WWE has always been a tradition in the United States. Starting as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation the company made its name in the North Eastern United States. Its popularity continued to grow into the worldwide leader in sports entertainment that we know and love/hate today. As much as its roots have been set in the United States there have been some great moments that have taken place outside America. When WWE has chosen to venture outside of its backyard there have been some fantastic matches to take place on foreign soil. With Money in the Bank coming to London in 2023 on the WWE schedule now is the perfect time to take a look at some of these great moments!
Outside America: Hulk Hogan v The Ultimate Warrior
(Wrestlemania 6, Toronto, Ontario Canada)
One of the first big PPVs to make its way north of the border showcased one of the great matches in WWE history.
Hogan and the Warrior were the biggest babyfaces in the company. Their collision course was telegraphed for a while and the build-up to their main event has fans salivating across the globe. Their match was a textbook golden era contest. Not much in the way of wrestling but a tremendously told story that helped to make The Ultimate Warrior a made man.
It was the biggest main event in Wrestlemania’s history and it took place outside of the United States. It was a precursor to other shows making their way outside of America.
Outside America: Hulk Hogan v The Rock
(Wrestlemania 18, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
From a match that main evented the Skydome to the match that should have. The Rock squaring off against Hulk Hogan was a match for the ages. It matched the two most popular men from different eras against one another in an epic encounter.
It was not only epic for the two men involved but how the match took place. Hogan was portrayed as the heel going into the match but the Toronto crowd would have none of it. They cheered the man so loud that Hogan and The Rock switched places with The Rock playing the foil to Hogan’s hero. It was a brilliant move and one that made this match spectacular.
Outside America: Lacey Evans v Natalya Neidhart
(Crown Jewel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
The history of WWE in the Middle East isn’t exactly a great one. The partnership is based on butt-loads of money and ridiculous requests from the Prince. Remember him asking for Yokozuna and Randy Savage to be on the show? Even though those greats had passed on years prior.
Regardless of the checkered past, and present for that matter, there have been some shining moments. Saudi Arabia has long had controversial views about the treatment of women. This is why Lacey Evans facing off against Nattie Neidhart was a huge deal.
This was the first time women were permitted to wrestle on a card in Saudi Arabia. It marked a shift in policy and showed that WWE could change the culture.
Outside America: Randy Orton v Mick Foley
(Backlash 2004, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Orton was well on his way to becoming a main event star, but he was missing something. He had yet to win that big feud that would vault him to the top. This is where Mick Foley entered the scene. Foley was known to help young stars along and this was no different with Randy Orton.
Foley and Orton had been at odds for months before their no holds barred match, but it was this contest that pushed them over the top. It was an incredibly brutal match that utilized all the gimmicks Foley was famous for. What was different was the brutality shown by Orton. It was a side to the Viper that we had not seen before. It added another layer to his character and it was an edge that he kept for the rest of his career.
Outside America: The Hart Foundation v The Americans
(In Your House: Canadian Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
The feud between Bret Hart and the United States was one of the more intriguing of 1997. It blurred the lines between fiction and reality and got some great heat on Hart and his compatriots.
It also led to an absolute banger of a main event at In Your House. Coming from Calgary meant that the crowd would be in the favour of the Harts, and boy was they. The reaction they got from the crowd was deafening from start to finish. It was equally loud in the boo category for the usual, face team of Steve Austin, L.O.D, Ken Shamrock, and Goldust.
The role reversal and fast-paced action made this one of the better main events of the In Your House run. It also was a great swan song for the Hart Family, as this was their last PPV in Canada.
Outside America: The British Bulldog v Bret Hart
(Summerslam 1992, London, England)
The family drama between Bulldog and Bret was the driving force behind their Summerslam classic. Bulldog was married to Hart’s sister and that was creating tension between the two men. Luckily, for us, all this led to one of the greatest main events in WWE history.
Their battle, for the Intercontinental Championship, was one of legend. It was a technical masterpiece that was a marked change from the big man main events the WWE Universe had grown accustomed to. It kept them on the edge of their seats and the love they showed throughout was well deserved.
Outside America: Finn Balor v Kevin Owens
(Beast in the East, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan)
Heading over to Japan for a live event was nothing new for WWE. What shocked many was the fact that Brock Lesnar was advertised to appear at the event. The Beast had not been present at a live event since 2004, which instantly made this a must-see card. Alas, Lesnar’s match was a usual squash but it at least led to the phenomenal NXT Title match being booked.
Owens and Balor had been engaged in quite the feud leading up to this match. As with many Owens programs, it got personal quickly and led us to their match in Japan.
It was your usual great match from these two. It was hard-hitting, and fast-paced and kept all of us wondering who would walk out the winner. It took two, yes two!, Coup De Grace’s to keep Owens down. It was a historic win for Balor and WWE. It is very rare that a title change happens overseas, let alone on a live event
Outside America: Bret Hart v The Undertaker
(One Night Only, Birmingham, England)
The history of WWE is not kind to this PPV. It was on this night that HBK pulled a tool move by going over The British Bulldog. It stole the headlines but it also took away from a fantastic WWE Championship bought between The Undertaker and Bret Hart.
This match between Bret and ‘Taker was an underrated one. It showcased the fantastic technical knowledge that The Undertaker had. He was always shoehorned into programs opposite terrible workers and this was the first time he had someone great. They meshed well together and gave us a great match.
Outside America: Edge v Seth Rollins
(Crown Jewel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
When Edge returned to WWE fans salivated at the prospect of so many new wrestlers for him to face. Near the top of that list was Seth Rollins. Rollins was the perfect cocky heel to go up against Edge, and their matches proved this. Every match was great and they kept adding layers as the feud went on.
This evolution was heightened with their brutal Hell in a Cell match at Crown Jewel. In an age when the match can get watered down, both men told a great story. It was violent and fast-paced, exactly what Hell in a Cell match needs to be. It was a perfect way to start the card and helped to make this the best venture that WWE has had in Saudi Arabia.
Outside America: Finn Balor v Samoa Joe
(NXT TakeOver: London, London, England)
Balor and Joe have had two of the more successful runs in NXT. They were both presented strongly and have had great reigns with the championship. That is why it was so great to see both main eventing when NXT travelled to London.
Balor and Joe treated this like a big-time match. They put their bodies on the line diving through and off the ropes. It was a highly entertaining affair, one that had the London fans going berserk throughout. Of course, we can’t mention this match without discussing the entrance by Balor. His Demon/Jack The Ripper presentation was spectacular. It was a great nod to the storied history of London and had Balor looking like an unstoppable force.