Pay-per-view events in WWE have seen many transitions over the years. Some PPVs only see one appearance, while others have run the length of the promotion’s existence. As the tone of the company evolves, long-standing PPVs are often rebranded to match WWE's current direction.
Vengeance was an annual WWE PPV that lasted from 2001 through 2006. In 2007, it was merged with Night of Champions, and it made a return appearance in 2011. Three of the events were exclusive to the Raw brand, while one was a SmackDown exclusive. With so many shifting dynamics, here is every Vengeance event ranked.
8 Vengeance: Night of Champions
The nature of this event should have warranted higher consideration on this list. By 2007, Vengeance was an established name, marking its seventh consecutive year on WWE’s PPV calendar. With the added luster brought from Night of Champions, meaning that every title would be defended, this should have been a huge night for WWE.
While every title was defended at the event, few of the matches were memorable. This PPV coincided with the tragic events involving Chris Benoit and saw a contest for his vacant ECW Championship. Outside of that, only the WWE Women’s Championship changed hands.
After a three year absence from the calendar, Vengeance returned in 2011 as the second PPV in October, following Hell in a Cell. True to its name, the event featured several storylines that involved challengers seeking revenge for wrongs that had been committed towards them.
Notable matches on this card included Alberto Del Rio retaining the WWE Championship, which he had earned earlier in the month at Hell in a Cell, against John Cena. Further down the card, Randy Orton sought revenge against Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes in a non-title match.
Despite the names involved and the interesting title storylines, decisions to have Orton and Rhodes compete in a non-title match, and ending Mark Henry’s World Heavyweight Championship defense against Big Show in a “no contest” left the event feeling flat.
Vengeance 2005 was a Raw-exclusive PPV featuring World Heavyweight Champion Batista defending his title against Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match for the main event. The final match was an excellent chapter in the longtime feud between the two, but the event was lacking overall.
A highlight of this show is that it occurred during the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery following John Cena’s transfer to Raw, bringing the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship to the same brand at the same time. As such, both titles were defended at Vengeance that year, with both champions retaining.
One year prior, WWE held the first Raw-exclusive Vengeance event. As was the case a year later, 2004’s event saw Triple H in the main event challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship. His opponent in this iteration was Chris Benoit, and the two performed in a fine main event which was hindered by outside interaction and the referee being knocked out.
Throughout this event, Evolution featured heavily in high profile matches. Randy Orton lost his Intercontinental Championship to Edge, while Eugene and Ric Flair unsuccessfully challenged La Resistance for the World Tag Team Championship. In addition to these, Batista defeated Chris Jericho in a fantastic undercard match, and Matt Hardy defeated Kane in a No Disqualification match.
The final Raw-exclusive Vengeance event was headlined by the reformed DX against the Spirit Squad in an ongoing feud between the former and Vince McMahon. Other notable matches included John Cena defeating Sabu in an Extreme Rules Lumberjack match (with an outcome more ridiculous than most of Cena's movies), Rob Van Dam retaining the WWE Championship against Edge, and Johnny Nitro acquiring the Intercontinental Championship in a triple threat match over Shelton Benjamin and Carlito.
This show was packed with content. It had some really high points throughout these matches, though not all lived up to the hype. Despite all of the action, there were some definite low points as well, including Imposter Kane defeating the Big Red Machine in singles competition.
The final three entries in this list feature some of the best matches of Vengeance's history. Starting off, the 2002 iteration saw Jeff Hardy retain his European Championship against William Regal, as well as RVD retaining his Intercontinental Championship against Brock Lesnar.
In 2002, the WWE Cruiserweight Championship still had a bit of prestige, and Jamie Noble had a respectable title defense against Billy Kidman at Vengeance. Of all the great matches on the card, what stole the show, rightfully, was the main event.
In a match that featured all three competitors employing one another’s signature moves, The Rock defeated Kurt Angle and The Undertaker for the WWE Undisputed Championship. Taker held the title coming into the match, but after an action-packed outing with all three competitors holding high points, The Rock left victorious.
The inaugural edition of Vengeance was held in December of 2001 and featured a tournament to unify the WWF Championship and World Championship into the Undisputed WWF Championship. This event was the only Vengeance PPV held before WWF officially changed its name to WWE.
This event featured plenty of action, including The Undertaker obtaining the WWF Hardcore Championship, a brotherly feud between Matt and Jeff Hardy with Lita as the guest referee, and The Dudley Boyz retaining their WWF Tag Team Championship against Big Show and Kane. All told, it was a fantastic event worthy of spawning a sequel, and undoubtedly one of the best iterations to happen.
As great as the first and second iterations of Vengeance were, it was the third that claims the top spot. Headlined by Kurt Angle’s victory over Big Show and Brock Lesnar, this event was packed with big matches and deep storylines. As great as many of the matches were, if you haven’t seen the triple threat main event, you owe it to yourself to watch the match.
Notable entries further down the card included the APA Invitational Bar Room Brawl (which was just as chaotic as the name implies), Undertaker versus John Cena, and Eddie Guerrero taking on Chris Benoit for the United States Championship. Among all of the action, Benoit and Guerrero served as a high-paced opening bout that did not disappoint, despite interference landing the match in Eddie’s favor.