Since 1988, SummerSlam has been WWE’s second biggest show of the year. As we count down the days to the 2016 edition, the Top Ten will rank the annual event’s matches year-by-year to determine the best SummerSlam matches of all time.
For 2008, we get “Adamle Originals” and Hell in a Cell!
SummerSlam 2008 – August 17, 2008, Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
At least we’re back to hot women in bathing suits with nothing to do with the show being on the SummerSlam poster. Seriously, Maria did one backstage interview… I think we absolutely need more summer blockbusters featuring WWE divas riding Jet Skis in skimpy bikinis, though.
It was a bad year to be a World Champion at SummerSlam, as the two main titles (three, if you count the ECW Title… so, the two main titles) were nowhere near the main event this year. CM Punk’s World Heavyweight Championship defense against JBL and Triple H’s defense against Great Khali were followed by two matches that had no titles on the line. Of course, it was the right call, because those two main events were better than what the title matches were, but it’s an odd set of booking where the main titleholders aren’t the focus of the company.
Not that WWE would be averse to doing that again in the future.
It is understandable, though. Batista and John Cena were at this point the two biggest names in the company who never went one-on-one, so it was the ultimate fresh match-up. The build to the match included the pair winning and losing the Tag Team Titles as wacky partners who didn’t get along. The match was a pretty standard Main Event Style match which was shocking mainly because Batista won, which I doubt many people expected.
This year’s SummerSlam is the seventh out of 21 where the show ended with something other than a World Title-level championship match (or 8th, depending on how you count the WCWWF Title in 2001). Of those, 2 have involved the Undertaker, who was in the main event this year.
Best Match: Undertaker defeated Edge – Hell in a Cell. The feud between Edge and the Undertaker is probably one of the best feuds of that decade, producing a number of great matches. Sure, this match was only a backdrop for the weird Edge-Vickie Guerrero soap opera, but it went above and beyond the scope of the storyline, as both guys beat the hell out of each other in the Cell, with Undertaker eventually getting the win. I still don’t understand the odd Undertaker video cuts while Taker chokeslammed Edge through the ring after the match, but it was still an amazing visual. Definitely my favorite SummerSlam match so far.
Worst Match: Matt Hardy beats Mark Henry (c) by DQ – ECW Title Match. At just about 30 seconds, it really wasn’t much of a match, but it gets the “Worst Match” honors for being an ECW Title match that ended in a DQ when Henry’s corner man Tony Atlas attacked Hardy. Just a stupid and unacceptable way to book the match.
Big Time Interview: Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho may not have had a match at SummerSlam 2008, but they made a huge impact on the show regardless. Selling a violent beating from Jericho, HBK came down to the ring with his wife to announce that he had to go find his smile again… No, wait, that’s not it. He was selling the drama, saying that he would listen to his doctors when they told him to no longer wrestle. But Jericho took umbrage with that and came out to bully Michaels a bit more. The end result was Y2J knocking Michaels’ wife out in one of the best SummerSlam interview segments ever.
Two Titles in One!: The first of two “Adamle Originals” on the SummerSlam card from Raw General Manager and former American Gladiators announcer Mike Adamle was a Winner Takes All intergender tag team match between Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella – Glamarella – and Women’s Champ Mickie James and Intercontinental Champ Kofi Kingston. So, when the Glamazon pinned James for the Women’s Title, she also gave Marella the Intercontinental belt. It really must have been great being Santino – comedy character who was constantly paired with hot women. It’s a rough life.
Family Business: Jeff Hardy went away for a while. After touring the country’s smaller companies for a few years, Jeff made his way back to WWE and was featured in his first SummerSlam in 7 years in 2008. His opponent? The man his brother Matt spent months feuding with the year before, MVP. The glorious return didn’t go so well, as Jeff was distracted by Shelton Benjamin while attempting a Swanton, leading to MVP kicking Jeff in the face for the win.
The SummerSlam Top 20!
We’ll keep it rolling with the top 20 matches this time around. OH! And we have a NEW No. 1!
*DISCLAIMER* The Top Ten is for discussion purposes only and is in no way an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion.
1 – Undertaker defeated Edge – Hell in a Cell (2008)
2 – Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H – Street Fight (2002)
3 – Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) defeated Owen Hart – WWF Title Steel Cage Match (1994)
4 – Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (1995)
5 – Kurt Angle beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) by DQ – WWF Title Match (2001)
6 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1991)
7 – Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1992)
8 – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Hart Foundation (1989)
9 – Edge and Christian (c) defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz – TLC Tag Team Title Match (2000)
10 – Randy Orton defeated the Undertaker (2005)
11 – Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock (c) – WWE Title Match (2002)
12 – The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition (c) – 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Team Title Match (1990)
13 – John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton – WWE Title Match (2007)
14 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)
15 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan defeated Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (1988)
16 – The Rock (c) defeated Triple H and Kurt Angle – Triple Threat WWF Title Match (2000)
17 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Undertaker (c) – WWF Title Match (1997)
18 – Kurt Angle (c) defeated Brock Lesnar – WWE Title Match (2003)
19 – Mankind defeated “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) and Triple H – WWF Title Triple Threat (1999)
20 – Edge (c) defeated John Cena – WWE Title Match (2006)