5. Vengeance – 2005
I’ve gone back and forth repeatedly on how good the 2005 Vengeance was. On one hand, this is a 6-match card and for the most part, you can skip the first 3. But the fact of the matter is that the final 3 matches of this show from Las Vegas are so good that this show has cracked the top 5 of this list. These 3 matches totaled over 1 hour of in-ring wrestling and made the Monday Night Raw product look so good that it’s amazing that Smackdown lived through it. That’s an effective show.
The first of these 3 classics was the Wrestlemania 21 rematch between Shawn Michael and Kurt Angle. Their Mania clash is truly an all-time classic but this reboot at Vengeance was nearly just as good. The two hall of famers employed more technicality in this one and showed off why they’re considered two of the all-time greats. Michaels got his vengeance, true to the show’s name. This was followed up by a triple threat match between John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Christian for the WWE Championship. It was Christian’s first attempt at a world title and proved he belonged. Even when you watch this match back today knowing the ending, you still believe Cena might lose. That’s how much heat this one had.
And then there was the main event. In a match that still probably has plenty of WWE fans left with their hair standing up on the back of their necks, Batista and Triple H went to war in one the greatest Hell In A Cell matches in the company’s history. After having a surprisingly lackluster couple of PPV matches at Wrestlemania 21 and then Backlash, these two men wrapped up their trilogy in vicious fashion. The narrative of the story was simple. “The Game” couldn’t seem to find a way to beat his younger foe, so he challenged him into the cell, a match that he had never lost. They responded in a bloody, explosive way and when it was all over, Batista was not only still the champion, but he was finally the bonafide superstar many expected him to be. It may not be the flashiest show of all time, but it was still brilliant.