5 PPV Gimmicks from the Past WWE and AEW Should Consider Reviving

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2021

5 PPV Gimmicks from the Past WWE and AEW Should Consider Reviving

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    Halloween Havoc making its return to formal pay-per-view is long overdue.
    Halloween Havoc making its return to formal pay-per-view is long overdue.Credit: WWE.com

    The pay-per-view schedules for WWE and All Elite Wrestling are currently stacked with events across the calendar, but both companies would benefit from bringing back some shows from the past.

    For starters, WWE's upcoming installment of Hell in a Cell on June 20 is pointless. Centering an entire event around a gimmick match isn't typically the best call, especially when it makes a marquee matchup such as HIAC feel significantly less special.

    As for AEW, the annual Revolution and Full Gear PPVs don't stand out as much as they should. The last few installments have been entertaining, but nothing about the generic names leads viewers to think anything special is in store at either event.

    Reinstating old events isn't always the answer, but it has made certain shows more fun than they would have been otherwise. Look no further than the recent themed episodes of NXT and Dynamite including Halloween Havoc, Bash at the Beach and The Great American Bash.

    WWE can replace some of its filler PPVs with the following timeless classics, and if AEW can secure the rights to one or two of them, it could do the same.

Halloween Havoc

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    WCW's old Halloween Havoc pay-per-view has long been a favorite among fans—and for good reason.

    Following its debut in 1989, it became an October staple for the company up until its closure in 2001. The inaugural installment was headlined by a Thunderdome match that saw Ric Flair and Sting team up against Terry Funk and The Great Muta.

    Over the next decade, the event featured a slew of memorable matches and moments, most notably Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 1998. That same show also hosted the infamous train wreck that was The Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan.

    For years, it was a mystery why WWE never utilized the concept after buying out WCW, especially when it could have easily replaced Hell in a Cell in the October slot.

    There was always the question of whether the company owned the trademark, but that was answered in October when it was brought back in the form of a television special for NXT on USA Network.

    As fun of a show as it was, Halloween Havoc deserves to be resurrected as as regular PPV for WWE's main roster—elaborate setup and all. Giant pumpkin or bust.

No Mercy

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    If (WrestleMania) Backlash can make a comeback, there's no reason why No Mercy can't as well.

    It was first staged by WWE in 1999 on two separate occasions: once in May in England, and again in October in the United States. Both shows were strong enough for it to become an October staple through 2008 before being replaced by Hell in a Cell.

    Unlike HIAC, No Mercy wasn't known for any one specific match type, though the 2002 installment did feature a match inside The Devil's Playground between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. Instead, it was typically a stage where scores were settled and some of WWE's best bouts took place.

    No Mercy was put back on the WWE PPV calendar in 2016 when the brand extension was reinstated. It was a SmackDown-exclusive show in 2016 and then a Raw-only show the following year.

    Again, there's nothing fancy about No Mercy on the surface, but sometimes it's the straightforward events that are more fondly remembered than the ones that have no business being a PPV in the first place (TLC, Extreme Rules, Hell in a Cell etc.)


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    Whether it's WrestleMania or Double or Nothing, WWE and AEW already have their biggest shows of the year, but Starrcade could easily be used as an important second-tier event for either company.

    Starrcade served as NWA and WCW's grandest stage from 1983 to 2000. It was a Thanksgiving tradition for its first few years before being moved to December to avoid going up against Survivor Series.

    With WrestleMania being WWE's Showcase of the Immortals, it wasn't surprising when WWE didn't continue to use Starrcade after purchasing the promotion in 2001. The company has maintained the trademark, though, and it was resurrected as a glorified house show in 2017 and a WWE Network special in 2018 and 2019.

    Those most recent installments of Starrcade were fairly forgettable and didn't do the prestige or the original magic of the event justice. AEW, on the other hand, would treat it with the respect it deserves.

    As announced last week, it will have four supercards on TNT throughout 2022, and it would be remarkable if Starrcade could be one of them.

    Of course, WWE letting it go is a long shot, but maybe the two sides can work something out, similar to how WWE gave Cody Rhodes his name back in exchange for him dropping trademark applications for Slamboree and The Match Beyond, among other event titles, per Mike Johnson of PWInsider.

Spring Stampede

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    Spring Stampede may not have as much of a lineage as other pay-per-views from the past, but it was a fun event while it lasted for WCW.

    The inaugural installment was held in April 1994 and emanated from Chicago, hosting an all-time classic between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It wasn't until 1997 that Spring Stampede was brought back, again in April, to settle a score between Randy Savage and Diamond Dallas Page in the night's main event.

    The PPV was discontinued due to WCW's closure in March 2001. Had the company not been forced to close its doors, we likely would have seen another installment a month later.

    Given that it was perfect precursor to the spring and summer seasons during its short-lived existence, Spring Stampede is another event that would fit AEW much better than WWE and be a great theme for one of their upcoming supercards on TNT in 2022.

    It would help build the bridge between Revolution in early March (assuming that's where it stays) and Double or Nothing in late May. The odds of WWE giving up the rights to the show aren't very good, but perhaps AEW could get away with running an event with a similar-sounding title.

King of the Ring

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    It's been nearly two decades since the last King of the Ring pay-per-view, and fans still haven't stopped clamoring for its return to the WWE event calendar.

    Although the tournament had been around since 1985, it wasn't until 1993 that it was given its own PPV. A majority of the competition would take place on the show that was held every June, though some of the event's most memorable matches had nothing to do with the King of the Ring crown itself.

    Mankind vs. The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at the 1998 installment is the most obvious example, with Shawn Michaels vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in 1997 being another.

    The King of the Ring went from being an annual occurrence in WWE to only being brought back occasionally after 2002. The concept was used in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2015 with each tournament feeling more rushed than the last.

    All of the recent King of the Ring tourneys have been exclusive to Raw and SmackDown. It helps fill time on both brands and gives matches more meaning, but doing the entire tournament on its own show remains the best bet.

    Themed events aren't always necessary, but King of the Ring is a definite exception. There are actual stakes and the matchups typically tend to deliver, making its return to the PPV lineup a must.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.