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10 Craziest PPV Endings In WWE History

The most thrilling, shocking, and downright bizarre finishes we've ever seen.

Look, it's already a few weeks old at the time of writing, but can we talk about the finish of KO vs. Shane please? Was that not the craziest thing we've seen in a while?

I honestly feel as though sometimes we've got our priorities wrong as wrestling fans - and I'm just as guilty of this as anybody else. When Sami Zayn yanks Kevin Owens out of the path of a plummeting Shane McMahon, social media naturally explodes. The boss' son just evaporated a table by falling into it from up high, and the target's eternal nemesis pulled him to safety. What!? Why!? But also: oh my god yes!

But before we can get too excited, our desire to be cool on the internet brings us back down. We all want the hottest take, even if now is not the time for takes. We're already debating whether Sami will be a good heel, whether they'll challenge for the tag belts, whether it was smart for Shane to repeat the cell spot so soon after WrestleMania 32.

Can't we just be excited for a little while longer? Can't we prolong the confusion and euphoria that comes with an insane ending? Honestly, the following day - October 9th - should have been made a global holiday, giving us all time to savour and reflect. The next step in the storyline can wait; Shane McMahon almost landed on Kevin Owens' head.

The finish of Hell in a Cell 2017 was legitimately one of the craziest endings to a PPV I've ever seen, so now it's time to look at a few others. This article is dedicated to that short buzz, that pure shock that accompanies such a moment - partly because it's one of the best feelings to experience as a wrestling fan, and partly because I don't have many actual friends to dedicate it to instead.

10. Hogan Wins; Hogan Always Wins - WrestleMania IX


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(Oh, I forgot to mention in the intro - some of these moments are crazy in a bad way. Sorry for just dropping it on you now with no time to brace yourself. Enjoy!)

Hulk Hogan is such a rascal, isn't he!? He wanted to win all of his matches when he was the biggest star in wrestling, and that's kinda understandable. But - get this - he also wanted to win all of his matches when he was becoming irrelevant. Classic! What a treasure he is.

WrestleMania IX saw the worst of Hogan's "he should really have lost that one, shouldn't he?" moments. It was also the most inventive. Credit where it's due, I'm sure nobody expected the Hulkster to win a main event he wasn't even part of.

Prior to this show, Hogan had main-evented seven of the previous eight 'Manias (with a 6-1 record, his sole loss coming to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI). Enough's enough, right? Wrong.

With Bret Hart defending the WWF Championship against Yokozuna, WrestleMania IX's scheduled main event almost felt like the Hulk vs. Andre of a new era. The Hitman was everyone's pick to lead the company into the future, a skilled, popular athlete, and th-

There's no point finishing that sentence. Bret lost in nine minutes after Mr. Fuji threw salt in his eyes. Hogan ran out to 'check on his friend' at ringside, which is sort of like when small children wear full uniform to sporting events, in the secret hope that they'll be plucked from the crowd to play alongside their heroes.

In Hulk's case, fantasy became reality (because of incredibly dubious backstage politicking), and Fuji challenged him to face Yokozuna right there and then. This must be the worst managing decision of all time, because not only had the new champ just wrestled, his opponent was Hogan - the strongest man in the history of everything ever.

Yes Hulk won; of course he did. He won in 22 seconds. It was ludicrous, and one of the biggest backward steps in WWE history.


9. An Actual Murder Attempt From Steve Austin - Survivor Series 2000


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Now, in fairness, Stone Cold had a right to be aggrieved with Triple H in the November of 2000. The Game had been revealed as the mastermind behind the hit-and-run assault on Austin the year prior, which in real life was because Rikishi was not working as a main event heel. In kayfabe though, it was because Triple H is super evil. Like willing to murder a man evil.

Luckily, this was the Attitude Era, where all the good guys were also horrendous, immoral assholes. No babyface was more beloved - and therefore more psychotic, I guess - than Steve Austin. The people were clamouring for revenge, and - during the build to their No DQ match at Survivor Series - probably dreamed up all sorts of scenarios in their heads.

Maybe Stone Cold was gonna tie Triple H to a chair and push him down a flight of stairs into a piranha tank. With like barbed wire on it.

Maybe Stone Cold was gonna throw Triple H into the back of his truck, drive him to a local zoo, and feed him to a tiger.

Maybe Stone Cold was gonna wait for Triple H to get into his car, use a forklift truck to raise it high in the air, and then drop it 20 feet onto the merciless tarmac below.

That last one's actually what happened though.

Even though it's absolutely the cheesiest ending on this list, it was still shocking to see the company's top heel apparently killed off on live pay per view. This was some Game of Thrones business, but before Game of Thrones.

(Actually, three of the novels had been published by this point. I've just googled that, and I apologise.)

Okay, yes, Triple H no-sold death itself, but he at least had the decency to take a couple of weeks off. When you watch this ending back - please watch it back - note the immersion-ruining camera angles for maximum melodrama. Also note how Austin manages to somehow sneak up on Hunter in a forklift truck. Incredible stuff.

8. The Undertaker Encases Paul Bearer In Cement For No Reason - The Great American Bash 2004


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When I was a child, there was an advertising campaign on the television for Carlsberg - a popular Danish lager beer here in the UK. The commercials centred around the slogan 'So good the Danes hate to see it leave', and featured various skits where Danish people would do unscrupulous things to prevent Carlsberg truck drivers from leaving the country.

I'll quickly run you through one in particular. A driver knocks on the door of a house in the middle of nowhere. A sinister old woman answers. It's raining a lot. The driver's truck has broken down and he needs to use the telephone, and the woman lets him inside. He calls for help with the breakdown, then asks the old woman if he can use her bathroom. She says yes, and points him into another room where he falls through a trapdoor in the floor. The old woman peers over the edge, says goodbye, and re-covers the trapdoor with a rug. She has won; the Carlsberg is hers. The driver's just gonna be stuck down there and die, I guess!?

This advert traumatised me when I was a kid. Absolutely traumatised me. I'd run from the room if it came on. That poor driver. That evil woman. She murdered him. She murdered him.

The other thing that traumatised me around this time was when Undertaker murdered Paul Bearer for no reason. He didn't just shoot him or something; he submerged him in cement. At the 2004 Great American Bash, the Heyman-led Dudleys had kidnapped Bearer in order to "make a statement", leading to a 2-on-1 handicap match with 'Taker. The stipulation: if the Dudley Boyz won, the legendary manager would be encased in cement.

So killed, then. Killed.

Mercifully - and I remember really stressing about this result because I didn't want to see a man murdered - Undertaker won. He did it! He saved the day, and his mentor's life! Then 'Taker approached the glass crypt in which Bearer was being housed, muttered some mysterious nonsense about being powerless to help, and pulled the lever on a nearby cement truck - totally submerging Paul in the stuff. Murdering him, guys. For no reason.

Apparently, for the live audience, Bearer (or his stunt double) was rescued from the crypt - but for us, the children at home, the pay per view just went off the air! You've just witnessed the beloved Undertaker murder someone in incredibly horrible fashion; sleep well, kids!

Bearer eventually came back, but he didn't reappear on WWE television for six years. To us, at the time, that was it. He literally been executed. By a babyface.

I'm probably still going to rank it just below the beer advert in terms of childhood trauma, but it's a very, very close second. At least Carlsberg gave a motive.

7. The First Ever Cash-In - New Year's Revolution 2006


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The MITB briefcase may sometimes be a slightly tiresome concept (Sheamus; Corbin), but it's still capable of very exciting moments (Rollins; Ambrose). Back when it was totally fresh, though - that was an incredibly intriguing time indeed.

When Edge won the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21, most probably expected the cash-in to be announced ahead of time. Yes, 'at any time' means 'at any time', but surely there'd be some build to speak of. Surely it'd be announced for an upcoming event - one which would grant the Rated R Superstar an advantage, of course.

Because Edge was a heel, maybe he'd announce it the week of a PPV, right after injuring the champ on Raw. "Heh, good luck recovering in six days, Cena". Maybe he'd announce it for the end of an already fully-booked card, thereby forcing his opponent to wrestle twice in one show. "See you at the end of the night, John. Don't wear yourself out."

Eh, maybe I'd just be a terrible villain. Of course, we know what happened now - but at the time it blew our minds. Even if you'd guessed that Edge was going to schedule his title shot right there and then, WWE did an incredible job of distracting us from the possibility with a gruelling Elimination Chamber match. This misdirection helped make the end of the night one of the wildest PPV finishes ever.

In 2006, WWE Champion John Cena hadn't yet reached his fully unbeatable form, but he was damn close. He was yet to defeat Triple H and Shawn Michaels at consecutive WrestleManias - the victories that really pushed him into that unbearably unbeatable tier - but those were right around the corner.

His survival in the New Year's Revolution Elimination Chamber was therefore met with quite a few groans. Cena entered first, outlasted guys like HBK and Kurt Angle, and secured victory with a roll-up. A roll-up. Over Carlito. I can hear the sharpening of smark pitchforks now, even 11 years into the future.

Instead, Vince McMahon cut short Cena's blood-caked victory celebration, announced that Edge was cashing in, and made fools of us all. You beautiful bastards, WWE. You've still got it. Never doubted you for a second.

Then Cena kicked out of the first Spear and we collectively crapped our pants. It was just a bluff though, and Edge downed his already-decimated opponent to win his first ever world title. Bravo.


6. The Biggest Ever Cash-In - WrestleMania 31


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So I just waxed lyrical for a little bit about Edge, and how brilliant and innovative the first ever MITB cash-in was. Despite this, it isn't the one I went craziest for.

That reaction, of course, was caused by Damien Sandow, when he -

No. That reaction, of course, was caused by Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31.

Remember how bleak everything seemed in the build-up to that 'Mania? We'd had our fun the year before, cheering for Daniel Bryan so much that Vince finally caved - but this was revenge.

Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble and got booed. He had his hand raised by The Rock and got booed. He defeated Daniel Bryan to secure his place in the WrestleMania main event - and of course got booed. The final piece of the puzzle - the weird, stubborn, joyless Vince McMahon puzzle - was to have Roman beat Brock Lesnar, effectively crowning himself the new face of the company in doing so. All would bow before the Big Dog, because of his handsomeness and marketability and muscles.

Yes, okay, that did eventually happen. At the time of writing, Roman has won consecutive 'Mania main events against Triple H and The Undertaker - historically two of the most unbeatable wrestlers ever. He's probably going to finish the job on Lesnar next time around. But in 2015, for the second year in a row, WWE somehow decided to reward pathetic smarks like us. Screw the children.

Tell me your body didn't tense up when those kickdrums interrupted that big outdoor main event. Lesnar was dominant for much of the bout, hoisting Roman around with ease, slapping him at one point. Reigns bravely fought back, most of the crowd vocally willing him to fail. This seemed to be going only one way. Rollins didn't care about any of that. He was coming to win the title.

And he did, and it was awesome! (And I still can't believe he didn't trip as he sprinted down that very long entrance ramp.) You do have to feel for Reigns, in fairness. His family weren't notified of the booking change as they sat in the arena.

But as a moment of pure excitement, Seth's cash-in ranks up there with the coolest PPV finishes of all time. It's probably the most badass thing ever involving a man named Seth, also.

5. Vince's Quads (And Also The Rumble And Stuff) - Royal Rumble 2005


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Some moments so far have been amazing; some have been shambolic. This one honestly felt like an absolute farce, but man was it entertaining.

Royal Rumbles must be a nightmare to book, and we've seen a few mishaps over the years involving accidental eliminations. 2005, however, was on an entirely different scale. With a final two of Batista and John Cena (when Big Dave was still considered the bigger star), the scene was set for the Evolution member to hurl his opponent out and go on to WrestleMania.

Instead, as he scooped John up onto his shoulders, Batista staggered backwards - not only dropping Cena over the top rope, but levering himself onto the floor as well.

Has something embarrassing ever happened to you on what felt like a monumental scale? When I was about 14, I had my pants pulled down in front of the girl I liked. That's not a metaphorical prelude to something else; it literally happened one day after school. I can still remember that instinctive panic, but I bet it's a fraction of what Batista felt as he and Cena crashed onto the ringside floor.

Sorry about that story, by the way. It's been bottled up for a long time, and I decided to shoehorn it in. I feel better now.

Props must be given, I feel, to the SmackDown refereeing team. As the Raw officials rushed to proclaim Dave the winner, the blue branded refs did the same with Cena, thereby keeping the planned finish of the match a secret in the event of overtime.

Overtime was indeed called, as Mr. McMahon clomped down to the ring and tore his quads - a now legendary incident in Rumble history. The sheer balls of the man, by the way, to berate the hell out of everyone while sat in the ring like a toddler; I still marvel at how unembarrassed he seems.

Eventually, once Vince was delicately taken to the back and a decision to continue the match was made, Batista threw Cena out in about a minute. So, all in all, a lot of fuss for a very straightforward outcome - but a hell of a lot of fun as well.

4. The Montreal Screwjob - Survivor Series 1997


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The Screwjob has been written about so much, I'm not sure how to provide a unique spin on it. I don't have an original take. How do I convey how crazy a PPV ending it was without you rolling your eyes and skimming past this entry?

Haikus, I guess.

Here are several haikus about the events of Survivor Series 1997. I hope you enjoy.

The sharpshooter locked
In, Bret Hart reaches back but
The f***ing bell rings.

Earl knows what he did.
In amateur sign language
Bret draws three letters.

Spit flies through the air.
WCW
Will be Bret's new home.

Backstage, Bret knocks out
Vince with a single punch and
It sounds super sweet.

Thank you; I'm especially proud of that third one, and how 'WCW' is seven syllables. @JackTheJobber on Twitter, tell your friends.


3. Sami Saves Kevin - Hell In A Cell 2017


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I know this is the most recent moment on this list, and hasn't yet had time to fade properly into memory where it can be better judged. Despite that, I'm still going to throw it in at third. I'm a slave to my emotions.

I've already talked in the introduction about why this was such a crazy moment, but I'm going to break it down slightly further.

Most reasons on this list are crazy for one reason or another. The finish of Hell in a Cell 2017 was more like a trifle, with various different things coming together to create a taste sensation. Or an exciting thing for wrestling fans to explode over on the internet. Where was I again?

Ah, the reasons for it being crazy, yes.

Firstly, Shane McMahon fell from the top of the cell through an announce table. That's pretty damn crazy, but he did it once before at WrestleMania 32. So it's moderately crazy.

Secondly - this is where it gets good - he almost killed a man. Genuinely, I think Owens may have died had Shane landed on him. He was sitting upright milliseconds before collision, and his head was totally exposed.

Thirdly, KO didn't just move out of the way. He was saved by his nemesis. That's some Hollywood-level drama right there, especially because Zayn had been nothing but the purest of babyfaces since rocking up in WWE.

Finally, Shane's kids were in the front row, and if you watch closely, you can see one of them flip Sami the double-bird. That's wonderful, and I hope we see an awesome clash between an ageing Zayn and that kid at WrestleMania 50.

2. Goldberg Wins!? Goldberg Wins! - Survivor Series 2016


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Another very recent moment, and another that made the entire wrestling world freak out when it happened.

2016 was a year of unlikelihoods in WWE, from AJ Styles entering the Royal Rumble to James Ellsworth becoming a mainstay on television. However, the shock that provoked the most visceral reaction from fans was surely Goldberg squashing the hell out of Brock Lesnar.

Sometimes PPV main events feel pointless, particularly if they're predictable. Everybody knew Brock was winning this one; WWE had built him up over the previous few years as the ultimate destroyer of heroes, from Cena to Undertaker. Lesnar takes our favourite things and suplexes them until they're very hurt. Goldberg was surely going to be no different.

Also, Big Bill won their first bout - the infamous WrestleMania XX clash where the crowd, wise to the fact that both men were leaving WWE, booed the crap out of them. There was no way he was going 2-0 over Lesnar, the biggest heel around, and one of the few men on the roster with mainstream appeal, right?

Here's a question for you: at what point in the match did you realise that Goldberg was going over? For me, it was when he lifted Brock up for the Jackhammer, but I'm a skeptic at heart. It could have been after the first Spear, or maybe the second, but in hindsight the most telling moment was that opening shove. When Lesnar backed Goldberg into the corner and got put on his ass like a child, that was the moment the craziness began. Brock sold it wonderfully; he realised he was going to lose before we did.

Here's the thing - we shouldn't have been surprised. In purely kayfabe terms, Goldberg is one of the most indestructible wrestlers ever. I'll throw some other top-tier unbeatable kayfabe gods out there, just for fun, and also because I can't think of a closing sentence to this entry.

Hogan's up there, of course, as is Warrior and Cena. Undertaker, naturally. Austin also deserves to be in contention; he didn't actually win the title a massive amount of times, or anything like that, but he could walk into a ring and beat up like 20 guys. Remember the time WWF and the Alliance were having a huge brawl, and Stone Cold came back and turned the tide on his own? I was nine years old; it was the best thing I'd ever seen.

Anyway yeah, Goldberg's win over Brock was really shocking. One more to go.

1. A Deal With The Devil - WrestleMania X-Seven


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Here it is, the craziest ending in WWE history. What could be more shocking than Steve Austin aligning with Vince McMahon?

Yes, Austin came into the company as a heel, but his groundbreaking Attitude Era run had surely turned him babyface for life. Stone Cold railing against authority was a major factor for WWF's victory in the Monday Night Wars; it helped the promotion tap into the zeitgeist in a way WCW couldn't. Sure, watching Hogan, Nash, and Hall strutting around and being all cool was fun, but Austin gave fans something to relate to.

Stone Cold was the ultimate everyman, but he sold out at the infuriatingly-named WrestleMania X-Seven. He wrestled one of the best matches ever - my personal favourite - against The Rock, and when he couldn't get the job done, he turned to his ultimate enemy.

It was unthinkable, like Luke aligning with The Emperor, or Sami Zayn aligning with Kevin O...uhh...nevermind.

When Austin shook hands with Vince over Rock's unconscious body, the wrestling world crashed and reset. Seriously. WrestleMania X-Seven is often thought of as the end of the Attitude Era, and even though those observations are always made in hindsight, such a seismic shift was almost palpable at the time. One minute, Stone Cold and The Rock were building towards the biggest face vs. face clash ever, and within a few weeks, a fully heel Austin was running around with Triple H collecting titles, The Rock was AWOL, and WCW was about to invade.

It felt like we'd all stepped into a parallel universe, and that all sprouted from Stone Cold's great betrayal in Houston. Despite it bringing an end to the most exciting period in wrestling, and despite the heel turn being criticised down the line (including by Austin himself), I can't bring myself to dislike it. The ending of that 'Mania is simply too colossal a moment, and I hope you feel the same too.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

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