WWE: Top 10 Summer Storylines of the Last 5 Years
The Road to WrestleMania is said to be the time of the year where everyone in the WWE is working on overdrive. The time that everything clicks together. Of course, they're giving it their all in an effort to put on the best WrestleMania show.
The WWE has been known to create some truly amazing stories during the summer months, especially in the past few years.
With the reports that the WWE creative team is being "pushed to come up with a 'knock your socks off' type of angle for the summer," one can only wonder what they have in store for us this year.
Until then, let's reflect on the great summer feuds of the last five years.
Many fans were elated when Edge and Chris Jericho joined forces and won the WWE Tag Team Championships at The Bash in 2009. However, their partnership didn't last long because Edge tore his Achilles tendon shortly after the PPV.
In July at Night of Champions, Jericho named Big Show as Edge's replacement as tag team champion. No one could have ever guessed that their tag team would be as amusing as it was.
They had a great dynamic inside and outside the ring. Jericho carried the technical aspects of the match while Big Show served as the power player and enforcer of the team. When cutting promos, Big Show came across as the silent, somewhat buffoonish member while Jericho was the real talker of the group.
In their matches against the likes of Legacy and Cryme Time, Jeri-Show seemed to breathe new life into the division during the summer of 2009.
Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero
Rey Mysterio was sidelined for almost a year with a knee injury suffered at the hands of Chavo Guerrero. When it came time for Mysterio to return, it was announced that he would face Guerrero at SummerSlam 2007.
In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Guerrero would become obsessed with Mysterio. He would put a mask on his opponents and attack their knees, much like he targeted Mysterio's knee a year earlier. In addition, Guerrero often attempted to perform Mysterio's signature 619.
Their match at SummerSlam was one of the best matches of the night. They knew one another hold for hold and could counter each other in such creative ways. The match was a wonderful hybrid of technical wrestling and high-flying excitement.
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
In the summer of 2009, Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho battled over the Intercontinental Championship. The feud was instigated by Jericho's claims that Mysterio is dishonest and a coward because of his mask.
Mysterio's mask would become an integral part of the feud. The bad blood between the two came to a point at The Bash 2009 in a Mask vs. Championship match. Mysterio would be triumphant, leaving The Bash as Intercontinental Champion with his mask intact.
On both TV and PPV, this feud would yield many Match of the Year candidates. Jericho and Mysterio made the Intercontinental Championship relevant and made SmackDown must-see television.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
As the longest reigning WWE Champion of the decade, John Cena was riding high. It seemed he was absolutely unstoppable. Then Randy Orton was named the No. 1 contender.
Every time Cena turned his back, the "Legend Killer" was right there. He attacked Cena many times before the their SummerSlam main event match, including RKOing him through a chair at Saturday Night's Main Event.
This feud has since become very stale, but the matchup was very fresh at the time. Orton and Cena seemed to have good chemistry in their first ever one-on-one match for the WWE Championship.
Orton would ultimately come up short, but it would only be a matter of time before he captured the title. This feud was an excellent way to close the summer of 2007.
Legacy cost Triple H a shot at the WWE Championship by sabotaging his Beat the Clock efforts. This led to Triple H going out and trying to take on Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase on his own.
When Legacy became too much for "The Game" to handle, he enlisted the help of an old partner of his. After some time, Shawn Michaels agreed to return at SummerSlam to reunite DX.
Any reunion of Triple H and Shawn Michaels is newsworthy. In my opinion, they did a good job of making it feel like Hunter needed HBK to defeat Legacy. They also put some good heat on DiBiase and Rhodes.
Their return to action and victory over Legacy was a highlight of SummerSlam 2009. You'd never guess it had been a few years since the last time they teamed together.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels would go on to help revive the WWE tag team division, along with Jeri-Show. They won their first tag team championship at the TLC PPV in 2009.
Christian vs. Randy Orton
Christian won the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules 2011 after Edge vacated it upon retiring. That week on Smackdown, Randy Orton defeated Christian for the title, ending his reign quickly.
Orton and Christian feuded throughout the summer of 2011. With Christian’s growing frustration at his inability to regain the title, it was only a matter of time before he snapped.
During the main event of an episode of SmackDown, Christian turned heel by decking Orton with the belt. Christian would win the world title at Money in the Bank but lose it back to Orton at SummerSlam.
While the booking of Christian in this feud was a hot debate topic, there’s no doubt that Orton and Christian had plenty of Match of the Year candidates.
Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
At Extreme Rules 2009, Jeff Hardy defeated Edge in a grueling Ladder match to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. Thanks to CM Punk cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, his first reign would be very short lived.
Punk and Hardy feuded throughout the summer of 2009. At their rematch at The Bash, Punk retained due to a disqualification loss, claiming that impaired sight due to an eye injury led to him hitting the referee.
Hardy would win the title back at the following PPV, Night of Champions. During an episode of SmackDown, Punk appeared to be congratulating Hardy when he began to attack him, turning heel in the process. All respect and sportsmanship between the two quickly dissipated.
At SummerSlam, the two met in a TLC match. In what was arguably the match of the year, Punk once again walked out as World Heavyweight Champion. It was so good that the return of the legendary Undertaker seemed to detract from the match.
Their feud came to a close on an August edition of Smackdown. Punk, who had been waging a moral war against Hardy, faced the "Charismatic Enigma" in on last match. Upon losing the Steel Cage match to Punk, Hardy was forced to leave the WWE and hasn't been seen since.
This feud highlighted not only the summer, but all of 2009. Punk and Hardy had great chemistry in every setting they worked in. On top of that, it was a very fresh matchup in the main event scene.
Edge vs. Undertaker
Edge and Undertaker battled in a TLC match over the World Heavyweight Championship at One Night Stand 2008. Per stipulation, The Deadman was banished from the WWE upon losing.
The banishment would be lifted by Vickie Guerrero once her relationship with Edge fell apart. She announced Edge would face 'Taker at SummerSlam in a Hell in a Cell match.
The match topped all of their previous encounters. Undertaker was right at home, and Edge kept up every step of the way. They had all the classic spots, including 'Taker putting Edge through the Cell. One of the most memorable spots was Undertaker Spearing Edge near the end of the match.
'Taker put Edge down for the count with a Tombstone Piledriver. Before he made his way back to the locker room, 'Taker came back and Chokeslammed Edge through the ring. Just for good measure.
John Cena and CM Punk faced off in the main event of a June 2010 edition of Raw. The outcome of their match would never be decided though.
Donning an armband with a yellow "N," NXT Season One victor Wade Barrett made his way to the ring in the middle of the match. Many believed he interrupted the main event to declare his contention for the WWE Championship.
Instead, the rest if the NXT Season One competitors entered through the crowd. The eight of them proceeded to dismantle anything and everything in their path.
The Nexus, as they would come to be known, would dominate the WWE throughout the summer. Cena would assemble a team of seven WWE all-stars to challenge, and ultimately, defeat the rogue NXT rookies.
Without a doubt, The Nexus proved to be one of the most memorable summer storylines ever. It's a shame that Cena and his team would end the team's reign so prematurely.
CM Punk vs. John Cena
In June 2011, CM Punk won a Triple Threat match to be named the No. 1 contender for John Cena's WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. He would then announce that his contract with WWE would expire following the PPV.
Later in that edition of Raw, Punk would cost Cena a tables match against R-Truth. Punk then proceeded to sit cross-legged on the stage and deliver one of the most memorable promos in WWE history.
Punk unleashed a worked shoot promo on leaving with the WWE Championship, Triple H as a backstage authority figure, and so much more.
On July 17, 2011, Punk would defeat Cena and win the WWE Championship in one of the most anticipated matches of all time. Not only was this the best summer storyline in recent memory, it was one of the best stories of all time.
Punk would then return two weeks later, just as Cena was crowned the new WWE Champion. They would have a rematch at SummerSlam, which Punk would win.
Can I conveniently leave out Alberto del Rio cashing in?
The WWE has given its Universe some great stories during the summer. The last two years have yielded those "knock your socks off" kind of stories the WWE is looking for.
This is around the time when CM Punk cut his famous promo. Especially with the 1000th episode of Raw coming up, I would expect whatever big ideas the creative department has to be put into action within a month or so.
Time shall tell.