It's the big show. The final grudge match. The one where everything will be settled. Having grown up addicted to professional wrestling my life was a constant series of begging and whining to try and get my parents to shell out an exorbitant amount of money to watch grown men pretend to beat each other up for a few hours. For 11 straight years I never missed a Royal Rumble or a Wrestlemania, surrounded with like-minded grappling enthusiasts.
But every once in a while Houstonians didn't have to be content seeing it on the TV screen. When the stars aligned and everything was just right the big boys came to town and we got to see the whole thing live. Hit the lights because these were the ones you should not have missed.
10. Bad Blood (2003): This was not a particularly great time for the Raw brand of WWE, and Bad Blood was a fairly lackluster PPV all things told. The Hell in the Cell main event between Kevin Nash and Triple H was a match never designed for wrestlers of their style, and it's telling that the best bump in the whole match was taken by special guest referee Mick Foley. Bad Blood did definitely give Goldberg the best match he had in WWE, and maybe in his whole career against Chris Jericho. Very few wrestlers were ever able to move around the squash beast, but Jericho guided the bout into a masterpiece of conniving storytelling not seen since Ric Flair in his youth.
9. No Mercy (2005): The Smackdown brand came to the Toyota center with a lot of promise, but a little lacking in their ability to deliver. Watching Eddie Guerrero was painful by now. Never had he been bigger, and never had he failed to find opponents with good chemistry. Likewise, the cruiserweight bout between Juventude and Nunzio showed how far both had fallen.
What saved it was a four-way battle for the Unites States title. Booker T had one of his best matches ever with Christian two years prior, and his best-of-seven run with Chris Benoit in WCW was the stuff of legend. Throw in Orlando Jones and the match was a non-stop display of technical elegance so magical you didn't care who won.
8. Fall Brawl 1993: Believe it or not WCW only ever held a single PPV in Houston, and it was terrible. Beyond terrible. However, it will always be remembered because there was an eight-man tag match with Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes and Warrior Hawk vs. Sid Vicious, Vader and Harlem Heat scheduled. Unfortunately, Warrior Hawk had to be replaced, and thus was born The Shockmaster. Also was born the single most embarrassing introduction in the history of the business, as seen in the video above. Without Fall Brawl it would never have existed, so God bless it.
7. No Way Out of Texas: In Your House: In 1998 the WWF invaded the Compaq Center for the first No Way Out. Marc Mero and Goldust took on the Headbangers in a match that showed that Mero really could perform when he focused on it. The massive eight-man, no-holds-barred was also wonderfully chaotic, with some really first-rate hardcore spots by Mick Foley and Terry Funk. The real gem of the night, though was Pantera vs. Taka Michinoku. It was one of those rare, unbeatable lightweight high-flying matches in WWF that often their audience just didn't appreciate enough. That match was one for the books. Shame no one ever talks about it.
6. Vengeance: Night of Champions: The 2007 mega-event held at the Toyota Center is very hard to judge on its own merits sometimes, being the night everyone wondered what had happened to the mysteriously absent Chris Benoit only to discover the tragic murder-suicide at his home the next week. The show went on though, and featured at least two classics. Chavo Guerrero and Jimmy Wang Yang vied for the Cruiserweight title, and that meant we got to see Wang's almost superhuman vertical leaping skills in his absolutely fearless moonsaults.
It was John Cena taking on Bobby Lashley, Mick Foley, King Booker, and Randy Orton that was the highlight, though. I don't think John Cena has ever had a better physical chemistry with anyone as he did with Lashley. Orton and Booker T used their lank frames to pull off stuff that looked like video game physics.
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