CLEVELAND, OH (TM216) — For all of the jokes that go around about WWE creative, one thing is for certain, they have (for the most part) kept us entertained for decades. At the forefront of that innovation has been the city of Cleveland vital role in launching new PPV’s.
There is a fascinating connection between Ohio and the “revolutionary force in sports entertainment.” You see, Cleveland has always held a prominent role in WWE story lines from recently the return of Brock Lesnar, to a 2008 return of the Undertaker at Unforgiven, to the first ever battle between WWE, WCW, and ECW on PPV… more on that to come.
One final thing to mention with that; Cleveland was one of the original five cities chosen to hold a WWE PPV. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. To me… that… is pretty cool.
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With all of that Cleveland history, we now take a look back, with a special top three version of Top Five: WWE PPV’s to originate in Ohio.
#3.) Invasion – Gund Arena – 2001
For our dedicated younger audience, that is the original name of Quicken Loans Arena. For those lucky enough to have attended this event in person… what a show. I was unfortunately not at his particular event. Lets set the table, WWE and WCW were neck and neck for the top two companies in sports entertainment. Both regularly made stops in Cleveland (yes, I remember the joy of rocking my first Sting mask.) However, WWE would come out on top -purchasing WCW during an episode of raw that was actually in… u guessed it Cleveland! (future blog?) Talent from WCW would join the WWE roster in what was called an Invasion. The events would culminate in this PPV, in which team WWE was turned on by team leader Stone Cold, giving victory to the outsiders. One of the great events in Cleveland PPV history.
#2.) King of the Ring – Nutter Center – 1993
That is correct Dayton, Ohio, YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!
WWE’s own version of the NCAA tournament originates right here in the Buckeye State. One of my personal favorites, this is the same event that years later would go on to launch the career of Stone Cold. However, back to Dayton, with a win over Bam Bam Bigelow in the finals Bret Hart was crowned your inaugural King of The Ring. Jerry Lawler attacking Bret during his coronation that night ignited one of the most iconic rivalries of the early 1990’s. Shawn Michaels with Diesel also defeated Crush for the IC championship. June 13,1993, the first King of the Ring.
– – – Not So…. great…- – –
In Cleveland… there is a saying “just a bit outside” that was born in the movie Major League. So before we reveal #1… Lets take a second and remember some of the less than perfect moments that were a swing and a miss right here in Ohio.
- The Championship Scramble – Unforgiven 2008. The match is almost universally seen on the lower end of match ideas for the company. A match that seemed great in theory.. still does honestly but just didn’t pan out live. The idea was that multiple competitors battle in a timed match in which whoever gets the pin becomes temporary champion… the individual to receive the final pin or submission at the end of a selected time limit becomes champion. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. Cleveland is the only city to have hosted this match type. It has never been used since.
- CM Punk Quits – Raw 2013. WWE and Punk had been at ends for years. However in the Raw following the 2013 Royal Rumble, CM Punk had decided it was time to call it quits. Punk was allegedly scheduled to work Triple H at that year’s Wrestlemania, Triple would end up facing Daniel Bryan. The show in Cleveland was the second straight Raw in the 216 to be promoted as having Punk… but left with no Punk… drats.
NOW ITS TIME!
#1.) Surivivor Series – Richfield Coliseum -1987
The rest of the top three can be argued, but this one is likely unanimous as the number one pick. This is where it all started, in previous home of your Cleveland Cavaliers.
Prior to November 26, 1987, WWE fans were left with only one major wrestling event per year, Wrestlemania. Survivor Series became the first secondary PPV option and the only other PPV to be held in 1987 other than Wrestlemania III (FYI: there were 15 total PPVs in 2016). Held on Thanksgiving Day, it can be assumed that Vince was looking to build on extreme success the company found in Hogan v Andre at Wrestlemania III. The two would produce the company’s attendance record which stood for 29 years(broken at WM32) Each wrestler produced team’s of four for the elimination style main event, and the rest is history. Survivor Series would return to Richfield the following year in 1988, then once again in 1992. In following years, Survivor Series would become remembered as the PPV that future hall of famer Undertaker made his debut (1990). The event is now the second longest running PPV for the company behind only Wretlemania, and it started in the home of your Cavaliers. (Fun Fact: The next time you are at Quicken Loans arena on the main concourse, an original portion of the basketball court hangs on the wall near the elevators close to section 130, take a pic next time if you see it and let us know you found it!)
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(story photo courtesy twitter: @sashaslays smackdown 2016)