When WWE’s brand extension ended in 2011, it would’ve been hard to predict that there would be a return so soon to the separate roster system for Raw and SmackDown. Yet, here we are. With declining ratings and a significantly devalued blue show, some sort of change was needed to boost the status of the show that wasn’t Raw. NBC has been paying out a significant amount for those couple of hours every week and need to be assured that they’re making a sound investment.
A few changes came in the form of a now live broadcast on Tuesday evenings and also, there will be a distinct roster exclusive to SmackDown. It’s 2002 all over again! This is exciting, especially for those who already watch the show and wouldn’t mind a little more than just rematches from Monday.
With two main roster brands once again, there’s suddenly a need for more Pay-Per-Views to showcases major matches. New ideas for shows could be introduced but it also might be wise to bring back a few of the classics from the past. The following Pay-Per-Views are blasts from wrestling’s yesteryear, both from WWE’s personal history as well as some of their acquisitions. WCW and even ECW were tapped into to find some events that could add value to both Raw and SmackDown.
Some of these events would make for a fun Network Special. Others could even become a major event for a particular roster. All are fun for speculation and hopefully WWE goes in a couple of these directions.
15. Bash At The Beach
Sure, WWE already has a big summer Pay-Per-View with SummerSlam. It’s treated as the second biggest event of the year and typically fills those shoes well. In the buildup to that event a smaller, brand-exclusive Bash at the Beach event should occur. It could serve as a warm-up Pay-Per-View of shorts, much like Fastlane and Roadblock were on the 2016 Road to WrestleMania.
To get fans in the mood for the summer theme, WWE should hold the show in a warmer part of the U.S. much like WCW did during the show’s original airings. Daytona Beach, Florida, was the most frequented sight in the past but they should also pursue an outdoor venue. As long as it doesn’t rain, that could create a unique, sunny setting that doesn’t happen too often outside of the major stadium shows.
Even if the show is held indoors, using the beach decor at the top of the stage like WCW did is a solid way to keep up with the pool party vibe. There could be an actual pool as well but that’s if and only if Kevin Owens finds an obnoxious celebrity to Powerbomb them into it.
14. Clash Of The Champions
Since 2007, WWE has used the Night of Champions event to feature a title defense heavy show. In the early years, every match was for a Championship belt and all the prizes in the company were to be on the line. As the years went on, some titles were left off the card and non-title matches popped up but the concept stayed pretty close to the original idea. With two separate main roster brands returning and more show exclusive titles surely to come into fruition, Night of Champions should be the sole property of SmackDown. Not to be left without a similar concept of their own, WWE should gift WCW’s Clash of the Champions to Raw.
According to leaked info, Clash of Champions (no “the”) is already on WWE’s calendar for September 25th, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s mildly disheartening that the name has been tweaked ever so slightly but there’s always hope that the “the” omission was merely a typo. There’s a history of fantastic matches from the original Clashes, including Ric Flair vs. Sting from the very first event to Ricky Steamboat vs. Flair at the sixth Clash of the Champions.
Flair, Sting, and Steamboat could make appearances at the first Raw Clash and it could be of great significance. If the current WWE World Heavyweight Championship gets drafted to SmackDown then the Raw show will be a brand without a champion. Having those three icons present the winner of the first ever belt of that show would be a sure fire way to give the new champion a huge blessing. If the new champ is a heel, they could even disrespect the old-timers for an easy way to garner heat. Who wouldn’t hate a man that spit in the face of a well-loved guy like Ricky Steamboat?
13. Bad Blood
When rivalries reach a boiling point, feuds need to be settled at an event worthy of what the competitors bring to the table. For Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at Badd Blood: In Your House in 1997, they competed in the first ever Hell in a Cell on a show that for some reason added a second “d” to the word Bad. That kind of spelling was cool in the 1990s. The event was revived in 2003 and 2004, dropping the second “d” and the “In Your House” branding. Triple H headlined both of those events, both times inside Hell in a Cell.
Assuming that Hell in a Cell remains it’s own annual event, that gimmick doesn’t have to be paired with a current version of the show. What it does need is deep enmity in the most promoted matchups and there are several combination of today’s roster that can bring that level of hostility. The first two guys that likely come to most peoples’ minds in this type of conversation are Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. They have a long running feud that’s carried on well into WWE. Also, the three former members of The Shield always deliver when they lock up, even if Roman’s fan reactions are never what WWE hopes it would be.
Bad Blood can be a show to settle scores and might fare better on the Raw brand. With Triple H’s history at the event coupled with Stephanie’s authoritative role on Raw, the power couple could hand pick this event for that show’s schedule. Of course, arguing for more Authority on Monday nights and on Pay-Per-Views might not be the best sell for any event. Just make sure Owens and Zayn have a match together.
12. Spring Stampede
Not every returning Pay-Per-View needs to be the home of a heated, feuding-ending rivalry. Sometimes shows can have a sillier theme just for the sake of having some fun. Reviving WCW’s Spring Stampede could be that source of fun because a Wild West night once a year gives the more comedy acts a chance to get creative.
This isn’t an argument for bringing back Henry Godwinn to settle the score with Triple H in another Hog Pen match necessarily, but if a guy like Dolph Ziggler challenged The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in something like an “Albuquerque Street Fight,” they’d most likely make it work. Those two once did a Halloween-themed Street Fight and it featured the surprisingly cool spot of Dolph superkicking a carved pumpkin off of Miz’s head. How about someone give them some cow bells and haystacks and just let them go nuts?
New Day would also be fun on a show like this. Big E can push the limits of just how open a pair of open back leather chaps can be while Kofi reminds us all again that he – not his character, but he – thinks that country music sucks. Really, any chance for those three guys to rip on something the crowd may like for an extended in-ring promo is more than enough reason to hold a Spring Stampede Pay-Per-View.
11. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
At the height of the Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon rivalry, the boss laced up his wrestling boots to battle with his insubordinate employee inside of a steel cage. This main event match at 1999’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was a highlight of The Attitude Era in part because of the big bump that Vince took off of the cage through the announce table as well as the bloody mess Austin turned him into.
Due to totally understandable precautions for the safety of the workers, a modern day version of this show needs to be executed without the blood loss. That’s a slight negative considering the word “Massacre” is in the title – blame the PG rating if a scapegoat is needed. If the no blood rule was hoped to get unintentionally bent, booking a guy like Brock Lesnar on the card would offer the chance for color. That guys seemingly always finds a way to get hard-wayed.
Whichever brand became the home of The Wyatts would be the best brand to take over this Pay-Per-View. Their potential for brutality, even if WWE more often than not fails on capitalizing on them, is the most fitting act for the theme of the show. They’ve shown what they could do with their recent compound battle with New Day, so hope for more of that around February of next year.
10. Halloween Havoc
Possibly more for aesthetic reasons than anything, WWE desperately needs Halloween Havoc on the Pay-Per-View calendar. Who can forget the classic giant balloon pumpkin and the creepy face and hands looming over it? There was also the smoke billowing out from the entrance ramp throughout a graveyard… it was such fantastic decor!
This feels more like a Raw exclusive show than one for SmackDown, assuming the announce teams stay the same. Maybe it’s just easier to imagine Byron Saxton wearing a goofy costume for the Trick or Treat holiday than Mauro Ranallo. It would probably get old hearing JBL mock Saxton in a Pickachu getup but at least it would be worth a few brief laughs.
It was the 1997 edition of the event that featured the iconic Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero match. To play off that history, perhaps the winner of this year’s Cruiserweight Classic can make their debut on this October event. That would allow any valid comparisons of their style to be made with that near-20 year old contest between two all time greats. As long as WWE stays away from anything resembling a women’s costume battle royal – and the temptation might be too strong for Vince to bear – this should be a solid night of professional wrestling.
9. Elimination Chamber
A very recent departure from WWE’s annual round of Pay-Per-Views is Elimination Chamber. Known for its eponymous gimmick match, this event was formerly at one point the last stop on the Road to WrestleMania. This unique variation on the Cage Match was the big February card until 2014 when it was removed from the permanent schedule. A Network exclusive edition did occur in May of 2015 but it would serve far better as a staple of one of the brands starting in 2017.
Many of the previous Chamber matches have been used to setup one of the major title matches at WrestleMania and that should be the way it’s treated once again. Give it a return to a February spot and have one Chamber match that has direct implications to a top title holder, whether deciding a champion or the WrestleMania challenger to a champion. As for a second chamber match on the card, that could be used for something a little more fun…
There should be an annual NXT showcase Elimination Chamber match with the winner earning a shot at a secondary title at WrestleMania. It’s a winner of a way to introduce one talent to a brand while giving a few others a big platform for exposure. The talent is deep from NXT so wrestlers like Nakamura, Joe, Balor, and even tag duos like American Alpha and The Revival could be plugged into what is sure to be a star-making ordeal (although many will be called up long before February). Also, it would give some much needed interest into either the Intercontinental or U.S. straps.
8. New Blood Rising
In the twilight of WCW, a last ditch effort was made to create new stars for the flailing promotion. It might’ve been too little too late by the time August 2000’s New Blood Rising aired, replacing Road Wild on their annual PPV calendar, but it’s still a good idea for a show. There’s a perpetual struggle between the rising stars and the veteran performers that still works for this time in wrestling.
There’s been a steady stream of exciting talent to the main roster over the past few years, mostly thanks to the successful NXT brand, and there’s plenty more just waiting to get called up. If one brand got a lopsided influx of developmental talent then a New Blood Rising Pay-Per-View could serve as a showcase for the newer competitors. The original WCW event held every match under No DQ rules, which would not need to be a replicated feature.
If American Alpha, Finn Balor, and Bayley all were drafted to the same show, then choreographing all three of their first main roster Pay-Per-Views to occur at the same time would feel like a proper ushering into the “New Era” that keeps getting repeated over and over. Judging by the likes of those three acts, there should be no problem garnering a positive reaction as long as they were given a good ten to fifteen minutes of match time. This would be a show that had a true changing of the guard.
7. King Of The Ring
When trying to portray professional wrestling as a legitimate sporting event, few things are more effective than an old fashioned tournament. While WWE’s King of the Ring has been highly ineffective at boosting its winner’s status in quite some time, it’s still a formula that should be easy to get back on track.
NXT held the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament in 2015, which simultaneously paid respect to the legendary wrestler as well as helped kick off the Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe Feud. Even now in 2016, a highly lauded 32-man collection of sub-205 pounders have been gathered for this year’s Cruiserweight Classic. WWE is proving over and over that they are capable of putting on a coherent tournament so now’s the time to make the King of the Ring great again (meant to be read with Bob Backlund narration)!
To secure that the winner doesn’t get thrown back down the card in a matter of weeks, the King should be granted a title match for whatever the following Pay-Per-View happens to be. A crown means nothing as a prize by itself but coupled with a chance to hold the top title on Raw or SmackDown is how it gains real value.
6. Great American Bash
First introduced under the Crockett banner pre-WCW, Great American Bash has been held on at least 20 occasions since 1985 – much more if you count that some years it was a tour of shows instead of a single event. WWE has previously revived this show during the first brand extension era so it’s only fitting that it should be brought back once again.
The international talent is deep right now, as proven in a multi-man tag team match on the July 4th, 2016 edition of Raw. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, and Cesaro are among the fantastic talent not born in the U.S. (…well, Jericho actually was born in New York, but he’s still a Canadian). A big tag match like that is perfect for the Great American Bash, although finding a few American heroes to battle them might be a harder task.
Another foreign villain that’s always needing foiled is The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev. He’s been fairly synonymous with the United States Championship over the past couple of years and could easily headline this show if aligned against a formidable opponent. As long as Rusev was allowed to win – even if it’s not completely clean – a challenger on the caliber of Randy Orton or Seth Rollins would sell out an arena and not hurt him or his championship.
5. Living Dangerously
One of the more memorable spots in ECW history was when The Human Suplex Machine Taz applied his Tazmission to Bam Bam Bigelow in the first installment of Living Dangerously. Bam Bam fell backwards while still in the submission hold, dropping jaws of everyone in attendance as both competitors busted through the ring below. The ring break spot was a shocking moment from the boundary-pushing company.
Looking at WWE in 2016, two guys have recently proved that they could put on a match that perfectly captures the Living Dangerously vibe. With his Intercontinental Championship on the line, Dean Ambrose was taken to the limit by everyone’s favorite Prizefighter, Kevin Owens at this year’s Royal Rumble. The bout even had its own insane spot when Kevin Owens was shoved over the top rope and ring post, obliterating himself through several stacked up tables on the outside. Not able to get back up to his feet, Owens lost this highly entertaining Last Man Standing Match.
With the new brand split and Ambrose’s title significantly upgraded, the two could resume a feud that culminated on a revived Living Dangerously card. Plus, the poster that would feature the maniacal face of Ambrose and the angry scowl of Owens would just be a cool visual.
4. Taboo Tuesday Thursday
Taboo Tuesday is one Pay-Per-View resurrection that needs an immediate title tweak because of the current TV schedule. With SmackDown airing live on Tuesday nights, it would be silly to put another televised event directly against it. A simple fix would be to hold the cyber-friendly show on a different night and since Thursday starts with a “T” we’ll run with that.
In the past, some of the polls were not necessarily rigged but asked in a way that the outcome was obvious. If voters are asked to choose a match participant and the options are between one babyface and a couple of heels, it’s pretty obvious who’s winning. Another eye rolling trick that used to happen with these votes was between suspiciously similar match types. If the choices are that two wrestlers can compete in a No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere, or a Hardcore Match, how much impact is the voting process truly affecting what’s about to be seen? WWE should avoid these dummy options in the future and put real options that will entice viewers to want to watch.
With online fan interaction far exceeding when the original Taboo’s happened in the mid-2000s, this could be way more fun than the previously installment. It’s almost a guarantee that a fan of today is utilizing a second screen while they’re watching WWE, checking Twitter and Facebook to see what their friends are talking about, so why not bring back the one show that made that social interaction such a huge focus? An advantage for WWE with this show is that Nielsen began monitoring Twitter TV ratings in 2013 and expanded their stat tracking to Facebook mentions in 2016. Any excuse for WWE to boost their presence in that regard should be welcome when the traditional TV ratings continue to struggle.
3. One Night Only
In a rare case of a Pay-Per-View title making a definitive claim that it didn’t renege on, WWE’s One Night Only actually happened only once way back in 1997. Maybe it’s silly to ask WWE to become liars in this case but the single installment of this show has plenty of delicious controversy to warrant a revival.
In 1997, Shawn Michaels faced off against The British Bulldog n this UK-only night. Unlike Smith’s Wembley headlining victory at SummerSlam 1991 in which he defeated Bret Hart, The Bulldog took the loss as The Heartbreak Kid took actions that seemed entirely political in retrospect. For example, after the match Michaels told Diana, Davey Boy’s wife, that his was win was for her. Smith’s family has discussed the night after the fact, questioning why Shawn had to humiliate his opponent so badly. Knowing that the infamous screwjob was looming in the future and The Bulldog is in the Hart family, it’s easy to guess why the match’s outcome happened the way it did.
The Shawn/Davey Boy match doesn’t necessarily need to be replicated in a return event to England but it wouldn’t hurt to play with the emotions of the many WWE stars from those isles. Sheamus, Paige, Finn Balor, and Becky Lynch are among the stars that could get a huge reaction if booked on a One Night Only Pay-Per-View. From letting a heel soak in the heat by beating down a crowd favorite to maximizing the pop for a title win by a Brit, the UK crowd is always good for a strong reaction. One of the rosters should capitalize on this by holding a second One Night Only.
2. Fall Brawl: WarGames
An American Dream invention, WarGames is one of the best gimmick matches to never occur in WWE. Considering Vince McMahon has owned the rights to all things WCW for quite some time and the fact that Dusty Rhodes was so involved with WWE during the final years of his life, it’s a shame that this stipulation has not been brought back. The WarGames absence needs to be remedied with a full return of Fall Brawl: WarGames.
Being a team combat match, this card would need to be main evented by a couple of all-star ensembles. This is more typically an 8-man match, but this proposition is opting for the less common 10-man combination. Assuming this event could be introduced during a longed-for Shield reunion, pairing a couple of rising stars next to them could be a huge rub. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady bring something different than The Shield to the table but are still big time fan favorites, so that team would be interesting.
As for the heel side of this five man war, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho continually prove that they have great chemistry together. Along with them, I’d choose The Club for the baddie side of WarGames. As the first six wrestlers rotate teams coming to the ring I’d hope that it would be all Club and Shield, leading to one of those “This is Awesome” face offs between the two crews.
It’s probably wishful thinking that both Fall Brall: WarGames would return the PPV calendar and The Shield would reunite at the same time but there’s no denying that it would be fantastic. With Triple H’s influence growing more and more over the direction of the company and his deep respect to the history of the business, there remains a hope that this Pay-Per-View will one day return.
Before WWE had WrestleMania, NWA and WCW had Starrcade. It was the South’s most important event of the year and held some of the biggest matches in wrestling history. Ric Flair headlined many of those in the 1980s and the Crow incarnation of Sting famously challenged Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship at Starrcade 1997. It was a revered PPV that could serve as a more featured show for the SmackDown brand, if presented right.
SmackDown needs an identity separate from Raw if it’s going to be the successful show that WWE hopes for. Giving the Tuesday show an exclusive event that is treated with reverence on the level of the Big 4 (WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series) is a way to give that roster their own major event to work toward. Vince might as well make this a 4 hour event for the main card. Using a formerly esteemed branding like Starrcade would give this blue show-exclusive esteem at first sight among the fans who lived through those eras.
Booking this event annually in a southern state like North Carolina or Georgia is a natural choice. Also, holding the event in December would also be a nostalgic move to please long-term fans. Hailing from Marietta, Georgia, Cody Rhodes would’ve been a solid choice to book in a breakout match at an event like this. Since he’s not currently on the roster, perhaps Columbus, Georgia native Xavier Woods could be giving a big title win at a Starrcade in Atlanta if he would ever be given a serious singles push.