It's a long way from one WrestleMania to another, and SummerSlam provides a blockbuster in between The Showcase of The Immortals to satiate WWE fans.
If WrestleMania is WWE's Super Bowl, then SummerSlam is the NFL conference championships, an event with less hype but that is often just as entertaining. The summertime pay-per-view has been a reliable source of income for the company and has given fans a number of classics to savor.
Starting in 1988, the WWE calendar expanded to include SummerSlam.
The event has had its down years in terms of pay-per-view buys, but it has frequently been below only WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble. With as many new pay-per-views as WWE has created in the last few years, SummerSlam stands alongside its "Big Four" brethren as one of the pillars of the WWE calendar.
WrestleZone.com reported that in 2012 Money in the Bank earned 188,000 buys, Night of Champions drew 189,000 and SummerSlam in between reached a number nearly twice of those before and after it. 358,000 folks ordered the SummerSlam 2012 pay-per-view.
As good as Money in the Bank has been in his few years of existence, fans apparently know and trust SummerSlam more.
It's been around since the days of Randy Savage and Andre the Giant, which must resonate with fans in terms of prestige. WWE also saves some of its biggest matches for this event, so it's no surprise that SummerSlam's buyrate history has some numbers to boast about.
PWMania.com listed the buyrates for the August event back to 2009.
SummerSlam drew lower numbers in 2011 with 296,000 but had more than solid numbers in 2010 and 2009. Buyrates for those years were 350,000 and 369,000, respectively.
Those aren't WrestleMania numbers, but no other show challenges the king for its crown.
Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, SummerSlam, Money in the Bank and everything else on the calendar are competing for the silver medal. It's a medal that Royal Rumble and SummerSlam often trade.
The numbers for 2011 and 2010, as reported by Wrestling Observer (via WrestleZone.com), show that the Royal Rumble was the clear winner for second place, but SummerSlam outdid everything else not named WrestleMania.
Big Summer Sizzle
As exciting as it would be if WWE could have huge feuds with huge stars every month, it's just not feasible to keep that pace up. More often than not, the company's biggest and best stories feed into WrestleMania.
From Royal Rumble to The Show of Shows, everything is building to that peak.
A new challenger is crowned on the night of the Rumble. Part-timers like The Undertaker begin to make their way back. The hype and the pressure begin to build.
There is sure to be a letdown after this, and SummerSlam offers WWE another mountain after the valley that is the WrestleMania hangover.
August is the time for big stars to appear and for high-profile feuds to get their time in the sun. After facing John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012, Brock Lesnar waited until SummerSlam of that year to make his next pay-per-view appearance. The same appears to be true for Lesnar as his feud with CM Punk is heating up at just the right time.
SummerSlam has featured Hulk Hogan facing off against Shawn Michaels, Cena vs. CM Punk to crown the undisputed WWE champ, Lesnar's first WWE title win and a classic Intercontinental title match between British Bulldog and Bret Hart.
In the last five years, WWE has made a tradition out of holding the event in Los Angeles, Calif. This has led to celebrities of varying levels attending the show, which has given SummerSlam some of the glitz that WrestleMania has had for so long.
CeeLo Green performed at the 2011 event. Terry Crews and Olympian Ryan Lochte attended last year's SummerSlam kickoff party.
These aren't names at the level of the folks who take part in WrestleMania activities, but there is some buzz associated with them. Their presence gives SummerSlam a Hollywood feel and a sense of summer fun.
SummerSlam, in a way, feels like a party.
This year, the enormously popular underdog Daniel Bryan takes on Cena for the WWE Championship. It won't be as hyped of a match as The Rock vs. Cena, but going by SummerSlam's history, it will bring in some decent money for WWE, and it will part of be a fun, memorable show.