WWE SummerSlam will kickoff on Sunday night, August 21st, 2016 from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. It’s set to be a great event featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion, Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE World Championship, Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair for the Women’s Championship and John Cena vs. AJ Styles.
The SummerSlam event will join a long history of previous SummerSlam events, that poses a question: what were my favorite SummerSlam matches? I present the list unranked and only in chronological order.
Mr. Perfect (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Bret Hart – SummerSlam 1991
A classic bout from a classic era featuring two of the best in ring workers in pro wrestling history. These two men are nearly clones of one another. In the end it’s Bret walking away with the IC title.
Bret Hart (Intercontinental Champion) vs. British Bulldog – SummerSlam 1992
Probably SummerSlam’s greatest match of all-time featured a battle in the UK between brother in laws. A must-watch match for any wrestling fan. The Bulldog doesn’t disappoint his hometown crowd and wins the IC title.
The Rock (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Triple H – SummerSlam 1998
A ladder match which saw career rivals as then rising stars. Triple H was the hero here and Rock the hated heel. This match showcased the main event status ability that both would go on to obtain. Triple H wins when Chyna low blows The Rock.
Stone Cold (WWE Champion) vs. The Undertaker – SummerSlam 1998
Austin right in his prime popularity versus Undertaker who was out to take back his spot at the top dog in the absolute prime year of the Attitude Era. Austin had beaten Michaels earlier in the year, but he needed to defeat Undertaker to truly secure the company was his to rule. Austin put Taker away after Taker turned down Kane’s appearance to assist him.
Stone Cold (WWE Champion) vs. Triple H vs. Mankind – SummerSlam 1999
It was set to be Austin vs. Triple H, but after an exciting month of main event changes, Mankind was in the fold. Jesse Ventura was the Special Guest Referee. Underrated match in my view. Unpredictable and exciting. You also never expect Mankind to pin Austin for Foley’s final WWE title victory.
Stone Cold (WWE Champion) vs. Kurt Angle – SummerSlam 2001
Stone Cold has joined the Alliance and taken the WWE title along with him. Kurt Angle was absolutely on fire during the summer of 2001, proving he was a top WWE superstar. Angle went in full blown hero and took the fight to Austin. This is a very impressive battle and a Angle really earns your respect here, taking 3 stunners and kicking out of all three. A bloody match, Austin begins attacking WWE referees and WCW Nick Patrick comes in and DQ’s Austin, allowing him to retain.
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in a Street Fight – SummerSlam 2002
The return of HBK to the ring after Triple H attacked him in the parking lot. HBK was slightly rusty by HBK standards, but still impressive. The match is a classic, seeing HBK walk away the winner.
The Rock (WWE Undisputed Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2002
The Rock was just back from Hollywood a month earlier and captured the belt. Brock was four months into his WWE career. Most people expected Rock to drop the title to return to Hollywood, but to a 4-month rookie? Soon into the match Brock was all out bigger and badder than we already thought. Brock had Rock on edge the entire match and even got the crowd behind him. Brock swiftly put away Rock in the end, making Rock not look like The Rock.
Kurt Angle (WWE Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2003
This match was how I felt WrestleMania XIX should’ve been. Angle as the hero. Brock as the hated villain. While not among the greatest of matches, I still feel it was highly underrated. It was Kurt Angle in his truest form versus Brock who was slightly a water down version of himself. Angle wins via submission.
Chris Benoit (World HW Champion) vs. Randy Orton – SummerSlam 2004
While I hate to referee a murderer who committed suicide in this post, this match still must be included. Benoit had finally won a World Championship. Orton was a young 24-year old kid with all of the potential in the world, still years from his peak. The match was very well performed with a spectacular spin around RKO for the finish. Orton was the new World Champion.
Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk – SummerSlam 2013
One of Brock’s greatest matches since his 2012 return. Two Paul Heyman guys, with Heyman in Brock’s corner, did battle. Back and fourth all match, Punk gave Brock all he could handle. Brock won.
John Cena (WWE Champion) vs. Daniel Bryan – SummerSlam 2013
Cena as the hero who was the favorite vs. Bryan as the hero who was the underdog. Bryan puts on an all-time underdog upset. Cena dug deep, but everytime Bryan rose about Cena. Bryan’s kicks were brutal as was his intensity before he won his first WWE Championship. However, Orton would successfully cash in the Money in the Bank mere moments later after Special Guest Referee Triple H hit the Pedigree on Bryan.
John Cena (WWE World HW Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2014
This night was truly SummerSlam 2002 all over again for Brock. Cena was the definitive underdog. Brock was never more dominant in a match for a WWE Championship from bell to bell. Cena was thrown around like a rag doll where fans questioned how the guy was ever a main eventer. Cena did hit his finishers late, but Brock just battled right back and won. While one sided, it’s still an experience to watch as it’s such a rare sight.