Ranking Every SummerSlam Main Event

Summer days will soon be gone. Another season of another year lost forever in time; making way for the crisp air of Autumn and the promise of a brand new season. Major League Baseball will make its way towards postseason play and the crowning of World Series Champions as the National Football League kicks off and Sunday afternoons are suddenly consumed by sausage grease, Bud Light, and fantasy pools.

As quickly as the Summer arrives, it ends. Without warning the children are back to school and the short-short days of heat and happiness are replaced with uniformed unease. No longer will muscle-dummies parade around the streets in tank tops and skin-tight t-shirts as the hoodie will make its triumphant return to the wardrobe rotation. Fourth of July fireworks and barbecues are replaced with Halloween costume and cavity-clad-candy-teeth.

However, there remains plenty of Summer to enjoy or enrage (depending on personal feeling) and with the dog days that approach comes the biggest wrestling event of the Summer season. The annual August showcase which has become the seconds biggest event of the year aside from WrestleMania. This event is aptly known as SummerSlam. The event – which is about to enter its twenty-eighth year – has produced some memorable and some forgettable moments since its inception.

Like every other Big Event (wrestling, UFC, boxing) SummerSlam has its one major match – the main event that was promoted more than anything else in an attempt to sell tickets and raise the Pay-Per-View buyrate (prior to the Network). These main event contests have sometimes lived up to the hype, other times failed, and every once in a while have gone beyond all expectation. In the following article we will travel back to the beginning and take a look at ever single one of these fictional August assaults.

This is the ranking of every SummerSlam main event:

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28 The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker

via thewrestlingchronicle.com

Date: August 29, 1994

Venue: United Center

City: Chicago, Illinois

The '90s were a strange time for WWE. While some years were great, other were God awful. This lack of enthusiasm and entertainment value would often reflect upon the product as was evident with the SummerSlam main event of 1994.

While Bret and Owen Hart stole the show that night in a Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship, the event would concluded with a lame and lackluster encounter of two Dead Men.

The real Undertaker would take on an impostor Undertaker in a match that was not deserving of main event status but alas, this bout was given top billing.

27 Diesel vs. King Mabel

via 411mania.com

Date: August 27, 1995

Venue: Civic Arena

City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Coming off the battle of the 'Takers, WWE needed to produce something better at SummerSlam 1995 - which of course, they did not accomplish. However, at least this time around the WWE Championship was the main event match.

Diesel would place the gold on the line against King Mabel in a match of big man boredom. The Intercontinental Championship match would prove to be the more exciting contest when Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon competed in a rematch from WrestleMania X.

Thankfully for WWE fans, Monday Nitro would launch eight days following this event - altering the future direction of the promotion.

26 Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger

via wrestling20yrs.com

Date: August 30, 1993

Venue: The Palace of Auburn Hills

City: Auburn Hills, Michigan

SummerSlam 1993 would produce the most unnecessary victory celebration in the history of the event. The awkward red, white, and blue themed party-like atmosphere of babyfaces to concludes the show was confusing and corny.

Yokozuna would head into the event as the reigning, defending, WWE Champion (Paul Heyman moment) and would place his title on the line against the All-American Boy and #1 Contender, Lex Luger.

Lex Luger would ultimately pick up the victory when Yokozuna was knocked out of the ring and counted out. Luger would then celebrate as though he won the title?

25 John Cena vs. Randy Orton

via prowrestling.wikia.com

Date: August 26, 2007

Venue: Continental Airlines Arena

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

The feud between John Cena and Randy Orton has proven to be one of the best rivalries of the modern WWE era. Cena and Orton have gone to war numerous times over the years and are usually money while in the ring.

However, at SummerSlam 2007, when Randy Orton challenged John Cena for the WWE Champion, the match would fall flat; turning out to be a disappointing contest. Perhaps this was a result of the match not being afforded enough time to really captivate.

The highlights of this event were the return of Triple H and an appearance by Stone Cold Steve Austin, who arrived to take on MVP in a beer drinking contest.

24 Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, and General Adnan

via jimmosangle.blogspot.com

Date: August 26, 1991

Venue: Madison Square Garden

City: New York City, New York

In what would be the final appearance of Sgt. Slaughter on WWE programming as an Iraqi Sympathizer, WWE Champion Hulk Hogan would team with The Ultimate Warrior to take on Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, and General Adnan at SummerSlam 1991.

The match, while certainly not the greatest of all time, did provide the fans at MSG with the rare sighing of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior standing side-by-side in the same corner of a WWE match.

The lesser known fact of this main event? Col. Mustafa was portrayed by The Iron Sheik who would participate in his only WWE Pay-Per-View main event.

23 The Mega-Maniacs vs. Randy Savage and Zeus

via youtube.com

Date: August 28, 1989

Venue: Meadowlands Arena

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Mega-Maniacs were once a WWE tag team which consisted of Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. The pair would compete against the tag team of Randy Savage and Zeus at SummerSlam 1989.

At the time, the character of Zeus had been brought over to WWE programming from their "classic" film, No Hold Barred. While this move was centered more around publicity than professional wrestling, Randy Savage would do his best to make it work.

Naturally, the good guys won that night as was often the case with a Hulk Hogan match. Hogan over the Zeus in the movies. Hogan over Zeus on Pay-Per-View.

22 The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

via bleacherreport.com

Date: August 27, 1990

Venue: Spectrum

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VI, there was a certain energy radiating throughout the WWE; a changing of the guard.

The Ultimate Warrior would run through the rest of 1990 as the company's top champion - providing the promotion with a new, painted face to use as representation while the shadow of Hulk Hogan would lurk in the background.

At SummerSlam 1990, The Ultimate Warrior would successfully retain the WWE Championship in a Steel Cage Match against Rick Rude.

21 The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks

via cagesideseats.com

Date: August 29. 1988

Venue: Madison Square Garden

City: New York City, New York

The inaugural SummerSlam event would take place at the "World's Most Famous Arena" and would feature The Mega Powers, a team of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage take on The Mega Bucks, a team consisting of Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant.

The pairing of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage was a massive deal at the time as both men were sitting at the top of the WWE Mountain while the career of Andre the Giant was nearing an end due to health issues.

While the bout was not the most technical wrestling match ever produced, the Hogan-Savage combination would provide all the little fans with ear-to-ear smiles.

20 Team WWE vs. The Nexus

via fanpop.com

Date: August 15, 2010

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

The Nexus were once a stable of NXT rookies who were led by Wade Barrett and had an agenda that involved taking over the WWE. This was prior to the NXT we have all come to know and love.

This "invasion" would come to a head at SummerSlam 2010 where Team WWE (John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Bret Hart, R-Truth, and John Morrison would take on The Nexus (Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Darren Young, David Otunga, Skip Sheffield, and Michael Tarver.)

Of course, Team WWE would emerge victorious in this Elimination Match and the dynamic of The Nexus would soon change drastically.

19 Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton

via prowrestling.wikia.com

Date: August 15, 2004

Venue: Air Canada Center

City: Toronto, Ontario

Randy Orton was seemingly bred for WWE competition. The Viper is a third generation Superstar who has captured the WWE (World Heavyweight) Championship on twelve separate occasions.

At SummerSlam 2004, Randy Orton was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when he would challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at the age twenty-four and with his victory that night, Orton would become the youngest World Champion in WWE history.

Following this monumental moment, Randy Orton would find himself exiled from Evolution (the faction with whom he was running) the following night.

18 Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan

via voicesofwrestling.com

Date: August 21, 2005

Venue: MCI Center

City: Washington, D.C.

Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan were not cut from the same cloth and rose to WWE prominence in different generations. Therefore, the anticipation heading into their match at SummerSlam 2005 was huge.

This was set to be battle of Icons and which of course saw Hulk Hogan go over on Shawn Michaels. There has been much speculation that HBK over-sold much of Hogan's offense due to his displeasure with the chosen outcome.

Fact are facts and while Hulk Hogan is a bigger name in the wrestling industry, Shawn Michaels is hands down the better wrestler.

17 Edge vs. John Cena

via wwe.com

Date: August 20, 2006

Venue: TD Banknorth Garden

City: Boston, Massachusetts

Edge and John Cena were always a compelling rivalry as the two Superstars were polar opposites who always managed to work well together inside of the ring and on the mic during promos.

At SummerSlam 2006, John Cena would challenge Edge for the WWE Championship in a losing effort. While this match was solid, it could not compare to the epic Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match between these two men the following month at Unforgiven.

The event from 2006 would also feature the aged D-Generation X in a match against Vince and Shane McMahon.

16 Booker T vs. The Rock

via prowrestling.wikia.com

Date: August 19, 2001

Venue: Compaq Center

City: San Jose, California

The now infamous Invasion angle of 2001 can be looked back upon with a few fond memories. Most notably, the arrival of Booker T in WWE where he was destined to become an even biggest star.

The Rock and Booker T squaring off in the ring seemed like the right choice and their feud proved to be an entertaining one in the middle of all the WWE/WCW/ECW happenings and hoopla.

In the main event of SummerSlam 2001, Booker T would lose the WCW Championship to a WWE Superstar when The Rock captured the competition's gold.

15 Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H

via wwe.com

Date: August 19, 2012

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

The build to Brock Lesnar and Triple H at SummerSlam 2012 included Lesnar "breaking" the arm of Triple H, "lawsuit" situations, and a whole bunch of trash talking from Paul Heyman.

The match was eventually made with much hype behind it as Brock Lesnar and Triple H prepared to tear each other apart in the City of Angels and that's exactly what happened that night.

In the end, The Beast would prove to be too much for The Game to overcome as Triple H would tap out to Brock Lesnar.

14 The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H

via wwe.com

Date: August 27, 2000

Venue: Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena

City: Raleigh, North Carolina

It was the year 2000 and the WWE product was as hot as it had even been; running miles ahead of its competition and leaving WCW in the dust as the dominance of WWE began to take over wrestling.

That August at SummerSlam, three of the brightest WWE stars would headline the event in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Champion. The Rock would place the title on the line against both Kurt Angle and Triple H.

This night would prove to the wrestling world and WCW the importance of making new stars within the industry.

13 John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

via ecumenicalnews.com

Date: August 17, 2014

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

The biggest beat down John Cena has ever received in his WWE career came at the hands of Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2014 when The Beast emphatically took the WWE World Heavyweight Championship away from John Cena.

This was less of a wrestling match and more of a beating as John Cena was unable to mount any significant offense - instead finding himself on the receiving end of suplex after suplex until there was nothing left.

The end result would see Brock Lesnar walk out of the arena as the brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion while John Cena was left broken.

12 Shawn Michaels vs. Vader

via prowrestling.wikia.com

Date: August 18, 1996

Venue: Gund Arena

City: Cleveland, Ohio

When it came to Vader, the WWE really dropped the ball with a man who had already been an established worldwide wrestling Superstar. However, Vader did manage to find his way into one high-profile feud.

The main event of SummerSlam 1996 would have Shawn Michaels defending the WWE Championship against Vader in a match of contrasting styles - a treat for wrestling fans and an all-around good match.

The bout would be restarted twice when Shawn Michaels was counted out and then disqualified. However, HBK would eventually manage to secure the victory.

11 The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

via wwe.com

Date: August 23, 2015

Venue: Barclays Center

City: Brooklyn, New York

This was a strange one. An entertaining one, but definitely a strange one. After a terrific match, that was much better than their clash at WrestleMania XXX, we got to see an ending that was much worse than their ending at WrestleMania XXX. Instead of the intense disbelief of that first match, we felt a huge amount of confusion as to what took place and why.

So, here's what happened. Brock and Taker went toe to toe in an entertaining tilt. Brock got Taker to tap out. but the ref didn't see it, though the timekeeper did. He rung the bell and the ref told him to re-start the match because he didn't see the tap. While that was happening, Taker gave Lesnar a low blow and locked him in The Hell's Gate where Lesnar passed out, making The Deadman the victory. A strange ending to a terrific match.

10 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H vs. Mankind

via shitloadsofwrestling.tumblr.com

Date: August 22, 1999

Venue: Target Center

City: Minneapolis, Minnesota

While the biggest breakout star from the Attitude Era was unquestionably Stone Cold Steve Austin, a number of now legendary WWE Superstars would make a huge impact during that irreplaceable period.

Triple H and Mankind are two of those Superstars and at SummerSlam 1999, both men would challenge Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Championship in a bout that placed three completely different characters in the ring together.

While Mankind would emerge with the gold, he would lose the title the following night to Triple H in what would be The Game's first WWE Championship victory.

9 The Undertaker vs. Bret Hart

via bleacherreport.com

Date: August 3, 1997

Venue: Continental Airlines Arena

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

Wrestling fans would be taken on a very strange trip through 1997 with Bret Hart - from his battles with Stone Cold Steve Austin, to his hatred of America, and his ultimate WWE demise at the Survivor Series.

While new Superstars were receiving their push, Bret Hart was still considered a valuable commodity in WWE which was evident at SummerSlam 1997 where Bret Hart would win the WWE Championship from The Undertaker in an awesome match.

This would mark the beginning of the final WWE Championship reign in the career of Bret Hart.

8 CM Punk vs. John Cena

via forums.wrestlezone.com

Date: August 14, 2011

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

Money in the Bank 2011 would see CM Punk defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship before " leaving" the company. In turn, John Cena would win the faux version of the WWE Championship.

Obviously, CM Punk would return; setting up a match at SummerSlam against John Cena to determine the Undisputed WWE Champion - a match which CM Punk would win but the celebration would not last.

The returning Kevin Nash would lay out CM Punk, allowing Alberto Del Rio to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase and leave as WWE Champion.

7 Triple H vs. Goldberg vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

via wwe.com

Date: August 24, 2003

Venue: America West Arena

City: Phoenix, Arizona

The main event of SummerSlam 2003 would feature the second Elimination Chamber Match in WWE history as the World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H would place his title on the line inside of the twisted structure.

The other five men involved would include Chris Jericho, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Goldberg. The Chamber was still a fresh concept in WWE and the match was well orchestrated.

With the deck stacked against him and with the help of his trusty sledgehammer, Triple H would retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

6 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

via wrestlenewz.com

Date: August 30, 1998

Venue: Madison Square Garden

City: New York City, New York

Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker have gone toe-to-toe numerous times with much blood shed and physical agony inflicted upon one another. Placing these two Superstars in the main event of the summer was a great move back in 1998.

It was dark time in WWE as The Undertaker had his sights set on Stone Cold Steve Austin and the WWE Championship. 'Taker had already taken the title from Austin in the past and intended to do it again.

However, even the Dead can't avoid the bite of a Texas Rattlesnake as Stone Cold Steve Austin left MSG with the WWE Championship.

5 The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar

via centpourcentcatch.free.fr

Date: August 25, 2002

Venue: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

City: Uniondale, New York

When Brock Lesnar first arrived on the WWE scene, a mega-star was instantly in the making. When Lesnar won the 2002 King of the Ring tournament, he earned the right to face the Undisputed WWE Champion at SummerSlam.

The champion at the time was none other than "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment," The Rock. When it was time to suit up and take the ring, the outcome would shock WWE fans.

The beloved People's Champion was defeated by the twenty-five-year-old rookie Brock Lesnar - making him the youngest WWE Champion in history.

4 John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan

via isportstimes.com

Date: August 18, 2013

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

The "Yes Movement" was well under way in the summer of 2013 when John Cena was given the right to choose his own opponent for SummerSlam. Cena, a man of the people, would hand select Daniel Bryan.

Daniel Bryan would head into the event with nearly the entire WWE Universe by his side as the underdog would challenge the biggest dog in WWE and win the championship from John Cena.

However, Daniel Bryan was quickly screwed over by Triple H as Randy Orton - who was in possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase - would then take the title

3 Edge vs. The Undertaker

via wwe.com

Date: August 17, 2008

Venue: Conseco Fieldhouse

City: Indianapolis, Indiana

In what could have been the best rivalry of 2008, Edge and The Undertaker would meet at SummerSlam inside of Hell in a Cell - no titles on the line just two men looking to settle a score.

The match was full of brutality and dangerous spots as both men laid it all on the line for the sake of entertainment. When it was all said and done, The Undertaker would emerge as the victor.

Following the match, The Undertaker would chokeslam Edge off a ladder and through the ring canvas before fire emerged form the spot of destruction.

2 Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk

via rainbowhairedwarrior.blogspot.com

Date: August 23, 2009

Venue: Staples Center

City: Los Angeles, California

In what has been probably the most underrated SummerSlam main event ever, Jeff Hardy and CM Punk went above and beyond in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

This match had so many great aspects: the lifestyles differences between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy, the excitement of two daredevil performers, the innovation of the match concept, and the World Heavyweight Championship.

The night would end with CM Punk grabbing the title and becoming the new World Heavyweight Champion in an awesome match. AFter his victory, Punk would be attacked by The Undertaker, which would lead to a feud between the two.

1 Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog

via wwe.com

Date: August 29, 1992 (Air Date: August 31, 1992)

Venue: Wembley Stadium

City: London, England

SummerSlam 1992 would mark the first and only non-North American version of the event which happened to take place in front of an enormous crowd at Wembley Stadium where the main event saw The British Bulldog challenge Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.

The brother-in-laws would put on a textbook wrestling match as Hart's sister (Bulldog's wife) looked on from the crowd and provided all the emotional elements that this bout required - everything worked that night as the native son capture the gold.

This contest set the tone for SummerSlam - which was still in its early stages - and became the match to which all future summer classics would be compared.

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