The WWE Network has finally launched. The launch wasn’t exactly smooth. Xbox 360 doesn’t quite work yet, but all other platforms seem to be functioning now. It took a few hours for me to get through to buy it. MLB Advanced Media is in charge of the streaming and everything on the back end. They released a statement and said they never planned for the amount of first day subscribers. This caused the issues they are still sorting out.
Well, for those who put down $9.99, you have nearly the entire WWE, WCW & ECW pay-per-view library at your fingertips. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, so we try to make it easier on you and pick out the best 15 PPVs currently available to stream on the WWE Network.
We had to narrow down the list from 30-40 to give you the best of the best. This list is in no particular order, but Macho Man vs. Ricky Steamboat on Wrestlemania III is a must-see.
WWE: Wrestlemania III (1987)
Like I said before, Macho Man vs. Ricky Steamboat stole the show. Everyone watched Wrestlemania 3 for Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan, but Macho/Steamboat is arguably one of the best matches in WWF/WWE history.
WWE Summer Slam (1992)
This one is great, especially if you collected the WWF Hasbro action figure line. I think nearly, if not all, of the wrestlers on this card had figures released. It was held at Wembley Stadium in England. The crowd was huge and electric. If you take out the Nailz vs. Virgil match, it’s nearly perfect.
WCW: Great American Bash (1989)
This PPV featured the first ever ‘War Games’ match. It also has a tuxedo match featuring Jim Cornette against Paul E. Dangerously (aka Paul Heyman). The main event for the NWA Championship is a great one. You can’t go wrong with Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk in their primes. Hell, even if this match happened a decade ago, it would have been good TV.
ECW: Heatwave (1998)
I have fond memories of ECW. You can’t find this kind of wrestling on television anymore. It was gritty and featured some great in-ring talent. This PPV featured Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Tazz and Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome. It was one of the best PPVs ECW has to offer.
WCW: Bash At The Beach (1996)
This was is a no-brainer inclusion on this list. This is the PPV in which Hulk Hogan turned heel and joined the New World Order. This launched WCW to another level and was went to lead WWF in ratings the next few years.
WWE: Money In The Bank (2011)
This featured one of the best modern day storylines in WWE history. CM Punk performed his infamous ‘pipe bomb’ promo a few weeks before this PPV. He stated his contract ended at midnight the day of ‘Money In the Bank’. He had a WWE Championship match with John Cena and if he won, he would leave with the belt. It was in his hometown of Chicago, so the crowd was crazy as hell. It is one of my favorite wrestling moments.
WWE: Royal Rumble (2003)
This PPV put Brock Lesnar on the map. He pulled double-duty on the card with a match with Big Show and a spot in the Royal Rumble. Even though the Rumble match is one of my yearly favorites, the best match was Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit. It’s so technically sound. I watched this one live at a Hooters in 2003, so maybe that’s another reason why this one brings back fond memories.
WWE: Invasion (2001)
After acquiring WCW and ECW, WWE decided to put together a storyline where the best from ECW and WCW faced the best from WWE. It’s a novel concept and makes me wonder what would have happened if Vince McMahon kept them each going as individual products.
WCW: Spring Stampede (1994)
Why do I love PPVs from Chicago so much? This one happened right before Hulk Hogan jumped ship to WCW. The Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat match is must-see. They had epic matches years before, but this one ranks up there with anything else they’ve done together.
WWE: Wrestlemania X-Seven (2001)
This one might be my favorite on this list. You have a Table, Ladders & Chairs match with The Dudley Boyz, Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz…the first in a long line of matches between Triple H and the Undertaker…and a classic match between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This PPV alone encompasses everything about The Attitude Era.
WWE: King of the Ring (1998)
There’s only one thing I need to mention…Undertaker vs. Mankind in their infamous Hell In A Cell match. You can’t watch this match without feeling all the bumps Mick Foley took in this one.
WWE: Over The Limit (2012)
CM Punk faced Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. Two of the best ever to lace them up for the title? Count me in! The overall card was great. Cody Rhodes vs. Christian was even solid.
WWE: Wrestlemania XIV (1998)
This PPV was loaded with great matches, Undertaker vs. Kane, New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) and Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (with Mike Tyson as the special ring enforcer). The Austin/Michaels match is one of the best in history. Michaels was working with a messed up back and never missed a beat. This cemented Austin as the top guy in the WWE.
WWE: Summerslam (2005)
So much randomness happened on Summerslam in 2005. You had Shawn Michaels purposely overselling everything against Hulk Hogan, a weird submission match between Kurt Angle & Eugene (yes, this actually happened) and the weirdest of them all, Rey Mysterio faced Eddie Guerrero for the custody of Rey’s son.
WCW: Greed (2001)
WCW was in running on fumes during at the time and the wrestling is not great…it’s actually a train wreck. I’m mesmerized by any WCW PPV in 2000 and 2001. The level of talent WCW had during the 80’s & 90’s was top-notch, but by 2000, they were trotting out guys like Scott Steiner and Billy Kidman as their champions. This makes the list just as comedy relief. You just can’t look away.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.