WWF/WCW/ECW: The Top 5 Best PPVs of 1997

by SlyGuy21 | created - 31 Jul 2018 | updated - 31 Jul 2018 | Public

As dull as 1997 was for wrestling, there were plenty of moments that shined. Unfortunately, the mediocrity overshadowed those moments for the most part. It was a year of highs, and lows for all three companies. ECW had it's first PPV, yet ended their year with one of the worst main events I've ever seen. WWF had Austin shoot to the moon, and had the formation of DX, yet lost the ratings war, Brian Pillman, and had to screw over one of their biggest stars in an ultimate act of desperation. WCW had the wrestling world in the palm of it's hand, and had the Cruiserweight division, as well as some huge names on their roster, yet destroyed over a year's worth of build-up on a botched finish to Starrcade. I've already covered the worst 1997 had to offer, so it's time to end on a positive note. There were some great matches, not a lot of them, but certainly enough to justify a list. The best matches will be in the description here, just as I've done with the previous lists.

*I only have one rule for these matches: In order for a match to be a "Match of the Year" contender, the match cannot end as a result of interference. If outside interference plays a role in a wrestler winning the match, the match is not eligible. I don't care how good the match is overall, that's the only rule I have. There may be times where I make exceptions to that rule, but those will be few and far between.*

WWF/WCW/ECW: The Top 5 Best Matches of 1997

Number 5. Dean Malenko vs Jeff Jarrett, WCW US Heavyweight Championship, Slamboree. The best thing about this match, is that it has something WCW hasn't had a lot of. Tension. With someone as hated as Jeff Jarrett going up against a technical specimen like Malenko, there is a high level of suspense to the match. Malenko's on fire, Jarrett does good heel work, and the face wins. I still remember begging Malenko to kick out of moves so he wouldn't lose. Can't think of many WCW matches that have done that. Mongo does come out a toss Jarrett into the ring, where he then loses, but the interference wasn't major. It's not like he beat Jarrett to a pulp and then threw him in. That's why it's Number 5 on this list, because of Mongo's involvement. Rating: 4.5/5

Number 4. Undertaker vs Bret Hart, WWF Championship with Shawn Michaels as the referee, SummerSlam. As good as you would probably expect coming from the people involved. It handled several stories very well, it was a nice brawl, the crowd was super into it, and I liked the ending. I know it ends because Shawn accidentally nails Taker with a chair, which is interference of the highest regard, but the match works so well, that I can forgive it. This is one of the rare examples when I put a match with interference on my "Match of the Year" list. However, the interference is also what places it at Number 4. Rating: 4.5/5

Number 3. Chris Jericho vs Eddie Guerrero, WCW Cruiserweight Championship, Fall Brawl. This was WCW's "Mysterio/Psychosis" of 1997. Two of their best workers kicking off a show for 20 minutes of physicality. Good near-falls, good moves, good tactics, hot crowd. The only negative I have is that the ending feels rushed. Jericho botches a move on the turnbuckle and lands on his head. This had Eddie almost immediately hit a frog splash and win after supposedly getting hit with Jericho's move. I understand them wanting to end the match quickly in case Jericho was seriously injured, but it just looks awkward. That minor gripe aside though, this is a great match. Rating: 4.5/5

Number 2. Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero, WCW Cruiserweight Championship where if Rey loses he must unmask, Halloween Havoc. Considered one of WCW's best matches, I can say I was very surprised at how this lived up to the hype. This is WCW's best match in over 3 years, let that sink in for a moment. It's amazing to think that WCW had all this talent on it's mid-card, and yet refused to push any of them to the top. The only thing keeping this from the coveted "6/5" rating is that there's no video promo to hype me up before the match. The match is awesome, but it needed a story or angle to really knock it out of the park. Rating: 5/5

Number 1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart, Submission match, WrestleMania 13. You all knew this would be at the top of the list. Same as last year, if I were to ever do a "Top 10 Best Matches" list, this would be on there, and it would be in the Top 5. There's so many things right with this match. From it just being an insane brawl, all the spots executed to perfection, the crowd is white hot, the story going into it is great, the ending is a double-turn, and Austin's famous "blood from a stone" moment. This match cemented Austin as a superstar, and cemented Bret as one of the best workers the business ever had. A match that is literally impossible to follow, so much so, that the rest of the PPV can't hold a candle to it. One of the best matches I have ever seen. Rating: 5/5

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1. WrestleMania 13 (1997 TV Special)

TV-14 | 180 min | Action, Sport

"Psycho" Sid Vicious defends the WWF Championship against The Undertaker.

Director: Kevin Dunn | Stars: Sid Eudy, Mark Calaway, Bret Hart, Steve Austin

Votes: 685

Number 5.

Pros: -There are technically no bad matches on the card. -Vader's tag match is a good brawl. -LOD's match is a good brawl. -Austin and Bret tear the house down.

Cons: -Goldust's match with Hunter is the weakest of the night. -The first match is overstuffed. -Vader's match ends in a countout. -The main event can't top Austin/Bret.

Thoughts: Often considered one of the weakest Manias, and I can sort of see why. However, there's enough good on here for it to make the list.

Number 4.

Pros: -Eddie and Jericho have a great match. -There isn't a bad match on the card.

Cons: -The ending to the main event is super obvious.

Thoughts: WCW managed to stay consistent in match quality here, and even the matches that are just OK, are either short, or help storylines.

3. ECW Barely Legal (1997 TV Special)

160 min | Sport

ECW Title: Raven vs. Terry Funk, ECW Television Title: Shane Douglas vs. Pitbull #2, ECW Tag Team Titles: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Eliminators, Terry Funk vs. The Sandman vs. Stevie Richards... See full summary »

Director: Michael Vettor | Stars: Scott Levy, Terry Funk, Jim Fullington, Michael Manna

Votes: 184

Number 3.

Pros: -The first official ECW PPV. -RVD and Lance Storm have a good match. -Tazz and Sabu have a great brawl. -The Three-Way Dance is a good match. -Funk beating Raven was a good way to end the show.

Cons: -The opener is a glorified squash. -There's no real story to any of the matches, just spots. -Douglas' match with Pitbull #2 drags on forever.

Thoughts: A very strong PPV debut, that showed ECW had some real potential.

4. WWF in Your House 16: Canadian Stampede (1997 TV Special)

120 min | Action, Sport

WWF Title: The Undertaker vs. Vader, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman & Jim Neidhart vs. Steve Austin, The Legion of Doom, Goldust & Ken Shamrock, Hunter Hearst Helmsley... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Dunn | Stars: Mark Calaway, Leon White, Bret Hart, Owen Hart

Votes: 226

Number 2.

Pros: -There are only 4 matches, and all of them are at least good. -The main event gets the crowd into a frenzy.

Cons: -The main event elevates the entire show, the other matches aren't really worth your time. -The main event ends with a roll-up.

Thoughts: Considered a phenomenal show by some, the main event is the only above average match. Still, at only 4 matches, you could do a lot worse. I'd rather watch a great show with more than 4 matches is all.

5. WCW Slamboree (1997 TV Special)

Not Rated | 180 min | Sport

Tradition battles the New World Order at Slamboree 1997. "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair returns to the ring in his home town of Charlotte, NC. Flair has been out of action for nine months, but ... See full summary »

Stars: Randy Anderson, Yoshihiro Asai, Charles Ashenoff, Chris Benoit

Votes: 40

Number 1.

Pros: -Regal and Dragon is a good start. -Madusa and Luna Vachon is simple. -The Macho Man DDP brawl is a great segment for all involved. -Mysterio's match is great. -Malenko's match with Jarrett is great. -Benoit's Death match with Meng is physical as Hell. -The Steiner's match is entertaining. -The main event is a feel good win for the good guys.

Cons: -Glacier's match only serves to introduce Ernest Miller. -Mongo's match with Reggie White is boring.

Thoughts: WCW just decided randomly to put out the best show of 1997. I actually don't think they expected this to be as good as it was. I know I didn't. But I will give credit where it's due, aside from Mongo's match, this is a killer show.

Well folks, I'm gonna be taking a short break from wrestling in order to plow through the backlog of movies I've accumulated. I'll be back though, so until then, have a good day.

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