Greatest WWE Events Ever Held in Las Vegas
Wrestling is a popular sport around the world. Many of the major events are held in the USA, with Madison Square Gardens in New York being one regular venue for the shows. Wrestling moves up and down the country, as well as across the waters to the UK and Europe, so fans from different areas can catch the live action.
Las Vegas is one of the cities that regularly hosts WWE events, though when it comes to the major PPVs there have been fewer in the city than you might think. Vegas has long been a place for casino gaming, but this is changing as the city diversifies its entertainment.
Players in a number of states can now play online poker and other games and have less incentive to take the trip to Vegas just to frequent the casinos. As the city opens up to other options to draw in the crowds, fighting sports like boxing and entertainment sports like wrestling may see more of the limelight.
For now, here are the greatest ever WWE events held in Las Vegas, starting with the very first Wrestlemania to be held in Sin City.
Wrestlemania IX, 1993
Wrestlemania IX was the first-ever Wrestlemania held in Las Vegas, as well as being the first to be held outdoors. The venue? The legendary Caesars Palace with its outdoor arena. The extravagance of the show more than made up for a few shortcomings on the card. Fans were treated to an absolute spectacle, complete with a Roman theme.
Some of the fights could have been better. The Undertaker vs Giant Gonzalez stands out as a bit of a flop. Two huge guys battling it out, but the match felt less like professional wrestling and more like a slugfest. Few moves and lots of fist clubbing. In the end, Gonzalez lost the fight on a disqualification after shoving a rag down the Undertaker’s throat and choking him out. After being stretchered off, the Undertaker ran back to the ring to give the Giant a deserved beating, but all in all a weak effort.
The main event between Yokozuna and Bret Hart offered more in the way of technical wrestling, as you would expect from Bret. It was Yokozuna who won the fight, but not without dirty tactics. Hogan then runs down to support Bret Hart, challenges Yokozuna and goes on to beat him in less than half a minute. The crowd loved it!
No Way Out, 2001
It was nearly eight years before the WWE (then the WWF) made its return to Las Vegas for PPV. The next event was No Way Out in 2001, held at the Thomas and Mack Centre. This time, it wasn’t the theme that made the show special, it was the epic line-up and awesome execution of the matches.
The Rock challenged Kurt Angle for the title in the main event, a classic matchup full of technical skill, ruined only by the Big Show’s pointless interruption in the middle. Both men performed really well, maybe aware that they had to live up to the match between Triple H and Steve Austin earlier in the bill. We had Angle lock and Kurt threatening to break the Rock’s ankle, people’s elbows, Angle slams and two rock bottoms before the Rock made the pin and took the win.
The Three Stages of Hell match between Triple H and Stone Cold was truly one that will always be remembered. This was two of the greats in the WWE at the time meeting to settle an intense rivalry. The first match was a straight-up fight, with Austin eventually delivering the stunner for a win. HHH won the next fight, a hardcore no rules brawl with plenty of chairs and barbed wire, although it took a sledgehammer and pedigree to end it. The final match was in the cage and was equally brutal. Triple H just about took the win with a pin, with both men pretty much bleeding out on the floor.
Wrestling fans were also treated to top matchups between Trish and Stephanie McMahon; a triple threat tag team championship involving the Dudleys, Edge and Christian, and Undertaker and Kane, and an intercontinental title match between Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero and X-Pac, all of which were very entertaining. Maybe one of the best ever WWE events in Las Vegas.
This time, Vegas didn’t have to wait so long to get its next WWE PPV event – Vengeance came just a few short years later. Vengeance was unique in that it came just a few days after the RAW/Smackdown draft. This RAW exclusive event ended up with two championship matches, along with an instant classic re-match between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels, making it one that fans are sure to remember.
Kurt Angle put in a flawless performance, full of grit and determination. He dominated the first half of the match, with Michaels coming back later on before delivering two sweet chin music to Angle and taking the pin.
John Cena had to defend his title against Jericho and Christian in one of Cena’s earlier moments of glory and better matches in the WWE. It became clear from early on that Jericho and Christian planned to work together, but of course, they couldn’t entirely cooperate when it came to making the pin. In the end, Cena overcame the odds to retain his title.
The match of the night was definitely the Hell in the Cell between Batista and Triple H. HHH is a true veteran of the cage, whereas this would be Batista’s first time. A betrayal and fierce rivalry set the tone for this one; the match was set to be all-out war, and it sure did not disappoint. From power slams into the cage to steel chairs, this was a brawl from the beginning.
And no HHH cage match would be complete without the sledgehammer, of which both fighters took blows. In the end, the Batista Bomb finished of The Game. Batista is soon to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and this match is one that definitely cemented his place as one of the greats.
Money in The Bank, 2016
Admittedly, there’s a Vegas show missing from this list. No Way Out in 2008 was a little bit hit and miss. It was a PPV that fans would say is worth the watch, but was it one of the greatest WWE shows in Vegas history? Not really.
Money in The Bank, held at the T-Mobile Arena in 2016, was better. It wasn’t pure PPV gold, but it was a memorable event that had some spectacular matches. There were a few too many fillers on the cards, but the fight between Cena and AJ Styles was full of wrestling prowess, as was the main event between Reigns and Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose had won the Money in the Bank ladder match earlier on. He ran out and immediately did the dirty on winner Seth Rollins, claiming the title and closing out the dramatic event.
The most recent WWE PPV held in Las Vegas was the Elimination Chamber, again at the T-Mobile Arena. It’s opinion really, but again this event wasn’t among the best ever in Vegas. It is, however, a great sign for wrestling fans who want to watch wrestling in Sin City. Held in 2018, this is the shortest amount of time between PPVs. Is this a sign that Vegas will be welcoming more frequent WWE events in the coming years? Let’s hope so.