Welcome to the final part of my top Summerslam matches! I’ve listed the matches from parts one through four before listing off the official top ten. Enjoy!
50. 1994 – Undertaker vs Undertaker
49. 2008 – CM Punk vs JBL for the World Heavyweight Championship
48. 2003 – Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship
47. 1991 – Virgil vs Ted Dibiase for the Million Dollar Championship
46. 2010 – The Nexus vs Team WWE
45. 1993 – Lex Luger vs Yokozuna for the WWE Championship
44. 1997 – Undertaker vs Bret Hart w/ Shawn Michaels as Special Referee for the WWE Championship
43. 2006 – Edge vs John Cena for the WWE Championship
42. 1989 – Rick Rude vs Ultimate Warrior for the IC Championship
41. 2009 – DX vs Legacy
40. 1999 – Test vs Shane McMahon “love her or leave her” match
39. 1997 – Steel Cage Match Mankind vs Triple H
38. 2005 – Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan
37. 2009 – Dolph Ziggler vs Rey Mysterio for the IC Championship
36. 1998 – Stone Cold vs Undertaker for the WWE Championship
35. 1988 – Ultimate Warrior vs Honky Tonk Man for the IC Championship
34. 2001 – Stone Cold vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship
33. 1998 – Ladder Match Triple H vs The Rock for the IC Championship
32. 2004 – Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero
31. 1999 – Stone Cold vs Mankind vs Triple H for the WWE Championship
30. 1996 – Vader vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship
29. 2008 – John Cena vs Batista
28. 1988 – Mega Powers vs Mega Bucks
27. 2006 – I Quit Match Mick Foley vs Ric Flair
26. 1992 – Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior for the WWE Championship
25. 2001 – The Rock vs Booker T for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
24. 2002 – Ric Flair vs Chris Jericho
23. 2005 – John Cena vs Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship
22. 1993 – The Steiner Brothers vs Heavenly Bodies for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
21. 2005 – Ladder Match for Custody of Dominick: Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero
20. 2009 – CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy in a TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
19. 2011 – John Cena vs CM Punk with Triple H as the special referee for the WWE Championship
18. 1990 – Hart Foundation vs Demolition in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
17. 2000 – Hardys vs Dudleys vs E&C TLC Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
16. 2008 – The Undertaker vs Edge in a Hell in a Cell match
15. 1988 – The British Bulldogs vs The Fabulous Rougeaus
14. 2000 – Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho in a 2 out of 3 falls match
13. 2002 – Brock Lesnar vs The Rock for the WWE Championship
12. 2004 – Randy Orton vs Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship
11. 2001 – Jeff Hardy vs Rob Van Dam in a Ladder Match for the Hardcore Championship
10. 2003 – Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship: This was the sequel to their match at WrestleMania 19, and it was every bit as action packed as their first encounter. Angle had won the title back from Lesnar during a triple threat match at Vengeance, and these two put on another classic at the biggest event of the summer with Angle winning the match when he forced Lesnar to tap out to the ankle lock.
9. 2002 – Rob Van Dam vs Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental Championship: In terms of the prestige surrounding the IC Title, this match is vastly overlooked. If you want a quick paced wrestling match involving non-stop moves between two technicians that love to put on a good show, this is the match for you. Benoit came into this match representing Smackdown and defeding the IC Title, and RVD came into this match representing Raw and would leave the building as the new IC Champion. Van Dam won the match using the five star frog splash.
8. 1996 – The Undertaker vs Mankind in a Boiler Room Brawl: As far as legitimate Brawls go, I don’t think there’s a better match in the history of Summerslam that utilized as much of one arena as this contest. Mankind was seemingly the first real rivalry for the Undertaker that could actually compete at his level both in the ring and out. The Mankind gimmick was perfect for the dead man to rival with throughout 1996, and their clash at Summerslam was beyond incredible. The match ended with the Paul Bearer turning on the Undertaker and assisting Mankind with picking up the victory.
7. 2000 – Kurt Angle vs Triple H vs The Rock in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship: After being in the triple threat main event of the 1999 event, Triple H was back at it again a year later, only this time Kurt Angle and the Rock were in place of Austin and Foley. This match showcased the top talent of WWE and ran away as the match of the evening(as the main event should, but does not necessarily always do). Due to the involvement of Stephanie McMahon and her “friendly” relationship with Kurt Angle, the Rock was able to come out on top and score the win on Triple H after a people’s elbow to retain the WWE Championship.
6. 2011 – Randy Orton vs Christian No Holds Barred match for the WHC: Orton and Christian were the longest running rivalry in WWE in 2011, and their matches were always exceptional. This No Holds Barred Battle took place second to last on the show, and with the match being hardcore to the maximum, it became one of the best matches in the history of Summerslam. Orton would come out on top in this one and RKO Christian on the steel steps to once again become the World Heavyweight Champion.
5. 1991 – Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Championship: A battle between technical geniuses took place at the 1991 Summerslam event, and this match stole the show. These two put on one of the most impressive displays of technical wrestling that I have ever seen. The late Mr. Perfect could wrestle with the best of them, and he and Bret certainly proved their value in this long and drawn out contest. Anyone who watches this match knows that Bret was not even in his prime during this event, yet he still put on an impressive technical display similar to what we came to appreciate from the Hitman over the course of his career. Mr. Perfect put over a lot of great athletes throughout his career in a lot of excellent contests, but none could even come close in comparison to this match at Summerslam. Bret had been showing his talent as a singles competitor since separating from Jim the Anvil Neidhart, and he proved his worth when he defeated the Perfect one in this match by making him submit to the sharpshooter. This also would go on to be considered one of the most standout matches in the history of the Intercontinental Championship.
4. 1995 – Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels Ladder Match Intercontinental Championship: After these two set the bar for what a ladder match should be at WrestleMania 10, they came back a year and a half later with Michaels as the defending champion and put on one of the best matches in 1995. Ramon was working his final year in the WWF, and Michaels had been on a roll since his face return in May when he won over the fans and won the IC Title from Jeff Jarrett the prior month. Michaels would go on to win this match and hold the IC Title until October before setting his sights on bigger things.
3. 2002 – Shawn Michaels vs Triple H in an Unsanctioned Street Fight: Shawn had been out of action since WrestleMania 14 in 1998 because of a back injury, and this was the start of an eight year run before his official retirement. Michaels wrestled this match in jeans and tested the waters to see if his back would hold up from his prior surgeries. Triple H had reunited with Shawn the night after the July ppv event, and then Hunter had turned on Shawn just as quick. This was a dream match for anybody who had watched these two as the founders of DX five years prior. Good old HBK was able to come out on top in this one and move on to capture the newly created World Heavyweight Title in the first Elimination Chamber match just a few months later at the Survivor Series. Shawn and Hunter would go on to have numerous battles over the next few years, but this match was the start of a war and was an absolute battle that was easily the top match at the 2002 summer spectacular.
2. 1992 – Bret Hart vs British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Championship: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the British Bulldog is the most impressive wrestler of his size in the history of the sport. The Bulldog’s run with the IC Title would begin when the Hitman put him over in this spectacular encounter at Wembley Stadium in the summer of 1992. Bret was on his way to moving into the World Title scene, and Bulldog was on the start of a big push that would end abruptly. Despite what happened to Bulldog’s push later on, he was one of the top performers in the company during this time and he wrestled a classic, high paced match with the Hitman that is argued by many today to be the best in Summerslam history. Unfortunately for Bulldog, Bret wrestled what I believe to be an even better match two years later!
1. 1994 – Bret Hart vs Owen Hart in a Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship: The greatest Summerslam match of all time, in my mind, came at the 1994 event. You had big brother Bret Hart defending his WWF Title against Owen in a steel cage match. This was a grueling contest that lasted well over a half hour. This particular cage match was interesting in the aspect that Bret and Owen wrestled a fast paced wrestling match without involving too much use of the cage itself. In the end, Bret was able to escape the cage and come out victorious. His successful title defense angered Owen and this would lead to him and Jim Neidhart locking themselves in the cage with Bret. This would cause the British Bulldog to jump out of the crowd and into the cage to save Bret and kickoff his big return to the company. Overall, this contest was what I consider to be the most impressive and outstanding match in the history of Summerslam.
Honorable Mention Matchups(50-60 if they existed):
2000 – Shane McMahon vs Steve Blackman for the Hardcore Title
1989 – The Brainbusters vs The Hart Foundation
1991 – The Big Boss Man vs The Mountie in a jailhouse match
1992 – The Legion of Doom vs Money Inc.
1993 – Shawn Michaels vs Mr. Perfect for the IC Title
1994 – Razor Ramon vs Diesel for the IC Title
2001 – Edge vs Lance Storm for the IC Title
2005 – Randy Orton vs The Undertaker
2007 – John Morrison vs CM Punk for the ECW Championship
2010 – Kane vs Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship
In conclusion: It would have been very easy to argue Bret’s IC Title match with Curt Hennig as being in the top three, but this list wasn’t about Bret Hart’s greatest matches. The WWE recently wanted the fans to pick Mr. Summerslam on their website, and I think Bret Hart should’ve been listed and chosen as the greatest of all time. His moments didn’t even need to be wins to be considered among the most significant, and you can’t look a top Summerslam matches list without seeing two or three of his on it(there are six out of eleven listed here, seven if you count the honorable mention). Picking 50 matches from 24 shows was no easy task, and the quality of matches shown in the honorable mention list represent that fact well. The big difference between the honorable mentions and the matches that made the list for me personally was overall importance. Last year’s Summerslam event produced two incredible main events, one of which is a match that I now consider one the greatest matches in the history of the event. I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past as much as I did, and I hope you also enjoy this year’s Summerslam!