5 best single-branded PPVs of the New Era
This Sunday night, WWE Smackdown will present Fastlane. On paper, the event itself should feature matches which range from very average to excellent, with all four of the brand's titles being defended and the company likely setting up several matches for Wrestlemania 34.
In reality, though, the card is approaching with little fanfare. The booking on Smackdown Live in recent months has been mediocre at best, if you add the fact that the card is incredibly predictable, then it's understandable why many of us will be opting for a good night's sleep this Sunday.
The event is notable for one reason, however, and that is that it will be the last single branded PPV of the new draft era. Opinions are still divided on WWE's brand split 2.0, but one thing most fans can agree on is that there are too many PPVs to keep up with at the moment.
The WWE has taken note of fan's issues with this and announced last month that after Wrestlemania, the company will return to the old format of one event a month and that they will be dual branded.
This decision has been met with enthusiasm by a lot of the WWE universe, but it is worth remembering that not all single branded events have been a failure. So, to celebrate the end of single-branded PPVs in the WWE, let's take a look at the five best single branded events from the 'new era'.
#5 No Mercy 2016
At the beginning of the new brand split, Smackdown was miles superior to Raw, and No Mercy 2016 was a fine example of that trend.
The brand had better superstars and much superior story-telling, as was highlighted with the Dolph Ziggler Vs The Miz encounter, which stole the show at No Mercy 2016. The story heading into the match was simple: Ziggler would retire if he couldn't overcome the champion. It was simple but effective as, for once, fans really brought the idea of a superstar retiring and actually following through with it.
The end result was a thrilling encounter, which was one of the best of both men's career. Ziggler's win was a great moment and it was one of the few times where fans wanted to see a mid-card feud main event the show.
The rest of the card wasn't bad either, with AJ Styles notably defending his WWE title in an excellent triple threat match against John Cena and Dean Ambrose to open the show. The main event, which pitted Bray Wyatt against Randy Orton, was a warning sign of things to come, and definitely shouldn't have closed an otherwise excellent show, but, you can't win them all.