Note: I was planning on writing about all of the Pay Per View events on the WWE Calendar outside of the “Big Four,” but it would have been way too long. As such, I’m splitting it up in parts, which will be published every Sunday at noon (except for part three, which will be up next Wednesday) here on BoredWrestlingFan.com!
I’ve been a wrestling fan for as long as I can remember. The first promo I ever remember seeing was “Mean Gene” Okerlund interviewing Hulk Hogan about his upcoming steel cage match with King Kong Bundy a few weeks before WrestleMania 2. The period where I started watching the shows religiously was sometime after WrestleMania IV. I know this, because I remember all the hype about SummerSlam ’88 on Pay Per View. Back in 1988, the WWF, as it was known at the time, only held three Pay Per View events – WrestleMania IV, SummerSlam ’88, and the second annual Survivor Series. The following year, they added the Royal Rumble as a Pay Per View event (the first Royal Rumble event, featuring 20 competitors instead of 30, aired on the USA Network in January of 1998.), and we had “The Big Four” WWF Pay Per Views. Save for the “Tuesday in Texas” event in 1991, these remained the only PPV events the WWF held until the addition of “King of the Ring” in 1993.
In 1995, when the competition from WCW started to heat up following the advent of WCW Monday Nitro, both companies started to air several more Pay Per View events. Unlike WCW, who had full blown – and individually named – Pay Per Views every month, the WWF put on two hour events at a discounted price in the months outside of the five main PPVs, called “In Your House.” The “In Your House” PPVs eventually grew into three hour, full priced shows before finally evolving into the monthly events we know today.
With WWE’s purchase of WCW and ECW in 2001, they’ve experimented with holding up to two Pay Per View events per month, which didn’t work out too well, as we’re down now to 14 such events each year, the only two-PPV months being June with the newly re-branded Extreme Rules (Formerly One Night Stand) and Night of Champions, and November with Cyber Sunday and Survivor Series. Still, I feel as though I’m already paying too much for cable without adding an extra $40 every month for Pay Per View events.
In this series, I intend to convey my reasons why WWE – and by proxy, TNA – needs to cut back on the number of Pay Per Views a year, and do so on a per-event basis. Safe from cuts will be the “Big Four” events – Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.
I present my arguments against No Way Out, after the jump!
No Way Out (February)
Since 1993, the winner of the Royal Rumble was guaranteed a World Title shot at WrestleMania. That’s all well and good, but just three years later, they added a February Pay Per View that would eventually evolve into No Way Out. Many of these events have featured WWE or World Heavyweight Championship matches, despite the number one contender being determined by the previous month’s Royal Rumble match. While at times the No Way Out event has featured matches with the Royal Rumble winner putting their title shot on the line, it still makes little sense to me to have the championship defended a month before WrestleMania. In 1993 and 1995, by the time the Royal Rumble event was over, you knew what your main event was going to be at WrestleMania (the 1994 Rumble had two winners, it took a few weeks before we found out what the main event at WrestleMania X would be). Starting with “In Your House: Rage In The Cage” in 1996, there was always the possibility that the Championship could change hands, thus changing the main event at WrestleMania.
I feel as though No Way Out should be axed from the lineup for numerous reasons, including the Championship argument stated above. Another reason why I dislike a February PPV is because, for me, the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania are the two must-have PPV events. With WrestleMania in late March/early April, having a February PPV between the Rumble in January and WrestleMania kills the time to build up to the biggest card of the year. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you had all the time in the world to build up a match for a Pay Per View. WWE is going back to slow builds for certain feuds, but as we saw this past Monday, having a Pay Per View every month allows them the option to pull the trigger on feuds way too early. Shawn Michaels and John “Bradshaw” Layfield have been in one of the hottest storylines in the WWE since November, and just as it’s looking as though it could easily be a huge match for WrestleMania, they go and throw it away at No Way Out.
No Way Out has now become the de facto Pay Per View to see Elimination Chamber matches on. I like the Elimination Chamber match, but I don’t think we need to do them yearly, let alone twice a year at the same Pay Per View. Build up a hotly contested feud that involves six individuals and settle the damned thing at SummerSlam or Survivor Series every now and again. Don’t burn out the novelty of these kind of gimmick matches by showing them twice at the same event annually. That goes for you too, TNA Lockdown.
Essentially, No Way Out is a waste of $40 during a time that could be used to build up the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. It’s time to give it the axe.
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