All 1996 WWE PPVs, ranked worst to best

After 1995, which many wrestling fans consider the worst year in WWE history, things finally turned around in 1996. It all started at the Royal Rumble, and then at WrestleMania, the tide began to turn thanks to the rise of Shawn Michaels in the main scene of the event.

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Things still had a little way to go, thanks mostly to behind-the-scenes politics, but this was where it started to change and led to an even better year in 1997 and the Age of Attitude after that. However, not all pay-per-views in 1996 were great, and while it was a turning point, everyone on the roster required a bit of work.

At home: watch out for the dog

Beware of the Dog

Beware of Dog was actually a pretty good pay-per-view, but it was disappointing in the end. The opening match was Triple H against Marc Mero, which was one of their best matches between them. Shawn Michaels against British Bulldog was next, and it was also a great match, two for two to start the show. TO

After this, Stone Cold and Savio Vega had a fantastic match. However, the last two matches were not good, with Yokozuna losing to Vader in a disaster and then Goldust and Undertaker disappointed in the main event.

In your house: good friends, best enemies

Good friends, best enemies

Good friends, best enemies was the name of this WWE PPV because Shawn Michaels and Diesel fought each other. These two always worked well together, and this match was no different, with Diesel just destroying it until Shawn screamed with victory.

That was the only big game on the card, but it was so good it’s worth looking for alone.


In your house 6

In your house 6

Once again, Shawn Michaels took this PPV to a high level as he battled Owen Hart in a fantastic match. The two fought for 15 minutes, and Shawn was able to pull off the victory over the always great Owen.

There was also a nice main event with Bret Hart and Diesel fighting in a steel cage, with Bret eventually winning by escaping the cage despite taking a massive beating from Diesel. This was done primarily to prepare for Undertaker’s clash with Big Daddy Cool at WrestleMania 12.

Royal rumble

1996 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble was unpredictable during the ’90s, and in 1996, it had a great moment, but it was not good enough to power the rest of the games on the program.

Honestly, there wasn’t a good regular match on the show, the best being the Smoking Gunns against the Bodydonnas. The Rumble itself was good enough, with Shawn winning by eliminating Diesel for a WrestleMania title shot.

Summer festival

SummerSlam 1996

SummerSlam 1996 had Shawn Michaels working as a world champion and trying to position himself as the main face of the company for the first time. He proved his worth here. While Vader had been misused and not very good when he came to WWE, he had a great opportunity here.

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Shawn risked his WWE title against Vader, and the two had a near-perfect match, with HBK proving that he was always better against a monster fighter. This was also where Undertaker and Mankind had their Boiler Room Brawl, all kinds of fun.

At your house: international incident

Shawn Michaels superkicks British Bulldog

The best match on this show was a six-man match that had to be changed and was better for that. Ultimate Warrior was supposed to join Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson in the match, but he wasn’t there so Sid joined them, leading to great things down the road.

As it was, the baddies of Owen Hart, British Bulldog & Vader won the match, and the fans loved it because it was in Canada. Stone Cold vs. Marc Mera was also a fun mid-card match.

In your house: Buried alive

Buried alive

This was the first time WWE had a Buried Alive Match. Undertaker and Humanity had been destroying each other, and this was the next logical step. Undertaker won the match and WWE is yet to beat him with this specific trick.

However, the match you really wanted to see was the opening match. Years before Stone Cold vs. Triple H was one thing, Steve Austin took on Hunter Heart Helmsley, and they hinted at great things to come.

King of the ring

Stone Cold v Mero

This was the King of the Ring where Steve Austin transformed into “Austin 3:16” Stone Cold Steve Austin. Throughout the tournament, it was clear that Austin was becoming a major star. His match with Marc Mero was the best of the night, and then he beat Jake Roberts in the final.

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That promotion after his win was worth the price of admission alone. There was also another great Undertaker vs. Mankind, which Mick actually won, and a great world title match between Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog. This was just a fun show.

In your house: it’s time

In your house it's time

Everybody wanted to bring it on this In Your House PPV. To prove it, Lief Cassidy (Al Snow) opened the show with a great match against Flash Funk.

After this, things got even better with another great Triple H match against Marc Mero and a surprisingly solid world title match with Bret Hart defending his title against Sid Vicious.

At home: mind games

Shawn Michaels fights humanity

This PPV started two games below average before Brian Pillman came out to promote, leading to his feud with former teammate Stone Cold. The following matches were average, but then the main event happened.

This was Shawn Michaels defending his world title against humanity. The two spent 26 minutes and became one of the best matches of Shawn’s first title reign. This was arguably a five-star match for Foley and HBK and one of the best matches of the year in WWE.

Survival series

Stone Cold vs. Bret

Survivor Series in 1996 was a great moment for WWE because all the big disputes of the year were starting to work. Undertaker and Mankind had another good match here, and the traditional Survivor Series matches were pretty good.

However, there were two outstanding matches. Bret Hart and Steve Austin wrestled in a fantastic match that foreshadowed their WrestleMania match next year that would make Austin a megastar. The other big match was Shawn Michaels against Sid, and HBK is always at his best against a monster in which he pulled a solid main event from the normally slow Sycho Sid.

WrestleMania XII

WrestleMania XII

This was the WrestleMania event where Shawn Michaels beat Bret Hart in the Iron Man match to fulfill his childhood dream and win his first world title. Still considered one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time, the two held a clinic.

Also held here was the Hollywood Backlot Brawl between Goldust and Roddy Piper which was better than anyone could have expected, and another great fight between Steve Austin and Savio Vega.

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