In pro wrestling, the main event is usually presumed to be the best match on the card. After all, it closes out the show and is the match that is supposed to convince fans to buy a ticket, order it on pay-per-view, or spend $9.99 for the WWE Network. It's the dessert at the end of the meal. But what if the appetizer was better than the dessert?
There have been many instances where the best match on a pay-per-view wasn't the main event, but was the opening contest. While pro wrestling is subjective, there are many opening matches to pay-per-views that many fans believe outperformed the final attraction of the night. Check out this list of some of the best PPV curtain jerkers that the main event couldn't top.
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, WWE Wrestlemania X
This bout is arguably considered the best opening match on a WWE pay-per-view in the company's history. The opener to Wrestlemania X kickstarted the brother vs. brother feud between Bret Hart and Owen Hart. What transpired was a great match that told the story of the bitter Owen being able to ultimately outwrestle his more famous brother, Bret, for a clean win. Later in the night, Bret pinned Yokozuna in the main event to become world champion once again. Needless to say, Yoko's lack of stamina made the main event suffer compared the the rigorous opening contest.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt, WWE Royal Rumble 2014
Daniel Bryan always had a groundswell of support from wrestling fans, but it peaked in 2014. His match against Bray Wyatt opened that year's Royal Rumble and probably should have been higher in the card given the crowd reaction. The battle was incredibly aggressive and longer than most PPV openers. The rest of the show just couldn't live up to that match, especially the Royal Rumble match that ended with the entire crowd booing the beloved Rey Mysterio and the match winner, Batista.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, WWE Wrestlemania XXX
While Wrestlemania XXX had the ultimate feel-good ending with Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, many believed the opening contest featuring Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H was the better match on the card. While higher stakes were on the line in the main event, Bryan vs. Trips was the culmination of a months-long feud along with being an allegory of "the fans vs. the establishment." The match itself was not only a great showcase for Bryan, but also showed that Triple H still had gas in the tank. It was a 1990s All-Japan Pro Wrestling match inside of a WWE ring. While the triple-threat main event featuring Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista was a well-performed and exciting match, it fell just short of the well-crafted opener.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, WCW Starrcade 1997
It's no surprise that this match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship was highly praised. Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero had numerous classics throughout their tenures in WCW and ECW. However, this makes the list not only due to the great match quality, but also because of the mediocrity of the main event. While the main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Sting drew WCW's highest PPV buyrate, the match was critically panned due to the lack of athleticism and an overly convoluted finish.