WWE SummerSlam: Ranking the Top 5 Moments of the Last Decade
WWE SummerSlam 2014 is just days away with reigning champion John Cena set to take on The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar in a mouth-watering encounter this Sunday night. With Jericho vs. Wyatt and Ambrose vs. Rollins among the other matches, SummerSlam 2014 looks to have an enticing card to say the least.
With so many potential great matches to come this Sunday, we take a look back over the last decade to bring you the top 5 matches at previous SummerSlam events.
Best of the Rest
Before we get to our top 5 matches, here’s a quick nod to a couple of fixtures that didn’t make the cut.
John Cena vs. CM Punk in 2011 was a clear contender. The match was to unify the belts, with CM Punk emerging as the victorious champion. The fact that Punk didn’t win cleanly (Cena’s foot was on the rope), and Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank immediately after means this match didn’t quite make the cut. Cena and Punk both did, however.
Bret Hart and the late Owen Hart’s legendary steel cage match falls well outside of the 10-year mark, taking place back in 1994 but was so good it deserves a mention anyway. A terrific fight fuelled by intense sibling rivalry saw Bret Hart retain his title with the entire family ringside.
On to the top 5...
5: Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena, Special Guest Referee (HHH), 2013
John Cena can usually be found defending his championship belt at the main event of any given pay-per-view. It is something many fans have tired of, their “Cena sucks” chants so vehement that WWE Creative have been forced to acknowledge it in Cena’s in-ring segments.
So what makes this match any different?
Well, for one thing, Cena actually lost. And a clean loss at that.
It was a terrific match in which Cena showed a wider repertoire of moves than usual and delivered a damning suplex to Daniel Bryan from the steel steps onto the ground outside the ring. As scrappy and resilient as ever, Bryan fought back with everything he had and finally hit Cena with his patented flying knee.
With HHH as the special guest referee, there were question marks over whether Bryan could win whatever he did, but The Game delivered a fair count to send the crowd wild with “yes” chants.
This match may have climbed the rankings were it not for what happened next. HHH hit Bryan with a fierce Pedigree as Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract for an easy win, rendering Bryan’s triumph moot.
4: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero, Ladder Match, 2005
The late Eddie Guerrero will forever be remembered as one of the greats, and his ladder match with Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam 2005 exemplifies just why. The storyline leading up to the fight was a classic tag-team-turned-foes but with a twist; Eddie was claiming he was the real father of Mysterio’s son Dominic.
The result? A ladder match with the winner receiving full custody of little Dom. Laughable, of course, but it made for a great setup.
Both contenders gave their all in this epic encounter. In a typically passionate performance, Guerrero can at one point clearly be heard spewing expletives as his wife Vickie Guerrero missed her cue as Eddie climbed the ladder, forcing Mysterio to make an impromptu takedown.
After plenty of innovative lessons in how not to use a ladder, Mysterio eventually captured the prize with his wife and son joining him in the ring to wrap up a crazy affair.
3: DX vs. McMahons, Tag-Team Match, 2006
It may seem unthinkable in the era of The Authority, but there was a time when Triple H was the antithesis of conformity. Along with fellow D-Generation X member Shawn Michaels, the two squared off against Vince and Shane McMahon in a thoroughly enthralling match that bordered on the farcical as the McMahons beckoned wrestler after wrestler to do their bidding before the bell had even rung.
Once the owner of WWE had deemed the rebellious DX sufficiently fatigued, the father and son duo made their way down to officially get the match underway.
Shane O’Mac is a fan favourite for his energetic and daring cameos, and this match was no exception. Vince and Shane had clearly spent a lot of time working on some original and amusingly arrogant tag-team moves, all pulled off flawlessly with plenty of crowd-pleasing high-flying manoeuvres from The Prodigal Son.
Ultimately Michaels and HHH fought back, the latter delivering a Pedigree to The Boss to put an end to an action-packed 13 minutes. A match everyone wanted to see but not enough to get into the top two.
2: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk, No-DQ, 2013
Another entry from 2013. Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk was a brilliant example of build-up, tension and pay-off at a time when WWE Creative were being questioned more than ever. A deep-rooted friendship between CM Punk and manager Paul Heyman had been falling apart before Heyman screwed Punk out of his Money in the Bank match and ergo, out of a near-guaranteed title win.
From here, the Walrus teamed with Paul Heyman guy Lesnar, and two of the best talkers in WWE built up the hype necessary for the match to steal the show.
It did not disappoint.
Any fears of Lesnar’s clear physical superiority ruining the credibility of the fight were quickly allayed. Punk dipped and dived away from the brutish onslaught of Lesnar, keeping one eye on Heyman as he kept his distance with swift, nimble attacks.
As with any No-DQ match, the steel steps took a beating, and the announcers were deprived of their beverages as the action spilled out of the ring, but it was the underlying intensity from Punk’s character and Lesnar’s sheer aggression that meant you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.
Eventually Lesnar did get the win, hitting Punk with an F5 into a steel chair, but Punk proved that being “the best in the world” is not all about winning.
This match beats DX vs. the McMahons for intensity and wrestling quality but narrowly misses out on top spot.
Edge vs. Undertaker, Hell in a Cell, 2008
Hell in a Cell was first introduced at Badd Blood in 1997 when Shawn Michaels defeated The Undertaker in a 30-minute brawl. Since then, Hell in a Cell matches have become increasingly common and, in the post-PG era, have arguably lost the ruthless nature that made them such a huge success to begin with.
Edge vs. Taker showed exactly what Hell in a Cell is all about.
Their feud had been building for months and culminated in carnage at SummerSlam. The fact that it was the final match on the card ahead of both the World Heavyweight and WWE Championship bouts says it all.
The fans knew they were in for something special.
What ensued was utter chaos, with Edge harking back to his tag-team days by bringing the tables, ladders and chairs out. The Phenom did his bit too, crashing into the Rated-R Superstar with a camera before winning the match with a Tombstone Piledriver.
Not content with simply hitting the 1-2-3, Taker then quite literally sent edge to “hell," a chokeslam off the ladder sending the Canadian crashing through the ring as it went up in flames.
Entertainment at its best, and therefore a worthy winner in our top 5 poll.