By Eddie McDonald, Columnist
A lot of people are now forced to stay at home amid the CORVID-19 pandemic. With that comes a lot more free time to catch up on projects, play video games and watch a bunch of wrestling. A friend of mine recently hit me up on Twitter (@KingEdward15) asking what he should watch on the WWE Network which is now being offered for free – or at least a good portion, including every WrestleMania – for the fans gearing up for WrestleMania 36 without an audience.
I decided to compile a list of some pay-per-views to watch while you’re at home. If you are trying out the WWE Network for the first time, this list could help sway you into subscribing full time. If you’re a fan of pro wrestling (of course you are or you wouldn’t have clicked this link) then the WWE Network and its extensive library is well worth the $9.99.
These are in no particular order.
This is arguably the best overall pay-per-view of all time, no matter the promotion. This card was stacked from top to bottom. This show featured Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock, part two, where Stone Cold makes his infamous heel turn and thus aligning with his most hated rival, Mr. McMahon. This card also featured TLC 2, with the Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian in one of the best matches ever. Undertaker took on HHH in what would be the first of three eventual WrestleMania matches. Also, a fun gimmick battle royal with a who’s who cast of characters from WWE past.
The story and legend of Daniel Bryan was cemented on this night. The “Yes Movement” was in full force and Bryan was overcoming every obstacle The Authority threw his way. He started the night by facing HHH with the victor advancing to the World Heavyweight Championship match against Randy Orton and Batista. This was a historic WrestleMania due in large part to Brock Lesnar conquering the Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak.
Money in the Bank 2011
This is one of the most memorable WWE pay-per-views of all time CM Punk squared off with John Cena for the WWE Championship in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Punk could do no wrong in front of the Chicago faithful and Cena was getting booed out of the building. The catcher to this match was Punk’s contract, which was set to expire at 12:01 AM, thus giving the dilemma that if Punk won, he would leave with the belt. Randy Orton and Christian put on a thrilling clinic for the World Heavyweight Championship. Both the Raw and SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder matches were incredible.
Royal Rumble 2000
This is my personal favorite pay-per-view of all time. This Rumble took place on my birthday in 2000 and it was a perfect card to me. Tazz made his WWE debut facing Kurt Angle, who was undefeated at that point. The Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz tore the roof down in an epic tag team tables match. Chris Jericho, Chyna and Hardcore Holly put on a hell of a triple threat match for the Intercontinental Championship. Cactus Jack and HHH beat the shit out of one another in a classic street fight. And the Rumble match was fantastic, with the right man winning, despite it not leading to a one-on-one main event match at WrestleMania.
Survivor Series 1998
This was arguably the best boked tournament WWE has ever produced. A 14-man tournament for the vacant WWE Championship had a lot of turns, including the main event that saw a certain star turn heel. Some of the competitors in this tournament include Stone Cold, The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane, Ken Shamrock and X-Pac among others.
ECW One Night Stand 2006
After the success of One Night Stand 2005, WWE decided to run it back as part of their version – which mostly sucked – of a revamped ECW. RVD was the first Money in the Bank winner to declare ahead of time when he was going to cash in, by challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship, while also holding the ECW Championship. Randy Orton and Kurt Angle had a fantastic match on this card. Edge and Lita teamed up with hated nemesis Mick Foley to take on Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty in an intergender extreme rules match. The Hammerstein Ballroom was the perfect setting for this show.
This featured the best wrestling match I have ever seen in Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker. The epic story that was told in the build to this match and in the match itself is truly tremendous. So many emotions are expressed while watching this match. John Cena, The Big Show and Edge did battle in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship which includes one of Cena’s most impressive feats of strength. Rey Mysterio defeated JBL in 20 seconds and then JBL quit after the match. The Hardy Boyz did battle against one another in an extreme rules match. HHH battled Randy Orton in the main event. Money in the Bank ladder match included CM Punk, Finlay, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, MVP and Shelton Benjamin.
In Your House: Canadian Stampede
In the United States in 1997, The Hard Foundation was heavily booed wherever they went as they portrayed the antagonist international heels. Well one of the In Your House pay-per-views took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where the roles of heels and faces was flipped and the Americans were the ones heavily booed, especially Stone Cold Steve Austin. The main event saw Austin team up with Ken Shamrock, Goldust and the Legion of Doom taking on The Hart Foundation comprised of Bret and Owen Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman. This show also featured The Undertaker defending the WWE Championship against Vader and HHH battling Mankind.
ECW Barely Legal 1997
This was the very first pay-per-view from ECW and what a show it was. This had the culmination of a one-year build between Tazz and Sabu where the two did not have any physicality at all until the bell rang. Terry Funk defeated The Sandman and Stevie Richards in a triple threat match to advance to the ECW Championship match against Raven. Rob Van Dam had his coming out party by replacing Chris Candido to battle Lance Storm in what was a fantastic match.
A really fun show with a plethora of matches to sink your teeth into. Brock Lesnar and The Rock duked it out for the Undisputed Championship. Shawn Michaels made his in-ring return after being out of action for over four years taking on his best friend HHH in an unsanctioned match. RVD took on Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental Championship. Edge fought Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio took on Kurt Angle in a fun match.
Along with the above shows I have listed, check out any NXT TakeOver. Each one seems to top the last one. The Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold are a really good watch as well. Go check out Raw or SmackDown from years ago or even Monday Night Nitro. To give you just one match to go check out and then expand from there, Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero from Halloween Havoc 1997 in a mask vs Cruiserweight Championship match.
Be sure to hit me up on Twitter @KingEdward15 and let me know what shows you would add to this list. Also check out my new podcast, The Petty Eddie Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from. Episode two features my big bro Monteasy chopping it up with me.