The 2015 edition of SummerSlam marked the WWE’s 28th edition of the PPV event, one that has been highly touted over the years as one of the ‘Big 4’ PPVs, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series and The Royal Rumble. The event has had its share of big highlights over the years, starting with its first major title change when The Ultimate Warrior beat The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Title during the first SummerSlam in 1988 in Madison Square Garden.
This year’s card gave us a solid night of WWE action, as, despite some strange booking decisions, it was a very exciting event enough it was a little bit long (four hours).
While we had some great matches at this year's SummerSlam, there have been plenty of duds over the years at the biggest event of the Summer. From poorly booked finishes to matches that just didn’t make sense, the event has had its share of awful bouts for fans to sit through.
Today, we analyze the awful matches from the last 27 years. Giving you matches that had bad finishes, poor effort or that just didn’t make sense to book in the first place.
20 Nailz vs Virgil (1992)
1992's Summer event took place in London and featured one of the best matches of all-time in Bret Hart vs Davy Boy Smith, but otherwise was littered with subpar matches. One of those matches was the always ‘blah’ Nailz vs Virgil, who was trying to get over as a face. Nailz career was short lived in WWE, as he was released when he physically assaulted Vince McMahon in a money dispute. In his only real big match, he used a sleeper to not only win the match, but put fans to sleep as well.
19 Kurt Angle vs Eugene (2005)
The WWE rolled out an offensive character in 2005 with the debut of Eugene (Nick Dinsmore). He was the ‘nephew’ of Eric Bishoff and he was portrayed as ‘special’ on WWE TV. At SummerSlam, he took on Kurt Angle, who was closing in on the end of his WWE run and the two plodded along for a few minutes with Eugene doing other wrestler's finishing moves, before he got caught in the Angle Slam, giving Angle the win. Four and a half minutes of wasted PPV time.
18 The Undertaker and Kane vs Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon (2001)
This was a steel cage match for both the WCW and WWE tag team titles. Taker and Kane as a team was not the issue, but DDP and Kanyon was a team that just didn’t make much sense and it showed in their matches. This was during a time when the company was still trying to keep WCW titles alive. though the more intelligent move would've been to just remove them from rotation in unification bouts. The match went 10:13 and ended with a win for the Brothers of Destruction.
17 Big Bossman vs The Mountie (1991)
Billed as a ‘jailhouse match’ in which the loser had to ‘spend 24 hours in a New York jail,’ this bout was thankfully the end of a feud between two ‘officers of the law.’ The fan favorite Bossman was able to take home the win in just under 10 minutes and, for the rest of the evening, fans watching on PPV were fed highlights of Mountie crying foul from a ‘NY jail.’ Not exactly a match that either wrestler will probably ever want to relive.
16 Shane McMahon vs Eric Bischoff (2003)
The third match on the 2003 card was between two non-wrestlers in Shane McMahon and Eric Bischoff, and while each went at it hard for 10 plus minutes, the match was really built on the outside interference of both Jonathan Coachman for Bischoff and Steve Austin for McMahon. The crowd in Phoenix popped hard for ‘Stone Cold,’ who did his damage on the two heels and allowed McMahon to position Bishoff on the announcers table, before finishing him off with an elbow drop.
15 Rick Rude vs Junkyard Dog (1988)
The first SummerSlam had a number of matches that really didn’t make much sense to anyone and this was one of them. Rick Rude was in a compelling program that was starting to roll with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts at the time and why they didn’t put those two together is anyone’s guess. Instead, we got this match, where The JYD got some early damage in on Rude, who was an incredible bumper in the ring. The match ended in Rude’s favor via DQ when Roberts interfered after Rude pulled down his tights and revealed a pic of Roberts’ wife Cheryl on his bottom. High drama built around a lackluster match.
14 Diesel vs King Mabel (1995)
Diesel’s run as WWE Champion was littered with a number of poor challengers and King Mabel may have been the worst. Their program led to the main event of SummerSlam 1995 in a nearly ten minute match that no one was going to call a ‘classic.’ Mabel, who was well over 400 pounds at the time of the match, missed a big splash off the second rope and Diesel hit him with a rather ugly flying shoulder block for the win. Easily one of the worst SummerSlam main events in its history.
13 Kofi Kingston and Mickie James vs Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix (2008)
This was a rather odd ‘winner take all’ match with both the IC and Women’s titles on the line in the same match. Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix actually had gained some momentum during their heel run together in 2008, so it was not a surprise to see them walk away with both titles. However, although Phoenix winning the title from Micke James was not a stretch, Marella was a huge stretch as the IC champ and it was no surprise that after 12 weeks he lost the strap to William Regal in a title reign that included a match with former IC great The Honky Tonk Man.
12 Nikolai Volkoff and ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs The Orient Express (1990)
There’s no doubt that the two Hall of Famers (Volkoff and Duggan) were much better when they were opponents, but for SummerSlam 1990 the two were on the same side in a match vs Mr.Fuji’s Orient Express. The Express got the upper hand by attacking Volkoff, but eventually after a hot tag to Duggan, the two faces took home the win. At least this poor match was short, as it lasted just 3:22 before Duggan got the pin.
11 Kane vs Bray Wyatt (2013)
The opener of the 2013 SummerSlam featured a ‘ring of fire’ match between Kane and Bray Wyatt, who was getting his first big push in WWE. With his two buddies by his side, Wyatt was able to use his ‘Sister Abagail’ to get the win. Matches with a ring surrounded by fire are never good ideas, as the wrestlers (rightfully so) are too concerned about getting actually burned that they seem to wrestle tentatively. That was the case again here, making it a match that was largely forgettable.
10 Greg Valentine vs Hercules (1989)
A needless match that was silly in almost every fashion. Greg Valentine won when he was able to pin Hercules with his feet on the ropes, but special guest ring announcer (why he was, it was never explained) ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin wouldn’t declare Valentine the winner, but keep repeatedly saying that Hercules won by DQ. Garvin and Valentine were in a feud at the time, but why Garvin was just suddenly thrust into a ring announcer role was a mystery to everyone.
9 The Oddities vs Kaientai (1998)
The WWE was just about to enter its hottest era and throughout it, they always tried to use some rather colorful characters. Enter The Oddities. The team of Kurrgan, Golga and Giant Silva with the late Luna Vachon and Insane Clown Posse was a rather forgettable trend for a short period in WWE and in 1998 they took on Kaientai at SummerSlam. This was actually a 4 vs. 3 match, with The Oddities at a disadvantage, but nevertheless they got the win. Golga (who was better known in his heel WWE run as Earthquake) got the pin on all four of Kaientai after a chokeslam, following an ugly match.
8 Tatanka vs The Berzerker (1992)
About the only thing that anyone can remember about The Berzerker is the fact that he used to walk around, hold his wrist, and shout "Huss! Huss!" That was John Nord in a nutshell and his in-ring work was as average at best. Tatanka won the match, but the odd part about it, is that it was cut from the PPV due to too much time being spent on the WWE Title match between Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. The match, was eventually shown on WWE’s Prime Time Wrestling and the match wasn’t missed by those that didn’t get to see it on the actual SummerSlam PPV.
7 Ric Flair vs Mick Foley (2006)
Ric Flair and Mick Foley had over 12 years of actual heat with one another and in 2006 the WWE took it to the ring for a forgettable match during SummerSlam. The match had its share of brutal moments, with a barbed wire baseball bat being the main weapon throughout. The company was smart to make it a rather brutal match as both wrestlers were well over the hill by the time the bout took place. Foley was involved with Melina and the end came with her trying to protect Foley, and as Flair was set to hit her with the bat, Foley said ‘I Quit.’ Sloppy match from start to end.
6 The Undertaker vs Giant Gonzalez (1993)
It’s tough to find much good in the wrestling career of Giant Gonzalez, who was dressed up in a weird outfit complete with fake muscles and hair. By SummerSlam 1993, Gonzalez and Taker had fought a few times and it was time for this awful feud to end. The Undertaker was able to put the big man away with a clothesline and in the end Gonzalez made a face turn when he turned on his heel manager Harvey Wippleman, giving him a chokeslam.
Also, this was branded as a "Rest in Peace" match, which no one completely understood. When The Fink finally explained the rules before the match, it turned out to just be a No DQ match...
5 Goldust vs Brian Pillman (1997)
There were only seven matches on the 1997 SummerSlam card, with a singles bout between Goldust and Pillman being the second match on the card. The match was passable, going for just over seven minutes with Goldust getting the win after his manager Marlena hit Pillman with a loaded purse. The issue was the stipulation that came with the match. Since he lost, Pillman was ‘forced’ to wear Marlena's dress until he won a match. That's uhm...creative? Pillman, smashed a poor defenseless mannequin that was wearing the dress and tore it apart after the match. Just plain weird.
4 Bret Hart vs Isaac Yankem D.D.S. (1995)
For those that may have forgotten, the sinister Kane was once a dentist. Yes, that’s right, a dentist. He was the dentist for Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and at the 1995 SummerSlam, Yankem and Bret Hart did battle, as Lawler was in a feud with ‘The Hitman.’ The Lawler-Hart feud seemed to go forever and by the 95 SummerSlam this feud was long overdone. Hart and Yankem did their best to pull off a decent match and while most of Hart’s matches were very good, this one was average at best. Hart got the win by DQ in an unnecessarily long match (16:05), ending the feud with Lawler for the most part.
3 The Undertaker vs The Undertaker (1994)
In 1994, the WWE gave the real Undertaker (Mark Calloway) some time to heal a back injury. The setup for his main event match with a second Taker came when Ted DiViase claimed he was bringing Taker back to WWE. Instead he brought in an imposter (Brian Lee, who also wrestled as ‘Chainz’ in WWE). Lee was about two inches shorter than Calloway and was probably 15-20 pounds lighter. The two went at it for just less than nine minutes, with the match being pretty lame. The ‘real’ Taker got the win, performing three Tombstone piledrivers and finally getting the pinfall victory. Thankfully they dropped the ‘fake’ Taker angle and allowed The Deadman to move on.
The saddest part is that the match before this one, Bret vs. Owen, was a classic and was actually a match worthy of being a main event.
2 Lex Luger vs Yokozuna (1993)
The main event for the 1993 SummerSlam appeared to be setting up the coronation of a new WWE Champion. Lex Luger was positioned to be the next ‘All-American’ star, in the image of Hulk Hogan. Luger was turned face after he body slammed the massive Yokozuna on July 4th and went on a political type tour with a tour bus and American apparel, shaking hands and kissing babies along the way. Many felt it would be a slam dunk that Luger would win the belt and have a successful run, but, at the last minute, McMahon pulled the plug on the switch and allowed Luger to win – but only by a count-out. It was maybe the most deflating end of a SummerSlam, with McMahon’s decision being the deciding factor to keeping the belt on Yokozuna.
1 Batista vs The Great Khali (2007)
2007 was a tough year for the WWE’s second major title – the World Heavyweight Championship. The belt was won by The Undertaker at WrestleMania in March of that year, and later Edge used a ‘Money in the Bank’ to cash in and win the belt. The ‘Rated R Superstar’ had the belt for just about two months before he had a pec injury and had to forfeit the title. Enter The Great Khali, who was given the belt after winning a battle royal on SmackDown. The former bodybuilder was no in-ring specialist by any means and at SummerSlam 2007, he took on former title holder Batista for the belt in a singles match. The semi-main event was not even given seven minutes and concluded with Khali using a chair to get disqualified to lose the match – but not the title. Ouch.