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WWE Network: 10 classic must-see PPV shows to watch from WWE,WCW, and ECW

On Monday February 24th wrestling fans who subscribe to the WWE Network the new “over-the-top” digital video service will have a hundreds of classic pay per view events from WWE, WCW, and ECW a few clicks away from lighting up their screens. There is going to be well over 200 different PPV events for fans to choose from for on-demand and viewing on the Network and the sheer amount of choices from these memorable events might be overwhelming for some fans. Pro Wrestling Examiner culls through this massive list of premium wrestling content to give you 10 select shows to watch first.

WWE made waves in January with the announcement of the WWE Network, which launches on February 24th. Here you can see WWE stars and legends talking up the Network in Las Vegas.
WWE made waves in January with the announcement of the WWE Network, which launches on February 24th. Here you can see WWE stars and legends talking up the Network in Las Vegas.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
WWE Network set to launch on February 24th
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

WWE Wrestlemania III: Part of the appeal of the Network is the fact that Earth-moving events like WM3 are right there for you to watch in their full glory. Most fasn remember this epic night for Hulk Hogan taking on Andre the Giant in front of 93,000 at the Pontiac Silverdome, which was a match that really helped propel Hogan to national fame and recognition. Hogan/Andre may sold the stadium out, but the match fans left talking about was ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat for the WWE Intercontinental title. The match was thoroughly a showcase of Savage’s manic presence and Steamboat’s superman athletics on the grandest stage possible. It may be one of the best Wrestlemania matches of all time, and it’s a perfect pump-up to look back at as you warm up for Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday April 6th.

ECW Barely Legal: Extreme Championship Wrestling led by the wrestling mind of Paul Heyman broke into the PPV world with this show in April 1997. The card featured a match that had a year of anticipation, ‘the Human Suplex Machine’ Taz faced the homicidal Sabu along with hall of famer Terry Funk going after Raven for the ECW World Championship. ‘Barely Legal’ displayed ECW’s violent and more adult brand of pro wrestling which helped inspire WWE and WCW to push the envelope themselves.

WWE Money in the Bank 2011: The highlight of CM Punk’s WWE run was the pure electricity of this sold-out show in Chicago as he challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship with his contract coming to end. Would Punk get the ‘change’ he wanted and force Vince McMahon and the WWE to their knees when he won the WWE title? All those question made this MITB card a must-watch on the Network. Oh yeah, there is also 2 metallic-manias in the form of Money in the Bank Ladder Matches with Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and others putting on memorable performances.

WWE Wrestlemania XIX: WWE’s Super Bowl is Wrestlemania yet this 2002 spectacle from Seattle’s Safeco Field is never really given it’s props. It features Shawn Michaels against Chris Jericho in an bitter grudge match. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin’s final match against the Rock is also on this card, and sees both men close the book on their storied feud which spanned three separate Wrestlemanias. WM19 also has the match decades in the making, Hulk Hogan against Mr. McMahon in a bloody street-fight. The night ended with Brock Lesnar tangling with WWE Champion Kurt Angle who entered the match with a damaged neck, only for Lesnar to nearly paralyze himself in the match when he missed a 450 splash in the ring. Lesnar shocks thousands of fans, by struggling to his feet to plant Angle with an F5 to win the title. It was one of the real ‘OMG’ in WWE history.

WCW/NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989: There is one reason to go back to this show produced from the UIC Pavillion in Chicago: Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat vs.’Nature Boy’ Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.These two legends were each other’s best ‘dance partners’ in the squared circle and this big time title match proves it. Steamboat and Flair had a series of memorable matches during this time, and many experts feel this is the best of their feud over the ‘10lbs of gold’.

ECW Anarchy Rulz 1999: Another show from wrestling-loving Chicago makes the list with
a stellar cast that including high-flyer Super Crazy,Japanese buzzsaw Tajiri, and the always fantastic Lance Storm. Rob Van Dam who may be the biggest star to emerge from the original ECW, faces the demented Balls Mahoney for the ECW World Televsion Championship.The Three-Way Dance for the ECW World title featured here between Mike Awesome, Masato Tanaka, and Taz is a wild match that is just the wild action that fans love. Tommy Dreamer and Raven had one of the meanest and most-drawn feuds in ECW history but on this show, they were the ECW Tag Team Championships facing Steve Corino and Steve Rhino. That odd dynamic between Raven and Dreamer gives the show another facet of conflict that makes it a must-see.

WCW SuperBrawl II: In the early 90’s before the NWO ruled the roost, WCW had a wealth of in-ring studs and this 1992 show really displayed that from top to bottom. Sting challenged Lex Luger for the WCW World title, while Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat faced Rick Rude for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. In an amazing opening match, Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger had a standout with ‘Fly’n’ Brian Pillman. It was just a solid night of nothing but solid straight-up action with legends like Steve Austin, Dusty Rhodes, and Mick Foley also in action.

WCW Great American Bash ‘96 & WCW Bash at the Beach ‘96: As my fellow Examiner Mark Satrang so aptly stated in his Top 10 WCW PPV Countdown these two seminal shows from the Ted Turner ‘wrasslin’ company helped build up the NWO, one of the biggest factions in wrestling history. Coming over from WWE, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash attacked WCW commentator Eric Bischoff at the Great American Bash, powerbombing him through a table and setting the stage for Bash at the Beach. In th main event at BATB, Hulk Hogan in his classic red and yellow gear hit the ring to save WCW’s team of Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger from the Outsiders of Hall and Nash, only to turn on WCW to form the NWO. It was a real moment that is easily the biggest scene in WCW’s history. These two shows also featured incredible cruisherweight action including the ppv debut of Rey Mysterio.

WWE In Your House - Mind Games (1996): This forgotten gem features a WWE Championshop main event match between Mankind and the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has called the best match of his career, and with good reason. This brutal bout saw a fan favorite Michaels enter the dark violent realm of Foley’s Mankind persona in a wild match that spilled outside the ring with both superstars recklessly trying to destroy one another. This match is also unique in that it helped usher a more gritty in-ring style in WWE and allow oddball characters like Mankind get featured roles in the future.

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