The WWE is all about spectacle. Sure, there are merits to professional wrestling that revolve around athleticism, technique, and the like, but at the end of the day it’s a scripted show. Bouts are given meticulous buildup and backstories (the good ones are, at least) and take place after showers of pyrotechnics and entrance music blasted throughout arenas. The monthly pay-per-view structure helps this hype machine succeed, giving feuds resolution before others can begin.
The crucial thing is to make these events feel different and unique. If every pay-per-view were numbered sequentially like the UFC, the WWE would be missing great opportunities to brand events around themes. But, they know this. There’s the Royal Rumble, an annual January event that features the titular match as its main event, a 30-man brawl to determine who gets to fight for the championship at Wrestlemania, the company’s biggest event of the year. There’s Summerslam, an event that takes place in, duh, the summer. There are retired events that take advantage of this as well, in all their alliterative glory: Halloween Havoc, Bash at the Beach, etc.
But these days, there are a few pay-per-views a year that just don’t take advantage of any discernable, sensical themes or motifs. The WWE just announced a “Battleground” event for October. Battleground? That’s lazy, yo. Here are 10 new PPVs the company should make room for in its schedule to keep it at the top of the wrestling food chain.
Tax Day Turmoil
This would stack up pretty closely to the Wrestlemania timeframe, but it could be a special Tuesday night event that would put everything on the line for wrestlers. The catch: the loser of each match receives a comprehensive audit by the IRS. In fact, government employees surround the ring during each bout and when it finishes, the victor retreats to the back while the government employees descend upon the defeated grappler inside the ring.
Flag Day Frenzy
Turn this into the World Cup. Wrestling is a very multi-cultural pastime, and there’s no better way to recognize this than on Flag Day. Wrestlers will compete to preserve the integrity of their country’s sigil, with matches serving as glorified games of “Capture the Flag.” Beat your opponent senseless, get to the turnbuckle where your opponent’s flag is flying, and destroy it. Not surprisingly, this event will require extra security in the arena to prevent the riots that are sure to pop up.
Extreme Earth Day
The event takes place in a local co-op. The only lights come from electricity generated through that sweet potato trick they teach you in science class, and at the correct hour, even those are turned off for 60 minutes. Wrestlers are required to compete barefoot and in gear that is made from all natural materials. Whole Foods employees serve as vendors and walk up and down the rows of audience members hocking hyper-local fruits and vegetables picked from nearby farms. Audience members can throw those items at wrestlers they don’t like, at which point they are gathered up and re-sold.
Wrestlers that need corrective lenses must wear black framed glasses; those who do not must also wear them, but with those fake lenses in place like NBA players are wont to don. Wrestlers must come to the ring on fixed-gear bicycles and wearing cutoff jean shorts. Any entrance music played by bands that have sold out is strictly prohibited. Wrestlers will assume new gimmicks for one night only, including WWE champion John “you CAN see me but only because I want you to because I’m at this show ironically” Cena. The main event will take place amidst a chorus of non-relevant, but totally cool chants from the crowd.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know a lot about crossfit, but I assume this event would feature hordes of toned-up ‘fitters roaming the aisles with clipboards, trying to sign up audience members at their local crossfit gym. Matches would happen in the ring, but the crowd would act them out along with the participants, just to show how tough they are. Any wrestler that’s seemingly out of shape, albeit slightly, will be subjected to countless taunts of “Lay off the non-Paleo diet, bro!” and “You obviously don’t do Crossfit!” Afterward, everybody is given a wheatgrass shot as they exit the arena.
Ryan Braun presents ‘Roid Rage
Obviously the most violent, brutal pay-per-view of the year. All matches feature special guest referee Ryan Braun, and wrestlers can, if they’re able to incapacitate their opponent long enough, head outside to the commentary booth to grab a quick HGH shot before continuing the match. Although the event will still focus on WWE talent, the main event will be a falls count anywhere street fight between Bud Selig and Alex Rodriguez. With Braun as the referee, take a guess at who wins.
Matches take place like normal, but with a Hunger Games-style twist: fans can go online and purchase “upgrades” to be used during the bouts. $20 gets John Cena a steel chair, $50 and the Usos can get the extra assistance of Mark Henry. Main events will also feature live, ongoing auctions throughout the night to determine match type based on which choice raises the most money. The best part of all of this is all the money raised goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, because even though the concept of the WWE is technically dudes beating the shit out of each other, they’re really a compassionate organization.
It’s simple. Are you afraid of something? You better hope the WWE doesn’t know about it, because that will be used against you at this event. Wrestlers who are afraid of heights will compete in a scaffold match, those who are claustrophobic do battle locked inside a steel cage, fire fearers re-establish the rarely used inferno match. It’s a night of pure terror for competitors, but sheer elation for fans.
Election night. Fans are divided in the arena into red and blue sections, with weird little pockets of green. All matches take place between opposite party affiliated wrestlers, with independents as the referees. Every match hinges on a crucial issue: Democrats win, free healthcare for everybody, Republicans win, buy your own, you jackwagon. “Good ‘ol JR” Jim Ross returns to lead the charge in WWE Campaign Central backstage, charting which parties have won more matches and where the majority of fans are watching from. Of course, all results that take place will be voided at the end of the night, pending a recount.
Every child’s dream comes true. All matches take place on a trampoline, enabling even more high-flying moves and breathtaking displays from performers. Have you ever seen Rob Van Dam land a frog splash after jumping 20 feet in the air via trampoline? You will. Ever wondered what it’d be like if Daniel Bryan jumped even higher while leading the crowd in a chant of “Yes!” when he’s in the ring? You’re about to find out. Ladder matches will be abandoned in favor of just asking wrestlers to JUMP to the area where the championship belt is hanging. Cage matches get REAL interesting when you’re trying to launch yourself over the top. Get ready for the highest rated pay-per-view ever.