After the CM Punk pipebomb of 2011, 2012 started to see a transition to a more workrate focused era. There was still a ways to go, but this was definitely a move in the right direction.
Stars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were given more of a chance to shine and The Shield was introduced late in the year.
These were highlights sprinkled amongst a number of other great matches from more of WWE’s veterans and up-and-coming stars in 2012 as they all did battle on pay-per-view.
There were many candidates for this list but these are the eleven best WWE pay-per-view matches of 2012.
11. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – WrestleMania XXVIII
The WrestleMania XXVIII match between CM Punk and Chris Jericho was built on the back of who was the Best in the World.
While this match may not have been the all-time legendary classic some were hoping for, it was still a very fun battle.
By the time we got to the match, the focus had shifted to Punk’s straightedge lifestyle and his family’s history with drugs and alcohol. This felt a little out of place and only played into the beginning of the match with Jericho taunting Punk and trying to get him disqualified.
It may have hurt the flow of the match as they had to stop and have Punk contemplate getting DQed but once they got past that it was smooth sailing.
10. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena – TLC
This was viewed as a breakthrough performance for Dolph Ziggler at the time. Defeating John Cena in the main event of a pay-per-view in 2012 was a big step forward for the man who was on his way up to the main event scene.
Well, we thought he was. A terrible run as World Heavyweight Champion derailed that train but for the night itself, this match was a big moment.
The finish saw the insane AJ Lee turn on John Cena and push him off a ladder, allowing Ziggler to retrieve his Money in the Bank contract. A good match with a wacky finish indeed.
9. John Cena vs. The Rock – WrestleMania XXVIII
WWE will probably try to tell you that this match was better than it was but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great.
The falsely advertised “Once in a Lifetime” meeting between John Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania had a similar feel to the Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock match from a decade earlier. However, the match never quite reached the former’s legendary status.
A good match that probably went a bit too long, most issues with it faded away with the correct finish of The Rock beating Cena with a Rock Bottom clean in the middle of the ring.
A Once in a Lifetime match this was not, but a monumental main event of WrestleMania at the time nonetheless.