Summerslam. The biggest party of the summer according to World Wrestling Entertainment. Since 1988, WWE has held the Summerslam pay-per-view event and it's considered one of the company's big four PPVs along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. This year's Summerslam will be the 25th version of the event and it's sure to give us more memories. What I'm here to do is look back at the previous 24 years of Summerslam to pluck out the 25 greatest Summerslam matches of all time.
How did I do it? I looked at every Summerslam card on paper. I used my memory of these matches to jot down (or type in Notepad as it were) the ones that stood out to me. Then I used DVDs, tapes and youtube to re-watch them. I watched every match that could be considered a contender for this list. If I knew a match sucked, like Undertaker vs. Undertaker, then I wasn't going to waste time watching it again.
After watching them, I jotted down a star rating for the match along with some notes and from there I was able to come up with the list. By the way, we're going with Summerslam as the spelling here rather than Summer Slam or SummerSlam. That's the way I like it.
A couple of things to note:
- Obviously it has to take place at a Summerslam PPV. There have been 24 of them. Total number of matches: 194. From that total I've cut it down to 25.
- The write-ups of these matches won't be play by play except for the two matches that occurred at Summerslam 2011 because I covered it live and there's no point in re-writing it again. The majority of the write-ups will be a synopsis. I'll give some backstory in some cases while in other cases I'll talk about the action more. I'll try to touch on what made it great and what you might want to look out for if you're watching the match.
- If the match happened before 2002 I'm saying WWF. If it's 2002 or later I'll call it WWE. My column. My rules.
- The match will be listed with the name of the winner of the match first. You'll also see the year the match took place, what title was on the line if there was one and the match type (ladder, 2/3 falls, etc.). I'll also do my best to list the time of the match rounded to the nearest minute.
- I will include Chris Benoit matches. They happened and I can write about them. Do I enjoy them as much as I did on my original viewing? No, but if the quality is there then it will make the list.
- I won't be posting links to the matches. However, if you search any of the matches on YouTube by the names of the competitor and you put the year of their Summerslam match you'll be able to find them if you're curious about something. YouTube—I love you. That's a whole other column.
- I use the 5-star scale to rate matches. It's the same scale a lot of people use to rate a movie. Just like The Godfather is a 5-star film, I think a match like Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 is a 5-star wrestling match. I think there are probably 25-30 5-star matches in WWE history. Some people have more. Some people have less. If you strongly disagree all I can ask is that you realize this is my column and I'm using these as a guideline for you the reader.
I believe it's an effective way to judge a wrestling match because saying "pretty good" is too vague. Five stars is another way of saying 10/10 or A+. In the following column every match will be ***3/4 or better. In other words they are all worth your time.
- Here are a listing of matches that were close to making it into the top 25: Martel/Rougeaus vs. Rockers/Tito 1989 (fast paced action), Warrior/Rude 1989 (Warrior got tired so early), Steiners/Heavenly Bodies 1993, Mankind/Undertaker 1996 (too slow), BHart/Undertaker 1997 (they had much better matches), Austin/OHart 1997 (memorable match that would be #27), Hart Foundation/Demolition 1990 (fun tag match that would be #26), Test/Shane 1999 (more of a spotfest than a match), RVD/Benoit 2002, Lesnar/Rock 2002 (on paper sounds great but the chemistry wasn't great), Orton/Benoit 2004 (call this one #28), Hogan/Michaels 2005 (basically Michaels bumping around in a comedic manner at times), Flair/Foley 2006, Cena/Orton 2007 (very average), Mysterio/Ziggler 2009 (a top 30 match), Team WWE/Team Nexus 2010 (maybe if the heels went over). Also some of the worst matches ever like Undertaker/Undertaker 1994, Diesel/Mabel 1995 and Lawler/Roberts 1996 are not going to make it.
- The last rule is the most important: It's my list so it's my order. I won't take anything personally if you disagree. It's just a list. I don't write a lot of list columns even though I get asked to do them all the time. I think for special occasions like this they are warranted in order to relive, start debates and educate those that may not know some of the best matches in the history of WWE. I spent a lot of time on this. I'm proud of it and I hope you enjoy it.