Every One-Time Only WWE PPV, Ranked From Worst To Best
When you’re the visionary that Vince McMahon is, and you’re surrounded by the team that he has surrounded himself with for years, all sorts of ideas for events can crop up. Sometimes the shows can have a theme, or sometimes they’re just a placeholder. Of course, they can be bonafide staples like WrestleMania or The Royal Rumble.
Every so often, the idea for a PPV doesn’t stretch past the inaugural event. Whether it was as theme show, or failed idea, or even a terrific show, for whatever the reason, these shows happened one time and then never were seen again.
11No Holds Barred: The Match / The Movie
One of wrestling’s biggest flops ever was unleashed on the world in the summer of 1989. WWE Champion Hulk Hogan played wrestling star Rip Thomas in No Holds Barred. When the movie came to the before times version of streaming – Pay Per View, the questions was asked, “Why have a merry Christmas when you have a No Holds Barred Christmas?! (Say it in your best Vince McMahon impression)”
The movie was paired up as a value deal alongside a tremendous steel cage between The Mega Maniacs (Hogan and Beefcake) against The Macho King and his partner, Tiny Lister, the actor who portrayed Zeus in the movie and wrestled under the same name in WWE.
10The Wrestling Classic
After the first WrestleMania was a tremendous hit, the WWE sought to do it again with The Wrestling Classic. The second ever WWE PPV featured a huge tournament.
The titular classic was a huge 16-man tournament that featured some short, but pretty good matches like Randy Savage and The Dynamite Kid, and a quick Savage vs. Steamboat match. The even featured the only time ever on WWE PPV that Hogan and Piper waged war for the WWE title.
It could’ve and should’ve been an event for the ages. But due to circumstances beyond the WWE control and some within their control, The Invasion PPV remains a footnote of what might have been. The WCW/ECW Alliance took on The WWE in a series of matches like show stealer, RVD and Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Title. The huge ten man tag main event also featured WWE champion Stone Cold doing the unthinkable and betraying team WWE.
8The Wrestling Summit
The WWE came to Japan in 1990 and both New Japan and All Japan were there to greet them. The Wrestling Summit was one of the only times in history that the company not only acknowledged another company, but did big business with them as well. The evening featured several big time collisions between the stars of Japan and the WWE. A wrestling clinic was put on by Bret Hart and Tiger Mask. Meanwhile Giant Baba and Andre teamed up to take on Demolition and the night was headlined by a big time main event – Stan Hansen taking on Hulk Hogan.
The WWE returned to its roots with the aptly named Stomping Grounds PPV. The event was a solid show, especially with Kofi Kingston’s magical run as WWE champion continuing as he defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Steel Cage. Despite the odds being completely stacked against him, Seth Rollins was able to maintain the Universal title against Baron Corbin.
Whenever the WWE traveled to the United Kingdom for a PPV, typically it was just a glorified house show. But that didn’t mean the superstars were phoning in performances either. 1998’s Capital Carnage took place right smack during The Attitude Era when everyone was gunning for Stone Cold, which meant a huge Fatal 4-Way main event with Austin, Kane, Mankind, and The Undertaker.
But that wasn’t the only huge match of the night. The Outlaws defended the tag titles against D’Lo and Mark Henry, meanwhile The Rock defended the WWE title against X-Pac.
5The Greatest Royal Rumble
Politics aside, the WWE went all out for their first ever show in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. The five hour spectacular culminated with The Greatest Royal Rumble. The evening began with John Cena and Triple H, which was a hard hitting classic. That classic often gets overlooked because the rest of the night had star studded matches like a Ladder Match between Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and The Miz. The WWE and Universal titles were on the line as well, as AJ Styles defended against Nakamura and Brock defended his title against Roman Reigns in a steel cage.
4Great Balls Of Fire
There was an old-timey feel to the old-timey named and themed PPV, Great Balls Of Fire. Someone somewhere thought that a 1950s swap meet / car show was a good idea for a PPV show; and somehow got the idea over with The Chairman! But the event did feature the long-awaited dream match between Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar, which was the brief but brutal battle fans were hoping it was. The match of the evening however was Sasha Banks defeating Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s title. The spectacle of the evening was Roman Reigns attempted murder for Braun Strowman.
3This Tuesday In Texas
In a unique experiment, after the questionable ending to the WWE title match a few days earlier at The Survivor Series, new champion, The Undertaker would defend against the former champion, Hulk Hogan. The skirmish of a finish at This Tuesday In Texas would lead the WWE to the 1992 Royal Rumble, still the best Rumble match of all time.
The brawl and angle of the evening belonged to Randy Savage, finally getting reinstated and being allowed to get his hands on an evil and demented Jake Roberts who warned us all “its not even the end of it, but merely the end of the beginning.”
The ladies finally got their big moment. After several years of consistently stealing the show, the women of the WWE from past and present gathered together at Nassau Coliseum for the all female PPV, Evolution. Wars were waged between Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane for the NXT title, as well as Last Woman Standing match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte. The Riott Squad got silenced by Natalya and The Boss And Hug Connection. Ronda Rousey (naturally) headlined the PPV against the very underrated Nikki Bella.
1One Night Only
It should have been a huge moment for both The British Bulldog and the entire Smith and Hart families. Davey Boy came home to England with the European title in tow looking to successfully defend it against Shawn Michaels and dedicate the match to his sister, who was dying of cancer. Instead, Davey Boy got beat by HBK, with more than a little help from Chyna, Triple H, and Rick Rude leaving the Birmingham, England crowd in a near riotous state. The UK-only PPV also featured what many fans to believe to be that last truly great Bret Hart match, as he defended the WWE title against The Undertaker.