There are always certain moments that define specific pay-per-view events, but with the show-stealers come many more matches that are amazing, but overlooked, due to another match being perceived as better.
SummerSlam is one of those events that has many memorable matches. Just to name a few:
- The Ultimate Warrior beating The Honky Tonk Man in 31 seconds for the IC title in 1988
- The British Bulldog beating his brother-in-law Bret Hart for the IC title in 1992
- The Undertaker vs. The UnderFaker in 1994
- The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar for the Undisputed Title in 2002
And that is not even close to the number of memorable encounters, but this list is not devoted to those matches. This list is devoted to those that get left behind in our selective memories.
Take a walk down memory lane with me as I count down the top 10 most underrated matches in SummerSlam's 25 year history.
The Texas Tornado was the name given to Kerry Von Erich by Vince McMahon because for some reason they felt like associating him with the greatest family in wrestling history was a bad thing. Go figure.
You all know who Mr. Perfect is, right?
Good. Any match featuring Curt Hennig and Kerry Von Erich should have been given more than five minutes, but these two managed to make it a great match with a very small amount of time to work with.
Von Erich took home the IC title, and he became the only member of the Von Erich family to hold WWE gold in the process.
The first tag team match on this list to win "Longest Match of the Night" honors (Yes, there's more than one) features The Hart Foundation taking on The Brain Busters going 16:23.
It was a simpler time, when WWF video packages included shots of random hot girls driving cars and children eating ice cream for no reason whatsoever. The music was synthesizer-heavy, and was usually produced in-house.
Everyone always talks about how The Hardys, E&C and all the other attitude era tag teams were the best in history, and some of them are, but the era this match took place in really was the golden era of tag team wrestling.
The Brain Busters consisted of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, who are usually remembered more for their work with The Four Horseman than they are for their time in the then-WWF, but they do hold the distinction of being the first team to ever hold the NWA Tag titles and the WWF Tag titles.
The Hart Foundation is a team that is recognizable to almost any fan of any age. Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart epitomized what tag team wrestling was during that period. They may have only won two titles together, but they left their mark on the industry in a way most tag teams could have only dreamed about.
Jesse Ventura can be heard throughout the match on commentary putting over the pure wrestling ability of these two tag teams like he had money invested in them.
This match between these four workhorses is what wrestling was all about. I wasn't able to find just this match in a video, but I did find the whole show, and luckily this is the first match that took place. I do however urge you to watch the opening video package for nostalgic purposes.
One last thing; Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart made pink cool way before any of the guys who think it's edgy to wear it today.
When I was nine years old, nothing got me more pumped than The Legion of Doom's entrance, and adding motorcycles to it for SummerSlam only made me mark out more.
For good reason, The British Bulldog and Bret Hart's match got the most attention from this PPV, but this tag match is one that was a great start to the official SummerSlam PPV.
On one side of the ring you had one of the most popular tag teas in wrestling history, and on the other side you had two talented workers in Ted DiBiase and Mike Rotunda. You couldn't really go wrong with this kind of booking. And when you add Paul Ellering and Jimmy Hart into the mix, you have a recipe for a great match.
These two teams were not in a title match, and this match certainly proved that the wrong two teams were fighting for the Tag titles that night.
This may have been several matches packed into one, but it still technically gets another "Longest Match of the Night" trophy for the tag team division at 17:27.
The match was the kind of gauntlet match where instead of one opponent facing a series of opponents, each time someone lost, they were eliminated and replaced by the next person, which made it lose the handicap aspect of it.
The match began with Edge and Christian taking on Matt and Jeff Hardy, who at the time were associated with Gangrel and known as The New Brood.
E&C beat the Hardy brothers, and then they went on to defeat Viscera and Mideon as well as Prince Albert (Tensai) and Droz, before being eliminated by The Acolytes.
JBL and Ron Simmons defeated the final team of Crash and Hardcore Holly to win the whole thing. It's a fun match that features four tag teams that helped shape the division in those days. You know which ones I am talking about.
This is one of the instances of not being able to find this single match, but find the whole PPV. I set it up to start at this match, but you can see the whole show on YouTube.
Everyone always talks about the ladder match Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon had at WrestleMania X, but nobody ever really talks about their second ladder match at SummerSlam 1995.
Many of you probably remember this match well if you were old enough at the time, but if anyone ever asks you "Do you remember the Michaels vs. Ramon ladder match?" Do you respond "SummerSlam 1995 or WrestleMania X?" or do you respond "Yeah, it was great!"
That is what makes this match underrated.
Unlike their previous encounter, we knew who the IC Champion was going into the match, and that was "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels.
Not only were the heel and face roles reversed this time around, but so was the outcome of the match as Michaels ended up taking home the win and his precious IC title belt.
The ECW/WCW Invasion Era in WWE has received mixed reviews, but one match that made things exciting was The Brothers of Destruction vs. DDP and the late Chris Kanyon for both the WWE and WCW Tag titles.
Oddly enough, it was Kanyon and DDP who were the WWE Tag champs and Kane and Undertaker as WCW Tag champs, but only one team could leave with both sets of belts.
The match was built up with a storyline based around DDP stalking Undertaker's wife, who would end up accompanying Taker and Kane to the ring for this match.
Kanyon managed to escape the cage, but DDP had to escape with him, or manage to do the impossible and pin both Kane and The Undertaker.
One of the best parts of the match is when Kanyon has escaped, and The Undertaker just starts destroying DDP in the corner while Kane just sits on a turnbuckle and watches.
After teasing a chokeslam to the battered and bruised DDP, Undertaker pushed him into the corner, pointed to his wife and yelled, "Get you ass out of here and I'll let you live. If you ever look at her again, I'll kill you!"
But Taker didn't let him off that easily. He brought DDP back down and delivered a chokeslam and "The Last Ride" to get the pin and the win. Taker's wife screamed at the unconscious DDP while The Brothers of Destruction celebrated with both sets of Tag titles.
Having the match called by Paul Heyman and Jim Ross only made things better. Based on what Jim Ross says in the opening moments of the match, I believe this PPV was only available to DirecTV customers, so if you have never seen this match, you should take a look.
This is one of the few title matches on the list. Rey Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler, retaining his IC title in the process.
The two showboats put on a great match to kick of the PPV, but SummerSlam 2009 was dominated by storylines and matches like DX vs. Legacy, CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy and John Cena vs. Randy Orton. So Rey vs. Dolph usually goes unmentioned when running through the show's highlights.
Hopefully Mysterio is able to recooperate and return in some capacity, even part-time, because he is someone who can pop a crowd like nobody else.
Watch the match and you will see that it deserves to be recognized as a very underrated match in the history of the PPV.
Ziggler was already getting some crowd support and chants during the show, and this was almost four years before he would end up turning babyface, but it was Rey who ended up getting the win and the huge ovation from the SummerSlam crowd.
The line of the night had to go to Jim Ross. After Rey had hit the 619 to Ziggler, Ross screamed out "Rey Mysterio didn't call collect, but Ziggler just accepted Mysterio's feet!"
The late, great Eddie Guerrero and Edge put on a great match at SummerSlam 2002. This was another match where there was no title, just two great wrestlers doing what they do best.
Eddie was the cocky heel, while Edge was the super-over fan favorite, and together they put on a great 10 minute match.
I really feel bad for anyone who became a fan of wrestling after the unfortunate passing of Eddie Guerrero because he just so amazing at every aspect of the game. Whether he was a heel or babyface, he could out-talk you on the mic and out-wrestle you in the ring.
He was to that era what CM Punk is to this era. You either loved him or loved to hate him, but you gave a damn when he was in the ring doing anything.
And make no mistake about it, Edge is no slouch. These two did a lot in 10 minutes, but when people think about 2002's event they think about Brock vs. Rock or Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels. This match fell right through the cracks after the event, and it deserves some credit.
Another tag team match to earn the "Longest Match of the Night" Award goes to The Fabulous Rougeaus vs. The British Bulldogs at the very first SummerSlam in 1988.
These two legendary tag teams wrestled to a 20-minute time limit draw in the opening bout. It is a classic example of great tag team wrestling that anyone who wants to be a wrestler should see.
The Rougeaus were the perfect representation of the foreign heels, even going as far as claiming to want to move to the United States while wrestling in their home of Canada just to keep their heel heat going.
The Bulldogs were one of the most popular tag teams in the division and remain a favorite of fans old enough to remember them to this day. The match just made sense.
It demonstrates every staple of tag team wrestling, from double team moves to actual wrestling ability. A lot of today's tag team wrestling is just attempt after attempt to pop the crowd, whereas these guys got respect from the crowd for keeping a consistent pace and performing at a very high level.
Can you even think of the last time you saw a time limit draw in a match? This was back during a period where tag team wrestling not only mattered, but it was one of the highlights of the night.
This match is often overshadowed by Ultimate Warrior's quick win over the self-proclaimed "Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time" and the main event featuring The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks.
I would also like to point out that not only did SummerSlam 1988 feature four tag team matches that year, including the main event, but it was also a PPV that did not feature a WWF/E Title defense. Could you imagine if WWE tried to sell that kind of SummerSlam today?
Eddie's second appearance on the list, and the No. 1 match on the list, is one he had with Kurt Angle at SummerSlam 2004. At a little over 13 minutes, they had enough time to do some pretty cool stuff.
Not long into the match, Guerrero applied Angle's signature Ankle Lock, and later hit an Angle Slam, and you could immediately tell it was going to be "That" kind of match. When you see two of the best of all time trying to show the world why they deserve to be called that, you see something unique.
Eddie was the babyface in this one, and he played his role to perfection. Even though Angle would take home the win, it was Eddie who really stole the match with his performance.
This match was slightly overlooked due to some higher profile matches. Angle and Eddie famously fought for the WWE title at WrestleMania XX, but SummerSlam 2004 cannot be overlooked as one of their great matches.
With 25 years and over 200 matches in the history of this event, there are bound to be people who have differing opinions on this subject, so please feel free to leave you thoughts below.
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.