50 Years in the Making: The Top WWE Moment of Each Year

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50 Years in the Making: The Top WWE Moment of Each Year
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COMMENTARY | The WWE is celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2013.

50 years after its inception in 1963, the WWE is clearly the top professional wrestling promotion in the world. To commemorate the occasion, the WWE has produced "The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment DVD."

In honor of its 50-year anniversary, take a look back at the top WWE moment of each year.

1963

Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers in under a minute at Madison Square Garden to begin the longest reign as WWWF/WWF/WWE Champion in history.

1964

Dr. Jerry Graham and Luke Graham defeated Don McClarity and Vittorio Apollo to begin an 11-month reign as WWWF United States Tag Team Champions.

1965

WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Bill Miller by decision after a 60-minute match before 17,134 Madison Square Garden wrestling fans.

1966

In April, the WWWF toured Australia, with Bruno Sammartino headlining most of the mega-events.

1967

WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino and Giant Baba fought to a draw in a best two-out-of-three falls match in Osaka, Japan.

1968

WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Toru Tanaka at the final pro wrestling event held at the third Madison Square Garden arena.

1969

Toru Tanaka and Mitsu Arakawa won a tournament to be crowned the first WWWF International Tag Team Champions.

1970

The Mongols, Bepo (Nikolai Volkoff) and Geto, won the WWWF International Tag Team titles before over 20,000 fans at Madison Square Garden.

1971

Ivan Koloff shocked the wrestling world by defeating Bruno Sammartino to become WWWF Champion.

1972

The first Showdown at Shea event took place in front of 22,508 wrestling fans. In the main event, Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales wrestled to a 65-minute draw.

1973

Bruno Sammartino defeated Stan Stasiak to begin his second reign as WWWF Champion.

1974

On the All Star Wrestling television show, Jimmy and Johnny Valiant defeated Tony Garea and Dean Ho to become WWWF World Tag Team Champions.

1975

In March, WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino and Giant Baba headlined several big wrestling events in Japan.

1976

The second Showdown at Shea took place. 32,000 wrestling and boxing fans witnessed the showdown between Antonio Inoki and Muhammad Ali on closed-circuit TV.

1977

Bruno Sammartino's final WWWF Championship reign came to an end at the hands of Billy Graham at the Civic Center in Baltimore.

1978

Newly crowned WWWF Champion Bob Backlund wrestled NWA Champion Harley Race to a one-hour time limit draw.

1979

The Intercontinental Championship debuted with Pat Patterson as its first holder, beginning its run as one of the WWE's all-time greatest titles.

1980

The final Showdown at Shea event took place. Over 36,000 wrestling fans showed up to see the legendary grudge match between Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko.

1981

As part of a storyline, Killer Khan did the unthinkable in breaking the ankle of Andre the Giant.

1982

The World Tag Team Championship changed hands several times as Jay and Jules Strongbow feuded with Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito.

1983

In one of the most iconic moments in WWF history, Jimmy Snuka jumped off the top of a steel cage onto the prone body of Don Muraco.

1984

Hulk Hogan ushered in the sports entertainment era of pro wrestling by defeating The Iron Sheik to become WWF Champion.

1985

Madison Square Garden was the home of the WWF's first WrestleMania. In the main event, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.

1986

64,000 wrestling fans attended The Big Event in Toronto, Canada. Hulk Hogan defeated Paul Orndorff in the main event.

1987

Andre the Giant passed the torch to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III. The WWF Champion body slammed Andre as over 93,000 wrestling fans looked on.

1988

On NBC's The Main Event, Andre the Giant defeated WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. However, the WWF held up the title after Andre presented it to The Million Man.

1989

Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Savage at WrestleMania V in Atlantic City to become WWF Champion for the second time.

1990

In what may be the most shocking angle in wrestling history, Sgt. Slaughter returned to the WWF as a heel who supported Iraq against the United States.

1991

Ric Flair began appearing in the WWF, while brandishing the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt.

1992

In the SummerSlam main event, The British Bulldog defeated Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

1993

On July 4, Lex Luger body slammed the 600-pound Yokozuna, who was the WWF Champion at the time.

1994

WrestleMania returned to Madison Square Garden. Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels stole the show as Ramon retained his Intercontinental title in a ladder match.

1995

Shawn Michaels eliminated Davey Boy Smith to win the Royal Rumble.

1996

Steve Austin defeated Jake Roberts to win the King of the Ring tournament. After the match, Stone Cold used his "Austin 3:16" catchphrase for the first time.

1997

Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart at Survivor Series to become WWF Champion. The infamous match came to be known as the "Montreal Screwjob."

1998

In a year filled with incredible moments, The Undertaker threw Mick Foley off the top of the cell at King of the Ring.

1999

Steve Austin drove a beer truck to the ring on Raw and doused The Corporation with the alcoholic beverage.

2000

Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and The Dudley Boyz, fought throughout the year in a series of incredible wrestling matches.

2001

The WWF purchased ECW and WCW, thus ending the epic battle for wrestling supremacy.

2002

Nearly 70,000 wrestling fans turned out for WrestleMania X8 in Toronto. Fans cheered for the heel Hulk Hogan, who lost to The Rock.

2003

Brock Lesnar defeated WWE Champion Kurt Angle 5-4 in a 60-minute Iron Man match on Smackdown.

2004

One night after becoming World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton was attacked by his fellow Evolution members on WWE Raw.

2005

Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels stole the show at WWE WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles as the Olympic Gold Medalist won.

2006

D-Generation X performed one of the greatest WWE parodies in wrestling history as they mocked Vince and Shane McMahon.

2007

The Mr. McMahon character was apparently "killed" on Raw when the WWE owner climbed into a limousine just before it exploded.

2008

Over 74,000 WWE wrestling fans turned out for WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando to witness Shawn Michaels defeat Ric Flair in a retirement match.

2009

Donald Trump "purchased" WWE Raw from Vince McMahon.

2010

At Elimination Chamber, John Cena won the WWE Championship. However, he lost it moments later to Batista.

2011

With his WWE contract negotiations going nowhere, CM Punk delivered a worked-shoot promo on Raw that came to be known as the "pipe bomb."

2012

Nearly 80,000 fans attended WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami where The Rock returned to the WWE to defeat John Cena.

2013

Over 80,000 wrestling fans showed up at WrestleMania 29 in MetLife Stadium. The Undertaker ran his WWE WrestleMania streak to 21-0 over CM Punk.

Source

Brian Shield and Kevin Sullivan, "WWE Encyclopedia," 2009, ISBN: 9780756641900

Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.

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