With every ECW, WWF, WWE and WCW PPV ever in the history of time and space up till now (*actual contents may vary) to be available on the WWE Network, that is going to give people an awful lot of wrestling to catch up on. So… what do they watch? How can fans whose wrestling knowledge started somewhere around Wrestlemania 12 and Steve Austin bleeding – or 2004 and John Cena curtain-jerking Wrestlemania XX – know what to look for in the rather expansive archives? Well, as I have seen probably every PPV from these 3 companies (because I am OLD) (some might also say I have no life, but I am a father and so… yeah, I have no life), I thought I’d hit you with 5 underrated ones that you may not have heard of.
Some caveats: No Wrestlemanias, no Royal Rumbles and no Clash of the Champions. I’m not even sure the Clashes were PPVs in the States, so none of them anyway. And nothing from the last 10 years because it’s still fresh enough in people’s minds for my two cents to be worth that in Australian money. With that in mind, here’s 5 in year order.
1. WCW/NWA: Chi-Town Rumble (1989).
Fast forward through the first 2 matches, and then enjoy a show that most people remember only for the AWESOME main event between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat. In fact, most people have only seen that main event, as though that was the show, nothing else. However, you’ve got the battle of the Midnight Expresses (and Cornette v Heyman), the TV title match (showing Rick Steiner can do more than run around barking and break people’s necks), Windham / Luger, even the Road Warriors tag match (YMMV on this one)… it was all good to great, made even better with a hot crowd.
2. WWF: This Tuesday In Texas (1991).
Forget the incredibly lame main event of Undertaker v Hulk Hogan (where ‘no-selling’ was apparently a pre-match stipulation), and the opening snoozefest of Bret Hart v Skinner, the rest of this PPV was surprisingly good. Savage-Roberts had an intense brawl; there was a cool tag team match involving both Virgil and Repo Man (!), and a watchable Davey Boy Smith / Warlord match. A forgotten gem, probably because it tanked so badly at the time (Tuesdays, whether in Texas or not, are apparently not good for PPV buy rates).
3. WCW: Starrcade ’95.
This show was sort of a trial run for the nWo, I guess. New Japan had “invaded” WCW and this show was to see who the best of the best was. Some good matches there, including Benoit’s and Guerrero’s. And then there’s a triangle match for the number 1 contendership which is better than I thought it’d be… and a lame world title match to finish it off. Ignore that, watch the rest. It gets lost because the biggest show of the year was not where you were supposed to experiment, but still…
4. ECW: Heatwave 1998.
Opens with a fine Justin Credible/Jerry Lynn opener that tried to be a WCW cruiser match but failed, so they filled it with run-ins and interference. Still fun. Candido / Storm was good. Awesome / Tanaka was great (though not as good as the one they had at Anarchy Rulz 1999 once they dumped Taz). The tag match was dumb. Taz / Bigelow was a standard through the crowd brawl match watchable by the spot through the entrance ramp (I know what I wrote there). Dudleys v the world match was a stupid way to end the show, and of course New Jack made an appearance with weapons. Commentary from Joey Styles and Shane Douglas was actually not too bad. Probably my favourite ECW PPV.
5. WWF: Vengeance 2001.
Okay, weak undercard (though Edge / Regal is not too bad and the RVD / Undertaker hardcore title match is strangely watchable, even if Undertaker’s version of selling is to make old man faces), but the final 3 matches where the two titles are finally unified under the auspices of Chris Jericho make this all worthwhile.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own to add? Feel free to sound off in the comments section!
Tags: 1995, 1998, Bam Bam Bigelow, barry windham, chris jericho, Davey Boy Smith, ECW, edge, Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, jerry lynn, john cena, Justin Credible, Lance Storm, Lex Luger, Midnight Express, Mike Awesome, new japan, NWA, PPV, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Rick Steiner, ricky steamboat, RVD, starrcade, Steve Austin, Taz, undertaker, Vengeance, WCW, William Regal, wrestlemania, WWE, WWE Network, WWF