On Sunday August 21st, WWE will once again hold their annual SummerSlam event. This will be the first one that will take place since the brand split that has separated the rosters of Raw and Smackdown Live, with each program having matches on the show. The program has a long and illustrious history that has seen notable moments take place. There was Miss Elizabeth revealing her skirt to distract the Mega Bucks during their match against The Mega Powers, Daniel Bryan capturing the WWE Heavyweight title only to lose it when Triple H hit him with a pedigree to enable Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank opportunity, and John Cena losing the title. It has certainly seen its share of surprises.
With all of the surprises that have taken place, there have been several instances where things didn't go as WWE had planned. There were speculated appearances that didn't happen, dustups backstage, injuries that were never made public so the show could go on, contract demands being made and bar tabs being run up the day of the event--SummerSlam appears to have had more secrets than a number of us may know. For instance, fans are aware that Michael Cole has been the main play-by-play commentator in the company for a number of years. However, what some may not know is that a certain advocate fought for him to be a part of one year's SummerSlam main event announce team.
Not all the decisions that were made were good ones, and the reasons why they were made weren't always good either. What would have been interesting to see unfold is the alleged ones, and it's worth speculating why they didn't end up working the way many had hoped. Fans could have been looking at a very different WWE today than what we have.
29 Nailz Assaults Vince McMahon Backstage
Vince McMahon has had his share of enemies, and though stories like this pop up from time to time, these issues crop up long before they become public. During one instance, Nailz, whose real name is Kevin Walchoz, had a situation with the WWF owner and CEO. Walchoz allegedly cornered McMahon and screamed at him for fifteen minutes. As Bret Hart tells the story, Walchoz threw McMahon ‘off his chair violently and choked him'. The animosity was believed to be over Walchoz's pay for his match against Virgil. Was he really going to be shortchanged? Their subsequent court battles against one another suggest there were bigger interpersonal issues at play. Walchoz attempted to use the same character to maintain a career after his departure from the company, but as it turned out this was the pinnacle of his career.
27 A Little Too Much Stylin' And Profilin'
As the Nature Boy, Flair lived his character outside the ring. He was the kiss stealing, wheeling-dealing, jet flying, son of a gun at all times. When Flair first came to the WWF, he won the WWF Heavyweight championship, but also managed to do something outside the ring that no one else had done before him (at least that we know of). Flair has said more than once that during the weekend of Summerslam 1992 he ran up an insane bar tab that cost him into the thousands. What was funny about this bar tab was that he wasn't even competing at the time at the event. It was said that the bar tab was $3600 dollars. The two-time hall of famer and sixteen-time world champion has earned quite a reputation outside the ring so the story seems legit, not just legend.
25 The Shield vs The Undertaker
A number of wrestling news sites reported that The Dead Man was going to make a rare appearance at an event other than WrestleMania. This faction would have been elevated to even greater heights had they been poised to face The Undertaker. Fans might remember on the night after WrestleMania 29, The Shield triple powerbombed him through the announce table. The original plans were that Taker would compete at SummerSlam, seeking retribution. He wouldn't, however, be competing alone; with Kane as his partner, the Brothers of Destruction would face Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. In actuality, Taker wasn't well enough to compete, so the plans were changed. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of the rumor.
23 Was Sting Originally Booked To Compete At SummerSlam 2015?
Fans all saw Sting have his Wrestlemania moment when he faced Triple H at Wrestlemania 31, and he also faced Seth Rollins at Night of Champions 2015. However, prior to facing Rollins at Night of Champions, there were rumors about him competing at Summerslam. The rumor was that Sting would take part in one of the hottest rivalries of the year: with Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family waging war against Roman Reigns, Sting would align with Reigns and Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag match. It was logical to have Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose together as they were considered family on-screen, but the addition of Sting didn't seem to make much sense. Plans changed when Erick Rowan got hurt, and the planned match as scrapped. There was never a tease of Sting being a part of the match so the idea could have been more wishful thinking than anything.
21 SummerSlam 1988 Could Have Been the Summer of Flair
Money isn't everything, but in some cases with wrestling it's the only thing. Back before the Monday Night Wars in 1988, Ric Flair, who wasn't with the company, was rumored to be a part of the main event that night. As the event turned out, it was the team of The Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan and“Macho Man” Randy Savage, against The Mega Bucks, Andre the Giant and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiasie. During this time DiBiase was the champion for only a few days before having the championship stripped from him. The original plan Vince McMahon had in mind involved offering Flair big money to leave the NWA for the WWF, and then challenge Savage for the championship. The Flair/Savage feud did ultimately happen, but three years later. There wasn't a reason given why McMahon didn't pull the trigger and offer Flair more to join the company, but he eventually decided to join years later.
19 The Nexus vs Team WWE Match at SummerSlam 2010 Could Have Gone A Different Route
When they were first called up to the main roster, The Nexus was a renegade group that was in some ways not unlike The Shield a few years later. Their feud against John Cena was the highlight of the year, and a storyline that showed that in order to succeed in the company you need to take down the most important man not named McMahon. As it turned out, Cena picked up the win for Team WWE in the faceoff at SummerSlam. However, that wasn't the original plan; Edge and Jericho were to face-off against The Nexus and Cena was not be included. Edge and Chris Jericho wanted to have Wade Barrett, who was the leader of The Nexus, go over in the end. However, as retold by Edge and Chris Jericho, Cena lobbied to be the eventual winner.
17 An Ultimate Pay Raise?
Throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the Ultimate Warrior was a huge draw for the WWE. While the late Warrior and Vince McMahon were eventually able to settle their differences, there was a time where the friction between them nearly cost the company a featured match on one of their biggest events of the year. What is reported to have happened prior to SummerSlam 1991 was that Warrior was demanding more money, and if he didn't receive it, then he wouldn't compete that evening. As the story was retold by former WWF champion Sgt. Slaughter, McMahon told Warrior that to make sure that the match would go on without a hitch he would pay him the amount. The suggested amount was believed to be close to half a million dollars. However, McMahon would terminate the Warrior's contract as soon as the match was over.
15 A "Rush" of Drama for the Legion of Doom
They dined on danger and snacked on death. However, before their tag team match up at Summer Slam, one member snacked a little too much on alcohol. It was reported that Hawk, real name Michael Hegstrand, was driving his motorcycle under the influence prior to the event. As he was going to park his bike, he nearly missed a parking spot. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but his tag team partner riding alongside him had to jump off his motorcycle, causing him to suffer road burns on his legs. It was an injury that he had to wrestle with that same night. As a result, the team ended their partnership and friendship after the incident. Once the match was complete, Hawk was nowhere to be seen, and left his partner to fend for himself professionally. When the two did decide to work together again, they were never able to capture the same magic.
13 Governor Ventura, You May Now Take The Stand?
Before taking office in the state of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura was one of the most colourful personalities in the ring and on the microphone. Ventura kept his distance from professional wrestling for a number of years; after leaving the industry he went on to pursue other things, in particular politics. Ventura did eventually appear in a WWE ring, but even that didn't go as planned. At the time Ventura's political adversaries were so enraged by his appearance at SummerSlam 1999 that they took him to court. David Schultz, the President of Common Cause of Minnesota, filed a “conflict-of-interest” complaint with the state of Minnesota, where Ventura was governor. The complaint stated Ventura had "traded on his political office to earn additional income." The complaint didn't go very far as it didn't apply to elected officials, and Ventura was able to appear at the event.
11 One of the Greatest Matches in SummerSlam History Wasn't the Original Plan
It was initially considered the gold standard. In 1992, The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith and his brother-in-law and Intercontinental champion Bret “Hit Man” Hart put on what many consider to be a five-star classic between them that some fans still discussed. Unlike some matches where animosity or hostility between competitors. This one was different. It was said that the WWE creative team originally planned for a match that involved Hart, but with Shawn Michael and not Smith. The plan was also to have Michaels win the Intercontinental championship. When the event was scheduled for Wembley Stadium in England, the booking was changed to include Smith since it was in his home country.
9 The Powers of Pain
Wrestling fans may recall this heel duo who were nearly identical to Hawk and Animal, The Road Warriors. Warlord and The Barbarian were known as one of the most physically imposing tag teams in the company. What is surprising is that when they first joined the WWF, they competed as faces. At the first ever SummerSlam the duo was led to the ring by Baron Von Raschke, a longtime heel from the American Wrestling Association, though he was simply called The Baron. Warlord and Barbarian were the faces in a match against The Bolsheviks, led by “The Doctor of Style” Slick. It may not seem like much of a big deal, but for a longtime heel to work as a face with a team that were heels in a previous promotion, it was highly unusual.
7 The Heart-Broken Kid
In the age of the internet it is difficult to keep information a secret, and often we are told about injuries as soon as the athletes are aware of them. However, a couple of decades ago one wrestler competed with an injury and it wasn't reported. At Summer Slam 1990, "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels and his partner in The Rockers Marty Jannett took part in a tag team match. Michaels was seen walking around prior to the event on crutches and a walking cast on his leg. When Michaels was approached by a fan at the airport he said it was his knee that was the problem, but wasn't specific about how severe the injury was. When fans look back at the match between The Rockers and Power and Glory, Jannetty wrestled the whole time. Michaels lackof involvement in the match can clearly be explained by the injury.
5 Michael Cole and Tazz Get The Nod
The advocate for Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, was once the head of Smackdown. During that time he brought passion and vision to the role. He had an argument with owner Vince McMahon leading up to the 2002 SummerSlam. Heyman wanted his Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz to be a part of the commentary team during the main event. The main event featured The Rock and Brock Lesnar, two men that were featured on the Smackdown brand. McMahon preferred to his number one announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler intact. However, after sticking to his guns, Heyman eventually won. Cole and Tazz were the commentators for the main event, the first time during a main event on a WWE pay per view that the announce team was the company's ‘b-team' rather than Lawler and Ross.
3 An Early SummerSlam
The event that took place in Wembley Stadium in London was incredibly special. The match between Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith for the Intercontinental championship is fondly remembered by fans. It was the first (and possibly the last) pay per view event outside North America. The event was originally booked to take place in Washington, D.C., but the decision to move the event to a much larger stadium outside the United States was done to capitalize on the WWF's increased popularity in the United Kingdom. When fans watched the event they were all led to believe that the event was taking place live on closed-circuit television, but that wasn't the case. Summer Slam actually took place on August 29, 1992, two days before WWE fans in North America saw the event on the evening of August 31.
1 The Summerslam 1999 Controversy
As many fans will remember, during the WWE Heavyweight championship match Triple H did not capture the championship over Stone Cold Steve Austin. The belief that circulated was that Austin didn't think Triple H was over enough to win it from him on that night, and the switch should instead happen the following night. While it doesn't seem like much of a big deal, the reason that Triple H may not have won wasn't because of Austin, but rather Governor Jesse Ventura. Ventura was the referee for the match up, and there was a concern that his raising a heel's hand as the winner would be an issue. While that could probably work today with Republican candidate Donald Trump, an elected official that is supposed to represent what is right celebrating a heel wouldn't have sat well with fans. As it turned out, Mankind instead was victorious and the rest remains history.