Power Ranking the 10 Greatest WWE Venues in the World
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
The WWE has countless fans across the world and has the opportunity to perform in many different arenas and stadiums in front of them on a daily basis. While every fan and every venue is special for one reason or another, there is no question that some simply tend to stand above the rest.
Since the WWE has such a long and storied history, it also has quite a large sample size when it comes to venues. Some have been part of the WWE's fabric since the very beginning, while others haven't become relevant until recently, but there is something that allows each of them to provide a better atmosphere and viewing experience than all the others.
Also, the quality and volume of the fans plays a big role in how good a particular venue is. It's no secret that certain cities just have louder and more raucous fans than others, and that obviously means a lot when it comes to an iconic wrestling arena. All of these factors and more were taken into account when determining the top 10 WWE venues in the world.
Here are my rankings of the greatest places to watch a WWE event across the globe based on the venue itself, the fans and their respective places in WWE history.
10. Georgia Dome (Atlanta)
Although it may not have the long history of hosting WWE events like some of the other venues on this list, there is no doubt that the Georgia Dome in Atlanta is a great place for wrestling. Some fans tend to look at stadium-style venues negatively since the acoustics aren't great and there are plenty of bad seats, but the Atlanta fans more than make up for that.
The Georgia Dome hosted WrestleMania XXVII, and while it was considered something of a disappointment with The Miz vs. John Cena main-eventing, the fans and the venue still made it feel special. The Georgia Dome packed in over 71,000 fans and they erupted at various points, including when The Rock kicked off the show and throughout the Triple H vs. The Undertaker match.
Also, Atlanta has a long history of supporting professional wrestling and WCW in particular. In fact, the most iconic wrestling moment in Georgia Dome history was likely the July 6, 1998 edition of the show when Goldberg defeated "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan for the world title. That obviously wasn't related to WWE in any way, but it just goes to show that the fans are going to come out and be loud any time a wrestling event comes to the Georgia Dome.
9. Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, N.Y.)
With the presence of Madison Square Garden ever present, one wrestling venue that doesn't receive nearly enough attention is the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. Being on Long Island, the Coliseum doesn't have prime location like MSG and it has certainly hosted far fewer memorable events than the wrestling mecca, but the fans are essentially the same and the atmosphere always comes across well.
Nassau Coliseum's biggest WWE coup was hosting one-third of WrestleMania II. The second WrestleMania was broadcast from three different locations with the Coliseum featuring a boxing match between Mr. T and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The Nassau Coliseum has been utilized several more times since then by the WWE as well, including SummerSlam 2002, which many consider to be the greatest SummerSlam of all time.
It featured classic matches such as Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock and Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H, and the Coliseum crowd was red hot the entire night. Because the building is old and run down and it exists in the shadow of MSG, though, the Nassau Coliseum is often forgotten. The venue's future is in major doubt beyond 2015, so make it a priority to attend a WWE event the next time it's in Uniondale.
8. Wembley Stadium (London, England)
While it technically hasn't hosted a WWE event, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the crown jewel of London, England in this countdown. Wembley Stadium opened its gates in 2007 and is considered to be one of the most spectacular sporting venues in the world, but it was its predecessor that held SummerSlam 1992. That version of Wembley Stadium was demolished in 2003 and replaced, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of many.
Big WWE events in England are few and far between and that is especially true of pay-per-views. There have been a handful of pay-per-views exclusive to the United Kingdom, but the only one to take place at Wembley Stadium was SummerSlam 1992 with a main event that featured "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith defeating his brother-in-law Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in front of his countrymen.
Wembley was packed with 80,355 fans, which is the second-largest recorded attendance in WWE history behind WrestleMania III. WWE will never have another event in that specific arena, but New Wembley is certainly a possibility. There has been speculation about another SummerSlam being staged there or perhaps even a WrestleMania, so if and when the WWE decides to go back, Wembley may very well skyrocket up this list.
7. Sun Life Stadium (Miami, Fla.)
Sun Life Stadium may be a controversial addition to this list due to the fact that it isn't exactly rich with WWE history, but it proved to be a remarkable venue for WrestleMania XXVIII. The crowd was electric thanks to the main event between The Rock and John Cena, but it was loud throughout the night and set the tone from the very start.
The Miami faithful helped make Daniel Bryan a legitimate star despite the fact that he lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in a mere 18 seconds. They were also incredibly loud for the Triple H vs. The Undertaker and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho matches. It's tough to think of a more vocal and engaging crowd at a WWE event over the past decade, so Sun Life Stadium makes the list based on that alone.
In addition to that, though, the setup of the stadium was great and it gave off a big-time vibe. Pulling off a wrestling show at an open-air stadium is always a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping the fans loud, but that wasn't an issue at all with Sun Life Stadium. The entire package was fantastic and I would love to see WrestleMania return in the coming years.
6. Staples Center (Los Angeles)
Not only is the Staples Center one of the most recognizable arenas in the United States, but it has quickly become one of the WWE's go-to venues. It has played host to the past four SummerSlams and numerous other WWE events since its opening in 1999. Sometimes the Los Angeles fans are criticized for being too trendy and not hardcore enough, but every Staples Center pay-per-view that I have watched comes across quite well.
The most recent edition of SummerSlam is a good example as the crowd was particularly hot for the main event between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. That has been the case for the past few years as well with the fans making big matches like CM Punk vs. John Cena, Team Nexus vs. Team WWE and Cena vs. Randy Orton seem even more important. A show rarely disappoints when it takes place within the confines of the Staples Center.
In order to move up this list any further, the WWE needs to add some variety. It's cool that the Staples Center has essentially become the official venue of SummerSlam, but it wouldn't hurt to mix in a Royal Rumble or Survivor Series to see if the same atmosphere exists. I firmly believe that it would further the Staples Center's reputation as a top WWE arena.
5. Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia has long been known as an elite wrestling town due largely to its ECW roots, but the Philly faithful love WWE as well. The Slammy Awards were recently held at the Wells Fargo Center and one of the biggest takeaways from the night was the electricity that the audience brought to the table. It certainly wasn't the first time that Philadelphia enhanced a wrestling show and it won't be the last either.
The most notable WWE event to ever take place at the Wells Fargo Center was WrestleMania XV back in 1999. It was called the First Union Center at that point, but the arena itself has remained largely the same. That particular WrestleMania isn't necessarily remembered as a great one, but the main event is memorable as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin beat The Rock for the WWE Championship in a no disqualification match.
Even if the card itself wasn't elite, the fans made the event feel special and that's half the battle. Additionally, the Wells Fargo Center has played host to the 2004 Royal Rumble and 2006 Survivor Series, so it has become one of the WWE's most consistent venues. Because of that, it is also one of the best.
4. TD Garden (Boston)
Boston is known to have some of the loudest and most outspoken fans in all of sports, and they aren't any different when it comes to the WWE. The old Boston Garden was one of the WWE's premier venues in the 1970s and 1980s alongside Madison Square Garden, and even though it closed its doors for good in 1995, the TD Garden has picked up where it left off in terms of being a fantastic place to soak in a WWE event.
TD Garden hosted WrestleMania XIV in one of its first years of existence in 1998. It was then known as the FleetCenter and it set the tone for many more great years as a WWE venue. That 'Mania is famous for the main event of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson as the special enforcer. Tyson, of course, turned on Michaels and aligned himself with Austin late in the match, which caused the Boston fans to come unhinged.
In addition to that memorable WrestleMania, TD Garden has hosted SummerSlam 2006, Survivor Series 2008 and Royal Rumble in both 2003 and 2011. In terms of regularity, there are few arenas in the world that have more WWE shows than the TD Garden. Much of that is owed to the fans and the fantastic atmosphere that they always create.
3. Rogers Centre (Toronto)
With the exception of Wembley Stadium, every venue on this list to this point has been in the United States, but that is no longer the case as the Rogers Centre comes in at No. 3. Although Rogers Centre hasn't had a WWE event since it was SkyDome, most wrestling fans agree that there is something special about the atmosphere regardless of what it's named.
Rogers Centre is in elite company as it has hosted two WrestleManias over the years. The first was WrestleMania VI in 1990 and it featured The Ultimate Warrior defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship in one of the most highly-anticipated wrestling matches of all time. WrestleMania X8 was arguably even better, though, as The Rock beat "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan in a match that had the fans on the edge of their seats.
Rogers Centre is such a big venue that it isn't really feasible to hold an event other than WrestleMania there, so it's no surprise that the dome's resume is somewhat light when it comes to WWE shows. It can boast two of the most iconic WWE matches, though, and two of just 28 WrestleManias. With plenty of uncertainty surrounding the possible venue for WrestleMania XXX, Rogers Centre looks like a strong candidate and could move up another rung if it is awarded that honor in 2014.
2. Allstate Arena (Chicago)
Chicago sports fans have never been shy about wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and that is one of the biggest reasons why they are among the best in the world of professional wrestling. Each and every time the WWE comes to Allstate Arena, it's pretty much a guarantee that it's going to be a good show regardless of what matches are on the card. The fans always find a way to make things interesting and that is why the WWE keeps coming back.
Allstate Arena has played host to tons of big-time WWE events over the years with the most notable being WrestleMania II, WrestleMania 13 and WrestleMania 22. In fact, Allstate Arena was the last non-stadium to hold a WrestleMania and it very well could be the last based on the success that the WWE has had at bigger venues. If the WWE ever does decide to go back to a smaller arena, though, the Chicago gem would be near the top of the list.
On top of that, Allstate Arena, which was formerly known as Rosemont Horizon, has hosted several other big pay-per-views, including Money in the Bank 2011. That show is considered to be one of the WWE's best in recent memory thanks largely to the main-event match between CM Punk and John Cena. Punk beat Cena in front of his hometown crowd and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. No matter how hard fans try, I'm not sure that it's possible to create a bigger feeling of importance than the Chicago fans did on that night.
1. Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
It would be really easy to get cute and put something controversial at the top of this list, but there is no denying that Madison Square Garden is and forever will be the venue that is synonymous with the WWE. Back when professional wrestling was split into territories rather than being a global business, the WWE was based in New York and held shows regularly at MSG. The company has since expanded greatly and taken its show on the road, but The Garden will always be the WWE's home base.
Because of MSG's rich professional wrestling history it would be impossible to list every event that has been held there, but WrestleMania I, WrestleMania X and WrestleMania XX head the list. The fact that the WWE decided to hold its version of the Super Bowl at MSG tells you all you need to know about how important that arena was and still is to the WWE.
Thanks in part to the fantastic venue and its fans, WrestleMania became a smash hit and is still in existence and going strong close to three decades later. MSG has also hosted each of the WWE's other signature events along with countless house shows. Those house shows used to be the only thing WWE fans had and the ones that are held at MSG today are just a little more special than the others. Madison Square Garden is affectionately known as the world's most famous arena, and it's also safe to call it the WWE's greatest venue.