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10 Best WWE December PPVs Ever

'Tis the season to be...wrestling...

In WWE, Christmas obviously falls in April - but how does the actual festive season stack up?

December can often be a hit-and-miss time for the promotion. As the final month before the Road to WrestleMania begins, sometimes it feels as though the writing team are spinning their wheels. Sometimes, however, creative decide to end the calendar year with a bang.

This makes the quality of WWE's December pay per views hard to predict. For many years, the month was the domain of some of the weakest In Your House instalments, until the more characteristically anarchic Armageddon sprang up in 1999. The introduction of TLC in 2009 further increased the likelihood of in-ring carnage - although the booking and quality of the shows has remained inconsistent.

Fortunately, some years the December shows pop off, yo. It's time to take a look at the 10 best examples in WWE history.

[NB: Before we begin, I should point out that Armageddon 2000 is not on this list. I'm sorry; I know it had that huge six-man Hell in a Cell match, but that's a bout I've just never liked. I realise it's not every day you see Rikishi thrown onto a flatbed truck from a great height, but apart from that, the whole thing feels like a mess to me. I am a terrible killjoy, and I apologise.]

[December to Dismember is also not on the list. I feel that needs less of an explanation.]

10. Vengeance 2001


WWE


Vengeance 2001 was the scene of Chris Jericho's greatest triumph, the night he consecutively beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to become the first ever Undisputed Champion. Unfortunately, despite being a key moment in wrestling history, the mini-tournament itself failed to match expectations.

In fairness, there was a lot of hype to live up to - which is purely natural for any contest featuring Jericho, Rock, Austin and Kurt Angle. Y2J and Rocky put on the match of the night, but the other two bouts felt a little flat.

Jericho and Rock's clash allows Vengeance to sneak onto the list, backed up by a wild hardcore bout between RVD and The Undertaker. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy also looks intriguing on paper but didn't click in the way many were hoping.


9. Armageddon 2005


WWE


Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker wasn't the best Hell in a Cell match, nor was it the best of either man's career, but it was still a perfectly entertaining spectacle. The same idea can be applied to Armageddon 2005 as a whole. Although it didn't set the wrestling world alight, it featured enough to make for a unique, enjoyable show.

Chris Benoit and Booker T put on one of the best matches of their famous best of seven series, while MNM continued their impressive debut year with a fun win over The Mexicools.

The most memorable thing about the show was, predictably, the main event. Orton and Undertaker clearly cared about putting one another over, both ending the bout bloodied and battered. 'Cowboy' Bob Orton also found himself involved, and Armageddon ended with the powerful image of father and son staggering away in defeat, 'Taker watching them from the top of the Cell.

8. TLC 2010


WWE


TLC 2010 is largely remembered as the final nail in Wade Barrett's coffin, the final PPV of a year that should have seen him become WWE Champion. Instead, he and his Nexus faction were outfoxed and outwrestled by John Cena at nearly every turn - culminating in a chairs match at this show.

Cena won (of course), and bizarrely attacked Barrett after the bell, appearing to crush the Brit under a huge stack of falling chairs. It was one of those strangely sadistic acts from mega-babyface John - but shouldn't hide the fact that the bout itself was actually a pretty decent one.

The real strength of this show, however, was its undercard. Edge won back the World Heavyweight Championship in an awesome four-way TLC war with Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, and Kane; while Sheamus and John Morrison overcame stylistic differences to put on a wonderful ladder match earlier in the night.

7. TLC 2013


WWE


The main event of TLC 2013 elicited groans when it was announced, and probably still does now from a good number of WWE fans. John Cena and Randy Orton had clashed countless times in the past when a match was booked to unify their World Heavyweight and WWE Championships.

Despite this, it's hard to argue with the fact that the match was a good one - even if fans were desperate for a shake-up in the structure of the card. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were in tellingly strange positions on the undercard, each in a handicap match against three opponents.

Punk was able to get the better of The Shield in an incredibly well-booked match, which managed to somehow leave nobody looking particularly weak (despite the tricky stipulation). Similarly, although Bryan was unable to overcome The Wyatt Family, he lost without looking like a chump.

A sensible show, all in all - even if it didn't quite capture the fans' imagination as much as some others on this list.


6. Armageddon 2007


WWE


On paper, Armageddon 2007 looks like a very weird show - certainly not one that should have impressed as much as it did. Shawn Michaels vs. Mr Kennedy and Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy wouldn't look out of place on an episode of Raw or SmackDown, but don't exactly seem like classic WWE pay per view match-ups.

The main event certainly felt big (Batista defending his title against both Edge and The Undertaker), but ended in dubious fashion as the Rated-R Superstar triumphed with the help of a newly-formed stable.

Despite these apparent setbacks, in reality, those three matches absolutely delivered. HBK and Kennedy lit up the early portion of the night, while Hardy was able to roll-up The Game for a massive underdog win. The main event may have been decided by the interference of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, but fit perfectly with Edge's opportunistic heel character - especially as both men were made to resemble their new leader for maximum confusion.

5. Armageddon 2008


WWE


One year later, Armageddon delivered in an even bigger way, as the wildly popular Jeff Hardy finally won his first WWE Championship. The match was a great one, with Hardy overcoming Edge and Triple H to seize the title.

The other world title match on the show saw John Cena retain against Chris Jericho. Unlike the WWE Championship bout, this result was a frustrating one. Y2J had been on a roll with his suit-wearing 'honest man' gimmick but had lost the World Heavyweight title to Cena the previous month - despite John having just returned from injury.

Many fans felt as though Jericho was being unfairly shoved aside, and his failure to recapture the belt on this show only worsened that. The match was still a good one, however, as was an Intercontinental number one contender's bout between CM Punk and Rey Mysterio on the undercard. Mainly, however, this show earns such a high ranking due to the emotional release of Jeff's big win.

4. Armageddon 2002


WWE


Although not the most consistent show on this list, Armageddon 2002 is arguably the biggest. A mammoth main event saw new World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels take on Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match. The first fall was a Street Fight, the second a Steel Cage, and the third fought with a ladder stipulation.

Over the top? Yes. But you'd still watch it, wouldn't you?

Predictably, that bout was incredibly drawn out and divisive - but several great moments on the undercard pushed the PPV firmly into compelling territory.

Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit went 15 minutes in an obvious match of the night contender, while we were also treated to the PPV debut of Batista, who earned a big victory over Kane. Kurt Angle's defeat of Big Show wasn't the best match of either man's career, but featured an explosive run in from Brock Lesnar, hungry for revenge on his gigantic rival (and former manager Paul Heyman).


3. TLC 2009


WWE


In sharp contrast to Armageddon 2002 - which could be seen as overblown and melodramatic - TLC 2009 was simply a fun show from top to bottom. The main event saw DX take on Chris Jericho and Big Show in a very entertaining TLC bout for the tag titles, and featured memorable spots like Y2J using Show as a makeshift ladder.

The night got off to a hot start, as Shelton Benjamin and Christian clashed over the ECW Championship in an excellent Ladder Match. Further up the card, Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton put on an enjoyable scrap (even if many were disappointed not to see Kofi scoop a big victory - myself included).

The one big storyline of the night, however, came in a seemingly innocuous tables match for John Cena's WWE Championship. Highly unfancied challenger Sheamus shocked the wrestling world, shoving Cena through a table and winning his first WWE Championship. There's still debate to this day over whether the finish went as planned. Was the Irishman was supposed to simultaneously fall through a table on the outside, only for WWE to improvise and award him the belt after he missed his target?

2. TLC 2012


WWE


Dolph Ziggler produces a lot of groans and eye-rolls these days, but it's important to remember that he was absolutely on fire during his run as Mr Money in the Bank. The Show-Off main-evented TLC 2012 in a dramatic showdown with John Cena, with the briefcase at stake.

With many fearing another hastily-booked title run for Big Match John, the match had a real sense of urgency. Even though Ziggler was the heel, many were eager to see him given a main event push - so when AJ Lee turned on Cena and shoved him from a ladder, the Barclays Center damn near exploded.

The show also benefitted from one of the best December PPV matches of all time, an explosive in-ring debut for The Shield against the team of Ryback, Kane, and Daniel Bryan.

1. TLC 2011


WWE

It could be argued that, on a match-by-match basis, there are several WWE December pay per views that surpass TLC 2011 - but in terms of the greatest show as a collective, nothing comes close.


This pay per view felt like the continuation of a movement. When CM Punk defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank 2011, the wrestling world was turned on its head - but things went downhill after the involvement of Kevin Nash, Del Rio's cash-in, and Triple H's bizarre victory over the Straight Edge Superstar at Night of Champions.

Things got back on track when Punk regained the title from Alberto at Survivor Series, and TLC 2011 was the show where everything else seemed to fall into place. Daniel Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on an unconscious Big Show, underdog Zack Ryder rode a wave of crowd support to victory over Dolph Ziggler, and Punk retained the title in a fantastic triple threat main event.

This led to the now-infamous backstage photo of WWE's new champions - many of whom were decidedly more 'internet darling' than the previous generation.

As well as being a good show in terms of match quality, TLC 2011 will be remembered as a key landmark in the changing of WWE's guard. Without it, would we have ever seen a roster including stars like Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles?

(It also featured a 'Sledgehammer Ladder match' between Triple H and Kevin Nash so, y'know, check it out immediately on the Network.)

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]