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Greatest WWE SummerSlam Moments

At one time, SummerSlam was considered the number-two show of the year from the WWE. 2011 may not look like it, but some of the biggest matches and greatest rivalries in the WWE would come to a head at SummerSlam. To celebrate this great history, WWEcom has ranked its greatest SummerSlam history moments.

The list includes video highlights of all ten moments, including a story you can read about the match which takes you through the story and the match itself. WWE.com also has plenty of pictures from past SummerSlams. It is evident from the start that WWE.com put a lot of hard work into the list. Check out the entire list with videos by clicking here.

These kinds of lists are always debatable but overall I think they did a great job with this collection. I could argue the order and a few things that maybe should have or shouldn’t have made it. At the end of the highlights from the list compiled by WWE.com, I offer my own top moments from past SummerSlams. Keep in mind that the WWE wrote this list in 2007.

Some of the highlights of the WWE.com list include…

10 – Ultimate Warrior vs. Honkytonk Man WWE I-C title – SummerSlam 88

Ultimate Warrior won the match in 31 seconds. If this was a list of top ten matches I would argue, but in a list of top ten moments I think this definitely belongs in the ten spot. Anyone who grew up and watched this match remembers it which makes it an all-time Summerslam moment.

8 – Mankind vs. Undertaker Boiler Room Match – Summerslam 96

I think this definitely has to be higher up on the list. This was one of the first truly extreme matches the WWE had while re-inventing itself during the mid-late 1990s. This match was WWE’s answer to ECW’s alternative product. In my opinion, this match saved the Undertaker’s career and put Mankind right in line for a WWE title shot. This was a great choice, but I think it needs to be higher on the list.

7 – Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit for the WWE title – SummerSlam 04

I find this match to be completely forgettable. Randy Orton won his first WWE championship in this match. Randy Orton’s first WWE title reign was a failure and it was way too soon to take it off of Benoit at this time. If Orton wasn’t challenging John Cena at Summerslam 07 when the list was written, I would almost bet that this wouldn’t have made the list.

6 – Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H Street Fight Match – Summerslam 2002

This is one of my favorite matches of all-time period. Again, if this was a list of greatest SummerSlam matches than I would definitely rank this in the top three if not number one. Shawn Michaels had been retired for four years and left the WWE at the top of his game. Shawn retired due to a broken back and he physically couldn’t wrestle again. Nobody ever expected to see him back in the ring. Not only did he return, but he returned at top form and tore down the house with Triple H.

4 – Bret Hart vs. Curt Hennig – Summerslam 1991

This is where this list gets tricky. From a match standpoint, you could argue this would be the number one greatest match in SummerSlam history. This match came at a time when the WWE was at a crossroads with its in-ring style. You had the young, athletic, fast-paced wrestlers like Bret Hart and Curt Hennig ready to break through during this time period. Unfortunately, you also had a main-event of Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Iron Sheik, and Adnan El-Kaissey.

This match set a whole new barometer as to what WWE fans would expect from here on out. Both wrestlers point to this and their King of the Ring matches as two of their favorite matches that they ever had. As for a list of great SummerSlam moments, I am not quite sure this one makes the cut.

3 – Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan – Summerslam 2005

This was the battle of the icons, two of the biggest stars of each generation wrestling each other for the first time. This was both a great match and a bad match at the same time. This was one of the most fun matches that I have ever seen. However, from a technical standpoint, Shawn Michaels made a mockery of the match.

The backstory has become legendary among hardcore fans and insiders. HBK was upset that Hogan didn’t want to lose to HBK nor sell for him. Shawn winds up making a mockery of the match by overselling everything. Shawn flops and flips for the lightest punches to the lowest kicks. It is actually quite entertaining if you watch it and look for it. There is a hilarious video of this someone made which you can watch by clicking here.

So for WWE SummerSlam moments I can easily agree that this would be top five. The match was entertaining, iconic, and it was something special seeing these two legends from different eras going at it.

2 – Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart – SummerSlam 97

Steve Austin finished the match after suffering a broken neck due to a botched tombstone piledriver. I have to admit that in recollecting the list of top ten moments, this one never even crossed my mind. I don’t think anybody in the building had realized that Austin broke his neck. The post-match story is amazing considering how hot Austin was at the time and how the entire rejuvenation of the wrestling industry was in jeopardy.

1 – Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith – SummerSlam 92

This is generally remembered as the greatest SummerSlam match in history. The match definitely lives up to today’s standards and still holds up today when I watch it. I had Bret on my radio show a few years ago and he called this the greatest match of his career. I give WWE credit because the relationship between the WWE and Bret Hart is not the greatest. To put him number one shows the authenticity of the list, as opposed to UFC who left Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and several others off of their recent Top 100 Fight list.

I came up with some other moments that I felt should have made the WWE list. These aren’t necessarily in the order of importance, but I think the following moments could have bumped out several of the WWE’s top ten choices. I based these choices not only on the quality of the match itself, but the historical significance of the moment as well.

Summerslam 1990:
Kerry Von Erich vs. Curt Hennig for the I-C title
Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude in a steel cage match for the WWE title

SummerSlam 1994:
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart in a steel cage match

SummerSlam 1997:
Bret Hart vs. Undertaker with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee for the WWE title

SummerSlam 1998:
Triple H vs. The Rock in a ladder match for the WWE I-C title

SummerSlam 2002:
The Rock vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE title

SummerSlam 2005:
Matt Hardy vs. Edge

SummerSlam 2006:
Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley in an I-Quit match

The entire WWE: Summerslam: The Complete Anthology DVD collection

Order the WWE: Summerslam – The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 1988-1992 DVD

Order WWE Summerslam: The Complete Anthology, Volume Three on DVD featuring The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar by clicking here.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric’s work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

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