SummerSlam has been the biggest party of the summer for going on twenty-seven years now. It has been home to classic matches, unforgettable moments and countless HHH returns. Many columns have been written ranking the WrestleManias but few have tackled the far less interesting, but often better, SummerSlams. So I decided to tackle this one with a different slant. WITH SCIENCE!!!
Here’s how it works: I re-watched every SummerSlam, EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN MINUTE of these things and ranked all the matches (save for the Sherri/Sapphire forfeit). There have been 216 illustrious matches in the history of this… illustrious event. The 1st place match was awarded 216 point, the 2nd 215, the 216th 1 point… you get the idea. I toyed around with the idea of averaging out the scores for each individual SummerSlam but the more I looked at it the more I started to believe that cards deserved to be punished for doing C-Lo Green concerts and weddings instead of matches. Then I looked at the intangibles. I ranked each show in five important categories:
Commentary – We spend the whole show with these guys so they better be good.
Main Event- That which the show was built on should get a few more points if it delivers.
Best Moment – Matches aren’t all that count, sometimes a great segment or angle can greatly enhance a show.
Crowd – A great crowd can make a good show great, while a poor crowd can suck the energy out of everyone.
Opener – The first impression you get for a given show can go a long way towards how you remember it.
So seeing as there have been twenty seven SummerSlams to this point, each show was ranked 1 to 27 in each of the preceding categories. Again 1st place received 27 points, 27th 1 point and so on and so forth. It became clear the deeper we got in the rankings that the points won and lost with these intangibles actually moved some SummerSlams up and down the list.
So the complicated formula for this series is (Cumulative points for all the matches on the show) + (Commentary, Main Event, Best Moment, Crowd &Opener Scores) = Final score which is used to rank the SummerSlams SCIENTIFICALLY!
I totally gave myself up to the project and didn’t check big picture until the final day where I added everything up. I just ranked the matches as they came and in no way tried to taint the process by playing favorites with certain cards. The results were… extremely interesting. It was a different process to look at a whole show instead of focusing on just the best parts. The bad matches should matter as much, we have to sit through those too. In the end, sure everything is just my opinion here but I’m the leader in the field of sitting down and watching SummerSlams back to back wasting my summer. Yes, I’m the only one involved in ranking the matches… but hey, it’s science.
August 15th 2004, Toronto, Ontario
A Great Main Event,
Toronto is Bizzaro?
Nope! Thinks for themselves.
1. The Dudleys/Spike d. Rey Mysterio/ Kidman/ Paul London
RANK: 69/216 POINTS: 148
2. Kane d. Matt Hardy – Till Death Do Us Part Match
Rank: 124/216 POINTS: 93
3. John Cena d. Booker T – Best of 5 Series Match 1
RANK: 128/216 POINTS: 89
4. Edge (c) d. Chris Jericho, Batista – Intercontinental Title
RANK: 79/216 POINTS: 138
5. Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero
RANK: 59/216 POINTS: 158
6. Triple H d. Eugene
RANK: 172/216 POINTS: 45
7. JBL (c) d. The Undertaker – WWE Title
RANK: 197/216 POINTS: 20
8. Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit (c) – World Heavyweight Title
RANK: 48/216 POINTS: 169
Commentary RANK: 27/27 POINTS: 1
Jerry Lawler claiming that “This is better than Days of Our Lives,” really shines a spotlight on the deficiencies of the writing staff. I mean are they even writing a wrestling show any more? The most egregious thing though is the entire “Bizzaro World” obsession. They get so focused on telling us how wrong the audience is that they lose all desire to tell us what’s going on in the ring. Just let it be. It’s not Bizzaro world, they hate Eugene. Don’t know what’s going on? They’re bored. Just a clear example of everyone in WWE pushing their will on the audience. The message is clear: if you like something different than we tell you there’s something wrong with you.
Main Event RANK: 13/27 POINTS: 15
I enjoyed this one a hell of a lot more than I had remembered. Orton wins over the fans with all his big moves while Benoit nearly kills himself on a missed dive. I always have a bit of trouble with Benoit matches these days because for every sick bump he takes I can’t help but think,” Is this the one?” It’s incredibly refreshing that the match ends OUT OF NOWHERE with the RKO. I love that finish being presented so strong. The handshake to end the match just adds more legitimacy to an already RKO OUT OF NOWHERE!!!!
Greatest Moment RANK: 15/27 POINTS: 13
Orton wins clean as a sheet with his killer finisher. Also: out of nowhere.
Crowd RANK: 3/27 POINTS: 25
As a Canadian living outside the GTA (not Grand Theft Auto) I’ve been conditioned since birth to hate Toronto, however on this night, they forcefully penetrated my heart. They chant “slut” at Lita a year before we knew it as fact. They cheer for Kane against Matt Hardy, they boo Edge out of the building in his hometown but then cheer for Eddie just to prove they’re not only into heels. They shit all over Eugene and the Taker/JBL snoozefest going so far as to do the wave during the match. They were way better than the show they were given and made this one more interesting than it had any right being.
OPENER RANK: 10/27 POINTS: 18
The Dudleys/Spike vs. Mysterio/London/Kidman is everything a solid opener should be. Everybody works hard and we get a peek at how smooth a worker Paul London is. There’s some great old school heel tag work cutting London off from his partners and the Hart Attack/619/ Shooting star press sequence was great. Spike still got to play the Boss and The Dudleys felt like they were back in their GLORY DAYS. Especially when they broke into that rendition of Hungry Heart.
Best Match: The Main event delivered a solid and believable wresting match that didn’t insult our intelligence. It was hard hitting and delivered a surprise ending which easily gave them enough ammunition to get to WrestleMania on this outcome alone. They did not feel the same way.
Worst Match: The Undertaker vs. JBL was not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s still awful but imagine how low my expectations were. JBL’s offence focuses on the leg despite the fact that neither man can execute a spinning toe hold properly. As if Undertaker wasn’t slow enough, JBL WORKS THE LEG. This is just totally the wrong opponent for JBL and his crappy offense. The shit sandwich is topped with a lame DQ finish to the “delight” of the crowd. Man Undertaker is just the worst at SummerSlam.
Sneaky Underrated Match: Kane fighting Matt Hardy was a fun little sprint that was much more intense than I had remembered. Sure the story is dumb, (You’d be labeled a rapist and possibly a racist today if you suggested forcing a woman to marry someone based on the outcome of a wrestling match) but at least these two seem to grasp the concept of a blood feud. The top rope chokeslam for the finish was pretty sweet too. Poor, poor Kane. The guy just can’t catch a break with women: Tori betrays him, Katie Vick dies on him and his mom banged Paul Bearer. Unfortunately his tragic year was far from over, and IT WASN’T HIS FAULT.
Biggest Pop: John Cena beating Booker T. Damn you Toronto I knew you were no good.
Most Heat: Edge. Everything he does. They just plain hate the man.
Best Interview/Skit: Smooth Eric Bischoff mocking the revolving door that is the Smackdown General Manager position to Teddy Long. Eric boasts that Teddy won’t be around for much longer. He’s around much, much longer… On a lighter note was the Diva dodgeball a legit dodgeball game? Either way it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the worst thing on the show that I was expecting it to be.
Worst Interview/Skit: Black John Cena spews Ebonics at Randy Orton. This would not fly today.
Best Booking: Orton going over clean. The bad booking would start the next night.
Worst Booking: Whoever thought JBL and Undertaker was a good idea. Also whoever gave the big middle finger to the audience with the DQ finish, which only promised us more Taker/JBL.
Best Attire: Angle looks like a total badass coming down the ring with his straps down. Like if you had to wager you’d guess he was the murderer on the show.
Worst Attire: A time honored tradition started which seemingly with last in perpetuity. Jorts make their SummerSlam debut, and John Cena has striven to bring us said jorts ever since then.
Best Little Moment: Edge decides to embrace the crowd and be a heel; rolling through a cross body and putting his feet on the ropes for the win. They were right to boo him. He’s a dick. Did they know he was banging Lita?
Funniest Moment: Flair Fit when he gets thrown out of the match. Never has a man show us such injustice with only the flailing of his body.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: A strong finisher beating a credible opponent in one try.
Please sir, no more: HHH squashing hot acts. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Side note, I in no way think Eugene would have been WWE champion of anything, there’s just no real reason after that storyline that Hunter goes over.
Biggest Botch: JBL’s God awful neckbreaker. What is that?
3 Random Thoughts:
Who is it that gets to scream instructions and insults into the Spanish guys’ headsets? Tito?
Cena just tosses his throwback jersey to the crowd. Guess he hates the Blue Jays too.
So the original Diva Search wasn’t that much of a bust, it gave the wrestling world Christy Hemme, Maria Kanellis and the Undertaker another child/wife. I mean… I guess it did no favors to Sara Undertaker.
Why it’s number 13: While it has a couple of lows it’s more than solid across the board and has a tremendous atmosphere to boot. There may not be a “killer” match on the card (except for Chris…RKO OUT OF NOWHERE FOR BAD JOKES) but the good more than outweighs the bad, which is why it ends up right in the middle of our list.
August 26th 1991 MSG
Bret Hart wins a belt,
Mountie gets raped in prison,
Bobby will you stop?
Total Points: 960
1. The British Bulldog, Texas Tornado & Ricky Steamboat d. Power & Glory and The Warlord
RANK: 96/216 POINTS: 121
2. Bret Hart d. Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title
Rank: 16/216 POINTS: 201
3. The Natural Disasters d. The Bushwhackers
RANK: 177/216 POINTS: 40
4. Virgil d. Ted DiBiase (c) – Million Dollar Title
RANK: 94/216 POINTS: 123
5. The Big Boss Man d. The Mountie – Jailhouse Match
RANK: 97/216 POINTS: 120
6. The Legion of Doom d. The Nasty Boys (c) – WWF Tag Team Titles
RANK: 51/216 POINTS: 166
7. Irwin R Shyster d. Greg Valentine
RANK: 210/216 POINTS: 7
8. Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior d. The Triangle Of Terror
RANK: 129/216 POINTS: 88
Commentary RANK: 1/27 POINTS: 27
This one was a joy! First off Piper is waaaaay better than he was the previous year alone with Vince. These three just clicked from the start and I’ve got to attribute most of it to Bobby Heenan. He fights with Piper right from the start instructing Monsoon to “Tell Piper to leave me alone” making Monsoon “literally” the child going through a divorce. The trio are consistently funny whether Heenan is talking to his “staff members” or Gorilla is just pleading with him to STOP. I love that Piper has been trying to get over “Look Out Dummy” for the Legion of Doom for weeks and Bobby trumps him in a second with “Legion Of Dirt.” When they’re not bickering, Bobby and Piper put everyone over, even giving backhanded compliments to the guys they don’t personally like. Gorilla’s his great usual self. The disgust he shows when someone doesn’t hook a leg properly is the kind of little thing that gets the “sport” over that you don’t get to hear any more. Gorilla even has time to coin “suplex city” without the bitch, twenty four years before Lesnar plagiarized the hall of famer. He also coined its sister city, “clothesline city” so maybe city was his word of the day. Just great stuff here.
Main Event RANK: 24/27 POINTS:4
It’s fine. I must say though the competitors probably weren’t used to the ref screaming at them as much as they had to endure here. I’m a little unsure why they decided to have Hogan beat Slaughter by throwing powder in his eyes, considering Slaughter had already wrestled eighty percent of a six man match. I guess it doesn’t really matter. The end game was always to get Sid and Hogan removing each other’s clothing and posing in a scene that wasn’t homoerotic in the least…
Greatest Moment RANK: 5/27 POINTS: 23
I really wanted this to be Bret, but Virgil finally humbling Ted DiBiase is wonderful. In the four years he had been there no one had ever really humiliated The Million Dollar Man, and Virgil was the perfect guy to do it. It pays off a storyline with years of history and extended Virgil’s career by almost another decade.
Crowd RANK: 1/27 POINTS: 27
Just losing their shit from bell to bell. I’m sure the fact that it’s possible the greatest :”Babyfaces get their revenge,” card of all time helps. Every match out-popped the match before, they were even hot for the God damned wedding. MSG earns their rep here as one of the best crowds in the business.
Opener RANK: 15/27 POINTS: 13
The solid six man tag is a lost art in wrestling today. This one is a lot of fun and even has a living, breathing dragon in the match. This is exactly the type of match that proves my lack of bias towards the whole process. If there’s a dragon in the match it’s the greatest of all time. Dragons are magnificent creatures who always show people the proper respect when in a dinner/gala evening situation.
Best Match: Bret and Perfect have a classic. Even more impressive that Perfect was nearly crippled at this point.
Worst Match: Do you like headlocks? How about stalling? Then you’ll LOVE IRS versus Greg Valentine.
Sneaky Underrated Match: LOD winning the tag titles from the Nasty Boys was way better than I had remembered it. A pretty solid brawl that crescendos perfectly with all the business with the helmet. Man Jimmy looked like a tool in that helmet…
Biggest Pop: LOD winning the tag titles was deafening. The people had longed for a year to have another painted up tag team to cheer for.
Most Heat: The Iraqis who were just hanging onto that war…
Best Interview/Skit: Bobby Heenan challenging Hulk Hogan on behalf of the “real” world’s champion is an iconic moment that detonated like an atom bomb in 1991. Not Adam Bomb, who was only a tickle in the back of Vince McMahon’s brain at that point. He WILL win the Royal Rumble.
Worst Interview/Skit: Lord Alfred Hayes attempts to interview Stu Hart (which in itself is a bad decision) and basically pulls him away from congratulating his son. After rudely pulling a father away from his son’s crowning moment he asks him how he feels and when Stu goes to answer Alfred pulls the mic away and states “He’s speechless.” Just a tactless mess that I’m sure led to Hayes screaming while being stretched in the back.
Best Booking: The whole jail house match is the stuff of legend. You know it’s going to go bad for the Mountie when he starts his promo by belittling the “local hick cops” of New York City with his curt and condescending instructions. Of course the Boss Man kicks his ass and beats him and immediately Bobby reminds us of how poorly the Mountie treated those officers. What follows is a hilarious evening of “You can’t do this to me”, “Do you know who I am?” and “You want the finger?” Which can only be described as humiliating and justified. It culminates with a man in leather who is clearly going to be up into the wee hours of the morning raping the Mountie. They so rarely nail comedy, but they killed this one. Imagine, the man was raped and he bounces back to win the Intercontinental Title within five months. Heeeeeeee issssssss The Mountieeeeeeee!!!
Worst Booking: Why the Hell weren’t Jake, The Undertaker or the Rockers on the card? We got a wedding instead? Great…
Best Attire: I’m assuming Randy Savage was a virgin as that white suit he wears is splendid.
Worst Attire: The Dragon dressed as a Dragon. Why did Vince hate Ricky Steamboat?
Best Little Moment: I love that when Knobbs is holding Animal for Sags to hit him over the head with the helmet, Animal moves, but we don’t get the usual heel hitting his partner. Instead Sags just pauses for a moment then bashes Animal in the back.
Funniest Moment: Heenan: “If I had to manage the Bushwhackers I’d commit suicide.” With a close second being Heenan answering if he’d manage Piper: “Manage a Scotsman? What would I make 50 bucks a year?”
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Bret Hart’s counter of the repeated low blows into the sharpshooter is freakishly smooth.
Please sir, no more: When General Adnan wrestles more than you it’s probably time to hang it up, Sheiky baby.
Biggest Botch: Hawk and Sags fuck up an Irish whip. Come on, it was a solid show!
3 Random Thoughts:
The intro with Vince screaming at us still pumps me up to this day.
When they show Stu Hart on camera the first time his tongue is sticking out and he’s the spitting image of Jabba the Hutt as he intimidates Leia. Is that how he won his Tiger Belle?
Has there ever been a stronger (kayfabe) team of wrestlers that Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior? I mean if you throw Jim Duggan on that team they would literally be invincible.
Why it’s number 12: Because they left Undertaker, Jake and The Rockers off the card. If Jake and Taker had faced Warrior and Hogan and the Rockers had had a match instead of us sitting through a wedding we’d be looking at an easy top three SummerSlam of all time. Is it still a great show? Absolutely. What was supposed to hit did and the crap was kept to a minimum. You’d be hard pressed to find someone leaving this show without a smile on their face. Except for Ricky Steamboat, who had to pack that dragon costume in his gym bag at the end of the night.
Auguest 17th 2014, Los Angles California
Ten Years of this shit,
Made better in one evening,
Thank you Brock Lesnar
1. Dolph Ziggler d. The Miz © – Intercontinental Title
RANK: 87/216 POINTS: 130
2. Paige d. AJ Lee © – WWE Diva’s Title
Rank: 114/216 POINTS: 103
3. Rusev d. Jack Swagger – Flag Match
RANK: 67/216 POINTS: 150
4. Seth Rollins d. Dean Ambrose – Lumberjack Match
RANK: 86/216 POINTS: 131
5. Bray Wyatt d. Chris Jericho
RANK: 139/216 POINTS: 78
6. Stephanie McMahon d. Brie Bella
RANK: 204/216 POINTS: 13
7. Roman Reigns d. Randy Orton
RANK: 145/216 POINTS: 72
8. Brock Lesnar d. John Cena © – WWE Title
RANK: 10/216 POINTS: 207
Commentary RANK: 24/27 POINTS: 4
“It’s Dolph’s chance to SHOW OFF!” So begins my night of auditory pain. By the way if Cole says “that should be it” they are kicking out. This is where the absurd “Please use the hashtag …” makes its loathsome appearance. Stop screaming “Rusev’s GONNA TAP!!!” JBL doesn’t understand what calling your shot means, but he sure drives the saying into the ground. Man we were spoiled with Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura. I hate Michael Cole.
Main Event RANK: 6/27 POINTS: 22
Lesnar is just so big time. The package before it is tremendous. Lesnar quietly informs us he’s going to beat John Cena to death while Cena, on the other hand, looks positively sad unwrapping his little towel at the top of the ramp. The match actually gets uncomfortable to watch in the best possible way as Lesnar destroys Cena. John’s hope sequences are great but are totally inferior next to Brock’s dancing and outright mockery. Lesnar destroys him in one of the most shockingly perfect matches ever booked. The STF reversal where Lesnar just pummels Cena before scooping him up and finishing him for the win are moments we don’t get enough of.
Greatest Moment RANK: 2/27 POINTS: 26
Lesnar destroys Cena. The purest form of catharsis in wrestling.
Crowd RANK: 11/27 POINTS: 17
Fun crowd who have totally bought into all the characters tonight. They lose some points though for chanting, “You’ve still got it” at Steph. I can’t believe that chant didn’t earn them another SummerSlam
Opener RANK: 12/27 POINTS: 16
The Miz is doing the deal where he doesn’t want to get punched in the face. The match is much slower than you’d expect but has a decent enough build to Miz finally getting punched to make it worth it. Dolph winning out of nowhere (without an RKO) was a nice surprise to pop the crowd.
Best Match: Far and away the main event. I’m STILL smiling about it a year later.
Worst Match: Steph versus Brie was terrible. I feel like she’s only doing the match do she can wear that awful outfit. They give waaaaay too much time to a match with a non wrestler involved as Steph plods her way though killing Brie’s heat. Imagine that: a Bella had proper heat! What’s with this family? (The Hs not the Bellas)
Sneaky Underrated Match: Rusev’s selling in his match with Swagger is phenomenal. He carries Swagger through a nifty little power match and makes every limp believable along the way. It made me forget for a moment that they turned a Bulgarian into a Russian because Vince saw that picture of Putin riding a horse topless.
Biggest Pop: Lesnar’s first F5 on Cena. So unexpected. So satisfying.
Most Heat: John Cena: face of the Company being pummeled by a legit monster. He was booed against a monster. It’s like booing Mickey Mouse as he fights off a Bill Cosby rape.
Best Interview/Skit: Bray Wyatt leads the crowd in a stirring rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” How did that not become a thing? Oh wait they probably “took it away” for being too over.
Worst Interview/Skit: Hogan shilling the network and getting the crowd to chant 9.99. Ugh. Bet they’d like to have this one back…
Best Booking: Lesnar leaving Cena in a pile of blood, urine and vomit.
Worst Booking: Stephanie not getting her comeuppance. Can SOMEONE get something over this chick?
Best Attire: Damien Sandow dressed as a lumberjack. I hated that gimmick but man did he look classy.
Worst Attire: Both Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns are dressed like fools now. Maybe that’s why neither are as over as they should be.
Best Little Moment: Lesnar: “That was your chance John. I’m going to Kill you.”
Funniest Moment: The Russian flag being raised and Rusev waving his arms in the air. It’s beautifully triumphant, especially with Swagger AND Zeb unconscious on the ground.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Paige counters the black widow into a SICK ramPAIGE DDT.
Please sir, no more: MISTER Money in the Bank. It sounds way too much like Mister Manager.
Biggest Botch: Jericho and Wyatt make a ton of mistakes and are sloppy as hell in their match.
3 Random Thoughts:
There’s like a five minute movie before each match.
This match did Reigns no favors.
I’m getting physically ill watching the lumberjack match. The camera moves so damn much.
Why it’s number 11: The main event cracks my top ten matches in SummerSlam history, the opener is way better than any Miz match has a right to be and Rusev and Swagger put on a really good little power match. Hell the women’s match is even pretty solid. The video packages are out of control, and had they cut them and given Roman Reigns the right match to get over and this one could have climbed even higher.
August 27th 2000, Raleigh North Carolina
Blackman murders Shane,
Angle wants to be with Steph,
Get in line with Test.
Total Points: 1040
1. The Right To Censor d. Too Cool
RANK: 132/216 POINTS: 85
2. X-Pac d. Road Dogg
Rank: 173/216 POINTS: 44
3. Chyna/Eddie Guerrero d. Val Venis (c)/Trish Stratus – Intercontinental Title
RANK: 152/216 POINTS: 65
4. Jerry Lawler d. Tazz
RANK: 125/216 POINTS: 92
5. Steve Blackman d. Shane McMahon – WWF Hardcore Title
RANK: 71/216 POINTS: 146
6. Chris Benoit d. Chris Jericho – 2/3 Falls
RANK: 26/216 POINTS: 191
7. Edge/Christian (c) d. The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz – WWF Tag Team Titles TLC Match
RANK: 11/216 POINTS: 206
8. The Kat d. Terri – Stinkface Match
RANK: 215/216 POINTS: 2
9. The Undertaker wrestled Kane to a no-contest
RANK: 206/216 POINTS: 11
10. The Rock (c) d. HHH, Kurt Angle – WWF Title
RANK: 80/216 POINTS: 137
Commentary RANK: 8/27 POINTS: 20
JR is best when he has strong opinions about someone. So it stands to reason that his work in the Tazz/Lawler match is pretty stellar. He and King have a pretty solid night which probably ended with a pile of lozenges due to that TLC match. The screaming fit the intensity of the match and is totally refreshing compared to announcers who tell us how amazing things are today without an ounce on truth to it. Strong night from both guys.
Main Event RANK: 19/27 POINTS: 9
I get what they were going for here, and I appreciate that they had to improvise part of the match due to Kurt’s legit injury, but this one fell a bit flat for me. It became the typical “methodical pace” of HHH which can takes stars off a match by the second. Still very good, but a shadow of what could have been.
Greatest Moment RANK: 13/27 POINTS: 15
Shane’s fall followed by Steve Blackman’s jump. What’s wrong with these two?
Crowd RANK: 20/27 POINTS: 8
Pretty dirty crowd here. They not only thought Shane was a pussy but Stephanie was also a slut. As hot as they are for the Rock and Kurt Angle there is zero, and I mean zero reaction to Val Venis coming out. Maybe it’s not the crowd’s fault, maybe Val Venis in his white trunks, robbed of his porn star gimmick/penis just isn’t appealing to them. I suppose they could have been livelier, but fun to listen to throughout.
Opener RANK: 19/27 POINTS: 9
The RTC vs. Too Cool. Victoria is one of the Hoes! This was quick and painless, and everyone got their spots in in a timely fashion. Except for poor Scotty who got kicked in the face and pinned trying to do the worm. I’ve seen far worse matches but not too many much better when three of the participants were wearing slacks.
Best Match: The TLC match is just spot after spot of awesomeness. It doesn’t stop for a second until one by one people are systematically killed until only Edge and Christian remain. Fun, fun stuff and probably topped their WrestleMania match from that April.
Worst Match: So we found out what a “Stinkface” match was… Why couldn’t Perry Saturn have just wrestled the damn mop instead? Am I attracted to both these women? Sure. Do I want to see them shoving their asses in each other’s faces? In the right context, absolutely. This was not that context. Easily the worst match of the night and would have been the worst match in SummerSlam had two Undertakers not fought for an exact eternity.
Sneaky Underrated Match: Steve Blackman just worked as Hardcore champ and watching him destroy Shane McMahon was a treat. There’s a lot of fun stuff here including Blackman hanging Shane while holding him in a single crab. The interference from Test and Albert is even welcome as it’s the only hope in hell Shane has of surviving. The finish is so crazy that the announcers don’t even bother talking about the title change. I could watch Shane run for his life from Blackman all night.
Biggest Pop: The People’s Elbow broke the building.
Most Heat: Edge and Christian climbing the ladders right before they won. The crowd was none too pleased with that inevitability.
Best Interview/Skit: Kurt’s “apology” for not kissing Stephanie sooner followed by him asking the crowd if they’d seen his medals. I spent the whole night longing for a good Rock promo.
Worst Interview/Skit: Everything with Stephanie backstage. Jesus Christ she’s awful. She’s like a female Keanu Reeves stumbling through Shakespeare with less dignity. At least you know Keanu is a good person.
Best Booking: Keeping the right teams in the tag title picture while moving the others on to other things. It would have been easy to shoehorn Too Cool into the match. I like the word shoehorn.
Worst Booking: Chyna winning the IC belt…again. Sure it led to Eddie “accidentally” pinning her later in the year but come on now. Enough with this Frankensteinish experiment.
Best Attire: Lita. This section was a lot more fun when Rick Rude was humiliating people’s wives with his trunks.
Worst Attire: Michael Cole. Red shirt tucked in? Check. Frosted tips? Check. Goatee? Check. Shit in trousers? Check. Also as soon as Tazz started wearing those track pants he was done as a credible wrestler.
Best Little Moment: In the final video package before the main event, the fireworks they added over the Angle/Steph kiss gave me a chuckle.
Funniest Moment: Just how dead Shane McMahon is going to be.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Jericho’s jumping roll through that Benoit in turn rolls into a pin is tight.
Please sir, no more: Art films to start the PPV. I still want to believe I’m watching wrestling.
Biggest Botch: Obviously it’s the concussion that Angle suffers that’s been canonized as a “blooper” now by WWE.
3 Random Thoughts:
Why couldn’t the match have just been Val versus Eddie?
What was the Taker match? A fight? The bell just sounded for…some reason when he unmasked Kane. Was that the point?
This is by far the most feminist SummerSlam as women are involved in almost all the top angles.
Why it’s number 10: We crack the top ten with a show that’s very fondly remembered by a lot of people. We have some pretty big lows with the Stinkface match and the Taker match but everything else either delivers or over delivers.. One of the best things they have going for the show is that there’s very little time wasted between matches so they’re able to have a full ten matches on the show. That would be impossible in today’s world where at least half an hour is dedicated to video packages and another twenty minutes to what we should say on Twitter. The TLC is legendary, and the Benoit/Jericho and Shane/Blackman matches are a great time. This was an easy watch made better by great commentary and a company that cared about pleasing its fanbase.
August 30th 1993, Detroit, Michigan
Cowboys and Indians peace,
Lawler wins the crown.
1. Razor Ramon d. Ted Dibiase
RANK: 144/216 POINTS: 73
2. The Steiner Brothers (c) d. The Heavenly Bodies – WWF Tag Team Titles
Rank: 32/216 POINTS: 185
3. Shawn Michaels (c) d. Mr. Perfect by count out – Intercontinental Title
RANK: 31/216 POINTS: 186
4. Irwin R. Shyster d. 1-2-3 Kid
RANK: 154/216 POINTS: 63
5. Bret “Hitman” Hart d. Doink by DQ
RANK: 98/216 POINTS: 119
6. Jerry “The KIng” Lawler d. Bret “Hitman” Hart by DQ
RANK: 52/216 POINTS: 165
7. Ludvig Borga d. Marty Jannetty
RANK: 180/216 POINTS: 37
8. The Undertaker d. Giant Gonzalez – Rest In Peace Match
RANK: 214/216 POINTS: 3
9. Tatanka/Smoking Gunns d. Bam Bam Bigelow/The Headshrinkers
RANK: 157/216 POINTS: 60
10. Lex Luger d. Yokozuna (c) by count out – WWF Title
RANK: 127/216 POINTS: 90
Commentary RANK: 3/27 POINTS: 25
These guys mesh much better than they did the year before. As we saw at 92 Vince is the worst improvisation partner since Michael Scott so here Bobby just riffs on whatever stupid shit Vince says instead of trying to lead the chairman through the show. I really wish Vince would let today’s play by play guys call the show like he did. He’s excellent here. Only dipping into story elements when there’s a slow part in the match all the while calling all the action despite his limited understanding of wrestling terminology. Sure he sounds disingenuous when he calls Lex Luger a “True American Hero,” but who wouldn’t. I always found it weird that Heenan brought in Luger to take out Mr. Perfect, which he did, yet Heenan seems to hate the Total Package by SummerSlam. Who cares if he loves America more than his dead eyed wife and child, Perfect got knocked the hell out.
Main Event RANK: 23/27 POINTS: 5
Way better than it had any right to be considering one of the participants was nearing a metric ton. Still possibly the worst SummerSlam main event up till that point, but easily gets dethroned the next year. I feel like this one would have been much better remembered had they had the exact same match but actually had a satisfying finish.
Greatest Moment RANK: 12/27 POINTS: 16
Jerry Lawler raises his hand and index finger in victory while being stretchered out. A triumphant move from a triumphant man.
Crowd RANK: 8/27 POINTS: 20
They popped at al the right places and even tried to tell Vince that Randy Savage was still a main-eventer. Shame on them though for cheering that count out victory. Shame.
Opener RANK: 23/27 POINTS: 5
Ted DiBiase’s swan song and Razor’s coming out was decent for what it was. I bet Razor would be really mad at me for saying he was “Coming Out,” but Ted would be madder when I told him that money cannot, in fact, buy him a great match on WWF PPV.
Best Match: It gets crushed under the tremendous weight of the expectations but Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels is still a very, very good match. They botch a clothesline early and the match takes a couple of minutes to get into gear, but when it does it works well. They play off Perfect’s back injury and both guys are still uber-smooth in the ring. I think one of the biggest problems is that the heel/face alignments should be switched. Tactical heel Perfect pummeling never say die Shawn would be quite a treat. The count out finish doesn’t help the match but give it another look and try to get past your initial disappointment.
Worst Match: “Now we know what a Rest In Peace Match is.” Thanks Vince. We also now know just how time feels when it’s literally (Gorilla Monsoon’s version) standing still. Christ even Paul Bearer knew it would suck and showed up late. They can’t even use a body bag on the guy and have to stand a wreathe next to Gonzalez’s rotting husk. I get why they hired him, he’s got the strangest body I’ve ever seen. You can’t just keep adding more fur to a man and hope that he’ll become a better wrestler. Also that face turn at the end was a slap in the face to Andre who had died earlier in the year. If you listen closely you can hear his ghost drinking Argentina under the table.
Sneaky Underrated Match: Everyone talks about the Hart/Doink match as being great, and it is, but for me the Hart/Lawler match is just a way more complete experience. The heat is so off the charts that you can taste the hate with each stiff blow they lay into each other. People are just screaming at all of Lawler’s cheating. It’s exactly what it needed to be and had a pretty perfect finish.
Biggest Pop: The Steiners retaining the tag titles in their hometown blew the roof off the place.
Most Heat: Lawler. Every part of him just breathes loathing. The people would cheer Hitler against him on this night.
Best Interview/Skit: Again tonight is all Lawler. His story about what happened to his leg is legendary, as is his feigned disappointment that he can’t get in there with Bret.
Worst Interview/Skit: The 1-2-3 Kid is the most nervous person I have ever seen anywhere. Can you imagine X-Pac talking about having butterflies in his stomach?
Best Booking: The whole Bret Hart/Doink/Jerry Lawler segment. So perfect. So much beautiful injustice.
Worst Booking: How does Luger not win the title? Come on…your champion could drop dead at any minute. Why not roll the dice with the guy you bought a bus for?
Best Attire: The Steiners’ Michigan inspired tights are way better than the flowery shit they usually wear.
Worst Attire: Owen Hart is a hot mess. Leather pants with a tucked in beige shirt and topped off with said leather pants tucked into cowboy books. He takes this easily. Imagine, that’s on a show that Giant Gonzalez and his fur on it.
Best Little Moment: Bret Hart takes down the straps while pummeling Lawler. A second later Lawler tries to rally by pulling his own straps but gets punched.
Funniest Moment: I wanted it to be The Undertaker trying to answer Dave from Kentucky’s question with dignity, but it’s got to be Bruce Hart getting doused. We learn from Bret Hart’s book that Bruce had no idea this was happening but it’s Bobby Heenan’s contempt filled laugh that puts it over the edge. Man everyone hated Bruce Hart.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: I can watch the Steiners suplex guys all day long.
Please sir, no more: IRS. It’s enough now. It’s enough.
Biggest Botch: Mama Steiner sure is proud of her son Rob!
3 Random Thoughts:
Someone needs to kill Joe Fowler.
Jack Tunney does not like to be touched.
Hank Carter really seems to care about Lex Luger.
Why it’s number 9: This one kind of caught me by surprise. I was expecting to hate the main event, but I didn’t. I was expecting to be a little bored by the Bret/Lawler stuff, but I wasn’t. I guess part of the high ranking is me really digging the Michaels/Perfect match. Look I’m not saying it was the classic that everyone was demanding from them, but on its own, in a vacuum, I really enjoyed it. I also decided to count the Lawler and Doink matches as two separate encounters. Sure it’s one story, but Bret basically wrestles a full match with each of them. Crazy thing as we get into the next three entries is that they’re only separated by three points. If only this one hadn’t had the third worst match of all time it would be even higher!
August 30th 1998, New York City
The highway to Hell,
Mankind gets murdered in trash,
Billy Gunn’s a dick?
1. D-Lo Brown (c) d. Val Venis – WWF European Title
RANK: 106/216 POINTS: 111
2. The Oddities d. Kaientai – Handicap Match
Rank: 207/216 POINTS: 10
3. X-Pac d. Jeff Jarrett – Hair vs. Hair
RANK: 53/216 POINTS: 164
4. Edge /Sable d. Marc Mero/Jacqueline
RANK: 161/216 POINTS: 56
5. Ken Shamrock d. Owen Hart – Lion’s Den Match
RANK: 92/216 POINTS: 125
6. The New Age Outlaws d. Mankind(c) – WWF Tag Team Titles
RANK: 121/216 POINTS: 96
7. Triple H d. The Rock (c) – Intercontinental Ladder Match
RANK: 19/216 POINTS: 198
8. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) d. The Undertaker – WWF Title
RANK: 21/216 POINTS: 196
Commentary RANK: 9/27 POINTS: 19
We finally get JR and the King alone together and the results are a mixed bag. Lawler’s groan inducing jokes strain the ears as he tries to make the three stooges relevant in 1998. JR is a bit pissy too stating first that there’s no basketball players in the ring tonight and then complaining aloud that no one talks about Sammy Sosa. JR clearly doesn’t get racism in America.
Main Event RANK: 8/27 POINTS: 20
Steve Austin and the Undertaker give this one a tremendously epic feel from bell to bell. There’s no point in the match where it doesn’t feel like a war and I’ve got to believe that Undertaker doing that flying dropkick to the table has to be the biggest spot of his career. There are some slow points, but the two men’s star power keeps this from ever getting boring. Austin looks like he’s had the shit kicked out of him and survives some great near falls before ending this generation’s Warrior/Hogan with a stiff stunner.
Greatest Moment RANK: 8/27 POINTS: 20
Hard to pick one out, as HHH winning the title should take it, but he’s immediately injured and his title ends up in the hands of RoboShamrock. Instead we’ll go with Undertaker passing the torch. If there was any doubt as to who the top star in the company was, it was gone after the main event.
Crowd RANK: 2/27 POINTS: 26
It’s an MSG crowd so they’re, of course, awesome and add to the entire show by being white hot throughout.
Opener RANK: 16/27 POINTS: 12
How can you not like a match when the trim on D-Lo’s tights matches Val’s entire color scheme. Hints of purple galore! The big spots are fun here but the match could have used a little more wrestling than just kicking and punching. That being said it’s a very solid match with a very shitty finish.
Best Match: It hurts to give these things out to HHH, as I hate him with every fiber of my being, but you have to hand it to him and the Rock for having a great contest here. Sure Hunter looks a little in Rock’s shadow as he hoists a scumbag bandleader singing his song on his shoulders, but who wouldn’t next to the growing star power of the Rock? There’s some excellent violence here and the falls from the ladders look chaotic but they’re both just missing the subtle facial expressions of the Ramon/Michaels matches to make this an all time classic. Rock’s slow climbing hurts this one a bit too as he’s barely injured and just CANNOT get up the ladder. Perhaps he’s scared of heights like R-Truth. Sadly we’ll never know, but what we do know is that minor quibbles aside this one was fantastic.
Worst Match: These fucking Oddities just won’t leave me alone. What do you say about a match that makes four of the better workers in the company look like bigger clowns that the two assholes at ringside? Maybe it was the immediate shoe-smelling spot that put me over the edge but I was disinterested/angry right from the opening bell. And why the fuck was it so God damned long? Just a mess sold to us as “comedy.” If the announcers are laughing like a studio audience you know you’re watching total shit.
Sneaky Underrated Match: Why does no one talk about X-Pac vs. Jeff Jarrett? Jarrett was in a weird transition as he still had the same tired music and look but was building a completely different and infinitely better character. These guys cut a fantastic pace and Jarrett can definitely go with the right opponent. It also helps that he’s not doing any of his usual “big man offense” bullshit. This is just a fun, fun match that lets you forgive Southern Rapists missing their cue at the end. In a nice touch all the people Jeff has fucked with come back to watch him get his head trimmed. Great showing from both guys that kicks off a fantastic year for X-Pac.
Biggest Pop: HHH winning the IC title. Damn you New York, it’s ALL your fault.
Most Heat: It’s such an interesting time as everyone is over in their roles, but no one is really reviled. Rock is just as loved as hated, people were cheering for D-Lo, there really are no heels. Except of course for Owen Hart, who was a nice guy and snapped which drew the ire of the fans who kept chanting “nugget” at him. Poor, poor Owen.
Best Interview/Skit: The Rock wants to know how HHH is going to climb the people’s ladder in the people’s ring and win the title. He doesn’t even let Michael Cole send it back to JR as he interrupts and insists on sending it “back to the two jabronis at ringside.” He would have won if not for another gem later in the evening. Instead we get the excellent Mick Foley threatening to play in traffic until a loving Mr. McMahon teases him with immortality and finds him weapons. He talks him into the match by giving him a candlestick to use and promises him a spot in the MSG Hall of Fame.
Worst Interview/Skit: Billy Gunn screaming at Mankind after the Outlaws win the belts. How is this guy a face? Road Dogg must be REALLY likeable.
Best Booking: The whole setup with “The Highway to Hell” was an awesome summer angle made even better by Austin beating Taker clean as a sheet.
Worst Booking: Why give ANY time to the Oddities. Man I hate those freaks.
Best Attire: Shamrock bucks the “all black” trend and shines in blue.
Worst Attire: Jeff Jarrett’s weird suspenders/tights always made him look dumb.
Best Little Moment: Taker sending Kane to the back because he wants to beat Austin himself is gold.
Funniest Moment: Vince: “I can hand you history in a silver platter.” It’s a candlestick on a hot plate.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Everything Shamrock does is so legit. Probably because it was legit.
Please sir, no more: Oddities. I CANNOT stress this enough.
Biggest Botch: D-Lo messes up the running power bomb versus Val. Man he should stop doing that before he hurts someone.
3 Random Thoughts:
I love the entrance where you can see them coming before they enter the arena.
Edge’s spanking of Jacquline over his knee probable wouldn’t fly today.
Man Chyna has had a lot of surgery since then. Some elective.
Why it’s number 8: Come on! It’s the heart of the attitude era on a platter. I don’t think there’s a fan alive that hears that AC/DC song and doesn’t think of Undertaker, Kane, CAHOOTS and Steve Austin. The main event is fantastic and the ladder match even better. Throw in a surprisingly good Jeff Jarrett match and this one is an easy win. It finishes one point above 9th, which you can easily attribute to the awesome MSG crowd, but falls two points back of seventh due in part to forcing Kaientai to wrestle way below their usual standard. This is a well wrestled show and a great time capsule of the era.
August 14th 2011, Los Angels California
Punk and Cena shine,
Sheamus proclaims I’ll fight him,
Oh what could have been…
Total Points: 1055
1. Kofi Kingstron/John Morrison/Rey Mysterio d. Alberto Del Rio/R-Truth/The Miz
RANK: 61/216 POINTS: 156
2. Mark Henry d. Sheamus by count out
Rank: 39/216 POINTS: 178
3. Kelly Kelly © d. Beth Phoenix – WWE Diva’s Title
RANK: 199/216 POINTS: 18
4. Wade Barrett d. Daniel Bryan
RANK: 36/216 POINTS: 181
5. Randy Orton d. Christian © – World Heavyweight Title No Holds Barred
RANK: 15/216 POINTS: 202
6. CM Punk © d. John Cena © – WWE Title
RANK: 4/216 POINTS: 213
7. Albero Del Rio d. CM Punk © – WWE Title
RANK: 188/216 POINTS: 29
Commentary RANK: 23/27 POINTS: 5
The traditional combo of Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole are not helped at all by adding Booker T. I’m already annoyed at Cole’s Mizleading! Yes Booker we SAW THAT! We’re watching the show! A kick in the face is not vintage despite what Michael Cole says. The three men spend the entirely of the Divas match attacking each other. How exactly does Cole burying Bryan for his whole match help anyone? Cole at one point says that Punk was wearing Cena down so Lawler accuses him of saying that Cena is worn down and WILL NOT LET IT GO FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT. WHY DID I MAKE THIS A CATEGORY???
Main Event RANK: 2/27 POINTS: 26
It has a huge main event feel and totally delivers on every conceivable level. It’s as good as their MITB match without the special atmosphere that Chicago gifted them. HHH’s timing as a ref hurts it a bit but their counter sequences are amazing and more than make up for it. A completely forgotten classic.
Greatest Moment RANK: 17/27 POINTS: 11
Del Rio cashes in. I didn’t say it was a GOOD moment!
Crowd RANK: 12/27 POINTS: 16
Very hot all night somewhat justifying their third consecutive SummerSlam. They also rightly want Beth to murder Kelly so they’re all right by me.
Opener RANK: 8/27 POINTS: 20
The six man is such a great throw back to the SummerSlams of yore. It’s fun non-stop action with Del Rio’s stuff looking painful as all hell to take. Some great old school isolation of Kofi Kingston is neatly melded with a buffet of high spots to end an exciting opener.
Best Match: It’s Punk versus Cena. It would be the best match on all but two other SummerSlams. Give this one another chance and try and wash the taste of that ill-conceived cash in out of your mouth.
Worst Match: Kelly Kelly versus Beth Phoenix. Why does every Divas champion have to carry the belt the same way to the ring? Arms straight up as far as they can go with the title up high and shaking their hips? Watch Nikki Bella do it today. Kelly is terrible and her moves look like crap. Couple that with her complete failure to do the simplest of bumps and we have a wrestler I hate more than the Great Khali.
Sneaky Underrated Match: This whole card really. Orton and Christian would be the best match on many other SummerSlams and Mark Henry and Sheamus put on a great little hoss match. No one talks about Daniel Bryan versus Wade Barrett in what is arguably Barrett’s best match in the promotion. Everything is crisp and Barrett’s win comes off a Bryan mistake which always scores high marks from me. Give this one another shot.
Biggest Pop: Orton RKOs Christian on the steel steps.
Most Heat: John Cena: face of the company.
Best Interview/Skit: CM Punk refuses Stephanie’s handshake after calling her idiotic because he, “knows where that hand has been.”
Worst Interview/Skit: C-Lo Green doing a set that no one wanted. He keeps this from possibly being the best SummerSlam of all time.
Best Booking: Punk beating Cena somewhat clean again.
Worst Booking: Taking the belt off Punk. He was so hot here. They needed to let him run with it instead of getting the belt on Del Rio because they were going to Mexico.
Best Attire: Edge looked relaxed and healthy telling Christian off.
Worst Attire: C-Lo’s sparkly moo moo.
Best Little Moment: Christian attempts to flee through the crowd with the title like Punk the month before.
Funniest Moment: “Spiders start with s, like SummerSlam. C-Lo Green is singing at SummerSlam, you know what else starts with c? CONSPIRACY. You see what I mean?“ I love this R-Truth. He has a tour de force performance with this and Jimmy Hart later.
This Is Wrestling Clap Clap Clap: Daniel Bryan stretches Wade Barrett into a pin.
Please sir, no more: Heel Michael Cole. NO ONE GETS OVER!!!
Biggest Botch: Booking Green.
3 Random Thoughts:
This is the hottest period the company has had in recent memory and the domino effect opening package is amazing.
It’s weird to have Bryan come down to something other than Ride of the Valkyries.
Cena’s dropkick on Punk is phenomenal.
Why it’s number 7: I think people forget how good this one is because all they can remember is Del Rio cashing in to end the night. The main event is sensational and I could three other matches (Orton/Christian, Sheamus/Henry, Bryan/Barrett) in my top forty matches. If they would have had a halfway decent Divas champion (say Beth defending against Natalya) and decided not to book a musician no one wanted to see you’re looking at possibly the greatest SummerSlam of all time. As it stands, it’s very good but I can’t help but wonder what could have been with this one. Isn’t that the story of that whole summer and fall though?
Thanks for reading and sticking through this with me! Check back at the end of the week for our final part which will surely find a way to anger EVERYONE!
As usual if you want to chat hit me up @aarondgeorge