This Sunday, SummerSlam is on its way and we all have our favourite matches from the event over the years. So with that being said, these are mine.
The Honky Tonk Man vs The Ultimate Warrior – Intercontinental Championship Match – SummerSlam 1988
To start with, it isn’t the match itself that makes title bout amazing but it’s the result and the moment it created. At the time, The Honky Tonk Man had seized the Intercontinental Championship for a record-setting 454-day reign and was known to avoid losing his title by getting DQed or counted-out.
At Summerslam 1988, he was facing a mystery opponent, that turned out to be The Ultimate Warrior and within minutes the title reign was over, a new champion was crowned and a new fan favourite was discovered.
Demolition vs The Hart Foundation – Two-Out-Of-Three-Falls Match for the Tag Team Championship – SummerSlam 1990
SummerSlam 1990 is pretty much a two-match event. NO not Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake and Ultimate Warrior vs Rick Rude matches respectively, you’re half right though, the latter was a good match but the Tag Team Championship match contested under two out of three falls was just excellent.
The Tag Team Champions Demolition had reverted back into full-on heel mode with the addition of new member Crush in the run-up to SummerSlam, regularly using the three-man numbers advantage to beat their opponents without the referee’s knowledge.
Cue fan favourites Hart Foundation who on this night defeated Demolition (Smash, Crush and Ax who hid under the ring) to become two-time Champions, overcoming the odds with the assistance of the Legion of Doom. The LOD arrived at the climax of the event during the final fall causing the crowd to burst into cheers at the finale.
Bret Hart vs. Mr Perfect – Intercontinental Championship Match – SummerSlam 1991
Picture the set up before SummerSlam, Bret Hart had just started becoming recognised as a solo wrestler after separating from the Hart Foundation. Mr Perfect was the arrogant Champion who would treat Hart like a young child out of his depth.
The match. This damn match. To start with, it began slowly, and then like all good match storylines it grew. The more the match continued, the more fans realised that Hart was the future of WWE and that Perfect was in trouble. When Hart kicked out of the infamous Perfect-Plex, Madison Square Garden erupted, complete with Bobby Heenan being iconic on commentary in disbelief. And then the conclusion, as Perfect set up a leg drop between Hart’s legs, Hart blocked it and grapevined the leg into a Sharpshooter, ultimately becoming the move that would crown a new Champion in Hart.
Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – SummerSlam 1994
Another SummerSlam, another amazing Hart match seriously Bret Hart should have been known as Mr SummerSlam. After matches with Mr Perfect, British Bulldog and now Owen Hart, Bret was on a roll.
Where to start with the build-up to this match. It all began during Survivor Series 1993 that the division between the Hart Brothers occurred, then leading to Royal Rumble where Owen attacked Bret and then at WrestleMania when the two clashed and Owen won. Long term storylines here, remember those.
At that WrestleMania, Bret would defeat Yokozuna and recapture the WWF Championship, step forward Owen who wanted a title shot and would get it at SummerSlam… but within a steel cage. How was this not the main event?
Hard-hitting, suspenseful and fantastic. This match remains one of this writer’s favourite cage matches in WWE history and the finale was innovative, Owen getting his foot caught in the cage as Bret reached the floor after climbing over the cage. The fans really got into this match and lost themselves in the excitement of it all.
Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin – WWE Championship Match – SummerSlam 2001
Oh, the Invasion storyline. Fans were quick to hate on what could have been rather than what they were witnessing. Case in point, this gem of a match.
Kurt Angle who was at the time WWE’s hero, the man who slowly morphed into the wrestling machine rather than the wrestling coward he was portrayed earlier that year. He would battle Steve Austin who was revelling in the role of ruthless Alliance Leader.
During the match both put on a fantastic battle, Angle was performing technical wrestling excellence while Austin unleashed an onslaught of roughneck antics. Combine this with the backdrop of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman on commentary it’s a fantastic match only marred by a screw job DQ finish that would set up the amazing MILK-O-MANIA moment on RAW the following night.
CM Punk v Brock Lesnar – No DQ Match – SummerSlam 2013
Brock Lesnar versus CM Punk, there is no need for an intro to this.
25 minutes. That’s how long this lasts. Both men are great in this battle. Punk is thrown about like a rag doll during parts of this match and his valiant struggle against the monster Lesnar is emotionally engaging throughout. Paul Heyman is once again that man who adds another level of drama to a chaotic event but the sad fact remains that this is Punk’s final amazing match within WWE before he would walk out of the company.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE World Heavyweight Championship – SummerSlam 2013
This Summerslam was brilliance, after the Punk/Lesnar clash, it was Cena/Bryan that took centre stage and rightly so. Bryan felt Cena was a parody of a wrestler. Cena felt he needed to beat the best wrestler in WWE, that was Bryan.
The match itself, the underdog Bryan clashed with the larger Cena in an emotionally charged bout. Cena proved his detractors that he was a great wrestler, and Bryan showed the management he could hang with the company’s best. After defeating Cena clean to become the WWE Champion, Bryan’s heartbreak arrived. Randy Orton looked to cash in his MITB briefcase and after a Pedigree from Triple H, Orton left as Champion and the fans fully levelled up to became the ‘Yes Movement’.
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman – WWE World Heavyweight Championship – SummerSlam 2014
Some people hate this match others love it. This, as a writer, loves it. I mean when can you actually see a wrestling dynasty get destroyed. No, not destroyed, victimised as Paul Heyman stated the next night on RAW.
Brock Lesnar fresh after conquering The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania wanted the WWE World Hvt. Title meaning John Cena was his next target. And what we got was 17 mins of Lesnar taking Cena to Suplex City. Suplex after Suplex after Suplex and Cena only responded through a desperate amount of offence. Case in point, Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, Lesnar sat back up and laughed at him. After Lesnar defeated Cena, this was the moment his stranglehold over the WWE would officially begin.
Finn Bàlor vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match – SummerSlam 2016
Did you remember when Finn Bàlor was challenging for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam? Do you remember when he was Champion? I do and that’s why this match makes my list.
I remember seeing Finn Bàlor all across the UK as Prince Devitt, then in NXT as NXT Champion and then at SummerSlam he faced Seth Rollins, and he captured the vacant Universal Championship. Amazing.
The match was exactly what the WWE needed, two of the very best in WWE showcasing what they could do when they’re given free rein. However, the match is marred by two things, the chants from the wrestling fans who bitched about the colour of the title rather than watch the match and Bàlor was injured during the match causing him to be sidelined for the rest of the year and later the next year.
So that’s the list, hope you get a chance to watch them, do you have any others that are not on this list? Let us know.
All pics courtesy of WWE