Ranking Every WWE PPV Of The 1980s

WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and more…


If you’re anything like me, you’re 5’10” tall, have blonde hair, and tend to subsist on Lucky Charms regardless of time of day. Oh, and you also gleefully take residence deep in the archives of WWE Network. Breaking Ground, WWE: 24, and weekly episodes of NXT? Screw *that* (WINK!) – give me Maple Leaf Gardens shows from 1985, and all of the late-eighties Prime Time Wrestling that I could possibly consume (I’ve found that SD Jones vs. Iron Mike Sharpe, like most matches of the era, goes great with Lucky Charms).

For this here list, I will be calling upon my zeal for all things 1980s (perhaps even my Metallica and Judas Priest fandom, but not necessarily) by ranking WWE’s pay per view output from that decade. Beginning with the first WrestleMania, which we’ll pretend is a pay per view, WWE produced 13 qualifying specials that ranged anywhere from “pantheon-level classic” to “#CancelNonExistentWWFNetwork”.

From there, who knows? Perhaps I’ll rank all 81 pay per views from the 1990s as well! Granted, most entries on that list would begin, “The company was in its dark days, and the immediate future looked bleak,” and that would just be repetitive. But let’s not put the cart before the horse here – let’s go back to those wonderful days of acid-washed jeans and regrettable hairstyles, and rank those WWE pay per views from the eighties.

13. No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie


Yeah, this counts. Since it’s dead last on this list, think of it as the cinematic equivalent of the newspaper that lines the bottom of a birdcage. You’ve surely heard of the 1989 Hogan/McMahon arthouse project that was essentially Road House without the thespian-level acting, and introduced the world to the ocular-challenged brute known as Zeus. Which begs the question, “Why isn’t Zeus in the celebrity wing of WWE’s Hall of Fame?” We need Deebo from Friday waving on the WrestleMania stage, damn it.

Anywho, back on topic. In December 1989, WWF produced a pay-per-view that consisted of the movie itself, followed by a pre-taped steel cage match pitting Hogan and Brutus Beefcake against Macho Man Randy Savage and Zeus. Yes, even though it was called “The Match/The Movie”, they aired the two events in the opposite order. And that was the least of its problems.

Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.

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