Ranking Every Single PPV Event WWE Put On in 2011
We are now at the conclusion of 2011, and there has been a lot of excitement in the world of the WWE. There were 13 pay-per-views in 2011. Some will go down in history as unforgettable, while others are events that we would wish to forget.
From January's Royal Rumble match, where we saw CM Punk and Daniel Bryan start things off, we now see both men as world champions in WWE. The pay-per-views have not all been consistent, but they sure are finishing strong.
As we wrap up 2011 and turn the calendars to 2012, let's rank the 13 pay-per-views that 2011 gave us.
13) Over the Limit
R-Truth defeats Rey Mysterio
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ezekiel Jackson defeats Wade Barrett [c] by disqualification
Sin Cara defeats Chavo Guerrero
WWE Tag Team Championship: Big Show and Kane [c] defeats CM Punk and Mason Ryan
WWE Divas Championship: Brie Bella [c] defeats Kelly Kelly
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton [c] defeats Christian
Jerry Lawler defeats Michael Cole in a "Kiss My Foot" match
WWE Championship: John Cena [c] defeats The Miz in an "I Quit" match
This was an awful pay-per-view all around. For every step forward, there were two steps taken back. I even wrote an article after the event trying to state the best moments of the night. Looking back now, I can see that every positive thing I wrote at the time had a "yeah, but..." attached to it. Ezekiel Jackson looks strong, but gets ambushed right before winning it. Sin Cara starts his awful string of pay-per-view showings. I don't need to talk about Lawler/Cole. John Cena gets beaten up for 20 minutes straight, only to fend off The Miz and Alex Riley in less than five minutes.
The bright spot to this night was Orton and Christian. It was a Match of the Year candidate until the summer, when it was easily forgotten. What also made this match easily forgotten was the amount of awful matches around it. Even with gold in the middle, this event was still garbage.
12) Capitol Punishment
WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston [c]
Alex Riley defeats The Miz
Alberto Del Rio defeats Big Show
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ezekiel Jackson defeats Wade Barrett [c]
CM Punk defeats Rey Mysterio
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton [c] defeats Christian
Evan Bourne defeats Jack Swagger
WWE Championship: John Cena [c] defeats R-Truth
Following right up from where Over the Limit left off was this awful one-time pay-per-view, Capitol Punishment. In Washington D.C., the political references were endless. There were also a lot of screwjobs all over the place. Dolph Ziggler won the United States Championship despite using the ropes, which wasn't supposed to happen. Randy Orton beat Christian, even though Christian had a rope break. At least that one was actually written into the script. R-Truth gets water into his face by a young fan, leading to his loss to John Cena. Mark Henry attacks Big Show, helping Alberto Del Rio to win the match.
There was also an Obama impersonator, which was just too odd to handle. Add in the fact that he danced in the ring with Booker T and this is very forgettable from 2011.
11) Elimination Chamber
Alberto Del Rio defeats Kofi Kingston
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge [c] defeats Rey Mysterio, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Wade Barrett and Big Show in an Elimination Chamber match
WWE Tag Team Championship: Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel defeats Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov [c]
WWE Championship: The Miz [c] defeats Jerry "The King" Lawler
John Cena defeats CM Punk, John Morrison, R-Truth, King Sheamus and Randy Orton in an Elimination Chamber match to earn WrestleMania world title match
Elimination Chamber always has the potential to be a great show with great matches. This year's edition, however, fell short. In many places of the night, we left with more questions than we came in with. The craziness with the World Heavyweight Championship did nothing except work Dolph Ziggler off the brand. It also gave us a predictable victory for John Cena inside the chamber. The other matches left something to be desired.
10) Hell in a Cell
Sheamus defeated Christian
Sin Cara Azul defeated Sin Cara Negro
WWE Tag Team Championship: Air Boom [c] defeated Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry [c] defeated Randy Orton inside Hell in a Cell
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes [c] defeated John Morrison
WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix defeated Kelly Kelly [c]
WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio defeated CM Punk and John Cena [c] inside Hell in a Cell
Despite being a crazy night, Hell in a Cell felt more like an episode of RAW or Smackdown than a pay-per-view. The Sin Cara match belonged on Smackdown because a match live on pay-per-view can't be edited to make it look better. The Del Rio victory at the end of the night was unexpected, while Beth Phoenix winning the Divas title was expected, but later than it probably should have been. Hell in a Cell has never seemed like much of a pay-per-view that was just thrown together at the end, but it has turned out to be just that in 2011. The matches tied things together that were still open ended. WWE was just treading water into Survivor Series at this point.
9) Royal Rumble
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge [c] defeated Dolph Ziggler
WWE Championship: The Miz [c] defeated Randy Orton
WWE Divas Championship: Eve Torres defeated Natalya [c], Michelle McCool and Layla
Alberto Del Rio last eliminates Santino Marella to win the 40-man Royal Rumble match
At one point, Royal Rumble was the best pay-per-view of the year. Part of that was due to it being the first pay-per-view of 2011. There were only four matches, so it was hard to fall in love with this event. The first-ever 40-man Royal Rumble match was interesting, but random people were being double booked to appear late in the match. It was almost as if WWE was not prepared to have 40 different men in the match.
The two world title matches were over in the first 45 minutes of the pay-per-view, which almost lessened the importance of these two titles in favor of the Rumble match. The irony is that the Rumble winner would be going after one of those titles anyway.
8) Night of Champions
WWE Tag Team Championship: Air Boom [c] defeated Awesome Truth via disqualification
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes [c] defeated Ted DiBiase
WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] defeated Alex Riley, John Morrison and Jack Swagger
World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry defeated Randy Orton [c]
WWE Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly [c] defeated Beth Phoenix
WWE Championship: John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio [c] via submission
Triple H defeated CM Punk in a No Disqualification match
Two title changes took place at Night of Champions in 2011 as Mark Henry and John Cena both won world championship gold. The matches were iffy at times and, even though there were some decent bouts, the energy just wasn't there. Perhaps it was the fact that at a pay-per-view where every championship was defended, the main event had nothing to do with championship gold. It also was a messy ending with multiple run-ins. What made it worse was that Punk and Triple H got 24 minutes to work, while every other match, with exception to Cena/Del Rio, was under 15 minutes.
WWE Tag Team Championship: Air Boom [c] defeated Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] defeated Zack Ryder
WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix [c] defeated Eve Torres
Sheamus defeated Christian
Awesome Truth defeated Triple H and CM Punk
Randy Orton defeated Cody Rhodes
World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry [c] and Big Show fought to a no-contest
WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio [c] defeated John Cena in a Last Man Standing match
I made a bold statement at the time. I called Vengeance the best pay-per-view of the year at that time. In a way, I still want to stand by it being one of the best. While other great matches throughout the year will make certain events look fantastic compared to others, this was the type of solid card WWE should strive for throughout the year. The entire card was announced before the event, allowing fans to get ready for what to expect. Despite no title changes, the matches just seemed more fresh than usually. It was also a nice thing to see the Vengeance name return in 2011.
Unfortunately, this night won't be remembered for the solid card or even the amazing spot of Mark Henry and Big Show breaking the ring. Instead, it will go down as one of the poorest-selling pay-per-views in history, which is a shame.
WWE United States Championship: Zack Ryder defeated Dolph Ziggler [c]
WWE Tag Team Championship: Air Boom [c] defeated Epico and Primo
Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett in a Tables match
WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix [c] defeated Kelly Kelly
Triple H defeated Kevin Nash in a Sledgehammer Ladder match
Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger
World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show defeated Mark Henry [c] in a Chairs match
World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan defeated Big Show [c]
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes [c] defeated Booker T
WWE Championship: CM Punk [c] defeated Alberto Del Rio and The Miz in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match
This event had a whopping ten matches in the final pay-per-view of 2011, but could not crack the top five in this list. There was a lot of change happening at TLC, but history will show if that change was for the better. Zack Ryder and Daniel Bryan both left TLC with championship gold, something that would not be predicted at the beginning of the year. There were bonus matches flying in from everywhere, but what hurt this event the most was how busy it was. TLC tried to squeeze so much into one night that it actually took away from what was literally happening.
5) Extreme Rules
Randy Orton defeated CM Punk in a Last Man Standing match
WWE United States Championship: Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus [c] in a Tables match
Michael Cole and Jack Swagger defeated Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler in a Tag Team Country Whipping match
Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match
Layla defeated Michelle McCool in an Extreme Rules, Loser Leaves WWE match
World Heavyweight Championship: Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder match
WWE Tag Team Championship: Big Show and Kane [c] defeated Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson in a Lumberjack match
WWE Championship: John Cena defeated The Miz [c] and John Morrison in a Steel Cage match
One of the best events all year was the often-forgotten Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Despite taking place nearly eight months ago, Extreme Rules brought some good matches and great moments. It saw Sheamus make his full transistion to Smackdown by dropping a RAW-exclusive title. Michelle McCool ended her WWE career as Kharma began hers. The best moment, bar none, was Christian realizing his dream of being a world champion in WWE, claiming the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. The event also became significant as John Cena informed the crowd after the main event about the death of Osama bin Laden. It was so solid that we almost forgot about the Country Whipping match... almost.
Kofi Kingston, John Morrison and Rey Mysterio defeated Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and R-Truth
Mark Henry defeated Sheamus by countout
WWE Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly [c] defeated Beth Phoenix
Wade Barrett defeated Daniel Bryan
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton defeated Christian [c] in a No Holds Barred match
WWE Championship Unification: CM Punk [c] defeated John Cena [c]
WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio defeated CM Punk [c]
SummerSlam is always a rocking party in the middle of the summer, but this one was one of the better SummerSlams in recent memory. Mark Henry's victory started Henry's big roll as a monster heel. Some consider Orton's match with Christian at SummerSlam to be the best of their rivalry. The big shocker of the night came when CM Punk unified the WWE Championships, only to lose it to Alberto Del Rio, who cashed in Money in the Bank. It was an unpredictable event and exactly what the Big Four pay-per-views should be.
3) WrestleMania XXVII
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge [c] defeated Alberto Del Rio
Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio
Kane, Big Show, Kane and Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre [Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Ezekiel Jackson]
Randy Orton defeated CM Punk
Michael Cole defeated Jerry "The King" Lawler by disqualification
The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred match
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Trish Stratus and John Morrison defeated Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool and Layla
WWE Championship: The Miz [c] defeated John Cena
You don't get much bigger in WWE than a WrestleMania, but even this mega event could only be the third-best of the year. Only two title matches were on the main card and both champions left with their titles, but the importance was centered around those two matches, which were book ends of the card. Edge wrestled in his final match and retired as World Heavyweight Champion, while The Miz shocked the world and walked out as WWE Champion.
2) Money in the Bank
Daniel Bryan defeated Sin Cara, Kane, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Sheamus in Smackdown's Money in the Bank Ladder match
WWE Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly [c] defeated Brie Bella
Mark Henry defeated Big Show
Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Alex Riley, R-Truth, The Miz, Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger in RAW's Money in the Bank Ladder match
World Heavyweight Championship: Christian defeated Randy Orton [c] by disqualification [Christian wins World Heavyweight Championship due to disqualification causing title change]
WWE Championship: CM Punk defeated John Cena [c]
This was a great pay-per-view. Two Money in the Bank matches lead to two first-time world champions. Mark Henry's victory gave him the momentum that led to his first world championship. In the main event, a certified five-star match gives CM Punk his first WWE Championship reign. The storyline of the year with CM Punk's employment in WWE peaked on this night. The unpredictability in the night was high and it was a joy to watch as a fan.
1) Survivor Series
WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] defeated John Morrison
WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix [c] defeated Eve Torres in a Lumberjill match
Team Barrett [Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico and Jack Swagger] defeated Team Orton [Randy Orton, Mason Ryan, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston and Sheamus] in a Traditional Survivor Series match
World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show defeated Mark Henry [c] by disqualification
WWE Championship: CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio [c] by submission
The Rock and John Cena defeated Awesome Truth
It might be bias because I was there in person, but Survivor Series was the best pay-per-view of the year. CM Punk got to win the WWE Championship in front of yet another great crowd. The Divas Championship match finish was exciting. The Survivor Series match is always fun to watch. Most importantly, The Rock looked fantastic. WrestleMania 28 is an early nominee for 2012's pay-per-view of the year for The Rock vs. John Cena. Those odds improved with The Rock's showing at Survivor Series.