Following the huge success of WrestleMania III in Detroit (over 93,000 in attendance) in 1987, Vince McMahon realized the value of PPV and, in an effort to compete with rival promotion WCW (formerly Jim Crockett Promotions), he launched three new PPV events in the next two years: Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and SummerSlam. These events have become known as the “Big Four.”
They are all big events on the WWE calendar, but without a doubt WrestleMania is the top dog. SummerSlam has emerged as a strong number two though - and there are some that would argue that it is usually a better show than WM for hardcore fans. But that is neither here nor there.
On August 21st, the WWE will put on the 29th SummerSlam event and while there are lots of things you might know about SummerSlam and its history. here are the top 15 things you might not know!
15 Largest Attendance
We all know that this past WrestleMania set the highest attendance record for that event, but when it comes to SummerSlam that record was set over 20 years ago and it wasn’t even in the United States!
The Time: August 29, 1992. The Country: England. The Place: Wembley stadium. The Attendance: 80,355
Many would guess that the more recent SummerSlams would've brought in more people, but that historic SummerSlam still takes the cake. It was a memorable event as The British Bulldog beat Bret Hart in the main event for the Intercontinental Championship in the biggest moment of his illustrious career.
14 City With The Most SummerSlams
The first ever SummerSlam was held in New York at Madison Square Garden (which makes sense given that that was where they had the first WrestleMania), but the Staples Centre in Los Angeles has hosted more SummerSlams than any other venue. Not only have they hosted the event six times, but they had it six times in a row from 2009-2014.
In case you were wondering, New Jersey is second, having hosted three separate SummerSlams. However, there might be a new contender for this title in the next decade. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn is hosting for the second year in a row in 2016 and they have already announced that it will also be held there in 2017. If they hold it for another four years after that, they'll take the title from Los Angeles.
13 One SummerSlam Wasn't Live
Not only was SummerSlam 1992 filmed outside North America (Wembley Stadium, UK), but the folks in North America didn’t see it until two days after it had already happened. Yup, that’s right… the folks in England saw it broadcast live on Saturday, August 29th, but back in North America it wasn’t broadcast until Monday, August 31st.
It was the only time that a SummerSlam event was aired at a later date than the actual event. Imagine if this kind of thing happened in today's wrestling climate? There would be leaked videos on Twitter and Vine and the entire event would be instantly ruined! Some fans might've had the show ruined for them and not watched the greatest match in SummerSlam history between The British Bulldog and Bret Hart.
12 The Ending Of A Match Was Nearly Ruined By a Fan
The SummerSlam 2004 match between JBL and The Undertaker ended with JBL winning due to The Undertaker getting disqualified. Following his disqualification, a very angry Undertaker grabbed JBL and chokeslammed him through the roof of JBL’s limo that was parked in the entrance isle. However, that limo chokeslam spot was almost ruined by a fan earlier in the evening.
The event took place in Toronto, Canada and, at one point during the proceedings, some fan (probably drunk) hopped the barricade. He didn’t try to enter the ring though. Instead he took off and ran to the parked limo and jumped onto the roof. But you see, he didn’t know that a portion of the roof was prepared to collapse on impact (in preparation for the chokeslam spot later).
Thankfully, WWE security acted fast enough and caught the guy before he hit the area and fell through the car’s roof. Luckily, everything went off as planned.
11 The Undertaker Appeared At 14 Consecutive SummerSlams
When you think about a streak and The Undertaker, there is only one thing that comes to mind. And rightfully so, as The Undertaker's WrestleMania is the greatest of its kind in the wrestling industry and created plenty of great matches and storylines, culminating in Brock Lesnar's epic victory over Taker at WrestleMania XXX to end it.
However, while not as impressive as his 21-0 WrestleMania streak, appearing in 14 consecutive SummerSlams from 1992-2005 shouldn’t just be dismissed either. It speaks to The Undertaker’s consistency, talent and work ethic. And his ability to continue to stand out among all the other superstars on the roster as one that the WWE Universe has continuously wanted to see for decades now.
10 There Was No Winner In The First Ever Match
They say that there is nothing as dull in sports as a tie. That’s why most major sports have overtime and extra innings so that they can determine a winner. Well, the WWE didn’t quite see it that way back in 1998 at the first ever SummerSlam event. Because at that first SummerSlam, the first ever match at the event actually ended in a draw!
It was a tag-team match between The British Bulldogs and The Fabulous Rougeaus. It went back and forthm but while the Bulldogs did have the upper-hand near the end, they weren’t able to get the pin and the match ended in a 20-minute time draw. Pretty anticlimactic ending WWE...
9 First TLC Match Happened At SummerSlam
There have been a lot of ‘Tables, Ladders and Chairs’ matches in the WWE, but the first - and possibly the best - took place at SummerSlam. In 2000, when Mick Foley was WWE commissioner, he sanctioned the first ever TLC match for SummerSlam of that year. Many fans, if thinking of the top of their head, would assume the first TLC match took place at WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001, but they'd be mistaken, as those three epic tag teams did it a year earlier at SummerSlam.
The Hardys (known for using ladders) v. The Dudley Boys (famous for using tables) v. Edge and Christian (the chair guys) put on an incredible match that set the bar for TLC matches so high that all every TLC match since has been trying to reach it - and many would say that none ever have.
8 Stone Cold Refused To Lose To Triple H At Summerslam 1999
You may remember that at SummerSlam 1999 Mick Foley/Mankind became WWE Champion by winning a triple threat match against Triple H and then champion Steve Austin. But that isn’t at all what was originally planned.
The Original plan was for a 1-on-1 match between Stone Cold and Triple H, with Triple H coming out victorious for his first WWE title. Well, Stone Cold wanted nothing to do with that and refused to drop the belt to The Game. So, that was when they added Foley to the match in order for him to take the pin rather than Austin. But then special guest referee Jesse “The Body” Ventura got involved and they ended up flipping the results and having Mankind win the title (Triple H went on to win the title the following night).
Interestingly enough, while Austin says he regrets refusing to Brock Lesnar, he never mentions this moment as a regret of his.,,
7 SummerSlam Hasn't Had Many Title Changes
Given that it is the second biggest event on the WWE calendar, you might think that SummerSlam would have hosted quite a few title changes. But that isn’t the case. In 28 SummerSlam events, the WWE Championship has only changed hands seven times. And the first time wasn’t until 1997 when Bret Hart defeated The Undertaker.
After that we have: Mankind winning in 1999, Brock Lesnar beating The Rock in 2002, in 2011 CM Punk beat John Cena and then Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money In The Bank. In 2013, the same thing happened to Daniel Bryan after he took the title from Cena and then Randy Orton cashed in his MITB. And then in 2014, Lesnar became the first man to win the title twice at a SummerSlam when he defeated John Cena.
6 Two Talened Stars Have Never Won At SummerSlam
Booker T is a WWE Hall of Famer and Jeff Hardy has been a part of some of the most exciting matches in the WWE, but neither man has been able to get a victory at the second biggest WWE night of the year. Both of them have had five matches at SummerSlam and both of them have lost five matches at SummerSlam.
For Jeff Hardy, one of those matches was the aforementioned TLC match, which was the first of its kind. However, his las match at the event was biggest one of his career at the second biggest show of the year. He faced off against CM Punk for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and just came up short in a terrific match.
For Booker T, four of his five SummerSlam matches were title matches, where he came out on the losing end.
5 WWE vs. Jackass Almost Happened
On RAW on October 16th, 2006, Umaga gave a beatdown to a couple members of the Jackass crew (Steve-O and Chris Pontius). Well, that wasn’t supposed to be just a one-off thing. Shane McMahon had the idea to turn that incident into a major storyline for the summer of 2007.
The idea was to start at the Great American Bash PPV and then have it lead to a big hardcore stunt match at SummerSlam between Steve-O, Pontius, Johnny Knoxville, Wee Man and Bam Mergera vs. Umaga and maybe some other WWE stars.
In the end it didn’t happen because the Jackass guys got cold feet after the Benoit tragedy and pulled out. Maybe the craziest thing about the whole angle was that the Jackass crew were booked to go over Umaga on the PPV.
4 Hulk Hogan Has Never Lost At SummerSlam
While it shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath as The Undertaker's incredible 21-0 streak at WrestleMania, Hulk Hogan has a little, mini-undefeated streak of his own going at SummerSlam.
The Hulkster is 6-0 at SummerSlam over a 17-year period. His streak began in 1988 when Hogan and Randy Savage defeated The Mega Bucks (Andre The Giant and Ted DiBiase). In 1989 he teamed up with Brutus Beefcake to defeat Zeus and Randy Savage. In 1990, he beat Earthquake and in 1991 he got together with The Ultimate Warrior to defeat Sgt. Slaughter and Col. Mustafa. Then in 2005, he (controversially) beat Shawn Michaels and ,in 2006, he got the win against Randy Orton.
3 Shawn Michaels Sabotaged His Own Match
The 2005 SummerSlam match between Hulk hogan and Shawn Michaels was originally supposed to be the first of a trilogy of matches between the two (you know how it goes: they would each win one and then have a third fight to decide things).
However, prior to the SummerSlam match, Hogan told the WWE that he was hurt and would only be able to work one match. Michael wasn’t very happy about this, thinking that Hogan was up to his old tricks and was just trying to avoid doing a high-profile job.
Add to that the fact that HBK was already pissed about losing and having to play the heel (it went against his new religious beliefs). So, what did he do? Well, he went ahead oversold most of Hogan’s offense, turning the match into a joke. In fact, it was so ridiculous that the WWE actually went back and edited some of it for the WWE Network version of the event.
2 Ric Flair Almost Main Evented The First SummerSlam
It was a huge shock to the wrestling world when Ric Flair showed up on WWE programming back in 1991. However, if it had been up to Vince McMahon, that would have happened three years sooner and it would have been at SummerSlam!
Vince was in talks with Flair in 1988, and the plan was to have him jump to the WWE and challenge Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage for the Championship in the SummerSlam main event. Flair, feeling indebted to the NWA, had a change of heart at the last minute though, so it didn’t happen. It's too bad, as it would've been a better main event than The Mega Powers and The Mega Bucks.
1 The Most Losses At A SummerSlam Goes To...
He may be a 15-time World Champion and the face of the WWE for over a decade. but when it comes to SummerSlam, John Cena is the biggest loser in the history of the WWE. He has lost 8 of his 12 SummerSlam matches, is on a four-show losing streak and the last time he won a singles match was back in 2007 when he beat Randy Orton (in 2010, he won when Team WWE beat Team Nexus, in one of the worst booking decisions in WWE history). Most recently, in 2015, he lost a Champion Vs. Champion match against Seth Rollins after Jon Stewart of The Daily Show interfered.
So, when people say that Cena buries other stars, remind them that The Face That Runs The Place always loses at the second biggest event of the year!