Examining the History of WWE Pay-Per-Views in New Orleans

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterMarch 26, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

When WrestleMania XXX hits New Orleans on April 6, it will, surprisingly, be only the fifth WWE pay-per-view that The Big Easy has hosted.

Unlike cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles that are regularly home to WWE's biggest events, New Orleans, La. is a newbie to the game. The city's collection of huge moments and classic matches is set to expand, though, once Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar are done.

WrestleMania marks the Mercedes-Benz Superdome's first WWE pay-per-view and continues a recent trend of WWE visiting The Crescent City.

The Superdome hosted the inaugural Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament in 1986, and three years later, it welcomed Clash of the Champions VI. That night, Sting retained the NWA World Television Championship.

Strangely enough, that same site may be where Sting makes his WWE debut, per PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com.

The WWE waited until 2001 to first bring a pay-per-view to New Orleans, but fans in that city haven't had to wait that long in between events recently. WrestleMania will be the city's fourth WWE pay-per-view since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. 

WWE Pay-Per-Views in New Orleans
EventYearMain Event
Royal Rumble200130-Man Battle Royal
Extreme Rules2009Jeff Hardy vs. Edge (Ladder match)
Hell in a Cell2011Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena vs. CM Punk (Hell in a Cell)
Elimination Chamber2013The Rock vs. CM Punk

CM Punk has been a part of all those events other than the 2001 Royal Rumble. Chris Jericho has performed in all of them but Hell in a Cell 2011.

Those two Superstars contributed to a number of the best matches New Orleans' pay-per-views have produced.


Best Matches

Jericho and Chris Benoit stole the show with a stellar Ladder match at the 2001 Royal Rumble.

The two longtime rivals smashed each other into the ring steps and cracked ladders on each other's heads in a memorable fight for the Intercontinental Championship. Intensity powered this bout, one that saw both men take a number of great risks in hopes of getting the win.

It's been a long time since that title has felt that important, largely because matches like these for the IC title don't happen anymore.

Jericho flung Benoit over the ropes before retrieving the title. He would win the same championship in New Orleans eight years later.

In a No Holds Barred match at Extreme Rules 2009, Jericho dethroned Rey Mysterio.

Revisiting the fast-paced clashes they once had together as part of WCW's cruiserweight division, Mysterio and Jericho put on a spectacular show. They blended high-flying and aggression to enthrall the fans in the New Orleans Arena.

A spinning backbreaker, mid-air Codebreaker, creative chair usage and Jericho yanking off Mysterio's mask are among the bout's many highlights.

It was Jeff Hardy and Edge, though, who delivered the night's best match. Their battle for the World Heavyweight Championship was a showcase of two masters of the Ladder match.

Each man took major risks, flying at each other with little regard for the painful landing spots underneath them.

When WWE came back to New Orleans just two years later, Punk, Alberto Del Rio and John Cena competed in the first-ever Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match.

With the WWE Championship on the line, Del Rio bent a chair with a suplex to Cena and pushed Punk through a table. "Mexico's Greatest Export" used his cunning and a steel pipe to snatch a win and the championship.

Punk again was involved in a standout match where he watched someone else hoist the WWE title at New Orleans' next WWE pay-per-view.

Most fans expected the Elimination Chamber 2013 main event to set up Rock vs. Cena at that year's WrestleMania, but predictability aside, there was plenty to savor here. Punk began the bout by spitting on The Rock and ended it suffering a Rock Bottom.

In between, the two wrestlers elevated the drama of their match from Royal Rumble, wearing frustration, focus and pain on their faces. 

At WrestleMania XXX, there's an excellent chance this list grows. Cena vs. Wyatt, Lesnar vs. Undertaker and Bryan vs. Triple H all have potential to be all-time classics.

The talent set to enter that ring, the intensity of the feuds and each wrestler's propensity to churn out hits is sure to make fans' trip to New Orleans well worth it.


Biggest Moments

Royal Rumble 2001 was a historic night.

Steve Austin became the only man to win three Rumbles. He eliminated Kane to be the match's last man standing. Kane had made his own history earlier.

He set the record for eliminations in a single Royal Rumble with 11 as he flung foes out of the ring again and again. The record remained unbroken until Roman Reigns tossed out a dozen men 13 years later.

At Extreme Rules 2009, New Orleans watched as Punk became only the second man to twice cash in a Money in the Bank contract.

Hardy had bested Edge to win the world title but was drained, bruised and in no shape for further competition. Punk took that as a cue to cash in his championship opportunity. 

That thrust Hardy and Punk forward into what would be the year's best rivalry.

In 2011, Punk played the victim. After losing to Del Rio in a Hell in a Cell match, he suffered a beatdown from The Miz and R-Truth. The self-proclaimed conspiracy victims stomped on Cena, Del Rio and Punk, creating a striking, surprising image.

The smart bet is that WrestleMania XXX delivers something equally as entertaining and memorable. 

The Shield may do something special against Kane and The New Age Outlaws. Wyatt's clash with Cena has the potential to produce sparks. It's Bryan, though, who has the best chance to eclipse every WWE moment in New Orleans.

If he can outlast Triple H and defeat Randy Orton and Batista, the frustrations he has endured will be replaced with triumph.

As confetti sprinkles down on him and he squeezes the world title in his hands, Bryan will inspire a thunderous set of "Yes!" chants. Where better to craft that moment than in a city famous for its celebrations?