WWE Christmas Themed Events: Top 12 to Watch During the Holidays

WWE Christmas mobile
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Looking to watch some of the top WWE Christmas themed events over the holidays? Let's first discuss the history of wrestling on the holidays!

In the 1980s, fans associated WCW’s (World Championship Wrestling) Starrcade event with the Thanksgiving Day holiday. However, professional wrestling has had a much longer association with Christmas. 

Some Christmas wrestling events took place in the 1980s and previous years, including WCW Season’s Beatings in 1988. But the tradition of a Christmas episode, on or around Christmas, became more common in the 1990s as the WWE’s (then-WWF) and WCW’s exposure grew through the medium of national TV.

Since then, over the last three decades, WWE has aired almost-yearly Christmas editions of WWE Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Throughout, WWE’s business acquisitions, WCW and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), also held Christmas-themed events.

Although Christmas isn’t widely associated with professional wrestling, there are dozens of WWE Christmas editions of episodes and pay-per-views–now known as Premium Live Events (PLEs). Some episodes are in the holiday spirit, and others not so much, featuring Santa Claus, championship matches, and quite often, a Miracle on 34th Street Fight match.

Here are the 12 WWE Christmas themed events to check out this year!

1. WCW Monday Nitro - December 25, 1995

In the first year, WCW Monday Nitro came into fruition and disrupted WWE’s dominance over mainstream professional wrestling; December 25, Christmas Day, fell on a Monday.

Lex Luger, Sting, and Dean Malenko all work individual singles matches in the undercard. Then, the WCW World Heavyweight Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ric Flair wrestle in the main event for over 14 minutes. The match is the first of around half-a-dozen between Savage and Flair throughout December 1995 and March 1996.

WCW Monday Nitro and WWE Raw aired on Mondays throughout the Monday Night Wars. But on Christmas Day 1996, WCW Monday Nitro was the only national professional wrestling show that aired on TV screens across the US. The episode isn’t noticeably Christmas-themed, but WCW didn’t have to worry about its competition that year, so it definitely belongs on the list of top WWE Christmas themed events.

Match(es) to Watch:

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Ric Flair 

2. WWE Raw - December 22, 1997

During the fifth season of WWE Raw, six matches, including two championship matches, take place. The episode is the first Christmas edition of WWE Raw after the Attitude Era began in the late 1990s.

In the card's main event, The Rock defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against the Undertaker–a championship he never won.

The event is one of the first televised WWE shows to implement Christmas-themed graphics. The WWF logo on the left-side bottom corner of the screen is surrounded by what appears to be a mistletoe. Similarly, the entrance stage is lit by green and red lights.

As the episode begins, DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna) make their way to the ring as fake snow falls throughout the arena. 

In between, backstage, Mankind attacks the recently-formed New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg). Then, Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) appears without his traditional 1990s gold face paint. Instead, he is covered in bright-Christmas attire and a green wig before Vader appears dressed up as Santa Claus.

By the show's end, Michaels–who won the WWE European Championship from the first-ever champion, the British Bulldog–is forced to defend it against Triple H.

Match(es) to Watch

WWE European Championship Match: Shawn Michaels vs Triple H

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Rock vs the Undertaker

3. WWE SmackDown - December 23, 1999

After the first official kickoff of WWE SmackDown in August 1999, WWE held its Christmas-themed episode on Thursday, December 23, 1999. The episode features 10, mostly short, televised matches, with three championship matches.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho defends against Hardcore Holly in the opening match. While in the middle of the card, The Rock faces Al Snow, The Kat takes on Ivory in a WWE Women’s Championship match, and Edge goes up against Kurt Angle. 

To close the first Christmas edition of SmackDown, the WWE Champion, the Big Show–who won the Championship a month earlier–defends the Championship against Mankind.

The stage setup doesn’t have any Christmas decorations, but most backstage segments involving Stephanie McMahon during the broadcast feature a brightly-decorated Christmas tree in the background.

The episode isn’t particularly festive as far as these WWE Christmas themed events go, but the broadcast is the first of dozens of future WWE SmackDown Christmas-themed episodes.

Matches to Watch:

WWE Championship Match: the Big Show vs Mankind

Steel Cage Match: The Rock vs Al Snow

Kurt Angle vs Edge

4. WWE Raw - December 25, 2000

One year after the first Christmas-themed WWE SmackDown, on Christmas Day, December 25, 2000, WWE Raw once again hosted a Christmas episode, from Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Like previous Christmas editions of WWE RAW, the stage isn’t covered with Christmas decorations. But the lighting does reflect the Christmas theme of the episode. Then, appearing at the start, Stephanie McMahon kicks off the show wearing a Santa hat before the matches begin. 

The card features seven matches. During the show, the Hardys (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) take on the Radicalz (Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko), while Jericho and the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) wrestle Christian, Edge, and Angle. 

In the middle of those two matches, Steve Austin faces off against a still-masked Kane. And like the WWE Raw Christmas episode a few years earlier, in 1996, the main event of the 2000 Christmas Day edition features the Undertaker wrestling The Rock. However, it isn't the Deadman version of the Undertaker, nor is the match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Matches to Watch: 

The Undertaker vs The Rock

The Hardy Boyz vs The Radicalz

Kane vs Steve Austin

Chris Jericho and the Dudley Boyz vs Christian, Edge, and Kurt Angle 

5. WWE Raw - December 24, 2001

In 2001, WWE Raw once again celebrated the Holiday season with a Christmas Eve broadcast on December 24. 

The card includes eight matches. In addition, a backstage party features wrestlers like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Torrie Wilson, Kane, the Big Show, Tajiri, and more.

However, in the ring, every match except the main event– Jericho defending the WWE Undisputed Championship–is under five minutes. Throughout the show, Stacy Keibler and Wilson face each other in an Eggnog match, while co-winner of the first season of Tough Enough Maven jobs to Booker T. 

And then, going with the Christmas theme, one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champion Bubba Ray Dudley (as Bubba Claus) and the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri (as Tajiri Claus) end up in a Santa Claus match. The conflict begins at the backstage party, as both wrestlers are dressed up in red.

Match(es) to Watch:

WWF Undisputed Championship Triple Threat Match: Chris Jericho vs The Rock vs Kurt Angle

Santa Claus Match: Tajiri Claus vs Bubba Claus

Eggnog Match: Stacy Keibler vs Torrie Wilson 

6. WWE SmackDown - December 25, 2003

Four years after the first WWE SmackDown Christmas edition, the 2003 Christmas Day episode starts with Vince McMahon addressing the US armed forces in Baghdad, Iraq. The segment ends with Mr. McMahon receiving a stunner, thanks to Austin, who comes out disguised as Santa Claus in one of the more memorable moments in this list of top WWE Christmas themed events.

The rest of the card features four matches, with performances by Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, JBL, Ron Simmons, and others. It’s the last episode of WWE Smackdown of 2003.

The third match features Guerrero facing–his long-time rival in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), ECW, WCW, and WWE–Chris Benoit in the longest match of the night, capping off at around 11 minutes. Then in the main event, Cena faces the Big Show in a match that would later be on the WrestleMania 21 card in 2005.

The December 25, 2003, edition of WWE SmackDown is considered the first-ever WWE Tribute to the Troops event. Yet, it didn’t become a stand-alone event until 2008. In 2022, the 20th edition of WWE Tribute to the Troops will air on December 17.

Matches to Watch:

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit 

John Cena vs Big Show

7. WWE Raw (Tribute to the Troops) - December 23, 2005

Two years after WWE SmackDown hosted its first WWE Tribute to the Troops event, WWE RAW hosted the annual show. The episode, similarly, kicks off with Mr. McMahon. But instead of a stunner from Austin, it follows up with Lillian Garcia singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

WWE Superstars like Cena, Stratus, and the Big Show wrestle throughout the card. While in the second match, Bad Santa faces Good Santa with a No Holds Barred stipulation. 

The December 19, 2005, Christmas episode of WWE Raw’s card is longer than the previous WWE Tribute to the Troops shows up until that time. The episode contains seven matches, although the majority are under the five-minute mark.

During the show, Flair defends his WWE Intercontinental Championship against Jonathon Coachman in the only championship match. Ultimately, the main event is a Boot Camp match between Michaels and Triple H, who revisit their 2003 and 2004 feud and December 22, 1997, WWE Raw match for the European Championship. If you're looking for one of the top WWE Christmas themed events, this is definitely one to check out!

Matches to Watch:

Boot Camp Match: Shawn Michaels vs Triple H

John Cena vs Chris Masters

Trish Stratus and Ashley vs Candice Michelle and Maria 

8. ECW December To Dismember - December 3, 2006

The WWE ECW December To Dismember 2006 event is less known for its Christmas theme and more for its low quality of matches and overall show.

The first ECW December To Dismember event was held in 1995. Eleven years later–now under the WWE banner–WWE ECW December To Dismember aired on pay-per-view on December 3, 2006.

The matches included the Hardys (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) facing MNM (Johnny Nitro (John Morrison) and Joey Mercury). A couple of weeks later, at Armageddon (2006), Mercury’s nose was infamously broken in a ladder match. 

But most notably, the card features an Extreme Elimination Chamber match: The Big Show defends his title against wrestlers like Bobby Lashley, CM Punk, and Rob Van Dam. 

By 2006, it was only the fifth Elimination Chamber match in WWE history. Since then, WWE has hosted over two dozen Elimination Chamber matches, including at the eponymously-named PLE.

Matches to Watch:

ECW Championship Extreme Elimination Chamber Match: Big Show vs CM Punk vs Rob Van Dam vs Bobby Lashley vs Hardcore Holly vs Test

The Hardys vs MNM 

9. WWE Raw - December 25, 2017

The December 25, 2017, edition of WWE Raw is the only event that WWE has ever aired live on Christmas Day. 

The episode features nine matches from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois, including the main event championship match, a first-time match, and two Christmas-themed gimmick match stipulations.

In the main event, the Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan. 

At the top of the card, the first and only one-on-one match between Cena and Elias takes place. Later, Roman Reigns takes on Samoa Joe in an Intercontinental Championship match. In addition, earlier in the night, Paige wrestles her final televised match in WWE.

The live Christmas edition of WWE Raw also features two Christmas-themed gimmick matches. 

First, a Six Man Tag Team Miracle On 34th Street Fight features wrestlers in the then-cruiserweights division like Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali, and Drew Gulak. Then, Braun Strowman takes on Miz’s Miztourage–which would later become the B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)–in Secret Santa Handicap Match.

Matches to Watch:

John Cena v. Elias

Bayley, Mickie James, and Sasha Banks vs Absolution (Mandy Rose, Paige, and Sonya Deville)

Six Man Tag Team Miracle On 34th Street Fight Match: Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander, and Mustafa Ali vs Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Enzo Amore

Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe

10. WWE NXT - December 25, 2019

The Christmas edition of WWE NXT contains six matches, held between two alternating settings: Full Sail University in Florida and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York–with a Christmas-decorated WWE SmackDown set. The taped episode aired on Wednesday, December 25, 2019, as it went head-to-head with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) Dynamite.

The episode includes appearances by multiple former-WWE Superstars–some of who are now in AEW or NJPW. The wrestlers include names like Taynara Conti (Tay Melo), Kieth Lee, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (Swerve Strickland), Lio Rush, and Tony Nese.

But the opening match of the Christmas-edition of WWE NXT features Roderick Strong taking on Austin Theory as Strong defends his WWE NXT North American Championship. The main event is a tag team match, with Damian Priest and Tony Nese facing Keith Lee and Lio Rush.

In between, Bianca Belair and Shotzi Blackheart meet for the first time, Dominik Dijakovic faces Bronson Reed, and Candice LeRae takes on Taynara Conti.

The episode is one of the first WWE NXT Christmas editions and one year before the A Very Gargano Christmas segment.

Matches to Watch:

NXT North American Champion Match: Roderick Strong vs Austin Theory

Bianca Belair vs Shotzi Blackheart

Damian Priest and Tony Nese vs Keith Lee and Lio Rush 

Dominik Dijakovic vs Bronson Reed

11. WWE SmackDown - December 25, 2020

Still over six months away from WWE’s return to live touring in mid-2022, the December 25, 2020, Christmas Day episode of WWE SmackDown features four high-stakes matches, including three championship matches from the Thunderdome. 

Reigns defends the WWE Universal Championship against Kevin Owens. The Steel Cage match is the second match in the trilogy between Owens and Reigns in late 2020 and early 2021.

In the middle of the card, Charlotte and Asuka defend their championship in a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match against the teams of Banks and Belair, as well as Bayley and Carmella. Then, Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) faces Jey Uso. 

To close the episode, Sami Zayn defends his WWE Intercontinental Championship against Big E in a Lumberjack Match. The 2020 Christmas Day edition of WWE SmackDown concludes with a feel-good moment after Big E wins his second-ever Intercontinental Championship.

Matches to Watch:

WWE Universal Championship Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens 

WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Triple Threat Elimination Match: Charlotte and Asuka vs Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair vs Bayley and Carmella 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Lumberjack Match: Sami Zayn vs Big E

12. WWE SmackDown - December 24, 2021

The 2021 edition of WWE SmackDown aired on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021. Compared to the previous year, the card only features three matches. The matches include a championship match, a gauntlet match, and a Miracle On 34th Street Fight.

In the opening match, Charlotte defends the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship against Toni Storm. The match is Storm’s final televised match with WWE. She only wrestled in four more matches before leaving the company and signing with AEW in early 2021.

Then, a 42-minute Gauntlet Match takes place in the middle of the episode. The match features a mix of 12 current and former WWE Superstars, such as Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli), who is also in AEW now, and WWE Superstars like The Bloodline’s Sami Zayn.

In the main event, McIntyre and The New Day (Woods and Kingston) face the trio of Madcap Moss and The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) in a Miracle On 34th Street Fight. At the time, Big E–the third member of the New Day–was WWE Champion on WWE Raw.

Matches to Watch: 

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair vs Toni Storm

Six-Man Tag Team Miracle On 34th Street Fight Match: Drew McIntyre and the New Day vs Madcap Moss and the Usos

Did we miss one of your favorite WWE Christmas themed events? Shoot us a message on Twitter @137pm and let us know!

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down