Power Ranking Every WWE PPV from 2019

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

Power Ranking Every WWE PPV from 2019

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    Where does WrestleMania 35 rank among WWE's greatest pay-per-views of 2019?
    Where does WrestleMania 35 rank among WWE's greatest pay-per-views of 2019?Credit: WWE.com

    If there's one thing most WWE fans can agree on, it's that the company produces way too much content throughout the calendar year, specifically when it comes to its pay-per-views.

    As soon as an event wraps up, no time is wasted in looking ahead and promoting the next one, which is usually three to four weeks later. Unfortunately, the build for most of these shows is mediocre at best and fails to get fans hyped for what's on tap.

    That proved to be the case with WWE's final pay-per-view of the decade, TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, on Sunday night. A card wasn't announced until just days beforehand, and the execution of the event wasn't all that great, either.

    Overall, WWE didn't produce many memorable events in 2019, as only a handful could be considered truly exceptional; the rest merely existed to kill time. In reality, there is no need for the company to have 14 shows in a 12-month period.

    While not all of WWE's pay-per-views this year were phenomenal on the whole, most at least featured one or two notable matches or moments. A show's success rate can be determined by looking at how historically significant it was, whether the in-ring action was above-average, and what it accomplished in the grand scheme of things.

    With TLC 2019 in the books, here is every WWE event from 2019 ranked from worst to best, along with analysis of why it thrived, where it went wrong and how it could have been better.

14. Super ShowDown

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    Must-see match: None

    Better off forgotten: The Undertaker vs. Goldberg

    Overall analysis: After the atrocity that was Crown Jewel 2018, it should come as no surprise that WWE's third televised trip to Saudi Arabia was its worst pay-per-view of 2019.

    The event peaked with The Usos vs. The Revival, which took place on the Kickoff show. Everything else that followed was beyond dull and not worth re-watching whatsoever.

    Triple H and Randy Orton arguably had the best bout on the main card, but even that lasted far longer than it needed to and didn't get interesting until the final few minutes. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship felt like it belonged on an episode of SmackDown, while Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley was a complete snore-fest.

    Mansoor winning the largest Battle Royal in WWE history made for a cool moment, but the match itself was total throwaway. It also didn't help that the company did nothing to capitalize on the momentum he had coming out of the event.

    To top it all off, Undertaker vs. Goldberg in the main event was almost sad to see, as neither guy looked good and the match fell apart toward the end. Thankfully, both icons wound up redeeming themselves with better bouts later in the summer.

    Their disaster of a match made for a fitting conclusion to this atrocious event.

13. Crown Jewel

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    Must-see match: Mansoor vs. Cesaro

    Better off forgotten: Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury

    Overall analysis: While only mildly better than Super ShowDown, the 2019 installment of Crown Jewel was still a fairly abysmal event.

    As has been the case with every other show WWE has done in Saudi Arabia, it was evident from the moment the build began that the company had no intentions of taking it seriously.

    Two major matches were booked: Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez for the WWE Championship and Braun Strowman vs. Tyson Fury. Outside of announcing them, though, WWE did nothing to make viewers care about either contest ahead of time.

    As it turned out, both bouts were incredibly disappointing. In fact, the 10-man tag team match pitting Team Hogan vs. Team Flair (which had no stakes, mind you) was better than either of them, as was the exciting affair between Mansoor and Cesaro.

    Elsewhere on the card, the WWE World Cup Tag Team Turmoil match wasted a good chunk of time and AJ Styles vs. Humberto Carrillo for the United States Championship wasn't what it could have been. On the bright side, Lacey Evans and Natalya made history by becoming the first women to compete in Saudi Arabia, even if the matchup itself was nothing special.

    Although the evening ended with "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defeating Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship, don't let the end result fool you. It was a horrid main event with an outcome that should have happened at Hell in a Cell three weeks prior.

12. Hell in a Cell

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    Must-see match: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks in a Hell in a Cell match for the Raw Women's Championship

    Better off forgotten: Seth Rollins vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in a Hell in a Cell match for the Universal Championship

    Overall analysis: It's unfortunate that an event which hosted two of WWE's best pay-per-view matches all year will widely be remembered for being a giant waste of time on the whole.

    To be fair, fans expected as much in the days preceding the pay-per-view when just three matches were announced in advance. Although that could be blamed on WWE placing so much emphasis on that week's stacked episodes of Raw, SmackDown and NXT, there's no excuse for the company completely neglecting a PPV people paid money to attend and watch.

    The night's two matches were nothing short of stellar as Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks produced one of the best women's matches in WWE this year inside Hell in a Cell, while Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns toppled Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in a wild Tornado tag team match.

    To ensure the event met its three-hour run time, WWE filled the rest of the card with random matches before the main event took place. These included Randy Orton vs. Mustafa Ali, The Viking Raiders and Braun Strowman vs. The O.C., and King Corbin vs. Chad Gable.

    None of them were remotely memorable.

    It would have been acceptable had the Hell in a Cell main event of Seth Rollins vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship delivered, but it didn't. Instead, fans were treated to an abomination of a match that ended in a controversial referee stoppage (something that was not made clear at the time).

    The backlash from that bout was worse than any other in 2019 because of how WWE failed to strike while the iron was hot with Wyatt, among other things. Needless to say, Hell in a Cell would rank lower on this list had Banks vs. Lynch not happened.

11. TLC

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    Must-see match: Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy

    Better off forgotten: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match

    Overall analysis: Similar to Hell in a Cell, WWE barely bothered to put together a card for TLC until one week before the event. Mind you, it was the company's final pay-per-view of the decade, and it decided to end it with a whimper.

    TLC has historically been one of WWE's stronger shows every December, even though it's an event that isn't necessary (much like Hell in a Cell). TLC matches would be better off happening whenever the story calls for it, not because it's that time of the year again.

    That didn't stop WWE from announcing matches and slapping stipulations on each of them to fulfill its TLC criteria. There was no reason for King Corbin vs. Roman Reigns to be a TLC match with nothing on the line, nor did The Kabuki Warriors vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair need it, either.

    Both bouts were terribly dull, the first because of excessive amounts of interference and the second because Kairi Sane was legitimately concussed halfway through. The rest of the card was equally atrocious as Rusev vs. Bobby Lashley dragged and Bray Wyatt vs. The Miz missed the mark.

    If nothing else, Daniel Bryan's return was a pleasant surprise, so at least fans have that to look forward to coming out of the event. Plus, the show-opening ladder match between The New Day and The Revival as well as Aleister Black vs. Buddy Murphy were fun while they lasted.

10. Elimination Chamber

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    Must-see match: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship

    Better off forgotten: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin in a No Disqualification match

    Overall analysis: Elimination Chamber is slightly more meaningful than Fastlane due to the implications of its Chamber matches, yet it was the weaker of the two shows in 2019 (though not by much).

    The Elimination Chamber matchups were really what sold fans on this event. The first pitted six female teams against each other with the winners being named the inaugural WWE women's tag team champions, while the second featured six of SmackDown's finest duking it out for the WWE Championship.

    They were both excellently executed, even if their outcomes were never truly in doubt.

    On the whole, it was a newsworthy night with two other championships changing hands. The Usos knocked off The Miz and Shane McMahon for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship and Finn Balor overcame the odds to become the intercontinental champion for the first time in his career.

    Unfortunately, neither of those matches were anything worth writing home about, though they were better than Braun Strowman's boring No Disqualification match with Baron Corbin and Ronda Rousey squashing Ruby Riott within two minutes.

    Elimination Chamber successfully set up several pieces of the WrestleMania 35 puzzle, but purely from an entertainment standpoint, it didn't feel as exciting as it should have been.

9. Fastlane

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    Best match: Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens vs. Mustafa Ali in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship

    Worst match: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

    Overall thoughts: As it stands, Fastlane doesn't appear to be in the pipeline for upcoming pay-per-views in 2020, meaning WWE finally realized it was, and always has been, completely pointless.

    Fastlane lacked the must-see moments Elimination Chamber had but was at least consistently entertaining on the whole. Although it was another one of those events that was thrown together within a week or two, the card was solid and bridged the gap between the Chamber and WrestleMania nicely.

    The Shield's grand return was the focal point of the pay-per-view with the black-clad trio riding high one more time in the main event. The WWE Championship match, which was supposed to see Daniel Bryan defend against Kevin Owens one-on-one, was made better by the last-minute addition of Mustafa Ali.

    No championships changed hands, but every match in which a title was up for grabs was wrestled well. In fact, Fastlane's only two non-title matches were the worst of the night, with The Bar beating Kofi Kingston in a Handicap match and Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair ending in a disqualification following interference from Ronda Rousey.

    There were more matches than there needed to be, but surprisingly enough, nothing was outrageously bad, making for one of the more bearable installments of Fastlane in its brief existence.

8. Clash of Champions

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    Must-see match: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women's Championship

    Better off forgotten: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship

    Overall analysis: After being removed from WWE's pay-per-view schedule in 2018, Clash of Champions made its not-so-anticipated return in September. The theme of every championship being on the line was needed more now than ever before given the abundance of titles in the company.

    Including the Kickoff show, there were a whopping 11 matches on the card, which disallowed some of the earlier matches from getting more time. For example, AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander was criminally short, and Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair ended before it had a chance to really get going.

    Those early hiccups aside, the PPV picked up the pace with a great SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and The Revival. Oddly enough, that was only one of two times a title changed hands on the show, but that didn't seem to hinder fans' enjoyment of the event.

    The WWE Women's Tag Team Championship and Intercontinental Championship matches were pretty basic, but Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks stole the show with their Raw Women's Championship clash (despite the disqualification finish).

    It was strange seeing Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton fail to deliver the goods in their matchup while Roman Reigns and Erick Rowan exceeded expectations in theirs, complete with the shocking return of Luke Harper. In the main event, Seth Rollins reigned supreme over Braun Strowman before getting ambushed by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in Clash of Champions' closing minutes.

    Championship matches don't mean as much when an entire card consists of them, but WWE made the most of it with this show and gave fans what they wanted.

7. Money in the Bank

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    Must-see match: Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles for the Universal Championship

    Better off forgotten: The Miz vs. Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage match

    Overall analysis: Money in the Bank 2019 was a victim of poor timing, having taken place so soon after the Superstar Shake-Up. As a result, none of the feuds going on at the time felt as important as they should have, specifically Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles.

    WWE somehow managed to make fans less excited for it throughout the build to the bout. Thankfully, the two men gave the crowd an instant classic that was well worth the price of admission.

    Of course, the biggest draw of the event was its Money in the Bank Ladder matches with the men and women. This year's installments were more physical than any other in recent memory and featured surprise winners in Bayley and Brock Lesnar.

    Lesnar's victory ended the evening on a sour note for many, but the match itself was a spectacle. That shouldn't take away from everything else the event had to offer, including Bayley's big SmackDown Women's Championship win.

    Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Championship was perfectly solid, but the rest of the matches were way too short to be anything out of the ordinary. Shane McMahon beating The Miz again was questionable, Roman Reigns squashed Elias (and his momentum), and Becky Lynch's back-to-back title defenses lacked excitement.

    It wasn't Money in the Bank 2011 levels of epic, but this event deserves more credit for being such a blast overall.

6. Stomping Grounds

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    Must-see match: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet for the United States Championship

    Better off forgotten: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin for the Universal Championship

    Overall analysis: For a show with such a silly name, Stomping Grounds had no business being as entertaining as it was.

    The show started off promisingly enough with a terrific Cruiserweight Championship clash followed by The New Day taking Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to the limit in a fun, fast-paced match. The streak of stellar matches continued with Ricochet beating Samoa Joe for the United States Championship in what was the highlight of the night.

    Despite the build being virtually nonexistent prior to the pay-per-view, the SmackDown Tag Team Championship matchup was an unexpected gem as Heavy Machinery turned in a standout performance versus Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan.

    Sadly, the show fell off a cliff from there. The main matchups couldn't live up to the strong undercard that preceded them.

    Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss was more of the same unremarkable stuff from them. Worse yet, Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre had the potential to be a real barn burner but instead bored the audience to tears.

    The uneventful nature of the event persisted with Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler inside a steel cage and Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin for the Universal Championship.

    Fans felt as if they had just watched a glorified episode of Raw or SmackDown once it was over, but those first five matches were exciting enough to warrant a ranking so high.

5. SummerSlam

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    Must-see match: Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship

    Better off forgotten: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon

    Overall analysis: The biggest party of the summer rarely disappoints, and this year's edition was no exception.

    It was a stacked card from top to bottom and boasted zero below-average matches. Granted, the Raw and SmackDown women's championships didn't meet fans' lofty expectations but were still solid in their own right.

    Otherwise, this was an outstanding evening of exhilarating action.

    Goldberg bounced back from his loss at Super ShowDown with a quick and dominant win over Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles and Ricochet had another enjoyable encounter over the United States Championship, and Trish Stratus closed out her career on the highest note possible against Charlotte Flair.

    Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon was the weakest match of the night, but at least KO won as he should have and the crowd popped for the finish. That's more than can be said for Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship where the double count-out caused fans to boo.

    SummerSlam's final half-hour was perfect with Bray Wyatt debuting "The Fiend" in explosive fashion and Seth Rollins taking back the Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar. It was The Beast Incarnate's first truly competitive match in some time and served as a reminder as to how special of a Superstar he is.

    The event capped off what was a tremendously fun summer for WWE and effectively laid the groundwork for the fall season.

4. Extreme Rules

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    Must-see match: Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

    Better off forgotten: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans for the Universal Champion and Raw Women's Championship

    Overall analysis: It seems Extreme Rules gets less and less hardcore by the year, with this year's installment featuring only three matches with "extreme rules" of the 11 that occurred.

    Despite that, WWE went all out for the event by bringing in the big guns. Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker were placed in key matches and were the biggest talking points once the pay-per-view concluded.

    Black vs. Cesaro was far from hardcore yet completely captivated the crowd with its sheer brilliance. Likewise, The Usos and The Revival put on a tag team clinic for the Raw Tag Team Championship, while AJ Styles and Ricochet once again made magic with each other.

    Even the Last Man Standing match between Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley was the exact opposite of what fans had come to expect from them. The SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat electrified the audience and Kevin Owens squashing Dolph Ziggler in 10 seconds was exactly what needed to happen.

    Similar to Stomping Grounds, the biggest issue with Extreme Rules is its two top title matches. Neither of them were the slightest bit compelling and the mixed tag team main event in particular likely didn't go over the way officials likely hoped it would.

    It was 20 minutes of two unlikable teams going back and forth with no sense of urgency. Shockingly, Lesnar's Money in the Bank cash-in was actually for the best. It freshened things up in the universal title scene and put Rollins back in chase mode where he belonged.

3. Royal Rumble

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    Must-see match: Asuka vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women's Championship

    Better off forgotten: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship

    Overall analysis: You'd think it would be difficult to mess up a Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but WWE has managed to do so several times in recent years. Thankfully, this year's show was one of the stronger installments thanks to its loaded lineup.

    The two women's matches were more memorable than the Rumbles themselves, which were fun albeit disjointed and poorly paced at points. Sasha Banks came close to beating Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women's Championship but came up short, while Becky Lynch and Asuka had an amazing outing to open the show with the crowd hanging on every near-fall.

    As a match, The Bar vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon was standard stuff, but Miz and Shane had better chemistry together than anyone could have predicted. Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor for the Universal Championship was another entertaining first-ever encounter that made for a quality attraction at the Rumble.

    On paper, Bryan vs. Styles had all the makings of a show-stealer, but their match on this show was a total dud. After almost 25 minutes of nothingness, Erick Rowan returned to aid Bryan to victory and put this thing out of its misery.

    Fortunately, Lynch and Seth Rollins winning their respective Rumbles was the right call and kicked off a thrilling road to WrestleMania.

2. Survivor Series

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    Must-see match: Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship

    Better off forgotten: Becky Lynch vs. Bayley vs. Shayna Baszler in a Triple Threat match

    Overall analysis: It's interesting to note that Survivor Series has been regarded by fans as one of WWE's more forgettable shows of the year for the past decade or so. However, NXT's involvement in this year's installment played an important role in making it such a success.

    Fans never thought the day would come that the black-and-gold brand would have such a huge presence on a WWE pay-per-view, and when it finally did happen at Survivor Series, NXT did not disappoint.

    NXT went on to win decisively over Raw and SmackDown and solidified its superiority with four big wins. Plus, the three championship matches were awesome in their own way with Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne being the best of the bunch.

    The sole drawback to this show was the women's Triple Threat main event that under-delivered. It's tough to tell even now what went wrong with it, but had it been as excellent as the build for it was, this would have without a doubt been 2019's strongest all-around show.

    Excluding the lackluster main event, every match on the card ranged from good to great. Once again, the winning brand didn't earn anything, but the boost NXT has since received in the ratings for the exposure they got going into Survivor Series was invaluable.

    While there weren't any surprise debuts or major title changes, the in-ring action was well above average, with the battle for brand supremacy bringing the best out of everyone. If WWE doesn't include NXT in next year's Survivor Series build, there will be serious consequences.

1. WrestleMania 35

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    Must-see match: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship

    Better off forgotten: WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way

    Overall analysis: You know it's been a less-than-stellar year for WWE when one of the more mundane WrestleMania events in recent memory ends up being their best show in 2019.

    Truth be told, WWE did the right thing in each of the evening's biggest bouts. Kofi Kingston beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship in what was an emotional moment, Seth Rollins slayed Brock Lesnar to become the new universal champion, and Becky Lynch closed the night holding two titles above her head.

    It also marked the first time a WrestleMania was headlined by an all-women's match. That Triple Threat between Lynch, Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair could have been better, yet it was still the strongest 'Mania main event since Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns in 2015.

    The biggest matches on the card delivered, and more importantly, the outcomes were what they needed to be. That's arguably what matters most, even if the rest of the card was far from perfect.

    Outside of Bryan vs. Kingston, there wasn't a single above-average match on the entire show. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton underwhelmed, Batista's farewell match against Triple H fell flat, and Baron Corbin vs. Kurt Angle was a disappointment.

    Above all else, there was zero reason for WrestleMania 35 to last a whopping seven-and-a-half hours (including the Kickoff show). The crowd was drained by the time the Triple Threat concluded, but at least fans left satisfied knowing they had just witnessed history.

             

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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