While the country (and the world for that matter) is dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus, many states around the US and other countries are dealing with shutdowns and quarantines. First off, I just want to tell all of you reading this, to take care in these troubling times. This isn’t something we can see, something we can identify and stay away from. This is a silent killer, and the only way to make sure we protect each other is staying inside, and practicing social distancing if you must go out. Be safe, protect each other, and we will make it out of this together.
So, for those of you that are stuck in the house with nothing to do, I wanted to put a list of 10 things you can watch on the WWE Network right now, to hopefully make you forget about the problems in the world, and enjoy some great wrestling.
(Note: These are in no particular order)
NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
So first we have NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. You could probably watch all the NXT TakeOver’s and you’ll be totally satisfied, but in my opinion, TakeOver: New Orleans is the best TakeOver NXT has done. The show kicked off with my favorite match in NXT history, the 6 man ladder match for the new NXT North American Championship. Adam Cole, Ricochet, EC3, Velveteen Dream, Killian Dain, and Lars Sullivan put on a phenomenal 5-star match with Adam Cole (BAY BAY!) becoming the inaugural North American Champion.
We saw the first signs of dominance from the Queen of Spades Shayna Baszler when she defeated Ember Moon to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. In a triple threat tag match for the NXT Tag Team Championships, The Undisputed Era (Fish & O’Reilly), Author’s of Pain, and Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong put on one hell of a match. In it, we saw the Undisputed Era gain its fourth member when Roddy Strong turned on Pete Dunne, helping UE keep their titles.
Aleister Black won the NXT Championship from Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, and the main event quickly became hailed as one of the greatest matches in NXT history; Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in an unsanctioned match. This card is incredible from top to bottom and I can personally watch it every single day.
Largely considered one of the best WrestleManias ever, WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001 was a terrific card top to bottom and it was all because of the incredible storytelling leading up to the show. The main event is a match nobody will ever forget, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock in a no-DQ match for the WWF Championship. At this time, The Rock and Austin were somewhat aligned, going up against Vince McMahon, but in the match, Stone Cold turned on The Rock and joined forces with Vince McMahon, turning heel, and shocking the entire world.
The Undertaker put his WrestleMania winning streak on the line against Triple H in a terrific match. (Oh and Lemmy Kilmister forgot almost all of the words to Triple H’s theme song, which is hilarious.) The Gimmick Battle Royal took place here, which I absolutely loved. Iron Sheik, Hillbilly Jim, Kamala, Doink The Clown, and even Jim Cornette competed in the match and it was hilarious.
That TLC match where Jeff Hardy did that insane swanton bomb from that huge ladder and got speared from the heavens by Edge? Yeah, that happened here. Jericho vs. Regal, Benoit vs. Kurt Angle, Shane vs. Vince. This card is incredible and gave us some of the best moments ever.
This edition of SummerSlam is my favorite for many reasons. It gave us the return of the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels who took on his best friend Triple H in an unsanctioned street fight. When you look at the wrestlers on this card, it’s hard to believe this match was as incredible as it was. Guys like Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero had matches here, but Shawn Michaels proved he could still be the ‘Showstopper’.
The main event saw the coming-out party for Brock Lesnar. Just five months after making his debut in the WWE, Brock Lesnar beat The Rock to become the WWE Undisputed Champion, becoming the youngest WWE Champion ever. The match was incredible and put Brock Lesnar on the map in a big way.
This SummerSlam was the first SummerSlam since the brand split, and SmackDown looked incredible that night. That was always the big thing among WWF/E fans, wasn’t it? SmackDown was where the wrestling was great, and Raw was where all the big named wrestlers went. Either way, this card doesn’t have any low spots. The one match that you could think wasn’t great was Undertaker vs. Test, but the match had a really big build to it. This was also the first SummerSlam that Ric Flair wrestled on. Yes, you read that right. In two decades, Flair never wrestled on a SummerSlam, and he beat Jericho via submission.
Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio tore Nassau Collesium down with Rey being the ultimate underdog as a cruiserweight, going up against the wrestling machine that is Kurt Angle. Angle made Mysterio look like a heavyweight, and even though he lost, people were behind Mysterio and this match would make people love him for the rest of his career. Of the 18 wrestlers that were on this card, 15 of them were either former or future World Champions. This card had some serious talent all over.
Money in the Bank 2011
So you may have to skip some matches in this pay per view, but the main event is one of the best matches in WWE history. The first match was the SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder match which involved Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, and Wade Barrett. Normally, you can tell who is destined to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, but this year, it was really a toss-up. I don’t think anybody knew Daniel Bryan would win, and it made for a great moment. Bryan was easily the best worker in the ring, and had been one of the best workers in WWE at that point. Him winning was definitely a feel-good moment.
The second Money in the Bank ladder match was for the Raw briefcase between Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, R-Truth, and Rey Mysterio. This wasn’t a bad match, but it was nothing like the SmackDown match. During the match, The Miz was holding onto the briefcase and let go, coming down awkwardly on his knee, taking him out of the match. In the end, Del Rio and Mysterio were trading shots on the ladder when Del Rio pulled the mask off of Mysterio, giving him the opportunity he needed to grab the case and win the match.
A pretty good Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight title, where if Orton got disqualified, he would lose the title. That’s exactly what happened and Christian won the World Heavyweight Championship. Then, we got the main event. John Cena, the WWE Champion going up against CM Punk, in his home state. Punk was the heel, but nobody in the Allstate Arena was cheering against him. The two put on one hell of a match that went almost 35 minutes and was booked to perfection. CM Punk winning the title, and him leaving the Allstate Arena and WWE was one incredible moment and capped off an incredible match.
ECW One Night Stand 2006
ECW One Night Stand 2006 was the last ECW PPV before Vince McMahon took the brand and made it a third WWE brand. This is an important show for that reason, and because of the ECW vs. WWE dynamic. The main event featured WWE’s star John Cena, and one of the most recognizable names in ECW history, Rob Van Dam, who won the Money in the Bank contract earlier. RVD was so over with the Hammerstein Ballroom crowd it’s insane to watch, and when he won, the crowd went into a serious frenzy.
This card also saw Kurt Angle wrestle for ECW and the ECW crowd absolutely loved him. Every WWE wrestler was met with loud boos (think Roman Reigns times 10 for every WWE wrestler) but people in attendance loved Kurt Angle in his match against Randy Orton. Rey Mysterio, who everybody loved, was tormented with boos in his match against Sabu.
Edge, Lita, and Mick Foley battled Beulah McGillicutty, Terry Funk, and Tommy Dreamer. Man oh man was Lita eaten alive. The ECW crowd chanted “you’re a crack whore” and “you have herpes” as loud as they could. Remember, this is right after the whole Lita, Edge and Matt Hardy debacle. We saw Edge hit Buelah with a spear, and pinned her in the “missionary position” pin….it was very weird to say the least.
This show pitted ECW against WWE in ECW’s last hoo-rah, and even though it may not have barnburners from top to bottom, it’s a historical event in the landscape of the WWE, and a must watch on the Network.
The Great American Bash 1989
You can’t do one of these lists without including the 1989 WCW Great American Bash. The show opened up with a two ring, King of the Hill Battle Royal with a $50,000 check for the winner. The match included big names such as Sid Vicious, Brian Pillman, Kevin Sullivan, the Steiner Brothers, Steve Williams and more. The match is way too complicated to try to explain, but pretty much you start the battle royal in one ring, and when you lose you go to the second ring and have another battle royal, and the winners face each other. Dan Spivey and Sid Vicious (The Skyscrapers) both won after their manager Teddy Long said they will split the money.
Some of the matches on this card aren’t all that great, but you do get to see Jim Cornette take on Paul Heyman in a tuxedo match, that wasn’t a comedy match at all. Corny and Heyman actually worked smart in this match with Jim winning in the end. Sting defeated The Great Muta for the NWA World Television Championship in a solid 8 minute match.
Lex Luger and Ricky Steamboat battled for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship, and the crowd was hot for every single second of this 10 minute match. Luger won the match after Steamboat hit Luger with a chair shot, giving Luger the victory.
We then saw the WarGames match with The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams taking on The Fabulous Freebirds, and The Samoan SWAT Team. It’s a WarGames match, so it’s going to be full of exciting moments, but one of the best WarGames matches, this is not. Hawk actually got pulled back into the cage after the match and was beaten down by the heels.
The main event saw Ric Flair put his NWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Terry Funk. A great match with great psychology between two veterans in the game and the crowd was definitely worried about Flair as Funk focused on Flair’s bad neck. Branding iron and all, this was a solid match that capped off a historic PPV that is a must watch.
King of the Ring 1998
If you want to talk about memorable moments, then there’s no bigger moment in WWE history than what happened in the 1998 King of the Ring PPV. What’s even more interesting is the moment didn’t even happen in the main event! This PPV has the iconic Undertaker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell match, where Mankind was thrown from the top of the cell, straight into the announce table. Then, after getting up off the gurney and coming back into the cell, Undertaker chokeslammed him straight through the top of the cage, down to the mat. What’s even more insane is that we learned the cage wasn’t supposed to break!
This show had other great matches as well. The main event was a first blood match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kane. During the match, Mankind came down to attack Austin, and with Austin fighting off Kane and Mankind, Undertaker came down and hit Austin with a chair shot that was meant for Mankind, splitting the rattlesnake open. Kane was bleeding also, but Earl Hebner saw Austin bleeding, giving the Big Red Machine the win.
The King of the Ring Tournament gave us very good matches such as Ken Shamrock vs. Jeff Jarrett, The Rock vs. Dan Severn, and ultimately the final between Shamrock and The Rock, which Shamrock won by slapping the ankle lock on The Rock, crowning him the King of the Ring. The New Age Outlaws took on The New Midnight Express for the WWF Tag Team Championships, and X-Pac defeated Owen Hart in a solid 9 minute match.
Another great WrestleMania show happened in 2003 at Safeco Field in Seattle. This show is iconic because it was the last time we would see Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestle as he would retire shortly after this. The Rock and Stone Cold’s final match in their incredible trilogy was an 18 minute masterpiece between two of the best to ever lace up a pair of boots. After Stone Cold beat Rocky at WrestleManias XV and XVII, Stone Cold lost to The Rock in his last match of his career, which is how it should go when a wrestler retires.
The main event, however, would be an iconic moment when Kurt Angle put his WWE Championship on the line against Brock Lesnar. Lesnar went for a shooting star press and landed very awkwardly, almost breaking his neck. But besides that spot, this was a great match to close out the show.
We got a match that was 20 years in the making between Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon, where if the Hulkster lost, his career would be over. After a Roddy Piper run in and a ref bump, Hogan beat Vince but was beat down by Shane McMahon afterwards. We saw a dream match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, Triple H put his World Heavyweight title on the line against Booker T, and Matt Hardy cheated to retain his Cruiserweight title against Rey Mysterio.
In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede
If you haven’t seen this PPV, I’m telling you, watch it right now. It’s only 4 matches long (5 if you count the Free For All match) but this is definitely a great show to watch. The main event was a ten-man tag team match which included the Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Brian Pillman, British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, and Owen Hart) taking on the team of Stone Cold, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and The Legion of Doom. Needless to say, the Calgary, Alberta crowd was behind the Hart Foundation. A lot of craziness in this match to sum up here, but it did end Stone Cold’s feud with Bret Hart, and subsequently started his feud with Owen Hart, which would lead to the botched piledriver that broke Stone Cold’s neck.
We also saw The Undertaker defend the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Vader. Paul Bearer is aligned with Vader during this time, and he is excellent at ringside. These two bigger men put on a really good match that saw Taker retain his title. The other two matches on this card saw The Great Sasuke take on Taka Michinoku and Hunter Hearst Helmsley take on Mankind. The former was a good match between a veteran wrestler in Sasuke and young up and comer in Michinoku who derived his whole style from Sasuke. Hell, his name is Michinoku (if you know wrestling you know why that’s important).
In the HHH-Mankind match, both men just couldn’t stop brawling on the outside, and with Chyna in Hunter’s corner she definitely gets involved. They fight so much that before the Sasuke-Michinoku match, they’re still fighting through the crowd. As I said earlier, it’s only a 4-match card, but man each one delivered and you should definitely watch this event.
This is for those fans that have a lot of time on their hands, but boy is it worth it. The Cruiserweight Classic took 32 of the best cruiserweights in wrestling and put them in a huge tournament to crown the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Champion. This tournament had a lot of names that casual WWE fans may have not heard of, but they definitely would remember. Names like Zack Sabre Jr, Cedric Alexander, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.
The championship match pitted Gran Metalik against TJ Perkins, but there are so many great matches to watch. First off, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa had an excellent match of the year candidate, first round match up. Rich Swann went up against TJ Perkins and showed the WWE Universe that he is a bonafide star (legal issues aside). We saw the debut of one of my favorite cruiserweights, Gentleman Jack Gallagher and he shined in his debut.
Just look at the two semifinal matchups! Gran Metalik vs. Zack Sabre Jr, and TJ Perkins vs. Kota Ibushi! If you looked at those matchups you would swear up and down we would see Sabre Jr vs. Ibushi, but that’s not what happened. We saw the return of Tajiri, who was now 46 years old and hadn’t wrestled in WWE for almost 10 years. Tajiri did really well and showed everybody that he still has it.
As I said, you may have a lot of time on your hands in order to take this one on, but if you love great wrestling and great tournaments, this is the event for you! I really wish WWE would do another Cruiserweight Classic because this one was incredible.
So there you have it! Whether you’re in quarantine for a week, two weeks or a month, this list should have you fully entertained on the WWE Network! Either that, or just watch every NXT TakeOver event, or every pay per view AEW has done so far and you’ll be good! Be safe everybody!
Featured Photo: Mike Rosa | GCSN
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