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.
In this edition, the Champ is here to meet the Beast.
SummerSlam 2014 – August 17, 2014, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Brock Lesnar absolutely destroyed John Cena. Lesnar hit the champ with an F5 in the first couple of minutes of the match and all Cena could do to follow up was try and defend himself. The man who beat The Undertaker just a few months prior at WrestleMania XXX looked like an unstoppable monster, like Vader beating Sting back at the 1992 Great American Bash. Suplex after suplex after suplex and the Champ looked like enhancement talent for the Beast Incarnate in something that I imagine was cathartic for Cena haters. As a match, it wasn’t the greatest, as one-sided ass kickings aren’t usually great matches, but as a SummerSlam moment, it goes right up there with the Ultimate Warrior squashing The Honky Tonk Man.
We have reached the first SummerSlam of the WWE Network era, so the announcers spent the entire show – right from the top with host Hulk Hogan – plugging the $9.99 price point and how you can watch all the action right there on the Network.
Best Match: Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose – Lumberjack Match. I absolutely love that we had a lumberjack match so crazy and so out of control that the lumberjacks had to chase the two guys around the arena to get them back in the damn ring. Ambrose was so pissed at Rollins for turning his back on the Shield that 20 guys surrounding the ring couldn’t keep things from going crazy. And the announcers actually pointing out how the Shield made a lot of enemies since their debut was a great touch – announcers do their job, amazing, right? – which also showed why tensions around the ring were a bit on the high side, with the Lumberjacks getting into a brawl, too. The Money in the Bank briefcase comes back into play, with Rollins clubbing Ambrose with it for the win, and two future World Champions steal the show.
Worst Match: Stephanie McMahon defeated Brie Bella. Because Daniel Bryan, went down with an injury and the company was not done with the Authority storyline, it fell down to the women to pick up the slack. Brie, Bryan’s wife, defended her husband’s honor against Triple H’s wife, Stephanie. The feuding females had each other arrested, they slapped each other around and they called each other a lot of terrible names to set up this match. But in the end, it was Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella, with special appearances from Triple H and Brie’s sister, Nikki, who turned on Brie to give Steph the win. The match could have been a lot worse, but went way too long for what it was and was definitely a lowlight of an otherwise fun card.
Just One Of Many: Man, I feel like I’ve seen a thousand Miz-Dolph Ziggler matches in the last few years, and the one that kicked off SummerSlam 2014 was definitely one of them. Miz doesn’t always get a whole lot of credit, but he and Ziggler can put on a fun match. It just feels like, at this point, when WWE isn’t sure what to do with the Intercontinental Title, they just look at Miz and say, “Here, do something with this.”
Cold War Continuation: It’s amazing how good Rusev is at this point, getting the crowd to react exactly the way he wants them to, getting them strongly behind Jack Swagger, a guy who many felt outlived his usefulness not long after he cashed in the MitB briefcase back in 2010. But man, everyone wanted him to beat the Bulgarian Brute who was Representing Russia in this flag match. The fact that they still haven’t pushed Rusev to the moon two years later is ridiculous, because this is a guy who knows what he’s doing.
Happy Birthday: After feuding with AJ Lee since the day after WrestleMania, where she won her first Diva’s Title, Paige was back in the title hunt, getting a title rematch. Paige had a great birthday in 2014, beating the dominant Diva’s Champ and taking back the title. Two years later on her birthday, she got suspended. I guess you’ve gotta enjoy these moments while they last…
The SummerSlam Top Ten!
One new addition to the list.
*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 – CM Punk (c) defeated John Cena (c) – Undisputed WWE Championship Match (2011)
3 – Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H – Street Fight (2002)
4 – Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) defeated Owen Hart – WWF Title Steel Cage Match (1994)
5 – Brock Lesnar defeated CM Punk – No Disqualification Match (2013)
6 – Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (1995)
7 – Kurt Angle beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) by DQ – WWF Title Match (2001)
8 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1991)
9 – Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena (c) – WWE Championship Match (2013)
10 – Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1992)
11 – Randy Orton defeated Christian (c) – No Holds Barred World Heavyweight Championship Match (2011)
12 – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Hart Foundation (1989)
13 – Edge and Christian (c) defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz – TLC Tag Team Title Match (2000)
14 – Randy Orton defeated the Undertaker (2005)
15 – Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock (c) – WWE Title Match (2002)
16 – CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy (c) – TLC World Heavyweight Championship Match (2009)
17 – The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition (c) – 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Team Title Match (1990)
18 – Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose – Lumberjack Match (2014)
19 – John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton – WWE Title Match (2007)
20 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)