It is “The Biggest Party of the Summer,” and there’re many moments to look forward to this year, but SummerSlam has been going on since 1988, that’s 31 years people, so for every awesome match there have to be some bad moments and the list below we look some of the bad ones:
Lex Luger vs Yokozuna – SummerSlam 1993
As SummerSlam 1993 approached, WWE had a problem, Hulk Hogan was leaving and Vince McMahon felt he needed a similar Hogan replacement. Despite having someone already waiting for the wings, that being former WWE Champion Bret Hart, Vince had tunnel vision and focused on a new Mr America.
Yokozuna (who looked unstoppable) defeated Hogan to capture the WWF Title and step forward Lex Luger, who made his first appearance as the new hero that fans could rally behind at a special event on the deck of the U.S.S. Intrepid on July 4th to bodyslam the villainous Champion. For weeks before SummerSlam Luger had toured around America in the ‘Lex Express’ tour bus to engage with the fans and he had a lot of support.
Then came the match, as a main event it’s okay, but the finale ruined everything for Luger in WWE. Luger came off the ropes with his finisher, the running forearm and Yokozuna fell outside the ring knocked out. He was counted out and Luger won the match…just not the Title as no pinball or submission had occurred. As the ring filled with fan favourites and balloons from the ceiling to celebrate the victory, it was a hollow one as every fan seems to look around at each other asking why are we celebrating this?
The Undertaker vs The Undertaker – SummerSlam 1994
From 1993 to 1997, WWE was in a state of flux and there was no way during this time to have one PPV without a match that made fans ashamed to be a wrestling fan, and at SummerSlam ’94 this was that match.
At the Royal Rumble of that year, The Undertaker disappeared in mysterious circumstances after being defeated by Yokozuna, (the real reason was that he was granted leave in order to properly recover from a back injury) and in the weeks running up to SummerSlam “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase unleashed his Undertaker. However, Paul Bearer declared that this Undertaker was an imposter and he, in fact, will show the real Undertaker at SummerSlam as the two Undertakers will battle each other in a match.
Fast forward to SummerSlam, and it really didn’t get any better. WWE hired Leslie Nielsen to be in full ‘The Naked Gun’/‘Police Squad’ mode (these were movies funny in the early 90s) behind the scenes acting out comedy skits trying to find The Undertaker. The crowd didn’t seem to know how to react to these skits, they seemed confused.
The strangeness continued within the match itself, it was in simple terms boring. The crowd was silent throughout this nine-minute bout and both men never did anything that was worth noticing. To make matters worse this was the main event in a PPV that had the excellent storyline arc of the Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart match battling within a Steel Cage for the WWF Championship that was relegated to the middle of the show.
Jerry Lawler vs Jake Roberts – SummerSlam 1996
Wrestling fans all know of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts struggles with substance abuse in real life, and it was highlighted for all to see thanks to WWE with Jerry Lawler being the wrestler who would taunt him regarding his issues as their feud reached its peak.
As Roberts made his way to the ring, he was verbally insulted by Lawler questioning his newfound religious devotion and then as the match if you could call it that came to an end when Lawler physically abused Roberts by striking him with a bottle of whisky and then pouring it over him.
To say that this was offensive would be an understatement. It was cruel and as WWE likes to make a thing about the product being entertaining, this was everything but entertaining.
Terri vs The Kat – Stinkface Match – SummerSlam 2000
You know how you get those fans that say, ‘The Attitude Era’ was amazing, some parts were no doubt and then you have this, this “match”. Apparently, Terri Runnels and The Kat had developed quite a feud during that year, they had a match at that WrestleMania and had several battles that involved them getting undressed but it was all going to end at SummerSlam in a, wait for it, Stinkface Match.
How do you win a Stinkface Match? Be the first woman to deliver Rikishi’s “Stinkface” move to her opponent. Cue shenanigans as Perry Saturn who was with Terri and Al Snow with The Kat, interfered, and after three minutes, The Kat won and we all looked on wondering WTF?!
Divas Dodgeball – SummerSlam 2004
I did have to wonder what to say about this as there is no story behind this, it’s simple, guys behind the scenes going you want to see women half-naked, making grunt notices and run about, well lets put them all together in a Divas Dodgeball match. So it’s six the of Diva Search contestants battle six full-time WWE Divas in a dodgeball match, in a gym, wasn’t live and just seemed really tacky.
So, the Diva Search contestants beat the full-time Divas, admittedly that was surprising but what has come out since then was that Ivory stated that the match was a shoot and the Divas were taken to “Wrestlers’ Court” for losing and making the roster look bad. Yeah, this was a complete mess and when you look at the Women’s Division now, that was only 15 years ago.
Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero Ladder Match – SummerSlam 2005
Now, this sounds like an amazing match right? I mean two of the very best in WWE clashing at SummerSlam, why is it on this list…whoever wins gets custody of Rey Mysterio’s son Dominik.
Since WrestleMania when the two battled previously Eddie had been taunting Rey, telling him that he knew a secret which would crush his family, ruin everything he had known and what was the secret? Rey’s son, Dominik, was actually fathered by Eddie and adopted by Rey, and now Eddie wanted him back, was it out of love? Nope just to be a dick.
The match was great, a bumpy finale, the right ending, Mysterio won by grabbing Dominik’s custody papers, but the stipulation seriously just made you wonder why was this needed.
Team WWE vs. Team Nexus – Summerslam 2010
Let’s start from the beginning. Before NXT was the NXT of today, it was a reality TV pile of trash that had wrestlers competing to be on the main roster. It was really bad but game-changer, in the months leading to SummerSlam, eight men attacked wrestlers on the main stage. It didn’t matter who they were, everyone including John Cena was a victim of their onslaught.
This was great, new wrestlers, new stories and finally something new. Each one of the eight wrestlers looked destructive and looked like future stars. They were The Nexus.
It was going so well in those previous paragraphs, at SummerSlam, it would be the divided Team WWE who had a returning Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Edge, John Cena, John Morrison, R-Truth and Nexus defector, Daniel Bryan versus Team Nexus. The match was great, 30 plus minutes until the ending, it was John Cena versus Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel. After the two Nexus members beat the hell out of Cena in and outside the ring, Gabriel had set Cena up for his 450 Splash. It looked over but he missed it and Cena then pinned Gabriel then immediately submitted Barrett with the STF.
What the hell just happened? Was what the fans asked and afterwards as a result of the loss The Nexus was forced to disband but the group as a whole had lost all importance to the fans in a loss that wasn’t needed and tore apart the impact that those individuals made in the last months.
Randy Orton vs Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2016
It isn’t the match itself that is so shocking and why it made this list. It was the climax that had fans and even wrestlers behind the scenes question if it planned or not.
In the build-up to the match, both men had made it very believable that it was going to be a hard-hitting contest and it was certainly something fans had wanted to see.
But the ending…oh the ending, Lesnar brutalized Orton with a string of elbows to the top of the head and then the blood started to flow. The image of Orton lying motionless on the canvas as Lesnar stood over him is a sight that became unnerving to even the most dedicated wrestling fanbase who craves their wrestling more real. And as previously mentioned wrestlers didn’t know it was real as a much-documented scuffle broke out between Jericho and Lesnar occurred after the match.
I’m sure there’s more that I haven’t included like Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels from Summerslam 2005, but personally, I liked that. I really enjoyed that Hogan tried to do his usual politics behind the scenes and forgot that Michaels is also a master of being a dick in the ring when he wants to be. And I’m sure you may mention King Mabel vs Diesel, but really that whole PPV was something to be missed.
All pics courtesy of WWE