena; Christian vs Orton; 2 MITB Ladder Matches
Summerslam --- CM Punk vs John Cena; Christian vs Orton
Night of Champions --- Orton vs Henry; Cena vs Del Rio; CM Punk vs HHH
Hell in a Cell --- Orton vs Henry; Cena vs Del Rio vs CM Punk
Vengeance --- Big Show vs Henry; Cena vs Del Rio
Survivor Series --- Big Show vs Henry; CM Punk vs Del Rio; Cena/Rock vs Awesome Truth
TLC --- Big Show vs Henry; CM Punk vs Del Rio vs Miz

2012

Royal Rumble --- CM Punk vs Ziggler; Daniel Bryan vs Big Show vs Mark Henry; Cena vs Kane; Rumble
Elimination Chamber --- Elimination Chamber for WWE Title; and World Title; Cena vs Kane
Wrestlemania --- Rock vs Cena; CM Punk vs Chris Jericho; Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan
Extreme Rules --- Brock vs Cena; CM Punk vs Chris Jericho; Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan
Over the Limit --- Cena vs Laurinitus; Punk vs Bryan; Sheamus vs Del Rio vs Orton vs Jericho
No Way Out --- Cena vs Big Show; Bryan vs Punk vs Kane; Sheamus vs Ziggler
Money in the Bank --- Sheamus vs Del Rio; Punk vs Bryan; 2 MITB Ladder Matches
Summerslam --- Punk vs Big Show vs Cena; Sheamus vs Del Rio; Brock vs HHH
Night of Champions --- Punk vs Cena; Sheamus vs Del Rio
Hell in a Cell --- CM Punk vs Ryback; Big Show vs Sheamus
Survivor Series --- CM Punk vs Cena vs Ryback; Big Show vs Sheamus
TLC --- Ziggler vs Cena; Big Show vs Sheamus

2013

Royal Rumble --- Del Rio vs Big Show; Punk vs Rock; Rumble
Elimination Chamber --- Elimination Chamber for World Title Shot; Rock vs Punk
Wrestlemania --- Cena vs Rock; HHH vs Brock; Punk vs Undertaker; Swagger vs Del Rio
Extreme Rules --- Brock vs HHH; Cena vs Ryback; Del Rio vs Swagger
Payback --- Cena vs Ryback; Ziggler vs Del Rio
Money in the Bank --- Henry vs Cena; Ziggler vs Del Rio; 2 MITB Ladder Matches
Summerslam --- Punk vs Brock; Bryan vs Cena; Del Rio vs Christian
Night of Champions --- Bryan vs Orton; Del Rio vs RVD
Battleground --- Bryan vs Orton; Del Rio vs RVD
Hell in a Cell --- Bryan vs Orton; Cena vs Del Rio
Survivor Series --- Cena vs Del Rio; Orton vs Big Show


Interesting, isn’t it? I know the idea of cutting down on immediate rematches is something I’ve discussed in the past, but I had no idea how dire the situation was. In the last 2 years, only 3 shows have passed without a rematch from the PPV before. If you didn’t notice, the bolded and underlined matches were all bouts that went at least 2 PPVs in a row. See how little it happened, even in the Attitude Era, compared to now?

I wanted to compare today’s PPVs to the hot period of the Attitude Era for a good reason. While I found the 1998-2001 period to be exciting in the moment, but terrible on re-watch. I think today’s roster is much stronger in terms of in-ring delivery than during the Monday Night Wars. Rock, Austin, Mankind, HHH, Angle and others all delivered some great matches, but I think if WWE were to establish a level playing field of main event players consisting of Cena, Punk, Bryan, Orton and several others on the brink of breaking out, and use the booking style of the Attitude Era, we might see some improvement overall.

Yes, I guess the point of this and so many of my columns (and other columns out there) is that the blame pretty much is correctly aimed at the creative team.

I’m not asking for the return of Attitude. Nor am I saying today’s roster will draw like Austin or Rock if given 110% effort from those behind the scenes. Not only is the wrestling business different than from 15 years ago, but so is the television and media world.

Admittedly it would be tough. I just happen to believe that the reason the Attitude Era succeeded wasn’t the middle fingers, lingerie matches and crotch chops, but how well the booking team worked from top to bottom of the card. Laugh all you wish at “choppy choppy your pee pee,” but that angle was still more attention given to a random midcarder than anyone who’s been around the Intercontinental Title since Mysterio vs Jericho in 2009 – and that wasn’t a midcard feud. Back during the Attitude Era, even if only for a battle over a cheating wife, the entire card was given time and attention with only 2-4 hours of TV a week. As much as I have enjoyed the Authority angle for the most part recently, there’s no need for it to take over an hour of combined TV time even in today’s bloated WWE TV schedule. Even when it was Austin vs McMahon, or the Corporation, or the Corporate Ministry, there was still a tag division working their asses off, and a midcard that had at least a slice of respect their way from WWF Creative, despite the constant title changes without real build up. In fact, even if we concentrate on the terribly forgetful title reigns of the Godfather, Rikishi, and Albert, at least they were more credible than Curtis Axel and Big E. Langston of 2013.

Instead of sharing the wealth of expertise backstage, and you can’t deny that there’s definitely some strong minds working for WWE no matter what you think of their output, it’s all concentrated on a couple of angles, while others get thrown out to the wolves, so-to-speak. Somehow, we end up having an increase of immediate rematches for PPV to PPV, making each show more and more like a repeat of what you paid for the month before. Is there really a need for a breakdown as to why more people were excited for SummerSlam than almost any other PPV this year? Two very hot and fresh main events helped shape what is easily the best PPV of the year.

There are rumors that Daniel Bryan will finally get his WWE title shot against Randy Orton at Wrestlemania XXX. Out of almost all the rumored possibilities, this is easily one of the least popular among fans because of how tired this feud is. Can WWE really see us paying for the same announced main event 3 shows in a row? And then bringing it back 6 months later for the biggest show of the year?

I understand that having fresh main events for every PPV is impossible, but there are ways around exhausting options with 4 events in a row with the same final match. If we get another Bryan vs Cena match at Wrestlemania, it would be a continuation of the SummerSlam main event, while still feeling fresh. There was a 6 months wait between bouts. Consider the first year I used as a comparison with 1995: Bret Hart vs Diesel. The Royal Rumble contest was actually a repeat from King of the Ring 1994. The 3rd match of their trilogy was at Survivor Series 1995. Three matches over the period of 17 months, and they all told a story that built upon the last encounter. Or, Rock vs Austin, and how they had their Wrestlemania trilogy separated. There are ways to keep heat between feuding stars without them fighting every month.

Survivor Series is this weekend, and I don’t know if I’ll be watching. And while Orton vs Big Show is new-ish (rematch from Extreme Rules, but it has very little to do with this bout), we still have Cena vs Del Rio as a rematch from Hell in a Cell (and New Years Raw, and both Night of Champions and Vengeance 2011… yet this isn’t a continuation of those matches…). Will TLC change it up? I hope so, because that’s usually a strong card, despite repetitive rematches. Ziggler vs Cena was a breath of fresh air last year – I hope we can take another deep breath again in 2013.


And on that note, Peace out

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