Top 5 WWE shows that changed the landscape of the company
WWE has been around for more than half a century, and since the inception of the then WWWF, Vince McMahon Sr. and Vince McMahon Jr. have transformed the way promoters function in the business. With Vince McMahon Sr. sharing the revenues with the wrestlers and Vince McMahon Jr. overhauling the territorial system, and deciding that WWF could do better by going national rather than functioning within the contours of the New York New Jersey area, the father son duo have changed the landscape of professional wrestling industry. Under Vince McMahon Jr.s regime, the WWF became the single most powerful entity in the world, and he has done a lot since then to keep the company in that position.Needless to say, Vince McMahon Jr. and the WWF have come a long way since the early part of 1980s, when Vince McMahon Sr. sold his stocks to his son. A lot has changed since then, as all the other companies which once rivaled the WWF have folded. New companies emerged, threatening Vince McMahon Jr.s organization. While every other promoter failed to evolve with time, Vince McMahon Jr., like the true pioneer he is, has managed to change himself accordingly. He targeted new sectors, made new connections and formed new networks. He changed the way professional wrestling is perceived, and has been the most successful promoter in the business.Through these times, WWE wasnt free of controversies, neither was it ever under any real threat to go out of business. With Vince McMahon laying a solid groundwork to keep his company afloat, no matter what the problem was, the now WWE has always withstood the test of time. He couldnt have done it without putting on some of the most talked about shows in professional wrestling, either in a good way or a bad way.In this article, wetake a look at 5 WWE shows that made an impact, either positively or negatively and changed the landscape of the WWE.
#5 Survivor Series 1997
The eleventh edition of Survivor Series rolled out of Montreal, Canada in 1997, and was headlined by Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels for the then WWF championship. This was also Bret Harts last match in the WWF going into the PPV, as he had already signed a contract with WWFs competitor and the leading wrestling organization in the world at that time, WCW. Even before the PPV started, there were a lot of rumors making rounds, and tension was brewing in the locker room. Very few couldve imagined when the show began that it would go down as the most infamous PPV in wrestling history, and had changed the course of the company forever.
During the main event, Vince McMahon ordered the referee, Earl Hebner to ring the bell and end the match while Bret was in the Sharpshooter submission hold, thus screwing Bret Hart out of the match. This night also shattered the long protected kayfabe in the business, and Bret was unceremoniously kicked out of the WWF in his home country. This incident became infamous as the Montreal Screwjob, and the likes of Shawn, Vince, Triple H and Earl Hebner were all in on it. Not only did it put a black mark on the careers of all of those involved, but it led to something else that was to change the wrestling business forever.
That night also saw the birth of the evil boss, Vince McMahon. With Vince telling Jim Ross that Bret screwed Bret, the world witnessed the rise of the most powerful authoritative figure in the industry. This led to the birth of the Bionic Redneck Steve Austin, who then had the greatest feud in wrestling history with his evil boss. And the rest as they say is history.
#4 The night Vince made an appearance on WCW TV
One of the most interesting periods in wrestling history was during the Monday Night Wars, at a time when the WWF and WCW were fighting for the superiority in the ratings. WCW, riding on the success of the New World Order and Hulk Hogan turning heel, beat the WWF for 84 straight weeks in the ratings. The fans were the real winners, as both the companies put their foot on the accelerator and came out with the best product possible. While WCW was still riding high on NWO, the WWF came out with the Attitude Era.
After a couple of years, the tide changed and the WWF was beating WCW comprehensively. WCW had lost its edge, and the WWF, taking advantage of Steve Austin’s success, put the final nail in the coffin of WCW. In 2000, rumors started circulating that WCW was looking for potential buyers, as the management was looking to sell the company. Although Eric Bischoff wanted to buy the company, there were certain complications which led to someone else making a bid, and finally buying the organization. As luck would have it, it was none other than Vince McMahon.
With WWF buying its competition, everyone in WCW feared for their jobs. Perhaps, the most shocking incident in the whole saga happened when Vince McMahon made an appearance on Monday Nitro, announcing his victory over WCW. After touting his success, Vince then announced that he held the future of the organization in his hands, and that was the night when WCW faithful thought it was the end of wrestling.
#3 Chris Benoits tribute show
In mid 2007, the wrestling world lost yet another wrestling great, as the authorities found Chris Benoit dead in his home. His wife and son were also found dead, and the authorities launched an investigation to find the cause of their deaths. WWE, which was in the midst of a storyline involving the death of Mr. McMahon - the character, abruptly dropped the storyline as Vince himself came out on the episode of Monday Night RAW, and announced the death of Chris Benoit. A tribute show was set in place for the legendary grappler, celebrating his life and career, as well as honoring his family.
The authorities then made a chilling statement that sent shockwaves throughout the world. If the passing away of one of the greatest wrestlers along with his wife and kid werent enough, they had alleged that Benoit had murdered his wife and son, and later killed himself. That day ensured that professional wrestling would never be the same again, as the business was dealt with a death blow. The WWE had no other option but to distance itself from Chris Benoits name and his contributions to the company, but the damage was already done.
The media latched onto the story and made sure that they milked the most out of it. With the death of Chris Benoit, and the way his family was murdered, it ensured that professional wrestling would forever be seen in a dark light, and the stigma would forever be associated with the industry. The use of drugs and other illegal substances in the business was once again highlighted, and the industry has never been the same since. WWE too has been reeling under the consequences of that fateful day in 2007.
#2 First episode of Monday Night RAW
One of the most watched shows on Monday nights in the United States aired its very first episode on January 11th, 1993 when Vince McMahon wanted to bring out a different product than what was originally being put on by other wrestling promotions. Vince McMahon’s vision led him to starting a show which was completely different from the traditional taped shows, which were then aired on syndicated channels. Instead, Monday Night RAW aired live on USA network, which was a groundbreaking moment in the professional wrestling industry.
Major names worked on the first episode of RAW, such as The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and paved way for other major organizations to do the same. This monumental achievement resulted in great success for the WWF as well as USA network; current episodes of WWE RAW air on USA network, a testament to the success of the show.
#1 WrestleMania I
The most important show that WWE has ever come out with, which changed the landscape of the organization as well as the professional wrestling industry, was the inaugural WrestleMania. The show rolled out of the Mecca of sports entertainment, Madison Square Garden in 1985. The spectacle was also viewed by over one million fans through closed circuit television the largest audience that watched an event at that time in the United States. This event also marked the beginning of the Rock n Wrestling connection, which revolutionized the industry.
Major names were brought in for the show, with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper to name a few promoting the major event. The main event saw the American hero, Hulk Hogan teaming up with Mr. T to take on Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. This was arguably the greatest pro wrestling event till that time, and the result was the birth of the play offs of professional wrestling. To this day, there has been no greater show in the WWE which had changed the landscape of the company and the industry than the inaugural WrestleMania.