Matt O’Brien writes and maintains the Wrestleview.com poll every two weeks.

2011 is nearing its end and what a year it has been for World Wrestling Entertainment. At this time last year, who would have thought that fans would be gearing up for a WrestleMania showdown between John Cena and The Rock, or how about the rise to popularity of CM Punk? Every month the company builds up to its next pay per view. It is the biggest show each month which the company asks fans to shell out the money and purchase. If they are to do so, fans expect a quality show. As fans begin to look back on the year that was, the latest Wrestleview poll asked readers which WWE pay per view they believe to be the best of the last twelve months.

After nearly three thousand votes the results are in:

What has been WWE’s best Pay Per View of 2011?

Money in the Bank – 48.61% with 1,325 votes
Wrestlemania – 16.84% with 459 votes
Summerslam – 10.56% with 288 votes
Survivor Series – 9.43% with 257 votes
Royal Rumble – 8.51% with 232 votes
Elimination Chamber – 3.08% with 84 votes
Other – 2.97% with 81 votes

Total votes cast: 2,726

Coming in first place in the voting was July’s Money in the Bank. It was originally just going to be the show that helped build up to SummerSlam. That all changed when it was announced that CM Punk would be the one to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship. Punk was rumored to be leaving the company at the time. After claiming the title shot for the show, Punk went into a promo that appeared to a shoot to many fans. He claimed that his contract expired the same days as the Money in the Bank show and that he would leave the company with the title. It was so controversial that Vince McMahon even made an appearance the next week and suspended Punk. That suspension would only be temporary. John Cena intervened and persuaded McMahon to reinstate Punk and let him compete at MITB. McMahon relented, but stated that Cena would be fired if Punk were to walk out of MITB with the title. The pressure was on.

The match had the wrestling world abuzz. Everyone wanted to see Punk and Cena fight in Rosemont at MITB. The fan reaction was overwhelmingly in support of Punk. McMahon tired to run interference to assist Cena in defeating Punk, but Cena would have none of it. When trying to stop interference, he was caught off guard and pinned by Punk. Having been defeated, McMahon looked on in shock and anger as Punk blew him a kiss and hopped into the crowd and escaped into the city with the WWE Championship.

Other matches included on the MITB pay per view were the two ladder matches for both Raw and Smackdown, which always thrill fans. Mark Henry and Big Show had a big man brawl that saw Show assisted out of the arena after a brutal attack by Henry. Also Christian became a two-time World Champion when he defeated Randy Orton. The show was praised by critics and fans. Punk-Cena is atop many people’s list for 2011’s match of the year. The show was also a financial success as it was up thirty thousand buys from the previous year’s Money in the Bank.

At a distant second place was Wrestlemania. The event drew over one million pay per view buys, an incredible amount. Mania always draws the eyes of the wrestling world, but was assisted with the presence of The Rock and Snooki. The show was headlined by John Cena and WWE Champion The Miz, but was stolen by Triple H and The Undertaker. Fans have praised the Undertaker-Shawn Michaels matches from the 2009 and 2010 Mania shows. 2011 was no different, and with Undertaker appearing less and less, his appearances are relished more and more.

Summerslam came in with just a little over ten percent of the votes. While it was their fourth pay per view match in a row, Randy Orton and Christian turned in an excellent match to culminate their summer feud for the World Championship. Mark Henry and Sheamus had an impressive slugfest, and Kelly Kelly put on a good show against Beth Phoenix. Regardless of the great card, all eyes were on the main event between John Cena and CM Punk. This was their big rematch after Punk had left Money in the Bank, and WWE, with the title in hand. With Punk gone, Cena was crowned champion after a win over Rey Mysterio. There were now two WWE champions. SummerSlam would be the rematch that would settle who deserved to where the gold.

Triple H had made his return and served as the guest referee. He failed to see Cena’s feet on the ropes and counted the pin for Punk. It was an interesting end to a good show, but things were about to get strange. Kevin Nash made a surprise return and attacked Punk. Alberto Del Ro then cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to claim the WWE Championship. As good of a show as it was, SummerSlam buys were down over fifty thousand from the previous year.

Third and fourth place go to Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, respectively, with over twenty-five votes separating them. The return of The Rock to Madison Square Garden and the WWE Title going on CM Punk were the highlights of Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble saw the first ever forty-man Rumble match. Alberto Del Rio claimed the victory. It would only be the start of the year for him as he went onto face Edge at WrestleMania, win the Raw Money in the Bank and claim the title at SummerSlam.

Finally, separated by only three votes were Elimination Chamber and the Other category. Chamber showcased Jerry Lawler challenging The Miz for the WWE Championship, as well as the two annual Chamber matches. Comments left on the poll had Night of Champions, Vengeance and Hell in a Cell all getting votes.

There were several quality WWE pay per views over the course of 2011. CM Punk has been one of the most well-received characters over the last year. The story for MITB was great, but things changed going into SummerSlam and it didn’t grab the buys desired. Mania is always one of the most purchased pay per views of the year. Critically, it does not always live up to the hype, but that can be impossible at times. Between all the pay per views, none of them had a better combination of quality, build and execution as Money in the Bank. That is why it grabbed the top spot in the poll. Just the story behind the main event will have fans talking about it for years to come.

Thanks to all those who participated. Be sure to cast your vote in the current poll asking whom you will be cheering for at WrestleMania between The Rock and John Cena.

Matt O’Brien
Columnist, Wrestleview.com
mattman5436@yahoo.com