WWE main-events Saturday night
In 2006, the Superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment dominated NBC's prime-time lineup with the heralded return of Saturday Night's Main Event. Long before Raw revolutionized cable and SmackDown slammed syndication, SNME was the first WWE show to deliver a pay-per-view atmosphere on network television. From March 1985 to November 1992, 31 Main Events helped cement the legendary status of WWE Hall of Famers like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and Bret "Hit Man" Hart, while further establishing the Superstar careers of Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
Despite more than a 13-year absence, Saturday Night's Main Event proved it was still a champion ratings-wise when it broadcast from Detroit's Cobo Arena last March 18. In the two-hour prelude to WrestleMania 22, Mr. McMahon helped son Shane screw over Shawn Michaels in a hellish Street Fight; "Stone Cold" Steve Austin out-chugged JBL in a Beer-Drinking Contest; Mickie James turned on then-Women's Champion Trish Stratus; and the WrestleMania main events for Raw and SmackDown collided with one another. SNME retained its viewership as it rolled into Dallas' American Airlines Center July 15, in a SummerSlam warmup that saw the newly-reformed D-Generation X decimate the Spirit Squad, "Legend Killer" Randy Orton lay out the immortal Hulk Hogan, and an incensed John Cena FU then-WWE Champion Edge onto the announcers' table.
The return of Saturday Night's Main Event clearly made a significant impact, both within WWE and among the legions of fans watching at home. For that reason alone, it deserves to crack the Top 5 in our countdown—No. 5, in fact, with the expectation that future installments will raise the bar even higher.