Pro Wrestling

10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Overlook WWE’s February PPV;jsessionid=45FD1F17BED76531E52033BB1B6F1ABB?r30_r1_r1:page=18 Source:

The concept of a WWE Pay Per View in February has always seemed extraneous and unnecessary. Sandwiched in between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, WWE’s February show just seems irrelevant to the grander plan, a transitional PPV where nothing important will happen, because the big things happen on the PPVs immediately before and afterwards. It’s so unimportant that it’s undergone half a dozen name changes in a search for one that will make people care about its existence. But if you look back at all the February Pay Per Views that have occurred since WWE began running them all the way back in 1996, you will find that a lot of huge events took place on those shows, and many of them had a massive effect on WWE going forward. While they haven’t always succeeded, it’s hard to say that WWE hasn’t at least tried to make their annual February show just as important as the more memorable PPVs that surround it. So, the next time someone tried to tell you that nothing happens on WWE’s annual February Pay Per View, you can point them to this list and show them just how wrong they are.

10. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family – Elimination Chamber 2014

In the grand scheme of things, it was just a match, but what a match. Both factions were basically at the height of their powers, with The Shield being almost impossible to defeat as a unit and The Wyatt Family not yet having been fed to every single person above them on the roster, and the crowd was hot to see them tear down the house. The intensity in this match was so fierce that there was a “This Is Awesome!” chant for the pre-match staredown, and for once, it was totally valid. This was also the point at which The Shield basically turned face, although they’d hold onto a bit of their heel act through WrestleMania before officially turning to face Evolution, and ended up as huge stars as a result. The match itself was fantastic, a chaotic brawl from start to finish that would create the blueprint for The Shield vs Evolution matches to follow. In the end, it was in contention for Match of the Year, and left fans wanting more confrontations between the two factions, which sadly, we never got. Source:

9. Austin vs Triple H – 3 Stages of Hell – No Way Out 2001

Frankly, this is one of the best matches of the Attitude Era, both men’s careers, and probably in WWE history, so if you don’t know about it, then shame on you. This was actually, technically, the blow-off to Austin getting run over by a car at Survivor Series in 1999, with Triple H outed once and for all as the guy behind the big fat guy (Rikishi) who actually did the deed. Austin, at this point, was headed to WrestleMania X7 for the match that would define an era of wrestling (and also end it), but before that, he had to deal with Triple H. It’s a Best of Three match with escalating gimmicks, the first of its kind, and every single part of it is a classic. In the ultimate joke that nobody remembers, Triple H actually won the match and thus Austin never did get revenge for the entire scheme that cost him a year of his life, but nobody cared because the match was just that good. One has to imagine that, had Triple H not torn his quad a few months later just as his evil partnership with Stone Cold was starting to fray, this feud was probably supposed to continue, only with heel/face alignments reversed. Source:

8. The Undertaker vs Kurt Angle – No Way Out 2006

It’s no shock that Kurt Angle dragged a bad wrestler to a great match, and make no mistake, this match in 2006, which was literally a throw-away title defense meant to give Angle one more obstacle before dropping the title to Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania, is incredible. But what it signified on a larger scale was Undertaker’s sudden transition into an actually great wrestler in his own right. For years, he’d been handcuffed by the demands of his gimmick to move slowly and deliberately during matches, and also weighed down by feuds with big, fat, slow guys who were poised as threats to him by virtue of being big, strong, and fat, which led to intimidating stare-downs but terrible matches. Then, as he aged and WWE began sliding downhill from the peak of the Attitude Era, it seemed like he lost a lot of passion for his in-ring work and just stopped trying to have good matches. But after this match with Angle, The Undertaker somehow found a career renaissance by incorporating an MMA element into his style, and spent the next several years having most of the best matches in his entire career. Source:

7. Edges Loses One World Title And Wins Another – No Way Out 2009

Beginning in 2008, WWE attempted to make their February Pay Per View more meaningful by adding one of their most brutal gimmick matches: the Elimination Chamber. In fact, after a couple of years, the PPV itself was re-named from No Way Out to Elimination Chamber, with a guaranteed Chamber match (or two) every year, until the name was changed to Fastlane in 2015, and the Elimination Chamber PPV became a mid-summer event. And at the 2009 show, the WWE Champion Edge performed a feat that will almost certainly never be matched in WWE. Edge failed to defend his title in the Elimination Chamber match which started the show, as Triple H won the match and the title. But in the main event, which was another Chamber match for the WWE Title, Edge ran out, attacked Kofi Kingston before Kingston could enter the Chamber, and barricaded himself in one of the Chamber’s pods, taking Kofi’s spot in the match. For some reason, this was allowed to stand, and Edge went on to win the match and become World Heavyweight Champion, in a strange and unpredictable series of events. Source:

6. The nWo Debuts in WWE – No Way Out 2002

In what was almost certainly a bad idea that must have sounded good to someone at the time, Vince McMahon brought Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall into WWE in 2002 in a re-imagining of the New World Order angle that had caused WCW to explode in popularity in 1996. Of course, the whole thing would fall apart with in months due to a combination of Hall’s ongoing substance abuse issues, Nash’s propensity for getting injured, and Hogan being turned face almost immediately by adoring WWE fans eager to welcome him back “home” after years in exile in WCW. However, it’s hard to fault WWE for at least trying to make the nWo work, and the entire February Pay Per View was sold on the fact that Hogan, Hall, and Nash would be making their first WWE appearance in years, intent on bringing some of the unpredictable chaos that had marked their WCW tenure into WWE and hopefully reversing a slide in business that had followed the historic botching of the WCW Invasion angle. The nWo made an impact right away, interfering in the main event and costing Steve Austin the WWE Title, and for a while, it actually looked like things might work out. They didn’t, of course, but that’s another story. Source:

5. Eddie Guerrero Wins The WWE Title – No Way Out 2004

To say that Eddie Guerrero was an inspiring figure to wrestling fans is an understatement. His entertaining character made him a massive fan favorite, and his life story up to that point had turned him into one of the most sympathetic people in the company. Guerrero had become addicted to painkillers following a car accident in WCW, and the resulting issues left him separated from his wife and family, and unemployed by WWE. However, he turned his life around, got his family and his job back, and was well on his way to becoming the biggest star in the company. So much so, that in a shocking result at No Way Out 2004, he faced off against the unstoppable Brock Lesnar, and defeated him for the WWE Championship in a spectacular match. It was the crowning achievement of Guerrero’s all-too-short life, and one which many young WWE Superstars, including Sasha Banks, have pointed to as an inspiration for their own careers. Source:

4. Rock vs Hogan II – No Way Out 2003

Everyone remembers the very first Rock-Hogan match from WrestleMania X8, when an adoring and rowdy Toronto crowd rode a wave of emotion to turn a fairly pedestrian wrestling match into an all-time memorable classic. However, few likely remember the re-match, which happened nearly 11 months later, at No Way Out 2003. Hogan was embroiled in a feud with Vince McMahon, while The Rock was off filming movies instead of wrestling, and becoming slightly resented by the WWE fan base as a result. As part of his plan to destroy Hulkamania once and for all, Vince McMahon brought back the man who had defeated Hogan at WrestleMania, only this time, The Rock had “gone Hollywood”, turning his back on the fans who didn’t like that he’d become a major movie star. This led to one of the most gloriously ridiculous moments in WWE history, as he returned at No Way Out with an insanely over-the-top entrance video that took forever to play out and absolutely revelled in how much “bigger than the business” The Rock had become. Oh, and because the Pay Per View is in Montreal, and features a plot by Mr McMahon, just guess how the match ends. Come on, guess. Source:

3. Mick Foley Retires – No Way Out 2000

Okay, so like all wrestling retirements, it didn’t really stick, but to be fair, Foley really thought he was retiring forever at the time. After a career-making match between Foley (in his Cactus Jack persona) and Triple H at the Royal Rumble, the stakes were raised for the rematch at No Way Out 2000. The match took place inside Hell in a Cell, and if Foley failed to win the title, his career would be over. Speculation right up to the match was about how WWE would weasel out of the stipulation, since Triple H vs The Rock was pretty much set in stone for WrestleMania, but it turned out, the whole plan for the entire feud had been for Foley, who was feeling his years at that point, to put Triple H over and retire. And in an attempt to go out as spectacularly as possible, Foley let it all hang out for what he thought would be his last match, even re-creating his infamous fall through the Cell (with the ring set up to collapse and cushion his fall this time). Ultimately, Foley’s plan may have worked too well, as fans were now solidly behind him and didn’t want him to leave, leading to WWE shoe-horning him into the main event of WrestleMania as a result.;jsessionid=45FD1F17BED76531E52033BB1B6F1ABB?r30_r1_r1:page=18 Source:

2. Valentine’s Day Massacre – In Your House 1999

A big part of the Austin-McMahon feud hinged on a simple fact: Austin wanted to get his hands on Vince in a one-on-one match without worrying about McMahon’s cronies protecting the boss, and Vince was never going to allow that. This all changed in 1999, when McMahon made himself an active wrestler in order to screw Austin out of the Royal Rumble. After the plan backfired and Austin ended up with a guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania, he goaded McMahon into facing him inside a Steel Cage at the In Your House: St Valentine’s Day Massacre Pay Per View. The eventual match was more of a beating than anything competitive, as Austin threw McMahon around the ring with abandon, in a cathartic moment for wrestling fans everywhere. The match ended with a historic event, as the man who would come to be known as The Big Show made his WWE debut, breaking into the cage and throwing Austin through one of the walls (inadvertently giving Austin the victory), and kicking off Show’s nearly two-decade run in WWE. Source:

1. Shawn Loses His Smile, Finds Controversy – In Your House 1997

The first part of this story doesn’t actually happen on Pay Per View, but on a special Thursday edition of Raw (due to Monday being preempted for, and we’re not making this up, the annual Westminster Dog Show). Citing a crippling knee injury (that the entire wrestling world believed he was faking), Shawn Michaels forfeited the WWE Title and gave a speech where he claimed that he had “lost his smile” and was taking some time to go find it. From this announcement, so many plot threads would unravel, and the first of them was that the main event of the upcoming In Your House: Final Four Pay Per View would be a four-way elimination match between Vader, The Undertaker, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin, with the winner becoming WWE Champion. Hart would win the match, then lose the title the next day to Sycho Sid, kicking off a storyline that would lead to Hart turning heel on America at WrestleMania after a spectacular career-defining match with Austin, and, combined with Hart’s personal issues with Michaels, eventually resulted in the Montreal Screwjob, and Hart leaving WWE for WCW, later that same year. Indirectly, Hart’s actions as part of his character shift, which included a profanity-laden rant that aired on TV, resulted in USA Network instituting a seven-second delay on Raw which remains in effect to the day, and allowed WWE to push the envelope, language-wise, when the Attitude Era got underway in earnest. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.