Every 1995 WWF Pay-Per-View Ranked

Shawn Michaels 1995 Royal Rumble

Whilst the WWF’s 1994 is fondly remembered as a superlative year for the company from an in-ring and storytelling standpoint, 1995 is renowned as the nadir of the promotion’s creative output. Bereft of new ideas and still promoting a family friendly, cartoonish product, all aspects of the company’s bottom line was in decline.

The WWF attempted to change it’s business model to reverse this and in May began to offer additional pay-per-view events in the months where it had not previously promoted super-cards. This resulted in monthly pay-per-views for the first time in wresting history.

The experiment did increase the WWF’s revenue but was not an immediate success from a creative standpoint.

This features ranks all 10 events from 1995 from worst to best!

#10 King of the Ring

King Mabel 1995

King of the Ring is the event with which all truly woeful wrestling shows are compared. It is the one of if not the worst wrestling show ever held.

The booking was truly baffling. Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker were the only two combatants entered into the King of the Ring tournament who were over. Naturally, they were both eliminated in the first round.

Newcomer, Savio Vega, who was not over with the crowd and was an opening card act for his entire WWF run wrestled four times as he made it all the way to the King of the Ring final. Former Men on a Mission team member, Mabel, who was even less popular with the crowd, claimed the King of the Ring title after defeating Vega in an eight minute bore. The Philadelphia crowd loudly booed the result and the coronation. This wasn’t heel heat fan enmity either.

Elsewhere, Bret Hart beat Jerry Lawler in a tedious ‘Kiss my Foot’ match, which was a gigantic waste of the ‘Hitman.’

The headliner saw Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow beat Sycho Sid and Tatanka in a boring and interminable 18- minute tag team encounter.

With absolutely zero redeeming features, terrible booking and nine dreadful matches, if you include the pre-show, King of the Ring 1995 was awful.

#9 In Your House 4

Diesel vs British Bulldog In Your House 4

There were some truly great In Your House events. However, In Your House 4 was not one of them. Only the opener featuring Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Fatu and the Tag Team Title match pitting Razor Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid versus The Smoking Gunns offered anything resembling in-ring action and the former bout played before silence.

Goldust’s debut victory over Marty Jannetty lasted an epic 11 minutes. Given it was designed to put the newcomer over. This should have been a squash. As it was, it bored the fans to tears.

Yokozuna versus King Mabel was exactly what you would expect. Lots of stalling, virtually no wrestling whatsoever and it ended in a screwy double count-out.

Then in a sickening display of backstage politics, Shawn Michaels surrendered the Intercontinental Title, after her had been battered (for real) by a group of marines in a nightclub car park and was not able to compete. Number one contender, Dean Douglas was awarded the belt and forced to compete against Razor Ramon. Razor intentionally sandbagged Douglas on virtually every move and made him look as terrible as possible. Douglas, as you may have heard once or twice, was furious about it and very soon left the company never to return. Razor, to rub salt in the wound won the IC Title from Douglas after a horrendous 11-minute encounter.

The headliner saw an awkward style clash between Diesel and The British Bulldog. The pair did not mesh at all and Vince McMahon was allegedly furious with the quality of the bout afterwards. The match ended in a lame disqualification when The Bulldog slapped Bret Hart who was doing guest commentary at ringside and the ‘Hitman’ retaliated causing the referee to throw the match out.

Poor action and politics make this an event better best forgotten.

#8 In Your House

In Your House 1

The inaugural In Your House event caused panic amongst those in the wrestling business, concerned that monthly pay-per-views would oversaturate the market.

However, the WWF were smart in that the In Your House events were initially less than 2 hours long and were far cheaper than the traditional ‘big five’ pay-per-view offerings.

Most fans would have been relieved that In Your House was a cut-price show, given it offered little from an entertainment standpoint.

The lone highlight of the show was the opener which pitted Bret Hart in his first bout of the evening, against Hakushi. Fought at an exciting pace, packed full of innovative aerials and logical storytelling, this was unlike anything else in the Federation in 1995. It wasn’t an all time classic but a very fun bout nonetheless.

Up next was an interminable bore between Razor Ramon and the team of Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie in a Handicap Match. The bout went an epic 13 minutes and quite possibly ran long as the rest of the show was rushed.

Mabel versus Adam Bomb, Owen Hart and Yokozuna versus The Smoking Gunns and Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart all lasted less than six minutes.

Diesel and Sycho Sid clashed in a dreadful, rest hold dominated headliner that lasted a weary 12 minutes. The only chance these two had at succeeding was if they engaged in an all out five minute brawl. Diesel won by disqualification, which stretched the feud out for another couple of months.

Bret Hart versus Hakushi aside, the inaugural In Your House is completely miss-able.

#7 In Your House 5

In Your House 5

The final pay-per-view of 1995 played host to the other all-time classic match between Bret Hart and The British Bulldog. On this occasion, the WWF Championship was at stake. After a bloody, intense and superlative brawl, Hart rolled up Bulldog, in a similar finish to their SummerSlam encounter to retain the gold.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley bested Henry O. Godwinn in a Hog Pen match which was far better than it’s stipulation would suggest.

The rest of the card was utterly woeful.

The Undertaker versus Mabel, Diesel versus Owen Hart, Ahmed Johnson versus Buddy Landel and Sycho Sid and the 1-2-3 Kid versus Razor Ramon and Marty Janetty were all dreadful wastes of airtime.

Hart versus Bulldog aside, there is nothing on this card that is must-see.

#6 In Your House 3

The Undertaker In Your House 3

The third In Your House event put all of it’s eggs into the one basket so to speak, when it booked all three of it’s major titles to be on the line in the card’s headliner.

WWF Champion, Diesel teamed with Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels to take on the Tag Team Champions, Owen Hart and Yokozuna. In a twist, Owen claimed to be in no condition to compete and his stable-mate in Camp Cornette, The British Bulldog replaced him.

The (nonsensical) finish came when Diesel pinned an interfering Owen to win the bout. That apparently made Diesel and Michaels the new Tag Team champions. However, in a Vince Russo-style swerve, the decision was reversed the next night on Raw and the belts were returned to Yoko and Owen. The match was decent, but featured too much Yoko to be a classic.

Bret Hart defeated Jean-Pierre Lafitte in a good match-up, fought at a keen pace, with great intensity. It was the best thing on the card by a mile.

There was little else of note on the show. Savio Vega defeated Waylon Mercy (who was a great character, inspired by Robert De Niro’s Max Cady, a precursor to Bray Wyatt but unfortunately played by a broken down Dan Spivey, who would soon retire) in a passable contest.

The Bulldog also competed earlier in the show and defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Dean Douglas pinned Razor Ramon. Both bouts were only OK.

The worst contest of the night saw Sycho Sid defeat Henry O. Godwinn.

In Your House 3 had it’s moments but was largely an unmemorable pay-per-view offering.

#5 Royal Rumble

1995 Royal Rumble

The 1995 Royal Rumble match was lacking star power. Recognising this ahead of time, the WWF opted to speed up the bout by reducing the time between entrants to one minute as opposed to the usual two.

The match lasted 38 minutes as opposed to the usual hour and was much better for it. Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog were the first two entrants and the final two competitors left in the match-up. Bulldog threw Michaels over the top strand and believed he had won the bout. However, Michaels famously clung on and only one of his feet hit the floor. He crawled back into the ring and knocked out the Brit to win the bout and earn a shot at Diesel’s WWF Championship at WrestleMania XI. Post-match, Michaels celebrated with special guest, Pamela Anderson who was set to walk him down the aisle at ‘Mania.

Elsewhere, Diesel battled Bret Hart to a draw in a decent, if overlong 27-minute WWF Title match. The match was thrown out when the referee lost control due to a glut of outside interference from Michaels, Jarrett, The Roadie, Owen Hart and Bob Backlund.

Jeff Jarrett pinned Razor Ramon to win the Intercontinental Title in a great story match. Jarrett worked over Razor’s knee to such an extent that ‘The Bad Guy’s’ knee buckled when he attempted to nail the challenger with the Razor’s Edge. This left him vulnerable to an inside cradle. This set-up a rematch between the pair at WrestleMania.

The 1-2-3 Kid and Bob ‘Sparky Plugg’ Holly upset Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka to claim the vacant Tag Team Title in a passable encounter. More notable, was the post-match fracas between Bigelow and NFL legend, Lawrence Taylor, who was sat in the front row. This laid the groundwork for the ‘Mania XI main event between the pair.

The only dud on the show was an interminable bout between The Undertaker and IRS which bored the live crowd to tears.

With three decent matches, one passable encounter and only one poor match, the 1995 Royal Rumble was well worth the effort.

#4 WrestleMania

WrestleMania XI 1995

WrestleMania XI pulled a hugely disappointed 340,000 buys on pay-per-view; 80,000 less than WrestleMania X the previous year.

Part of the reason was that fans were not invested in the headline attraction between career mid-carder, Bam Bam Bigelow and NFL superstar, Lawrence Taylor. On this occasion, the celebrity tie-in did not result in additional pay-per-view orders. Although it flopped at the box office, Bigelow versus Taylor was a success in the ring. Bigelow carried Taylor to a very good match that ended the show on a high note.

Relegated to the semi-final spot, WWF Champion, Diesel and his challenger, Shawn Michaels had a point to prove in their title bout. In a twist, Michaels walked to the ring with Jenny McCarthy and it was Diesel, who walked the aisle with Pamela Anderson in tow. Michaels and Diesel excelled themselves in a superb match-up which saw Diesel retain the gold when he nailed Michaels with a Jacknife.

Razor Ramon fell to Jeff Jarrett again in a rematch for the Intercontinental Title. The Roadie interfered for a lame disqualification, which hampered the quality of the bout, which was inferior to their Royal Rumble contest.

The Allied Powers defeated The Blu Brothers in a surprisingly entertaining opener. Elsewhere, the rest of the card disappointed. The Undertaker versus King Kong Bundy, Owen Hart and Yokozuna versus The Smoking Gunns and Bret Hart versus Bob Backlund were all colossal bores.

However, the good was so good, that the dross is easily forgotten.

#3 In Your House 2

Shawn Michaels In Your House 2

The second In Your House is best remembered for the classic Intercontinental Title bout between Jeff Jarrett and Shawn Michaels. After a several month absence, Michaels returned with a bang and contested one of the all time great Intercontinental Title matches to claim his third IC strap.

The Roadie bested the 1-2-3 Kid in an enjoyable 7-minute sprint. Full of excellent back and forth action, this was a belter of a match.

Owen Hart and Yokozuna successfully defended their Tag Team Title opposite The Allied Powers in a decent match, which was excellent when Owen and The British Bulldog were in the ring, but substantially less good, when Lex Luger and Yokozuna were in the ring.

The rest of the card was disappointing. Bam Bam Bigelow versus Henry O. Godwinn was only passable and Men on a Mission versus Razor Ramon and Savio Vega and the Diesel versus Sycho Sid headliner were awful.

However, the good far outweighed the bad and the Jarrett versus Michaels match-up makes the event a must-see.

#2 Survivor Series

1995 Survivor Series

Survivor Series 1995 is remembered for an incredible bout between Diesel and Bret Hart for the WWF Championship and the Wildcard Survivor Series tag bout.

Hart ended ‘Big Daddy Cool’s’ year long title reign, in an all out war, which saw Hart become the first wrestler in Federation history to crash through the Spanish announce table. Hart surprised Diesel with a small package to capture this third WWF Championship.

The Wildcard bout saw the babyface duo of Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson team with heels, Davey Boy Smith and Sycho Sid opposite the babyface Razor Ramon and heels, Yokozuna, Owen Hart and Dean Douglas. In a heated and entertaining bout, Michaels, Johnson and Smith survived to win the bout for their squad.

Elsewhere, there were other rewarding bouts too. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe and Lioness Asuka took on Alundra Blaze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue and Chapparita Asari in an exciting Japanese style Survivor Series Elimination bout. At the time it was one of the hottest women’s contests ever held on North American soil.

The opening Survivor Series Elimination match was fun also, despite largely featuring opening card jobbers. Marty Jannetty, Barry Horowitz, Bob Holly and Hakushi fell to Dr. Tom Pritchard, Skip, Rad Radford and the 1-2-3 Kid. Kid was the sole survivor, which was unsurprising given he was the only wrestler in the bout who was over with the crowd.

Jerry Lawler, Isaac Yankem DDS, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and King Mabel fell to The Undertaker, Savio Vega, Fatu & Henry O. Godwinn in a poor match.

Bam Bam Bigelow continued his descent down the card with a low key job to new signing, Goldust in a dreadful bout, which did little to enhance Goldust either.

With satisfying action up and down the card and very little dross, Survivor Series was an excellent WWF super-card.

#1 SummerSlam

SummerSlam 1995

Despite the WWF’s problems in 1995, SummerSlam was at the time, one of the greatest pay-per-views in company history. In fact, it was arguably the best pay-per-view it had ever offered. Although WrestleMania X boasted two five star classics compared to SummerSlam’s one, SummerSlam had many more good matches and was a more solid card from top to bottom.

The show is best remembered for the all time classic ladder rematch between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, with Michaels’s Intercontinental Title at stake. With more bumps and several call-backs to their WrestleMania X blinder, the sequel is actually a more rewarding contest than the original. Michaels retained after he (eventually) scaled the ladder to retrieve the belt.

The Undertaker defeated Kama in a Casket Match which was somewhat of a minor miracle. One of ‘The Phenom’s’ best matches of the era and one of Kama’s best matches ever, this was a heated, intense and excellent spectacle. Well worth a look. No prizes for guessing the victor.

Long-time jobber, Barry Horowitz fought Skip in a bout where Skip was seeking to avenge his loss on Raw to the journeyman, Horowitz. However, in a spirited contest, in which Horowitz was majorly over with the Pittsburgh crowd, he upset Skip again with a small package pin.

Hakushi and the 1-2-3 Kid fought at a breakneck pace in an electric encounter. Also rewarding, was an intense little contest between Bret Hart and Issac Yankem, DDS. The latter bout had a terrible storyline leading up to it but the pair delivered on the night.

The rest of the card largely underwhelmed. The WWF Championship bout between Diesel and Mabel was better than expected but was still underwhelming as a headliner. Bertha Faye versus Alundra Blayze, Hunter Hearst Helmsley versus Bob Holly and The Smoking Gunns versus The Blu Brothers were all poor encounters.

However, the good far outweighed the bad. SummerSlam 1995 was a scorcher!

You can watch all of these pay-per-views exclusively on the WWE Network.