WWE SummerSlam: The Top 11 Matches of All Time
The heat is on Bleachers.
Summer is at full blast just like my air conditioner and I'm opening up a nice, cold Corona planning to start watching some great matches.
Since it IS the event of the summer and one of my favorite pay-per-views (it is always around my birthday), I've often wondered what are the best matches we've ever seen.
Look no further! The list is here.
This year marks the 24th edition of the extravaganza and it will take place in its new, permanent home of Los Angeles, California on August 14, 2011.
There is so much to choose from but I think I nailed it pretty well.
Follow to find out.
These are the top 11 matches in SummerSlam history.
1988 and the Inaugural SummerSlam: The Mega-Powers Take on the Mega-Bucks
What better way to close the brand new pay-per-view event known as SummerSlam than pitting your greatest Superstars against each other.
You had Andre the Giant and the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase paired up as the Mega-Bucks facing the Mega-Powers of Hulk Hogan and reigning WWE Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
What made it even better was the fact the special guest referee was none other than Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who may just be one of the best color commentators I have ever heard.
The star power of Andre and Hogan brought the fans in but it was the in-ring mastery of Savage and DiBiase that stole the show.
It is amazing to watch the "Macho Man" fly from one corner to the other. He truly was one of a kind.
When all seemed lost, the Mega-Powers revealed their "secret" weapon. The absolutely lovely Elizabeth climbed on the ring and removed her skirt to reveal her beautiful assets and distracted everyone enough to turn things around.
The plan worked and the good guys cleaned house and delivered their patented finishers on DiBiase for the win.
You'll notice how in the end, the seeds of jealousy were planted inside Randy Savage's head as Hogan held Liz up in his arms. This, of course, would lead them to explode at WrestleMania V nine months later.
Part 2 here.
Part 3 there.
SummerSlam '89: The Battle for the Intercontinental Title
My first-ever LIVE event!
I had just turned 12 years old and needed to watch my Ultimate Warrior regain his championship from that no-good cheating Rick Rude and his weasel manager, Bobby Heenan.
You must admit, it was really a great match and having Warrior last that long was quite a feat. Nobody ever took him to his limits like the "Ravishing One" did.
The reaction we all got when this match was announced next still staggers me to this day. I miss that feeling. You don't pop like that for IC title matches nowadays, do you?
When Rude had the match won, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper arrived on the scene to get revenge from an earlier confrontation (Rude insulted Piper and threw water in his face) and "mooned" him, setting Rude ablaze.
It distracted him long enough for the Warrior to recover and unleash his fury on the unsuspecting champion.
Some shoulder blocks, a press-slam and big splash later...one-two-three, we had a new intercontinental champion.
I just went nuts! My man had won the gold and Rude was sent to the crapper...ha ha! Funny how 22 years later, I am a total fan of "Ravishing" Rick and think his loss was unfortunate for the world of pro wrestling.
For all it's worth, thanks guys for giving me one hell of a birthday party.
SummerSlam 1993: A Real Women's Championship Match
There are so few women's matches at the summer spectacular...that is silly! It is summertime, the time to see all the beautiful and talented women of WWE in the ring and out.
Besides this match here, the only other title match I could find that was of any interest was the inter-gender match for both the women's and intercontinental championships back in 2008.
The one chosen here was really something. It had two of the most athletic and renowned female wrestlers of all time. I'm talking about Japanese sensation Bull Nakano and then-women's champion Alundra Blayze a.k.a Madusa.
You might remember her for throwing the belt in the trash on live TV back in WCW.
I love this one because it was all about wrestling. No bra and panties, no Jell-O and no mud pools. Pure in-ring action and distraction thanks to Luna Vachon (God rest her soul).
Madusa Micelli would later acknowledge that Bull Nakano was a wonderful person and an incredible talent to work with. I second that—it's not every day you have a woman like her delivering a finisher FROM THE TOP ROPE!
I think it's important to showcase the ladies' talent in the ring. We still have some great talent today but they seem to take a backseat to the other, model-like Divas who just don't cut the mustard.
Though I praise Divas champion Kelly Kelly for being such a wonderful person and an improving performer, my heart calls for one called Beth Phoenix to reign supreme because honestly, if a woman like Nakano or Kharma met K2 in the ring, there is NO WAY the blond bombshell could ever escape title in hand.
Madusa herself had trouble here but she retained and proved to us all that women can have great matches too if given the chance.
I love the Divas and their division. I want some more great action like this.
SummerSlam 2006: This Was WAR!
Ric Flair...Mick Foley...ring masters, no—legends!
To have them here at SummerSlam in an "I Quit" match must have been hardcore fans' dream come true.
Add the gorgeous Melina in there and you have instant success.
I am a sensitive man—me no likey bloodbaths! This was a bloodbath. It had barbed wire, tables and tum tacks!! How can someone sustain all that pain and still stand? It always amazes me the amount of punishment these guys can take.
Ric Flair was advanced in age even then so when he got dropped on those tacks, all I could think was: How in the hell is his heart not failing?
He kept getting up and took it to Mick Foley. This was no classic Ric Flair-Steamboat or Bret Hart match; it was total destruction.
The very idea of rubbing a barbed wire stick on someone's forehead is just wrong! Flair even uttered the words "Quit or I'll kill ya right here!" That is some intense stuff there.
Even Melina's pleading wasn't enough and eventually, the "Nature Boy" took home the victory.
Personally, I hope not to see something like this again. It is too nasty but it was intense action which so many people love. I had never seen Flair like that—so merciless.
SummerSlam 2000: Some TLC for the New Millenium
The first-ever version of this happened a few months earlier at WrestleMania 2000 with the same members: The Dudley Boyz, The Hardys and WWE Tag Team Champions, Edge and Christian.
Tables, ladders and chairs...three words that say enough. It isn't hard to imagine all the carnage that would take place in this match.
It was a golden age of tag team wrestling. People chanting "We want tables"...love it!
Edge, Christian and Jeff Hardy are world champions now but who ever thought back then, right? They put their bodies through hell but it secured them a spot amongst the best.
I am glad the WWE gave us another match like this right after the first at Mania. We loved it so much and it was an instant success. Notice how it became such a trademark nowadays, it even became its own pay-per-view event.
The 2011 edition of SummerSlam is less than a month away. What format will Christian use to defend his title? Could a Triple Threat TLC Match vs. "The Viper" and Sheamus be on the agenda?
I can only hope.
In the meantime, take a look at this incredible match IN FULL...you'll get the idea. Non-stop action from beginning to end.
A Family Affair: Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith
The first time WWE took the event across the ocean happened in 1992. SummerSlam was set in London, UK and drew an amazing 80,000-plus crowd that was literally on fire.
There were two main events that night. The WWE title match between Savage and Warrior and the awesome IC title match between my all-time favorite Bret Hart and his brother in law, the British Bulldog.
It even showcased boxing champion Lennox Lewis carrying the Union Jack proudly in front of the capacity crowd.
Bret Hart calls this one the favorite of his career and rightfully so—it was amazing!
What made it special was the fact the Bulldog competed despite suffering from a Staph infection and an injured back. While none on us knew this, Bret had to carry the match for the most part in order to help make this a five-star match.
In the end, Davey Boy countered Bret's move and hooked his legs for a well-deserved three-count. At first, refusing to shake hands, the "Hitman" reunited with his sister Diana and celebrated with the new intercontinental champion and the thousands in attendance.
Let it be known, less than three months later, Bret Hart would defeat Ric Flair for the WWE Championship and usher in a new era in the company.
The Immortal Legend vs. The Showstopping Icon
Back in 1989, Hulkamania was running wild while Shawn Michaels teamed with Marty Jannetty as "The Rockers."
It was impossible to imagine that HBK would become such an "Icon," he would even be greater than the Hulkster himself.
The Immortal One met The Icon in the ring and it would be decided who was the best. We all know of both parties' political reputation and I wonder how much convincing HBK needed to lay down for Hogan.
This match is so amazing the crowd was electrified the whole time. Back then, the Hulk still had an immense following and I was shocked to notice people actually booing Shawn Michaels.
It was also special because the commentators were The King and JR so right there you had incredible talent adding some kind of spark to the whole battle. They seem to sell it even more.
I don't know if a Rock-Cena encounter could match the "superb-ness" of this pairing, as neither Rock nor Cena are known to be spectacular high-flyers like HBK.
These are such rare encounters that when they happen, they absolutely steal the show. No question about it.
How noble of them afterwards to shake hands and Shawn saying he needed to know. JR said it best: "There is a lot of class in this ring right now."
HBK vs Razor: Up, Up the Ladder Part II
Who doesn't remember the fantastic ladder match these two had at WrestleMania X?
We just had to have another one! Back then, there were no TLCs, No Hell In A Cells. This match was out of the ordinary and only a few could pull it off.
(A side note: Shawn Michael's costume is awesome and I really miss that classic IC belt.)
Scott Hall and HBK were part of "The Kliq" and this match served to elevate their status as the true dominant force in WWE. Kevin Nash was the reigning WWE Champion then too, further proving my point.
Even though he never held a world title during his career, Hall's contributions to wrestling will forever be remembered. I can only wish some sort of Kliq reunion could happen in WWE now that Triple H has become the almighty ruler.
I get shivers when Razor suplexes Shawn out of the ring...Yikes! That must have hurt!
This was the match of the night considering the main event pitted champion Diesel against King Mabel which was hardly exciting.
The Heartbreak Kid retained his title and avenged his loss to Ramon the year prior. The fans, however, were the real winners as we got another stellar performance from two of the most interesting and beloved Superstars.
For the intercontinental championship, no less.
A Tale of Broken Harts: Bret vs. Owen Inside the Cage
We will never know what greatness Owen Hart's career would have achieved. Could he have become a multi-time world champion like his brother Bret?
The two brothers constantly put on exceptional quality matches every time they met in the ring. I just have to think of their epic battle at WrestleMania X—truly a marvelous show.
This one was a lot different. It was for the title and it was inside a steel cage. This was a five-star match, nothing less.
With the Hart family at ringside cheering on, only one brother would walk out with the belt in hand. Owen came close many times but in the end, as both came down simultaneously, Owen's legs got caught and Bret managed to touch the ground first and retain his title.
It quickly turned into all-out family brawl as Jim Neidhart attacked Davey Boy Smith at ringside. He and Owen locked themselves inside the cage and continued to assault "The Hitman" as the others tried to make their way in.
Eventually, the British Bulldog rescued Bret Hart.
This family feud would continue for well over six months until Bret decisively defeated his brother Owen once and for all.
SummerSlam 2002: Welcome Back HBK!
In 1998, Shawn Michaels put an end to his career as he suffered a severe back injury during his Royal Rumble match against The Undertaker.
Four years past and after stints as commissioner and member of the NWO, Shawn Michaels was offered to manage Triple H and refused. The Game faked a DX reunion and planted HBK with a pedigree as payback for refusing him.
Their confrontation would take place at SummerSlam 2002 and booked as an "unsanctioned match" where anything could happen. They risked both their careers in this match and it was a real bloody mess.
Lucky for everyone, Shawn Michaels' past injuries had fully healed and he and Triple H were able to go beyond expectations and have one of the best matches I have ever seen.
It was the first of many great and vicious encounters between the two as their feud would last for years until finally burying the hatchet—or in this case, sledgehammer—with the 2006 DX reunion.
HBK may have won the battle that night but Triple H was the one that "walked" away, having struck HBK in the back with his trademark hammer.
Subsequently, The Game became the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Shawn Michaels would defeat him for it a while later.
That would be the last world title HBK would carry until his retirement in 2010. At that point in their careers, both mega-stars were way beyond championships.
Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Edge at SummerSlam 2008
I apologize in advance for not delivering the actual match but it cannot be found in full on YouTube.
Yahoo sends you to some Russian and German providers which have it but cannot be placed here.
This one tops the list. Not only does it have two veteran Superstars, Edge and The Undertaker, participating but it is also a Hell In A Cell match!
I love the fact these two were given full control in order to make this a real gem.
That's the thing about HIAC matches: They shouldn't happen often because they are destructive and savage. Having its own pay-per-view event kills the magic and with PG, it is not the same.
It was a critically acclaimed main event, receiving praise and an 8.5/10 rating. I cannot disagree as we were given the best these two mega-stars could give.
I love how it all ends too...The Undertaker choke-slamming Edge to hell.
Let's hope such great magic can be reproduced again this year.
So Many Years, so Much To Choose From...
Let it be known that there is over 20 years of material to look through and choose from so I may have left some things out. But you know what? The very essence of SummerSlam is to feel the heat and after cage matches, TLC matches and women's matches, I think we get the picture.
In Los Angeles next month, another piece of history will be made as the stakes are at the highest point I can remember in a long time.
So many things are left unanswered. There are so many possibilities right now and if one thing I can count on is that anything can happen in the WWE.
What will CM Punk, Miz and Cena have in store for us? Will Triple H revolutionize the company with his brand of ideas? Will we see the rebirth of the Divas division next month?
Patience...patience! All will be revealed in time and it will be hot hot hot!