Craig Wilson and Jamie Lithgow
SummerSlam is right around the corner and what better way to kick-off the countdown to that event with a ‘Top Five‘ themed around that event. Today we list our favourite SummerSlam main events – only stipulation being that it has to be the match that went on last. Without further ado…
5. SummerSlam 1988 – The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage) vs. The Mega Bucks (Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase): I know, I know, this is not an in-ring classic by any stretch of the imagination. But, and it’s a big but, in terms of star power this is right up there! This is months after all four were involved, one way or another, in the main event of WrestleMania. A main event of a tournament caused by Andre the Giant beating Hogan, then selling the title to Dibiase, after some 30 million tuned in to see the rematch on Saturday Night’s Main Event.
4. SummerSlam 2003 – Shawn Michaels vs. Goldberg vs. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton, Elimination Chamber: Sure, it’s an Elimination Chamber match and the ceiling can only be so high, not literally. But this is very, very good. Largely due to how Goldberg is booked in it. He’s booked like 1998 WCW Goldberg. And that’s excellent. He virtually murders everyone in this match and looks dominant as hell. In addition, it’s a bunch of guys everyone likes beating each other up inside a cage. What could go wrong?
3. SummerSlam 2008 – Edge vs. Undertaker: Due to the time it occurred, this was perhaps the last Hell in a Cell match that felt truly violent. That and the amount of prop spots will undoubtedly not make this one for the purists. But that doesn’t mean it’s not excellent. Edge going through tables, Taker having his neck cut open and both men going through the wall before Taker is speared through the announce table. All memorable spots before the Undertaker recovers to win. Edge and Taker clashed a hell of a lot. This is my favourite one of those encounters.
2. SummerSlam 2013 – John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan: This match proves that you don’t really need storyline curves to put together a memorable programme. This match features two guys that simply put on an excellent wrestling match. It’s really that simple. Both guys gave it all and had the fans in attendance eating out of their hands. A fantastic, fantastic encounter.
1. SummerSlam 1992 – Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog: For me, this will take a lot of beating as the best SummerSlam main event ever. A classic 25-minute encounter in front of a crowd split almost down the middle. Hart, as champion, adopting a slightly more heelish than normal persona against the Bulldog who was competing in his home country. Let’s be honest, there was no way that Bulldog wasn’t leaving as champion but still, it’s the best match, undoubtedly, of the Bulldog’s wrestling career. An absolute classic.
5. Summerslam 1991 – Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa & General Adnan: This is here purely for nostalgia, because it’s a terrible match. The nostalgia being that when I got into wrestling this is what was happening in the WWF. When I was six the concept of Hulk Hogan teaming with The Ultimate Warrior to take on, in my mind, Saddam Hussain and his crew of baddies was absolutely mind blowing. There was even big Sid Justice wearing the world’s tightest referee’s uniform. This was my childhood!
4. Summerslam 2005 – Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan: In 2005 Hulk Hogan cleanly defeated Shawn Michaels…. What?! In 1985, yes. In 1995, fair enough, but in 2005?! It was interesting to see Michaels have to play a heel role, despite probably being more popular than The Hulkster at this point in time. It was also interesting to watch a little sub-plot unfold during the match. Michaels does put a lot of effort into selling for Hogan, that much is obvious…
3. Summerslam 2009 – CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy: I still can’t believe that on card featuring Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and a John Cena vs. Randy Orton WWE Title match, this went on last. Well it did, and rightly so. It was easily the best feud 0f 2009 and easily the best match on this show. I don’t have enough room to describe how good this feud was, but this match was the perfect ending. Punk’s gradual heel turn over the summer had gone well to this point, but having him defeat Hardy for the title on the last day of Jeff’s contract was the best possible way to build an absolute monster heel, which Straightedge Punk would go on to become.
2. Summerslam 2014 – Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena: Did that just happen? A question I still ask myself today. Save for an opening flurry – which even jobbers are usually afforded – and Cena applying an STFU towards the end of the bout, this was a 16 minute squash match. That is not an exaggeration either; Cena got in very little offence and lost fair and square. In hindsight the match was a total anomaly. John Cena didn’t turn heel or change in any way afterwards, and their rematch was far more competitive. However, on that one night at Summerslam he got his ass well and truly kicked, which most defiantly got tongues wagging.
1. Summerslam 1992 – Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog: As a Brit, I’m biased, but if not this then what is the top Summerslam main event ever? At face value this is an excellent match, but when you consider the condition Bulldog was apparently in then you can’t help but admire not only The Hitman, but Bulldog himself for producing a bonafide classic. Even if, sometime in the future, the UK hosts Wrestlemania, nothing will ever top Summerslam at the old Wembley with Bulldog winning the IC Title in the main event. Give up Vince, you’ll never do any better than that.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.