Pro Wrestling Countdown: The Top Ten WWE Pay-Per-Views of the 21st Century
In the past 10 years, we WWE fans have seen a lot of bad WWE events, but what are the greatest events the WWE has held since the turn of the century?
Well let’s find out in this edition of "The Pro Wrestling Countdown," as I take a look at the top ten Pay-Per-View (PPV) events of the 21st century.
10. Survivor Series 2002 / Summer Slam 2002 (Tie)
I present to you the very first tie of the Pro Wrestling Countdown. I hardly ever do ties, but this was a tough one.
I love both of these WWE events for very different reasons, so I decided to make it a tie. I didn’t want to leave either off and having a Top 11 would have been stupid.
Summer Slam 2002 saw the return of “The Heart Break Kid” Shawn Michaels after four years of being gone. In addition to that it had a fantastic Intercontinental match between Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam.
Also, The Rock passed the torch to Brock Lesnar, who won the WWE Championship.
Survivor Series 2002 holds the distinction of being the first event to hold the Elimination Chamber match and probably one of the best tag team matches ever. A Triangle Tag Team match which featured Edge & Rey Mysterio taking on Angle & Benoit and Los Guerreros.
All in all, both were awesome Pay-Per-Views.
9. No Way Out 2006
Why is No Way Out 2006 on the list? It is very simple. Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker.
This is one of my favorite wrestling matches of all time and even though this event may not have been the greatest, although the Rey Mysterio/Orton and Benoit/Booker T matches were pretty good.
The battle between The Undertaker and Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship has flown so low under the radar, I felt it necessary to put this Pay Per View on the list.
I believe it to be one of The Undertaker’s best “Non-gimmick” matches ever.
The event also saw the fallout of the incredible Chris Benoit and Booker T feud which brought back a lot of credibility to the United States title.
Randy Orton managed to wiggle his way into the main event of Wrestlemania by defeating Rey Mysterio, making it a triple threat match.
8. Vengeance 2005
Vengeance 2005 had everything! This event was one of the best “Brand Specific” Pay-Per-View events ever. This was when Raw and Smackdown both held separate Pay-Per-View events.
First of all, it had an awesome bout between Shelton Benjamin and Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship that I believe should go on both of their “Best Of” DVDs (If they ever get one).
It also had the rematch of Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels, and it was just as awesome as their Wrestlemania 21 encounter.
Finally, the thing that truly makes this event special is that both World Titles were defended here. John Cena battled Christian and Chris Jericho and Batista fought Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. The first and only time during the ‘Brand Specific” PPV events.
I believe that this Hell in a Cell match is the greatest that did not involve The Undertaker.
There was hardly a bad match on the card. Even the Kane/Edge match was all right.
7. Armageddon 2006
This is where you might begin to disagree with me. Armageddon 2006 was one of the last Pay-Per-View events I bought before I discovered online streams of the events that were free.
I really enjoyed this event and even have it on DVD. It did hold sort of a “TNA” quality to it with all the gimmick matches.
I really liked every match on the card with the exception of the Inferno Match between Kane and MVP.
First off, you had the awesome Fatal Four Way Tag Team Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships between London & Kendrick, The Hardy Boys, MNM, and William Regal & Dave Taylor.
You may remember this match as where Joey Mercury busted his face when Jeff landed on a ladder that rocketed into Mercury’s noggin. Now that is great television.
In addition to that, it had two very underrated contests. One being between Chavo Guerrero and Chris Benoit for the U.S. title and the other being for the Cruiserweight Championship, which featured Gregory Helms and Jimmy Wang Yang.
Most people don’t agree, but I really thought that the match between The Undertaker and Mr. Kennedy was one of the best “Last Ride” matches ever. I suppose that's like being the best house on a bad block though.
I think WWE was trying really hard to get good buy rates for these usually disappointing events. Well, I bought the event and loved it.
6. Wrestlemania 21
This Wrestlemania was big. It had something for everyone. It had the big name matches in the World title matches and great technical matches in the undercard matches.
To start off you had a fantastic match between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio which would only be the beginning of their very heated rivalry.
I had my doubts about the first Money in the Bank ladder match, but, when I watched it, I was in shock at how bad ass it was.
Shelton Benjamin really shined in this match. I remember thinking that Shelton would be a World Champion before the year was over. That was about four years ago; shame on you Vince McMahon.
Not to mention, the two fantastic matches that were between Randy Orton and The Undertaker and the incredible dream match that everyone had been waiting for; Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle.
The two men put on “The Match of the Year” and a match that still sets in my top ten favorite matches of all time.
The pacing of the match was terrific and, considering it was the first time the two had ever worked together, I was truly blown away.
The main event matches were okay. Triple H and JBL passed the torch to Cena and Batista, but the matches were nothing special.
This event would have been perfect without the awful Big Show/Akebono match and the horrible Women’s Championship match.
5. No Way Out 2001
I actually saw this event on WWE 24/7 or WWE Classics, or something like that, a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the event. The matches here were truly great.
If you haven’t seen the Fatal Four Way match between Benoit, Jericho, Guerrero, and X-Pac you need to go find it on YouTube and treat yourself to some fast-paced action.
This was the first ever “Three Stages of Hell’ match in history. Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin went nearly 45 minutes in three different matches.
The first was a one-on-one match, the second fall was a street fight, and the final fall was a Steal Cage match.
This match was so hardcore that there has only been one other since its creation in 2001. That one occurred in 2003 between HBK and Triple H.
The match for the WWF Championship was between Kurt Angle in his prime and The Rock.
The two where both at the best of their career and put on a 20-minute action packed title match that I think should have headlined Wrestlemania.
The WWE should have pushed Angle into superstardom sooner.
4. Wrestlemania 23
This Wrestlemania had the greatest build-up of any Wrestlemania I have ever seen. There was tension between the two World Title match competitors as they keep playing mind games on one another. Great television.
The event started out with a fantastic Money in the Bank ladder match. It was the first one to feature eight performers and many argue it to be the best MITB. I’ll stick to the first one, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Regardless this match was awesome.
The spot were Jeff Hardy dove onto Edge while he was lying on that ladder tops anything Jeff has ever done at Mania and will be replayed for years to come.
This was also supposed to be the match that would “make” Mr. Kennedy. Too bad he got injured. It wouldn’t be the last time.
I also really liked the Chris Benoit and MVP match. Someday MVP will look back and say that was the match that made him. I believe that Chris Benoit made MVP a main event star.
However, this event did feature some bad matches which hurt its overall ranking. The Women’s Title match and the Kane/Khali match made me want to hurl, but I weathered the storm to see some awesome action. There was also the “So-so” Hair vs. Hair match.
The Undertaker and Batista put on a awesome contest. While Batista is usually pretty bad, The Undertaker really made him shine here at Wrestlemania 23.
The John Cena and Shawn Michaels match was truly the highlight of the event. They went 30 minutes and the crowd was so into it. Everyone seemed to be pulling for Michaels to win the title, but after the main event was over it was John Cena stood holding the title.
No. 3 Royal Rumble 2000
How odd it is that the very first WWE Pay-Per-View event of the 21st century would end up being on this decades greatest. This is far and away one of the greatest Royal Rumble events ever.
First off, you had the debut of Tazz where he handed Kurt Angle his first loss in the WWE. However, Kurt Angle would become the successful one and Tazz would end up in the announcer’s chair.
Probably the events most over-looked match was the Table match between the Hardy Boys and The Dudley Boys which was the set-up for their Triangle Ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000.
The Rumble match itself wasn’t particularly bad. It certainly was not the most memorable Royal Rumble, but I do love the part were Rikishi and Too Cool dance during the match.
The match that had the biggest role in getting this Pay-Per-View event on this list is Mick Foley and Triple H match. Far and away this is the greatest hardcore match ever in the WWE.
Mick Foley was the one who made Triple H the main event star he is today and this match was the exact time it happened. It was just amazing what Foley did.
That Pedigree he took on those thumbtacks was just brutal.
No. 2 Wrestlemania 24
Wrestlemania 24 is by far one of the greatest Pay- -Per-Views in recent memory and I have to say the WWE did a great job of making these matches.
There are only one or two matches that disappointed me.
The ECW Championship match and the Umaga/Batista match were both shit, but other than that I have few complaints.
The Money in the Bank match and Big Show/Floyd Mayweather match were both acceptable. I enjoyed them, but I can’t think of anything extraordinary from either match. I still have no complaints from either one.
The Ric Flair career threatening match against Shawn Michaels truly brought something special to this event. After nearly 35 years of wrestling Ric Flair wrestled (as of writing) his last match at Wrestlemania 24 and that alone makes the event something special.
It was one of those true “Wrestlemania Moments” that will live forever.
The Triple Threat match was very well done and the fact that Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship retained the title was a very nice change.
Edge and The Undertaker put on a hell of a main event that went beyond expectations.
All in all, a very well-rounded event that I still enjoy watching.
No. 1 Wrestlemania X-7
Surprised!? Probably not, but that’s okay.
Wrestlemania X-7 was the perfect WWE event. It had the perfect balance of wrestling action and entertainment that made this one of the greatest Wrestlemania’s ever.
The under card matches were all awesome. Yeah the APA and Tazz vs. The Right to Censor was stupid, but everything else was great.
The match for the Hardcore Championship was really pretty awesome. Kane, Big Show, and Raven really blew my mind. I expected it to be bullshit, but they did a great job of using the entire Astrodome as a weapon.
The William Regal/ Jericho match was an okay match. It had nothing special but it was still a good contest between two solid workers.
The Benoit/Kurt Angle match is one of my all-time favorites. They wrestled an awesome match that made me glad I bought the Wrestlemania Anthology. (That’s right I won every Wrestlemania; all 24 of them out on DVD. “Be jealous”)
Who could forget TLC II? The three-team that redefined tag team wrestling and ladder matches came back to give us one more spectacular match. Almost every spot in the match is still used in WWE montages today. It was hardcore tag team wrestling at its finest.
The gimmick battle royal may have been horrible, but it provided a nice nostalgic feeling to the event. It was nice to see the Iron Sheik get the victory. If he hadn’t, he might have spent the next five years cussing about losing.
The Undertaker and Triple H match was by far the highlight of the event and was the first time these two faced off one-on-one.
Many describe it as a match and a street-fight as the referee was knocked out early on and the two battled through the crowd for most of the match. It was a very different type of match and the crowd got to see their hometown boy get the victory over “The Game”.
Austin and The Rock did it again with another amazing encounter at ‘Mania. They battled all over the place, but no one could have ever guessed the ending. Vince McMahon came out and gave Austin a chair and told him to hit The Rock. After nearly three years of feuding we saw McMahon helping Austin and it blew everybody’s mind.
Hope you enjoyed the article.