Vince McMahon had a knack for creating pay per views on the same days as Jim Crockett Promotions in direct competition, which is how Survivor Series got its start when it went against Starrcade in 1987. The next year, the Royal Rumble made its debut in January which was followed by SummerSlam in August. Since then, SummerSlam has been a staple of the WWE as one of the “big four” pay per views, serving as the second largest behind WrestleMania. Some fans see WWE as having two different seasons; one that leads into WrestleMania and another that leads into SummerSlam. Since it is so highly regarded, we have gotten plenty of memorable matches over the years featuring some of the biggest names in WWE history.
On August 21st, 2016, WWE will celebrate the 29th SummerSlam as they return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We don’t know many of the names that will be wrestling yet, but we do know about the history of the SummerSlam event. You might be surprised to learn that a lot of WWE Hall of Fame members didn’t win a single SummerSlam match in their careers.
So who are these wrestlers that were never able to secure a victory at “The Biggest Party of the Summer?” Here are the 15 best wrestlers that had at least one televised match at the SummerSlam pay per view, but never went over.
15 Sgt. Slaughter
The large militaristic presence known as Sgt. Slaughter made his debut with WWE back in 1980 and made several returns. The most notable return came in 1991, where he would end up becoming a World Heavyweight Champion and had one of the most memorable heel runs in pro wrestling history.
The Sarge never actually got a solo match in his career at SummerSlam, but was at least involved in the main event of his only appearance. In 1991, Sgt. Slaughter teamed up with Col. Mustafa and General Adnan in the final match of the night against Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior in a handicap match. Sid Justice would step in as the special guest referee for the showdown, which the team of Hogan and Warrior won.
One of the more recent WWE Hall of Fame inductees as a member of 2015’s class, Rikishi spent more than a decade with the promotion. Rikishi won multiple tag team titles while adding an Intercontinental Championship reign during that time, but one accolade he never had was a SummerSlam win. Rikishi wrestled three matches at SummerSlam, with the most memorable actually being a short six-man tag team match in 2000. Rikishi was a member of Too Cool that lost to Right to Censor in just over five minutes. It doesn’t seem like that would be a Hall ofFfame standard, as you can probably imagine, most Hall of Fame wrestlers have at least done better than the opening match at SummerSlam in a squash. Rikishi also had his other two matches under the name of Fatu, both of which resulted in team losses as well.
13 Marty Jannetty
Some people remember Marty Jannetty simply for the fact that he was kicked by Shawn Michaels to break up The Rockers, but he had a very long and successful career outside of that. Jannetty made his debut back in 1984 and has kept up his wrestling recently, joining Chikara in 2011.
Jannetty didn’t win a single one of his four matches at SummerSlam in his WWE career, even while teaming with eventual Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. The two teamed with Tito Santana at the 1989 SummerSlam, losing to Jacques and Raymond Rougeau with Rick Martel. The next year, The Rockers lost yet again, this time to Hercules and Paul Roma. Jannetty would then get his first solo loss at SummerSlam in 1993 via Ludvig Borga, then was defeated by The Gunn Brothers in 1996 as part of a fatal four-way elimination tag match.
Back in 1995, Irishman David Finlay made his American debut with WCW, remaining with the company for five years and winning several championships. In 2001, Finlay would join WWE as a trainer before finally making his main roster debut in 2005. Finlay lasted another six years with WWE before semi-retirement and now works as a producer for the largest pro wrestling promotion in the world more than 40 years after starting his wrestling career.
Interestingly enough, Finlay has only had one match in his career at SummerSlam. It was the opening match of the 2007 SummerSlam in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the Continental Airlines Arena. Finlay squared off against Kane, a match that The Big Red Machine would end up winning in just under nine minutes via pinfall. Had he not spent so much time as a trainer, we likely would have seen Finlay win a SummerSlam match at some point.
11 Trish Stratus
Named the “Diva of the Decade” in the first part of the new millennium, Trish Stratus was certainly one of the most memorable female wrestlers around. The current yoga studio owner and WWE Hall of Fame 2013 inductee was a seven time Women’s Champion in WWE, and even held the Hardcore Championship once, taking it from Crash Holly back in 2002.
You would probably assume that the woman that has been celebrated as one of the best wrestlers in the history of the WWE would at least have a SummerSlam win under her belt, but that isn’t actually the case. Stratus’ only match came at the 2000 SummerSlam as part of a mixed tag team with Val Venis, who was the Intercontinental Champion. They teamed up against Chyna and Eddie Guerrero, where whoever got the pinfall would get the belt. In just over seven minutes, the team of Chyna and Eddie Guerrero won, with Chyna becoming the first female Intercontinental Champion.
10 William Regal
One of the most respected names in all of professional wrestling, William Regal is a consummate pro that has been wrestling for more than 30 years. Regal made his WWE debut back in 1998, but soon departed back to WCW. Eventually, Regal would return to WWE where he would be a commissioner and a wrestler once again, and has even wrestled against the likes of Cesaro in recent years.
Despite having an incredibly long career, Regal was included in just one match in SummerSlam history, and it was surprisingly recent. Regal was going against Christian at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at the 2009 event, and the match was for the ECW Championship. With Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson in his corner, Regal still managed to lose in an embarrassing eight seconds. It was pretty disappointing, especially since it took three minutes just for them to get the bell to ring.
9 Honky Tonk Man
One of those “legends” that seems to be forgotten in pro wrestling history is the Honky Tonk Man, who made his WWE debut back in 1986. The Honky Tonk Man was known for his incredibly long reign as the Intercontinental Champion, holding the belt for 64 weeks. That reign is currently untouched, even after so many years.
Honky Tonk Man made two appearances at SummerSlam in back-to-back years. The first came in 1988 at Madison Square Garden for the first SummerSlam where Honky Tonk Man saw his Intercontinental Championship reign come to an end against The Ultimate Warrior. Just like Regal in 2009, Honky Tonk Man didn’t last long as the match went just 31 seconds. The next year, SummerSlam was at the Meadowlands Arena, where the Honky Tonk Man would put on a much better match. This time, it was against Dusty Rhodes and lasted nearly 10 minutes before Honky Tonk Man took his second and final SummerSlam loss.
8 Jeff Hardy
These days, it seems like all anyone can talk about when it comes to Jeff Hardy is The Final Deletion, but those that started watching WWE around a decade ago will certainly remember Jeff Hardy’s career there. Hardy spent time as a tag team member with brother Matt, while also having a solo career that saw him win world championships.
Hardy would kick off his SummerSlam losing streak back in 1999 in the Tag Team Turmoil match, being eliminated by Edge and Christian. The next year, a memorable triple threat TLC tag team match saw The Hardys lose again, with Edge and Christian retaining their titles. Hardy got his first singles match at SummerSlam in 2001, facing off against Rob Van Dam for the Hardcore Championship in a ladder match. Hardy wouldn’t get another shot until 2008, losing to Montel Vontavious Porter via pinfall. In 2009, Hardy ran his record to 0-5 with a loss to CM Punk in a TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
A larger than life figure that was portrayed as a Japanese sumo wrestler (despite being from the same Samoan family as Roman Reigns), Yokozuna was as imposing as it gets. Despite only having a brief run at the top with WWE, he was one of their biggest stars in the early 1990s and a perfect monster heel at the time.
Yokozuna has one official match at SummerSlam that counts toward the record of consideration, but he has also lost a dark match at the event. Yokozuna’s only televised SummerSlam match came in 1993 against Lex Luger for the WWE Championship. It was the main event of the night and Luger defeated Yokozuna via countout, which meant that Yoko got to keep his title. Still, there was a big celebration for Luger at the time because defeating Yokozuna was a seemingly impossible task. As for the dark match, that came in 1996 and it saw Steve Austin defeat Yokozuna before the Stone Cold days.
6 Tito Santana
Not many wrestlers can say they were around the WWE for as long as Tito Santana was, as he was with the company between 1979 and 1993. Santana was more known for his WrestleMania matches throughout his career and became a member of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Santana wrestled in a total of three SummerSlam matches, and the first one was a match that we already mentioned with Marty Jannetty in 1989 when Santana teamed up with The Rockers in a loss to The Rougeaus and Rick Martel. The next year, Santana had a singles match with The Warlord, a match that would last just 5:28 until Santana was pinned. Santana took the 1991 SummerSlam off, but was at the 1992 event as El Matador going against Papa Shango in a dark match. Santana would lose that one as well, bringing his official record to 0-2 at SummerSlam and 0-3 overall.
It’s hard to find someone who weighs over 400 pounds and is still capable of aerial maneuvers, which is why Vader was a sight to behold in the squared circle. Wrestling all over the world, Vader made his debut with WWE in 1996 after spending time with NJPW and WCW, but left after only two years to return to Japan.
Vader competed in just one SummerSlam match in his WWE career and it was a memorable one. The match featured Vader with Jim Cornette in his corner main eventing the 1996 SummerSlam against WWE Champion Shawn Michaels. The match lasted for nearly 30 minutes, with Vader actually winning twice due to count out and then disqualification. The match was restarted after both finishes so that Michaels could end up pinning Vader and keep his title while still making Vader look strong. Unfortunately, he never had another SummerSlam match again.
4 Booker T
After making a big name for himself in WCW as a member of Harlem Heat in 1993, Booker T would have a successful solo career where he won the World Heavyweight Championship in WCW four times.
Booker T might be the five-time World Heavyweight Champion, but he’s also a five-time loser at SummerSlam in all five of his matches. Booker T’s first match came in 2001 against The Rock for the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. The next year, Booker T and Goldust were aiming for the tag titles when they lost to Christian and Lance Storm. The next match was in 2004 against John Cena in a best of five match for the US Championship, with Cena going over once again. As King Booker in 2006, he lost yet again to Batista via disqualification in a WWE Championship match before losing for the last time in 2007 to Triple H via pinfall.
3 Diamond Dallas Page
Another wrestler that found a lot of success over in WCW only to be a bit buried by the WWE is Diamond Dallas Page. Page signed with WCW in 1991 and won three World Heavyweight Championships in addition to United States, Tag Team and Television Championships before Vince McMahon bought the company that made him a star.
DDP had a pretty long losing streak in 2001 that started at SummerSlam at the Compaq Center in San Jose, California. DDP was the WCW Tag Team Champion alongside Chris Kanyon, and they had a title against title match versus Kane and The Undertaker inside of a steel cage. It would take just 10 minutes for The Brothers of Destruction to go over the WCW champions to claim both sets of belts. That match would end up being the last SummerSlam for DDP, who has appeared in a WrestleMania and Royal Rumble in recent years.
There’s one more WCW carry-over that never won a SummerSlam match and it’s the guy who will be included in the next WWE video game. Goldberg had the infamous streak while with WCW that was said to have reached 173 wins and he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, holding it for 174 days.
Goldberg didn’t lose very much, even in his short time with the WWE. However, the second biggest pay per view of the year wouldn’t see Goldberg collect a win. Goldberg’s lone match at SummerSlam came in the form of an Elimination Chamber showdown that featured the champion Triple H also squaring off with Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels. Goldberg was the last one eliminated when Triple H hit him with a sledgehammer so that he could keep the title and Goldberg left WWE less than a year later.
1 Andre the Giant
A true spectacle in the world of sports entertainment, Andre the Giant was a 7’4” and 550 pound behemoth out of France that was billed as indestructible. Not only was he intimidating, but he was also endearing, finding success in the acting world in addition to his wrestling career.
Younger fans might be surprised to learn that Andre actually only had 13 pay per view matches with the WWE, with two of them coming at SummerSlam, both of which were losses. The first was in 1988 when he teamed up with Ted DiBiase against The Mega Powers of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in the main event. The next year, Andre was teaming up with Big Boss Man and Akeem, where they would lose in a short match to Jim Duggan, Smash and Ax. Two years later, Andre made his final pay per view appearance in the United States, but was not competing in ring as he watched The Natural Disasters defeat The Bushwhackers.