2015 has been a year of highs and lows for the WWE. The network they thought would be easy to sell still has to be plugged and the ratings from RAW haven’t seen a steady increase in years. The inclusion of the Roman Reigns versus the Authority storyline seems to finally be breathing new life into a much needed dark hole of wrestling boredom. However, the product still needs more to keep climbing.
This year has seen an unusual amount of pay-per-view events that failed to build hype and anticipation, and in the cases of the ones that did, many of those fell short of delivering. We, as well as many other sites have pointed to the over abundant rematches and controversial booking decisions that led to what may go down as one of the worst creative PPV years most of us have ever seen.
Now that every PPV is in the books, let’s go back and take a look at the year’s shows and determine which ones would have been worth paying for and which ones fell below the Mendoza line. Feuds were creative, directions have been invented and twists continue to develop. Looking over the full lineup with an open mind, I have done my best to compile the rank below. Please add your thoughts in the comment boxes below.
13. Survivor Series
Unfortunately, Survivor Series was a dreadful show that continues to make us hope for the recreation of the original format that made this one of the most memorable PPV’s of each year. Once considered one of WWE’s “Big Four”, the event has been surpassed by about half a dozen other shows on the calendar.
The show started strong with the two tournament semifinal matches, but the crowd atmosphere was unenthusiastic throughout most of the night. The tournament final was really disappointing and the Sheamus cash-in was a head scratcher based on the time of need.
Obviously the Brothers of Destruction match was put in just for the hopes of making the PPV a trending success. Reusing the finish from SummerSlam 2013 – one that everyone hated when it originally happened– with a champion people liked even less was just one in a night full of disappointment. The Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose match should have been something the company built to and presented it as a main event clash, instead it was a rushed bout on the undercard of a horrible show.
Everything else on the card was either completely forgettable or actually offensive with how terrible it was.
Fastlane was another poorly promoted PPV that lacked the intrigue needed to make it a watchable event. Unfortunately, this falls in line with the norm when we are speaking of WWE creative.
There were many problems with this show that stemmed from poor execution and overused match angles. For example, Cena/Rusev 3 was a far cry from an intriguing match and Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan did not leave the fans in a state of satisfaction. The match itself may have been the best of Roman’s solo career up until that point, but it didn’t matter because everyone was already disgusted over another snooze fest on Sunday night.
Sure, there was a feeling of excitement for the Triple H and Sting encounter where they confirmed their match for WrestleMania, but selling a PPV on a stare down or promo between 2 wrestlers is hardly a way to promote a show.
11. Elimination Chamber
This was another mediocre PPV at best that tried to limp along to the more anticipated MIB. The official main event featured the first WWE Heavyweight Championship bout between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. This was a pure wrestling match, but left nothing to the imagination. The ending wasn’t very creative, but it at least peaked our interest when Ambrose proceeded to steal Seth’s title.
The match of the night, though, was John Cena facing off against the debuting Kevin Owens. After a phenomenal battle where neither man ever left the ring, Kevin Owens shocked the world with a clean victory over Cena. In a way it was Owen’s coming out party within the WWE. He already had a background centered on the Indie scene and it was nice to see his potential put on full display for the national audience.
10. Extreme Rules
In the memory of the hellacious ECW, this PPV that is based entirely on hardcore stipulations, has become the land of the predictable rematches and unenthusiastic action. This year it seemed to turn the corner a little bit and decided to have a few good matches on the card. However, when The Big Slow is involved in the best match on the card that tells you all you need to know about the quality of a show.
While it wasn’t as bad as Fastlane or Survivor Series, absolutely nothing memorable took place at this PPV. Besides the main event cage match featuring Seth Rollins defending the title against Randy Orton, there was nothing worth going back and watching here. Yes John Cena/Rusev was on the card, but I think that was just another reason to get a refill on the refreshments.
If the WWE audience thought Payback would save them from the lackluster effort of Extreme rules, they were sadly mistaken. Payback was entertaining at times, but nothing more than a mediocre showing of an Authority based card.
The John Cena/Rusev feud was in full effect again and the Divas contest may as well been left off the card all together. However, the tag team match between New Day and Tyson Kidd/Cesaro was a technically sound match that gave us all something to actually get into.
The best contest of the night was easily the fatal four-way for the WWE world title, where Seth Rollins managed to retain by pinning Orton thanks to some interference from Kane. Not a bad main event but full of the usual overbooked Authority nonsense that carried on throughout Seth’s entire title reign.
Seth Rollins retained his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a match filled with many nostalgic moments. None may have been more prominent than the Triple Powerbomb to Randy Orton, in true SHIELD fashion. Still the WWE keeps searching for a complete PPV.
This year’s Battleground was a significant improvement over the inaugural 2014 edition of the show, which was one of the worst of that year. 2015 gave us three very good matches, including the final chapter in what was easily the best trilogy in WWE.