Even though the Monday Night Wars is the center point of the battle between WWF and WCW, it’s really the Pay Per View buys that makes the most money. The attitude era would have been nothing without these pay per views that many episodes of Raw did their damnedest to promote! Without the edge and excitement going around Raw is War each week, it wouldn’t encourage us to buy these shows. As stated in the last blog, The Attitude Era was a huge pond filled with big fishes and if you wanted to see these stars put to the test, more times than not the Pay Per Views in the Attitude Era certainly delivered their fullest potential. You could never see so much recklessness and variety match ups before with many of these pay per views and modern wrestling today lacks all excitement and entertainment value that these shows form this era upholds. It was an ultimate party that everybody wanted to see and the show certainly delivered many of things that we don’t get a chance to see on Raw like title changes, impact moves that really cause a huge reaction to the crowd, and match finishes that were incredibly creative and given an everlasting impression more so than any other television broadcasting. And that’s why I’m here to count down the ten of the best pay per view shows in the Attitude Era that everyone needs to see!
Number 10. – Backlash 2000
Wrestlemania 16 was a terrible show and it was definitely going to be hard to have a good show that will follow up the grandest stage of them all. This card certainly outdid Wrestlemania 16 by delivering results that the fans can all agree was necessary! Edge and Christian defeated DX members X-Pac and Road Dogg was a good opener, the 6-Man hardcore match for the hardcore championship was wild, Big Show-Kurt Angle was a great squash match, and th Benoit-Jericho match was one of the best technical wrestling that the attitude era had in store for us fans. And if you love the attitude era because of the level of sexiness involve, this pay per view is in stored for you when Trish Stratus was powerbombed through the table by the Dudley Boys and Chyna getting stripped by Lita was incredibly hot! And of course the main event between Triple H and The Rock was something that should have been in Wrestlemania 16. A lot of people bought this pay per view just to see The Rock win the WWF Championship and have the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock had all the odds against him with McMahon’s minions saving Triple H from loosing the title. It’s up to The Rock’s old rival to save him and as soon as the audio clip of the glass shattered, the whole arena roared when Austin finally made his return hitting everyone with a chair. Having the Rock win the WWF championship from Triple H at Backlash was one of the most satisfying moments of the Attitude Era, leaving The Rock and Austin drink beer together to close the show.
Number 9. – SummerSlam 1999
A lot of people over looks this Summerslam and favor more for the 1998 event instead. I agree that the only dud in this whole show would have to be Rock-Mr. Ass kiss my ass match that was a horrible gimmick, meanwhile the rest of the card was incredibly solid! I still remember Al Snow–Big Boss Man hardcore title match went from the arena all the way to a local coffee shop that I couldn’t believe was able to pull off. Jeff Jerret trolled the whole audience like he was separated with Debra but she backfired D’Lo and reunited Jeff retaining his Eurocontinental title. Brilliant! The underrated Lion’s Den Weapons match between Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman was perfect for these two martial artists! Kane and X-Pac had their final Tag Team run together here in this Summerslam when Undertaker and Big Show creamed them for the titles. And one match that everyone forgotten over the years has been Test-Shane McMahon Street Fight. It’s forgotten now because the stipulation is that if Test wins he keeps his relationship with Stephanie and looking at the boss’s daughter now married to Triple H, it’s no wonder why Test is forgotten. It was one hell of a brawl and definitely the ten greatest Summerslam matches. And the main event between Mankind-Aust-Triple H was the second greatest triple threat because we had ourselves the best special guest referee of all time, Jessie “The Body” Ventura that made that match and screwed over the heel like a pro! It was genius to have Mankind leave the arena with the WWF Championship leaving Austin getting beat by Chyna and Triple H as closure to the show. Is this one of the most underrated Summerslams? Definitely!
Number 8. – Armageddon 1999
This show has a very special place in my heart because it was the last WWF PPV of the 20th century and entering the new millennium, Armageddon gave us a huge impact! I’ll still remember that this is the only Rock & Sock Connection match in a PPV in the whole Attitude era and seeing them work as a team was priceless gold! Chris Jericho winning the Intercontinental Championship for the first time from Chyna was a historic moment and Kane beating X-Pac in a Cage match after an emotional betrayal was a fantastic finish, Big Show creaming Big Boss Man was one of the best burying I’ve ever seen, and the Four corners Evening Gown Pool match was one of the hottest Divas stipulation matches ever! But the final match with Triple H and Vince McMahon was one of the best hardcore matches of the entire Attitude Era! It took place all around the arena and almost got Triple H kicked from a car crash. And the finish of the match was one of the most devastating moments of all finishes to a pay per view where Triple H not only beat Vince McMahon, but he captured Stephanie’s, his daughter, heart! It was the beginning of my favorite angle the McMahon-Helmsley Era forever changing the Stephanie McMahon character from an innocent daughter into a spoiled brat. For some wondering why I like Armageddon 1999 over the 2000 because 2000 was a one match show having the 6-Man Hell in a Cell that’s only worth watching. 1999 was an incredibly strong card in comparison. If the Y2K problem was really going to happen, this show was prepared to entertain everyone to at last celebrate like it’s 1999.
Number 7. – Over The Edge 1998
This In Your House show is one of those special wrestling show that captures the the appeal of the Attitude Era. Not only was this card one of the best ones, but the in between match segments and brawls seen in this show was totally entertaining. All the story lines happening during May 31, 1998 were really pushing it forward into engaging story lines and fantastic match ups. Things like Farooq attacking The Rock, (after an awesome opener with Legion of Doom winning), or Marc Mero shoot matching Sable, D-X brawling with the Nation, and even Pat Peterson giving an intro to Vince McMahon as special guest referee and Dude Love was fantastic to build up for what’s later to be seen in the show. And the anticipation never disappointed which is what’s seriously lacking in many other wrestling shows. There were a lot of surprise in this show like Marc Mero beating Sable, Kaientai-Taka Michinoku/Justin Bradshaw match were high flying action that we tend to forget happened in Attitude, many more took me off guard. And there were headline matches that exceed our expectations. The Rock-Farooq match certainly delivered after a long storyline with former leader and then-current lead of Nation of Dominaiton while earlier the feud was so good that they brawled earlier in the show. Vader making his last appearance in the WWF after getting creamed by the awesome Kane was certainly emotional & memorable. But still remember the long awaited D-Generation X vs. Nation of Domination has been one of the best faction vs. faction match that doesn’t happen often in wrestling. Sure a lot of heels in this show won many of these matches, but I really enjoyed & fully appreciated that every aspect of the show felt different from the other. This isn’t a card with basic matches, Over The Edge ’98 was a professional wrestling experience that has was incredibly varied and creative all at once! And the match that certainly paid off is the main event with Dude Love vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin with Vince McMahon as special guest referee. It was a brawl of a life time, but the whole match was a fantastic shoot of McMahon and Austin. All the plans of trying to take the WWF Championship away from Austin was backfired when Austin knocked both Dude Love and McMahon having Austin to use McMahon’s only hand to make the three count to retain as Champ. This pay per view was completely wild and never stopped being entertaining from beginning to end. Everything that you want from Attitude, you got them all in Over The Edge 1998
Number 6. – St. Valentines Day Massacre
This is the Pay Per View that all WWF fan who was with the company in the start of the Attitude Era wanted to see the most. This show is very much like No Way Out 2001 where it was a build up to Wrestlemania 15, and just like No Way Out 2001, St. Valentines Day Massacre is much better than the Wrestlemania show it’s building up! Even right from the beginning the crowd roared for Goldust to give Bluedust (Blue Meanie) a shattered dream, to a Bob Holly–Al Snow hardcore match, and Val Venis beating Ken Shamrock for the Intercontinental Championship is what made this show stand out so well. Sure there were a bit of some dud like Owen & Jerret beating Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown, and Big Boss Man defeating Ministry member Medion. But the final three matches certainly made the show as memorable as it is. One of my favorite tag team matches of the whole Era was Kane and Chyna (representing the Corporation) vs. Triple H and X-Pac (representing D-Generation X). This whole story goes when Chyna betrayed DX for the Corporation and the team work of HHH and Pac was magnificent. And the best ever Last Man Standing match between Mankind and The Rock fantastic, even though it wasn’t as good as the “I Quit” match in Royal Rumble 2000. The Rock hated Mankind so much that he had to take a break from wrestling and commentate for a moment and even got a mic and sang to the crowd! Hilarious! It was still amazing to see these two beat each other so badly that it knocked resulting a draw. And the main event is what we came to see. A full year of Austin vs. McMahon we finally had a cage match with these two and it was complete satisfactory to see McMahon getting his ass kicked so badly it enter my Top 5 favorite Attitude Era Matches! This show so much fun to watch and one of the forgotten PPV’s of the Attitude Era.
Number 5. – King of the Ring ’98
I make no hyperbole when I say that, this is the show that truly defined the whole Era of Attitude! From the opening with The Headbangers/Taka Michinoku–Kaientai match, Sable returning, Ken Shemrock beating the Rock in the King in the Ring Final Round, Vince McMahon shoot interview on the main event, D-Generation X’s dominance over Owen & Midnight Express, the hilarious Al Snow & Head beaten by Too Much (now known as Too Cool), and the final two matches that went completely chaotic! Everyone around the world should remember the Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker & Mankind. It is the most brutal, fearsome, and unpredictable match of all time. If there’s a reason why Hell in a Cell is such a popular match type, it has to be because of the impact that this match given us. If the Golden Age’s defining moment was Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre The Giant in Wrestlemania III, Attitude Era’s defining moment was when Undertaker tossing Mankind off the Hell in the Cell, not once but twice. To me this was the most important match of all time because it exposed the violence and seriousness of professional to the mainstream. I seriously think that without this match the WWF would never get so much popularity and the sake that Mick Foley sacrificed his own life for the company because he is the most hardcore individual who ever lived. The sake that he was tossed off the cell, had a piece of his took coming out of his nose, and even landing on thumbtacks left us an impact and made Mick Foley a big name in the wrestling world. And yet that never stopped either Undertaker or Mankind because they came back to interfere in the main event with Kane vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a first blood match. This main event certainly became one of my all time favorite matches in the whole attitude era because for a First Blood match, the Hell in a Cell came down and the level of chaos never slowed down. That chair shot that hit Stone Cold’s head caused him to loose the match with blood pouring off of his skull. It was an anticlimactic ending for many who bought the pay-per-view, but I love that it was a follow up to my favorite episode of Raw is War when Austin had his rematch and beat Kane for the WWF Championship. Sure this Pay Per View was a build up to an episode of Raw, but the historical impact and significance that this show accomplished will forever appeal to wrestling fans and non wrestling fans alike!
Number 4. – Royal Rumble 2000
If you don’t know what attitude is all about, it’s about great variation of matches, entertaining in-ring & backstage segments, everlasting moments. This show captures all of it! This show show was quality, quality, quality! Right when this Royal Rumble began, Kurt Angle had his undefeated streak come to an end when Tazz made his WWF debut from ECW and make him tap out. Follow that up with The Hardy Boys beating The Dudlies in a Elimination Tables match, Chris Jericho-Chyna-Hardcore Holly triple threat to finally establish the real Intercontinental Championship, and the legendary Bikini Contest that surprised all of us to see May Young win it. I love going back to this show and see every aspect of the show to be 100% entertaining! But there are two thing that will always be the best part of the show, the best Royal Rumble match and the match of the decade. I will always say that Triple H vs. Cactus Jack to be one of the greatest hardcore match of all time! It was a rematch of their 1997 Raw episode but was 10 times the more brutal and more awesome. And seeing Cactus back dropped & Pedigree to the pile of thumbtacks still give me an impression to this very day! Even though as a child I was so pissed at Triple H winning, it still left me in complete amazement. And of course the Royal Rumble match! All of my favorite wrestlers in the 2000 Royal Rumble made it into the show, but it was freaking awesome to finally have the Rock win the Rumble! It was the happiest night of my life as a child seeing the Rock eliminate the unstoppable Big Show and have his victory! We haven’t had a Royal Rumble event this good since 1992 and 2000 simply dominated all the Royal Rumbles before and after it! This match captures the essence of Attitude and never let us go from the presenting what this era was all about!
Number 3 – No Way Out 2001
2001 was a very terrible year for professional wrestling due to the fact that WCW & ECW were bought out by the WWF, the Invasion Angle was one of the biggest disappointments in professional wrestling history, and it was the end of the Attitude Era. But before we even got any of that garbage throughout 2001, we were given the last great pay-per-view before the Attitude Era had to end. We were given a tremendous card that delivered the best out of the Attitude (even better than the overrated Wrestlemania 17). Minus the Stevie Richards-Jerry Lawler match, this card as a whole was the strongest ever seen from this era. This show opened with a great hardcore match with Big Show and Raven, followed up a fantastic Intercontinental Championship with X-Pac, Eddie, Benoit, and Jericho, and the forgotten Triple Threat Tag Team Tables Match! But there are three matches that really stood out for me from this show. The Stephanie-Trish Stratus match was the best Divas match of the whole era where it told a great story between father’s daughter and father’s new girlfriend. This is the match that made Trish a star rather than just another eye looker! Then we also have a great match that’s in the middle of the card, the first ever 3 Stages of Hell with our final battle between Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This fantastic brawl went all the way to the final fall in a cage match with a surprising result of Triple H winning! And let’s not forget one of the best WWF Championship main event between Kurt Angle and The Rock. It was brilliant to see a mixture of athleticism, technicality, and showmanship at full force leaving the Rock win the WWF Championship. Though this match was a build up for Wrestlemania 17, but argue that this is the best Pay per view of 2001 and the last great major show of the Attitude Era! This was a near perfect show that will forever cherish for the rest of my life!
This has to go down as some of the best Wrestlemania of all time. There was not a single bad match in this card. Rather than just calling all the matches on the card good matches, each of these matches represented aspects of the Attitude Era and what is to come for the WWF after this show. There are so many things that made the Attitude Era the most beloved time of Wrestling and it’s all thanks to this very Wrestling show. There was so much hype and build up leading to this show that blew everyone away, only to have the WWF to deliver even more stuff like this in their later years. New stars were being made, more memorable moments were created, and even more surprises that forever leaves us with an undying impression. Because of the main event, Stone Cold Steve Austin is some of the biggest names of the wrestling world and still to this day he continues make everyone excited which is what wrestling is seriously lacking today. There was not a single bad match on this show – it was really consistent throughout with starting out with the awesome victory of Legion on Doom dominating the 15-team battle royal, the surprising and forgotten match with Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila, Sable proved to be the dominate female in the company, Ken Shamrock snapping and going ape shit on The Rock, the Nation of Domination, and the referees, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie trashing New Age Outlaws in a Dumpster, Pete Rose getting Tombstoned by Kane, and the best match of the night, Kane vs. Undertaker that came so damn close to ending the streak! I will always remember Stone Cold looking like he had no chance of winning because Vince McMahon, D-Generation-X and Mike Tyson were all against him. It was a true Wrestlemania moment where Tyson screwed Shawn Michaels, punched him square in the face, and raised Stone Cold’s hands in the air as the new WWF Champion. Shawn Michaels definitely got what he deserved for the Montreal Screwjob and this finish was a redemption from that tragedy! That should tell you why this show is a must see for everyone, not just wrestling fans! Nobody can ever take away the historical significance, the meaning of this show, and what it represents. The WWF was trying to find a direction and finally nailed it with Mike Tyson’s help and went full force for many years to come. Like Wrestlemania 3 that took wrestling to an entirely different stratosphere, Wrestlemania 14 was that moment in time that did it once again and helped the company to be later to be once again the king of professional wrestling again. I like to go back to this Wrestlemania and watch it in its entirety because it really is one of my favorite entities in professional wrestling!
Number 1. – Fully Loaded 2000
The only flaw this PPV has is that it doesn’t feature Stone Cold Steve Austin who’s the face of the PPV. Other than that elephant in the room, this is without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had that wrestling has ever provided, let alone the Top 3 Wrestling PPVs. It’s the most forgotten event in wrestling because the main even features… who later became a wife killer. But as much as WWE wants to throw as much propaganda as Vince wishes, I’m never forgetting what I witnessed here. Every match, promo, backstage segments, and highlights here is the tipping point of the WWE’s peak in the Attitude Era. Who can ever forget the opener with the Lita vs. Trish rivalry booming with the opener with Team Xtreme vs T&N (with Trish), Val Venis taking the squash from Rikishi jumping off from the cage, Kurt Angle at his out-most hilarious with Undertaker, and even the incredible Triple H vs. Chris Jericho last-standing match. And don’t get me started with a one-shot Championship Match with Chris Benoit taking on The WWF Champion, The Rock that felt like something from a Rocky movie. That was one of the most exciting main event of all time and my personal favorites of them all as well. While you have access to the WWE Network, go ahead and watch the Fully Loaded 200 show and see exactly why The Attitude Era was the best eras in all of professional wrestling.