Ever since WWE decided to scrap half of its pay-per-views in favour of dull-stipulation PPVs, I've believed that WWE has lost some of its creativity. One thing I'd always loved about WWE was its PPVs having a distinct identity—with elaborate titantrons and matches unique to that PPV or linked to bigger PPVs (Fully Loaded strap match, Royal Rumble qualifiers).
The following is a slide show of 10 PPV brands that I believe WWE should bring back. Feel free to comment below on your feelings about the rankings, other PPVs you'd like to see added, or just the general PPV situation.
All right, so the first one isn't strictly a PPV, as it was free to air—but that's even more reason to bring it back! In a cluttered PPV schedule in which people are forced to shell out 15-20 quid for PPVs with predetermined stipulations and feuds that just aren't very well built-up, a free-to-air PPV-style event would go down a storm. Every six months or so, build up a feud for culminating at the Main Event— one in October, one in April/May. Just a simplistic one-on-one fight between two long-term rivals for the championship, with a well-put-together undercard on a free-to-air programme, would guarantee ratings.
All right, so it doesn't have as good an identity as, say, Judgment Day or Unforgiven, but I believed it always had a far better identity than Vengeance or Night of Champions. It worked well as a precursor to SummerSlam, a good build-up event that generated heat for the card next month and usually solidified the main players at that PPV. That said, I always liked Unforgiven, as well—not as much as Fully Loaded, but I still liked it. So if a Fully Loaded was not possible, then Unforgiven should get a reprieve. Honestly, put in a Fully Loaded strap match, and a No. 1 Contender's match for the title at SummerSlam, and it'd be great.
Now, I don't think this should be brought back permanently every year—but it should, in effect, serve a function similar to the Hell in a Cell match, with a Hell in a Cell match as the main event. However, a PPV in which the main event match is always a Hell in a Cell is dull. (Isn't it, WWE?) But maybe every few years or so, it should be used— a bit like the revival Bad Blood received back in 2002—to boost a Hell In A Cell match, with the remaining years being filled by my No. 1 pick. (You'll understand when you see it.) Maybe they should add in a First Blood match in for the first revival, as well.
The demise of Armageddon, as well as the introduction of the Elimination Chamber, has effectively ruined any chance of there ever being another Armageddon Hell in a Cell match—which I find to be a shame.
But there is a greater sadness from its demise. Armageddon always served as the perfect meat in the sandwich between Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, with Survivor Series rematches brushing shoulders with Royal Rumble qualifiers and No. 1 contender matches for the Rumble event.
It also served as the perfect opportunity for a smaller wrestler to fight a world title match or main event—with Big Bossman, Rikishi, Booker T, and Kane all fighting for the title at Armageddon. (Booker actually main evented twice!) And there was always a high chance of a No Holds Barred or similar stipulation match that allowed for maximum carnage (Hell in a Cell, Buried Alive, Inferno Match, Ambulance Match, two out of three falls), as well as a multiple-contender match. (There were three triple threats and a fatal four-way main event over the years.)
One thing that saddens me even more about Armageddon's loss is the excellent titantrons WWE used—such as the rubble of 2006—and the massive amount of cars of 2000 that allowed for maximum environmental damage. I always loved Armageddon's sets.
All right, this is less about Starrcade than it is about WCW PPV brands in general. The Great American Bash's revival made it look like there could be a possibility for other WCW PPV brands to be reunited—but it never happened. However, I think it's potentially a great idea, by using them in the same way as One Night Stand was. (A one-off PPV largely separate from the rest of the WWE universe.)
Bring back Slamboree and bill it in its original form—as a vehicle for returning legends to fight one-off matches and settle old scores. Can you imagine Hogan, Flair, and now Michaels coming back for a one-off grudge match or an exhibition match against a competitor with whom they're guaranteed to have a great match?
Another old WCW concept I can see working in WWE was that of the uncensored PPV. WCW Uncensored was a PPV unsanctioned by WCW executives—making for the increased amount of gimmick matches and violence. I think this would work incredibly well in the PG WWE, if they were to lift the PG rating for one night only every year—allowing blood, profanity, and maybe even some sex alongside ECW-style spot fests of the highest quality violence. I'm sure all the old school fans would love a return to the debauchery of the Attitude Era, even as a one-off, and the younger fans can get to witness a truly spectacular PPV.
If WWE executives are still uncomfortable with the idea, perhaps some parental advisory warnings and stickers making it clear that this is for a mature audience would suffice. After all, everyone knows they only serve to fuel popularity, as the appeal of controversy always pulls in more people.
Starrcade's popularity as the flagship WCW event makes it a great contender for revival. It could be seen as a mini-Wrestlemania, with a traditional one-on-one match between two hyped wrestlers for the World Championship highlighting each event, adding a sense of respectability and tradition to the WWE PPV calendar in a similar manner to Saturday Night's Main Event.
Another name WWE should consider using is Superbrawl, just because it's a great name and lends itself to being hyped just because it's called the Superbrawl! Perhaps WWE executives could come up with some extravagant tournament/battle royal match to headline it—like they can be usually relied on to do.
The WCW brand names have cropped up from time to time. War Games was touted as a successor to the recently defunct Survivor Series, as was the Battle Bowl and the recent release of a compilation of Starrcade's finest moments brought around rumours of a revival—but, so far, nothing has came of it. And now that The Bash has been wiped off the calendar, it's looking increasingly less likely that it will happen.
As with my Starrcade ranking, this is less about the PPV itself as the need to bring back a UK PPV. I loved the UK PPVs—despite their shortcomings, they were great. Yes, there were never any title changes— or any meaningful ones that weren't changed in due course—but it was still nice to have an event to call our own. It's nice having Raw and Smackdown tapings that have a bit of context. but that's not really good enough. We need a PPV again—and why not resurrect the old brands Rebellion and Insurrextion to add a bit of heritage to it?
A lot of this has America to blame. Titles never changed because they weren't shown in America, and even the Raw/Smackdown tapings are still pretty uneventful so not to upset Yanks aggrieved that something big happened somewhere else in the world. There have been the constant rumours of a Wrestlemania at Wembley Stadium, or even a Summerslam, but they've been shot down by the fact that fat Americans will start streaming tears at the fact that they have to watch a PPV in the afternoon because of the time difference—without realising just how dedicated British fans have to be, staying up till 4 o'clock in the morning to watch every single PPV, resulting in countless sick notes being forged for school and work the next morning.
Another thing about British PPVs is that they need to not be limited to London. We had Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Birmingham all host PPVs in the past—and the prospect of every UK PPV being limited to O2 Arena is a disheartening one. PPVs can be very easily worked into the bi-annual tours given by WWE here, with recordings of Raw and Smackdown on Monday and Tuesday, and a PPV on the Saturday, with house shows in the middle—and flying home on the Sunday!
Simply put, UK PPVs are awesome. I've always loved the likes of Capital Carnage, No Mercy, and One Night Only—and we need another one, with the U.S. being able to view it. If they're truly bothered about what's happening, they'll tune in during the afternoon, because any new UK PPV will have to include title changes and significant story lines. If not, then bugger them; they don't deserve it.
King of the Ring has been sorely missed by many WWE fans for years now. As everyone knows, it made Stone Cold, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Edge, and Brock Lesnar international superstars—and the prospect of watching wrestlers fighting three or four matches in the one night was an exciting one.
Many cynics argued that the unpredictable card made it a nightmare to promote, but I disagree. The tournament itself has enough appeal to draw in punters—and some of the classic matches the tournament threw up, as well as the sidecard (Hell in a Cell '98 obviously comes to mind) meant it was always a great PPV to watch.
Many attempts at reviving the tournament on Raw and Judgment Day have been teased, but we need to bring it back as a PPV with the quarters, semis and finals all being on the PPV—and the qualifiers being screened before the event in a revived "Free For All" package like they used to show back in the Attitude Era. Throw in a couple of title matches and the end of a big feud, and you have a recipe for success.
Backlash always served as the perfect fallout from Wrestlemania. It supplied us with classic rematches (HHH/Benoit/HBK) and even Rock vs. HHH, which most fans regard as what should have been the Wrestlemania 2000 main event instead of the misguided Main Event.
It also allowed events that transpired at Wrestlemania to be resolved. For example, Wrestlemania betrayals would usually end up with a match at Backlash (HHH/X-Pac), and matches that ended in dubious circumstances were allowed to be resolved suitably.
Now, it's been replaced by an Extreme Rules PPV that doesn't lend itself as a proper "Wrestlemania Aftermath" PPV. It will be filled with gimmick matches that will serve no purpose in resolving all of the fallout from Wrestlemania.
There hasn't been a replacement announced yet for this, so there's still time to save it! The fact that WWE has decided to scrap another one of their flagship events after King of the Ring is nothing more than shameful. Apparently, Survivor Series has become obsolete. No, it's not. The awful build-up and piss-poor feuds are obsolete. All right, so WWE went back to having Survivor Series, unlike the nadir of 1998 when there was none, but we need more of them.
What we need is a programme full of six-, eight-, and 10-man Survivor Series (perhaps even the wonderful 20-man Tag Team Survivor Series from 1987), with a WWE Championship/World Heavyweight Championship match and another singles rivalry. And bring back the awesome "Grand Finale of Survival" match involving the survivors of the previous Series matches from 1990.
One of these Survivor Series matches should be an invitational Raw vs. Smackdown match for a trophy —getting rid of Bragging Rights—and the rest of the matches should be built-up rivalries, bar maybe the first match or so, which can be randomly drawn out of a hat.
Why on Earth have the powers that be even scrapped this in the first place? Reconsider, WWE!
My No. 1 isn't your typical once-a-year PPV—but over the years, In Your House seems to have become even more useful today than it was before.
In the age of overfilling the calendar with gimmick PPVs, WWE has kind of forgotten that gimmick matches such as Hell in a Cell only work in moderation—and there are only so many times you can reinvent such a match.
As a result, a PPV filled with such matches is going to get dull fast and doesn't bode well for future years. If an event was dull this year, why is an event with the same stipulation going to be any better the year after?
In Your House is the perfect answer to such a dilemma. In their original run, In Your House PPVs were given a subtitle that made them unique. Usually, this was fueled by the location of the event, the main event superstars, or the stipulation of a match on the bill. As a result, each one had a unique concept, which was interesting.
So why should WWE bring it back to use for its gimmick PPVs? It means that there would be less repetition and more originality. Also, a one-off PPV is more likely to attract an audience—it means more concepts can be used and maybe expanded into a yearly PPV if they're well-received. Also, it gives them an excuse to host PPVs abroad—or maybe revisit old PPV brands as a one-off. Some ideas for future In Your House PPVs:
WWE In Your House: Hell in a Cell
WWE In Your House: Armageddon
WWE In Your House: Halloween Havoc
WWE In Your House: Atlantic Assault (UK Event)
WWE In Your House: Viper's Nest (Randy Orton-themed event?)
WWE In Your House: D-Generation X (We already had one, but they could totally redo it.)
WWE In Your House: Battlebowl
We could have one-off tournaments, special matches, and a generally more exciting and unpredictable PPV calendar! If anything, In Your House should have been brought back years ago!