The Greatest WWE Summerslam Matches Of All-Time
This Sunday night, the WWE’s annual summer party Summerslam returns. Featured are a series of intriguing matches with former champions, both UFC and WWE, veterans, and young up-and-comers.
For over 20 years, WWE Summerslam has been one of the WWE’s most marketable, fan-friendly, and historical events. Whether it’s the Mega-Powers blow off, the brother versus brother steel cage match between Owen and Bret Hart, or the infamous TLC match of 2001, Summerslam has provided some of the biggest wrestling moments of the past 20 years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the top matches in WWE Summerslam history.
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero - 2005
Perhaps the feud was a tad overbooked with the two Lucha brawlers battling over custody of a child, but none the less the two put on a phenomenal ladder match at Summerslam 2005. After putting on back to back classic matches at the pay-per-views leading into Summerslam, they needed something to up the ante. As they always did, the two went out and put it all in the line, stealing the show in the process.
Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker – 1997
When Bret Hart turned his back on America and formed The Hart Foundation, he helped create one of the most intense feuds in pro wrestling history. With Shawn Michaels as the referee, Bret Hart went to war with The Undertaker in an entertaining classic. Although it was clear the match was being used to propel the Shawn Michaels against Bret Hart feud further, leading to the now infamous Survivor Series 1997 debacle, the match itself was still entertaining. After an errant chair shot to the skull of The Undertaker, then fan favourite Shawn Michaels was forced to count the 1-2-3 while Hart stood tall over the dead man.
CM Punk vs. John Cena – 2011
Coming off one of the hottest summers anyone had ever had in WWE, CM Punk was on a roll heading into Summerslam. Two months prior, he had cut a promo that turned the wrestling world on its head, and at July’s Money in the Bank PPV, he captured the WWE Title in what was thought to be his last match for the company. Predictably, it was not Punk’s last match for the company. He returned a couple weeks later to vanquish John Cena. The two put on another classic to follow their Money in the Bank performance, exchanging close calls while the crowd hotly watched on. In the end, Punk was able to walk away the undisputed WWE Champion.
TLC – Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz - 2000
There’s many word that could describe the tables, ladders, and chairs trio of matches that these six men put on, but perhaps brutality sums it up best. These three teams sacrificed buckets of bloody and too many brain cells to count in three of the most hardcore, intense and dangerous matches to ever take place inside of a WWE ring. Few will ever forget Jeff Hardy’s swanton dive off a 20-plus foot ladder, or Devon Dudley hanging from the championship belts. Although Edge & Christian walked away with the gold, all three teams left their mark on the industry forever during that match and likely earned themselves hall of fame spots when the time comes.
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H - 2002
It's hard to not be a Shawn Michaels fan. His confidence was infectious and he put on matches no one could top. When his career was apparently cut short by a nagging back injury, many were disappointed to see “The Heartbreak Kid” go. Thankfully, HHH was able to entice Michaels into returning to the WWE after a vicious sneak attack on his former best friend. On that Summerslam night a decade ago, the two men put on a once in a lifetime performance. Absolutely vicious, everything was well timed. It was as perfect of a street fight as one can ask for.
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect - 1991
Of all the matches on this list, perhaps the Intercontinental Championship showdown between Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart was the most important. With the impending exit of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior being a loose cannon, the WWE was in desperate need of reliable, talented stars. With the implosion of the Hart Foundation, WWE Summerslam 1991 provided the perfect opportunity for Bret Hart to emerge as a star. Few wrestlers were more entertaining to watch than Mr. Perfect in the early 1990’s, and these two put on a classic. Mr. Perfect’s ripped singlet was the perfect image of just how hard fought this bout was. On that night, Bret Hart proved himself to be a viable and valuable commodity to the WWE. His victory over Mr. Perfect sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into an uproar and there was no question that Hart was well on his way to the top of the sport.
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart - 1994
It was a feud unlike any other in WWE history, and one that helped elevate both of these incredibly talented superstars to main event status. After an incredible Wrestlemania X match, one many consider among the greatest in Wrestlemania history, the brother took part in a violent feud that concluded with a steel cage match at the summer classic. On multiple occasions, it seemed as though Owen would finally grab that elusive brass ring that had evaded him so long. At the end of the day, Bret walked away with the world championship, but it was Own that proved himself to be an elite level bad guy the company could count on for years to come.
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart - 1992
Davey Boy Smith, perhaps Britian’s most important and popular wrestling export returned home for Summerslam 1992 to take on brother-in-law and WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart. The feud was heated leading into the highly anticipated match. Although neither was particular fond of the microphone, the intriguing question of who Diana Hart-Smith would side with was enough to draw 80,355 fans to the massive event. The two students of Stu Hart’s dungeon didn’t disappoint, putting on a mat classic still talked about until this day. After nearly 30 minutes of back and forth action, Smith shocked Hart with a roll-up and a surprise 1-2-3.