Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!
WWE's 5 Best Concepts for Themed Pay-Per-View Events
Not every WWE pay-per-view has a theme. Many just have a name.
There have been PPVs like Backlash, Judgment Day and No Mercy that someone in the WWE probably just thought sounded cool.
Yet, we have seen a boatload of PPVs that have been named after a specific type of match or series of matches. These "themed" or "gimmick" PPVs have certainly been hit or miss.
There are the misses, like Cyber Sunday, Breaking Point, Bragging Rights or Fatal 4-Way. But to the WWE's credit, the company has produced just as many hits.
So, just what are they? Well, let's take a look.
Here are the WWE's five best concepts for themed pay-per-view events.
5. Money in the Bank
Even to this day, I wish that the Money in the Bank match still took place at WrestleMania every year.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's a great concept and one that is worthy of its own pay-per-view.
We constantly complain about the WWE needing to create new stars, and that's exactly what the concept of MITB as a PPV was created for.
Though usually a show-stealing match at WrestleMania, Money in the Bank now gets its own spotlight. At the same time, the concept is still the same: Use the MITB PPV and matches to elevate a superstar.
Money in the Bank as its own PPV is 10 times more valuable than a show like TLC or Hell in a Cell, which often results in forced gimmick matches that might not even be appropriate for the feuds at the time.
MITB, on the other hand, comes at a perfect time (during the down summer months), and aside from this year when one match featured all former WWE Champions, has provided the WWE with a great way to catapult new talent.
The quality of the matches is usually very high, too.
If Money in the Bank features two (usually) great ladder matches that are entertaining and serve a storyline purpose, then there's not much wrong with it as a PPV.
4. Night of Champions
The problem with Night of Champions isn't the concept. It's the execution.
Especially in recent years, the stipulation that "every WWE title will be defended at Night of Champions" has often resulted in forced feuds, bad matches and headlining matches that don't even involve titles (think Triple H vs. CM Punk in 2011).
At least on paper, though, Night of Champions is a fantastic idea.
The main goal of every wrestler in the WWE should be to win and hold a title, any title. Titles should be important, and Night of Champions is the one night of the year in which every title in the WWE is defended on one PPV.
Yeah, we sometimes see every title defended on other PPVs, but that's very rare. For the most part, NOC is the only time where any and every title in the company matters.
Like I said before, the WWE hasn't exactly executed Night of Champions very well. But the concept itself is a great one in which the single most important thing in wrestling (winning a title) is the centerpiece of the show.
In a day and age where titles don't mean nearly as much as they used to, every PPV should model itself after what Night of Champions is supposed to be: A showcase for the WWE's titles.
3. The Wrestling Classic
You've probably never heard of The Wrestling Classic, so allow me to fill you in on its very simple concept: A one-night tournament.
In 1985, the WWE aired the first and only PPV under the "Wrestling Classic" moniker with a 16-man tournament in which The Junkyard Dog defeated Randy Savage in the tournament final and the show's main event.
Although there was nothing concrete on the line (no title or future title shot), the tournament-style show is something that I believe hasn't been used nearly enough in today's WWE.
The WWE calls itself "sports entertainment," and tournaments play huge roles in many of the biggest sports in the world. Tournaments are the basis for tennis, and are used in the playoffs for the NBA, NFL and MLB.
That is, of course, exactly what The Wrestling Classic was: A tournament to see who was the best on that given night at that given time.
Though there was no title awarded to Junkyard Dog when he won the tournament, a major push for him soon followed, as did pushes for a number of other stars involved in it.
Nothing shows that a wrestler is the real deal more than seeing him win four matches in one night against four of the most skilled athletes in the business.
With the WWE coming across more like a sport back then, the concept probably worked better than it would today. But it could still be a very effective way to blur the line between the scripted world of wrestling and the reality of sports.
2. King of the Ring
Speaking of tournaments, whatever happened to the King of the Ring?
Between 1985 and 2002, King of the Ring was (excluding a few years here and there) a regular annual event, and between 1993 and 2002, the KOTR tournament even aired on PPV.
We've seen it three times since then, with the last taking place in 2010 on an episode of Raw. But King of the Ring as we used to know it is as good as gone.
I don't understand why.
Like The Wrestling Classic, the King of the Ring is a very simple tournament concept in which 16 men are given the opportunity to outlast 15 other stars and become "king" of the WWE.
Sure, the concept is a little hokey, and being "king" today wouldn't mean nearly as much now as it did 25 years ago. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't a great concept that helped launch several wrestlers into superstardom.
After all, that's exactly what it did.
King of the Ring meant so much to the careers of a number of guys who won it, including Bret Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Although I still maintain that the winner of the King of the Ring should win a future title shot (or something along those lines), the resulting push that many winners of the tournament received made the tournament worthwhile, and it was a huge honor to be known as the King of the Ring.
1. The Royal Rumble
The Royal Rumble is a match. It's also a "Big Four" pay-per-view.
But to me, they're one in the same.
The Royal Rumble is a PPV, but that PPV is the 30-Man Royal Rumble match. You catch my drift?
The 30-man Rumble is arguably the most anticipated match each and ever year for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it's usually ridiculously entertaining and because of what's on the line for everyone involved: A chance to challenge for a World title at WrestleMania.
Win the Rumble, and you're going to compete in one of the biggest matches at the biggest PPV of the year.
It's a phenomenal concept, in which the winner has to beat more of his fellow wrestlers than he would in any other match type in WWE history.
What more can you ask for?
The Royal Rumble PPV has it all, and no other gimmick PPV has one match that features so many superstars battling it out with so much at stake.
And at least in my book, that's why the Royal Rumble will continue to be the best-themed PPV until someone creates another unforgettable concept that comes along and tops it.