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Top 10 SummerSlam Matches

Shawn Michaels vs. Triple HMost wrestling fans look back at WrestleMania when they think of great WWE matches, yet SummerSlam has produced almost, if not more WWE classic matches. Today I look back at the top 10 SummerSlam matches.

10 – The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude Steel Cage Match SummerSlam 1990 – If there is ever a match that showcases how great Rick Rude could be it was this one. Rick Rude did the unthinkable and had a great match with The Ultimate Warrior. The match had a fantastic crowd atmosphere which is largely due to the hardcore Philadelphia crowd that loved Rick Rude and wanted to see him win the WWE title. For a moment after Rude hit the Rude Awakening it appeared that he was going to climb over the top and appease the Philadelphia crowd. Unfortunately he climbed to the top and dropped an axe handle instead which of course was countered by the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior doesn’t make the same mistake as he later climbs the cage, hits the floor, and wins the match. As an added note: Roddy Piper was fantastic on commentary and really helped build the drama of this SummerSlam classic.

9 – The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian TLC SummerSlam 2000 – I never appreciated this match like some people do so I went back and watched it again. The funny thing about watching this one in 2010 is that the TLC has been done to death so it isn’t nearly as impressive. However if you take that out of the equation, this was one hell of a match. This TLC match took these three tag teams and launched them all into another level on the WWE talent ladder. All of the moves and sequences were innovative for the time and all six guys took some huge risks. It is a really exciting match that needs to be included in any SummerSlam top 10 whether it is in the top or bottom five.

8 – Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan SummerSlam 2005 – Okay while I may have gotten a pass for Test vs. Shane McMahon, this one may anger some people. Let me defend myself here. One, this was a legendary clash between the top WWE legends from the past two generations. Two, the promos by Michaels were his best of the entire second HBK WWE run (2002-2010) and maybe the best of his career. Three, the drama behind the scenes of Hogan not wanting to do a job, Michaels wanting a series of matches, and the political posturing of both just added to the drama. In the ring while this match is seen as a joke by some, I think it was fantastic. Michaels over selling didn’t hurt the match at all and actually made it seem a bit more legitimate at times. It was the only and last time we got to see vintage Shawn Michaels as a heel and he was every bit as obnoxious and arrogant as he was in 1997. I loved the match and can’t think of anything else more deserving of this spot.

[adinserter block=”1″]7 – Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock SummerSlam 2002 – This is another one of those matches that isn’t nearly as appreciated as it should be. This match had a tremendous storyline coming into it and lived up to all of the hype. The match started with The Rock laying the title on the ground and charging to the ring to start off one of the most exciting matches you will ever see at SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar would beat The Rock and ascend to being the top WWE superstar. I’d rank this match higher if not for the dumb finish. Lesnar stopped The Rock in mid-People’s Elbow, F5’d him, and won the title. Not the best finish, but one of the most exciting SummerSlam moments in history.

6 – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon Ladder Match SummerSlam 1995 – Some have argued that this match was better than their WrestleMania X classic it is not nearly as appreciated. If it wasn’t for a last minute booking change that switched a Sid Vicious vs. Shawn Michaels match to the WrestleMania X rematch, I would probably be talking about something else. While it didn’t have the same kind of impact that their first match had, it was every bit as exciting. They added new spots and had a different kind of intensity with Shawn as a babyface. It was no accident that the two ladder matches launched Shawn Michaels into legendary status and kicked off a run to the world title at the next WrestleMania.

5 – Shane McMahon vs. Test Greenwich Street Fight SummerSlam 1999 – I may get a lot of negative feedback for this one but I’m sorry, it needs to be appreciated. Something special happened at SummerSlam 1999 between a guy who wasn’t a full time wrestler and a guy that had never had the opportunity to reach his full potential. These two guys just clicked and made some incredible magic that night. Over a decade later this match still holds up. This match never stopped and there were a ton of extracurricular activities that made this one stand up to some of the best of all time. I loved this one and I am not ashamed to say it.

4 – Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect SummerSlam 1990 – It is no accident that Bret Hart shows up three times in the top four SummerSlam matches. While Shawn Michaels may have been Mr. WrestleMania, Bret Hart was certainly Mr. SummerSlam in his prime. Not many would argue that Bret Hart and Curt Hennig were the best workers in the WWE at this time and it was just that they rarely got opponents to bring this out. That all changed with this match. I also believe that this match changed the WWE and helped usher in a more athletic era of WWE matches that led to Bret Hart getting his first WWE title run a few years later. To think that Curt Hennig came into his match less than 100% with a bad back makes this match even that much more special.

[adinserter block=”2″]3 – Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels Street Fight Match SummerSlam 2002 – Shawn Michaels picked up right where he left off four years ago and stole the show once again. Shawn Michaels certainly didn’t look like a wrestler who had sat out for four years with a back injury. Michaels never missed a beat and compensated what he may have lost physically into telling one of the greatest stories ever told inside of a ring. Triple H gets a lot of criticism from haters but he never looked better in this one. These two had great chemistry and a hell of an angle to boot in setting this one up. Up to this point in his career, this was arguably HBK’s most brutal match and maybe even his best.

2 – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart Steel Cage Match SummerSlam 1994 – Surprisingly this classic has been one of the most forgotten WWE classics over the years. Once again the Harts keep it in the family as these two brothers had one of the greatest Steel Cage matches of all time. Unlike most Steel Cage matches where the action is slow and methodical, this one was fast and exciting. Bret won the match by escaping the cage, but this is the match in my opinion that solidified Owen Hart as a top WWE superstar.

1 – Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith SummerSlam 1992 – Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog has turned into a legend in itself. There are only about a dozen WWE classics that I can recall that have gone down in history and grew in legend since the moment the bell rang. This is one of them. This match had it all from non-stop action, high drama, and one of the best crowd atmospheres of any WWE match. For all of these reasons it should come as no surprise that battle of brother in laws Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog from Wembley tops the list.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. The other amazing thing about Hart/Smith was the fact that, according to Bret, Davey was stoned out of his mind during their Wembley Stadium match, and by the time they started wrestling, couldn't remember a single spot. Bret basically had to hold his hand and walk him through every single spot. It's not only a miracle the match was as good as it was as a result, but a miracle it was even able to happen.

    On a somewhat humorous note, the other very memorable thing about the '94 cage match was, prior to the event, Owen botched a promo and said to Bret, "I'm going to kick your leg out of your leg."

  2. I will totally back you up on the Test/Shane-O Mac match. Bosses son or not he used to take mad bumps back in the day. I would have definitely had it in my top 10.

  3. Great list, and I agree with you about the Test vs. Shane McMahon match. It had a great build to it, and the match delivered.

  4. You know the only one that I might add to this pretty solid list?

    Edge vs. Taker, Hell in a Cell, a couple of years ago.

    The very last TRUE Hell in a Cell match. Great story behind it, Edge as a great heel, the culmination of a great feud (only topped bu Jericho vs HBK that same year).

    Punk vs. Hardy was pretty solid too, last year. But I'd only add the latter to your list.

    • Thanks man. I would probably put Edge-Taker at #11 if I was doing a top 20. I loved their matches. Very underrated series in my opinion.

      Punk vs. Hardy. Good match but I don't know. I can probably come up with about 5-8 others that I enjoyed more. The ending however with Taker returning is definitely a top 10 moment.

  5. I'm with you on including Brock vs. Rock, in no small part because the Rock really put over Lesnar in this match. That was a great time for good matches, particularly some of Lesnar's later bouts as champ on Smackdown.

    Bret vs. Owen was probably one of the best cage matches you'll ever see without blood involved, as that point was another in the "Vince hates blood" cycle that seems to come and go depending on the direction of the wind.

  6. For the Rude/Warrior Summerslam match, that was actually 1990. What about the Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks when Elizabeth took off her dress? How is that not a classic? Were we not excited as young boys to see something like that? And besides the fact that Macho Man and Hogan teamed up? I say that deserves to be on the list.

  7. Good call on #1 and #2. Two very classic matches.

    I'd have found a way to fit the Rock/HHH ladder match for the IC Title in 1998 on here, and I'd actually put the Ziggler/Mysterio match from last year's event somewhere on here too.

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