Over the course of 2012, we were provided with a total of 12 WWE pay-per-views, with one airing each month (with the exception of March and April).
While some may argue that less is more, there's no questioning that quite a few of these events were highly enjoyable as well as some of the best shows we've seen in years.
Although there were a few duds, such as Royal Rumble and No Way Out, I believe I got my money's worth from a majority of the shows that I purchased. Even some of the gimmick events were successful, proving that innovative concepts deserve a spot on the pay-per-view schedule.
With all that being said, sit back and relax as I present to you the top five pay-per-views of 2012.
There's not much you can do with a three-week build heading into a pay-per-view, but WWE attempted to make the most of it. However, the fact they completely changed the Survivor Series card a mere two weeks prior to the event didn't seem to help matters.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that the buy-rate of the show was significantly down from last year's installment. Regardless, the show itself was actually extremely entertaining, with the top three main events exceeding expectations.
In the undercard, both Eve and Antonio Cesaro successfully defended their Divas and United States championships, respectively. Big Show and Sheamus once again provided a great match over the World title, while Ziggler shocked the world by pinning Randy Orton to become the sole survivor of his team.
Not only was the Triple Threat match over the WWE championship strong, but its finish that saw The Shield make its epic debut left the WWE Universe speechless. The night was filled with monumental moments that succeeded in making the event feel like one of WWE's "big four" pay-per-views.
Since becoming a WWE fan in 2008, Night of Champions has always been one of my favorite pay-per-views of the year. The concept that every active championship must be defended makes for some exciting matches and the sense that anything is bound to happen.
Almost every match on the card was solid and featured extraordinary action, with some of the bouts even being considered match of the year candidates. Throughout the night, we witnessed a total of two title changes and a number of controversial finishes as well.
Despite only being a tag team for only six days, Daniel Bryan and Kane joined forces to capture the WWE Tag Team championships and have held the straps since then. Another noteworthy moment included Eve replacing Kaitlyn in the Divas championship match against Layla to win the butterfly belt for the third time in her career.
For nearly 30 minutes, John Cena and CM Punk exchanged brutal blows and battled over the WWE championship. In the end, the contest was declared a draw since the shoulders of both competitors were pinned to the mat when the three-count was made.
It was a night of epic proportions, a night of marvelous matches and a night of champions.
While some fans consistently complain about the vast number of gimmick pay-per-views on the annual schedule, there's no denying that a majority of them are rather enjoyable. Extreme Rules is no exception, as the fact that every match on the card must be contested under some sort of stipulation makes for an exciting event overall.
Only a mere month removed from WrestleMania 28, all the backlash from The Show of Shows was in full form at Extreme Rules, as most of the matches on the card provided some excellent entertainment.
Following their disappointing match that lasted all of 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were finally given time to shine in their 2-of-3 Falls match for the World Heavyweight championship. Despite coming short of reclaiming the title he once held, Bryan looked strong in defeat against the Celtic Warrior.
Additionally, Chris Jericho was given another opportunity to contend for the WWE championship against CM Punk at the event. He and Punk engaged in a catastrophic Chicago Street Fight that saw the Voice of the Voiceless walk out of his hometown with his title intact.
The show was headlined by John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match, which was Lesnar's first official WWE match in nearly eight years. Despite dominating Cena throughout the matchup, Cena pulled out a surprising victory after one of the most brutal bouts of his career.
The Chicago crowd was electric throughout the entire event, which made for an thrilling environment. There were some questionable booking decisions on this show, but the matches were what made this worth watching.
Since its inception in 2009, WWE TLC has always proved to be an awesome event despite the lackluster buildup it usually receives. This year's installment continued that strong trend, as each match on the card served a purpose and left the viewers satisfied with what they had just seen.
Although it had just been added the week prior on Raw, the Tables match pitting Team Rhodes Scholars against Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara featured some awe-inspiring action and made for a fun opener to the show. The bump Cara took through the table for the finish was very well done, thus crowning Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow as the new No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team championships in the process.
If history has taught us anything, it's that the Chairs match is a terrible concept, but Big Show and Sheamus made the most of it. The used the chairs to the best of their ability and provided a decently solid matchup that saw Show emerge victorious as World Heavyweight champion.
Despite having been changed on short notice, the TLC match featuring Ryback and Team Hell No against The Shield was easily one of the greatest matches we've seen all year. The action was absolutely amazing, and the finish that saw The Shield pull out the victory was one of the most brilliant booking decisions all year.
The chemistry that Dolph Ziggler and John Cena have with one another is nothing short of fantastic, so it's no shocker that their Money in the Bank Ladder match was also astounding. Having Ziggler go over the face of the company in the main event of a pay-per-view was a yet another wise decision that proved to be successful.
The entertainment value of this show was off the charts and all of the results were logical as well. With this being the final pay-per-view of 2012, it was the perfect way to go out and conclude the year on a very high note.
After last year's disappointment that was WrestleMania 27, I had my fingers crossed for a much better event this year with what was being advertised. Needless to say, WrestleMania 28 exceeded my expectations and set the tone for the rest of 2012 in WWE.
Some may argue that the undercard wasn't all that strong, but looking back on the event, most fans will only remember the main-event matches. Of course, the matches that headlined the spring spectacle this year were nothing short of amazing.
First, CM Punk and Chris Jericho provided a wrestling classic over the WWE Championship, which was easily one of the best World title matches at WrestleMania in recent memory. In the match's final few moments, Punk managed to force Jericho to submit and maintain possession of his golden prize, thus solidifying his WrestleMania moment.
After close to a year of anticipation, The Rock faced John Cena in a dream match that no one ever thought would come to fruition. Out of nowhere, Rock connected with a Rock Bottom onto Cena to score the valiant victory and the bragging rights.
Honestly, I wasn't originally looking forward to yet another clash between Undertaker and Triple H at WrestleMania, but the added stipulation of it being a Hell in a Cell match certainly had me intrigued. The storytelling between HHH, Taker and special guest referee Shawn Michaels was executed perfectly, and I was convinced at a few points in the match that Taker's streak might very well be over.
However, Taker was able to soundly defeat the Game to extend his historic streak to 20-0 and still managed to walk out of The Show of Shows in one piece. Not only was this the match of the night, but it was the match of the year as well.
While it might not have been better than WrestleMania 17, it was easily the best-delivered WrestleMania in recent years. As a whole, the show was entertaining, memorable and lived up to the major hype it was given.
As honorable mentions, I'd also like to include the Money in the Bank and SummerSlam pay-per-views from this past summer. Both events succeeded in producing quality action and monumental moments while furthering a number of feuds as well.
Unquestionably, 2012 has a been a fantastic year as a far as pay-per-views go for WWE, so I'm hopeful the strong streak continues heading into the new year.
Do you believe the pay-per-views I provided on my list are incorrectly ranked? Is there another event that is worthy of a mention as well that I failed to include?
Make sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on the list, as well as any additional insight you have regarding the outlook of these events and more going into 2013.
As always, your criticism and overall feedback is greatly appreciated.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, like me on Facebook and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.