With all the buzz around the WWE brand extension, the draft, Roman Reigns’ suspension and then the Shield Triple Threat, SummerSlam has crept up on us – and we shouldn’t sleep on it because SummerSlam has long been the #2 show of the year for WWE, and often better than WrestleMania. So just like we did with Mania, we are going to run down the 10 best matches in SummerSlam history! While you can probably find these gems on YouTube, you can definitely find them on the WWE Network.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose – Lumberjack match 2014
The first big match between the two after the Shield broke up, and it was a wonderfully chaotic spectacle. Despite the Lumberjacks being there to keep the action in the ring, this match ventured around the arena as the animosity and brutality bubbled over. Ambrose and Rollins have always had great chemistry and this was no different.
Shane McMahon vs Test – Greenwich Street Fight 1999
Ever wonder why fans were so excited to see Shane McMahon in the build up to WrestleMania? Well, it was things like this match that made him one of my all-time favourites.
Shane was trying to end Test’s relationship with his sister Stephanie McMahon and stepped into the ring with a huge size disadvantage. Neither of these guys were superb wrestlers, but the “love her or leave her” stipulation and all the toys they pulled out really helped. Throw in the wonderfully funny “Mean Street Posse” at ringside, The Stooges coming out to help Test, and Shane’s athleticism and it turned into a great match that is a hidden SummerSlam classic.
10. Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio – 2002
The opening match of a wonderful 2002 SummerSlam started with a bang as Rey Mysterio jumped Angle from behind. Despite the size difference between these two, it’s Angle’s terrific athleticism that makes the bout – he can keep up with Rey making the fast pace segments seem even quicker. Angle has a lot of heat, bringing the crowd right into the match from the get go.
Mysterio is in his prime here and is wonderfully precise with his moves, his rolling senton over the referee to the outside pulled a “holy sh*t” chant from the crowd as this white hot opener rocked the Nassau Coliseum. Plus, there’s a little icing on the cake of you watch Angle’s hilarious reaction backstage following the match.
9. The Rock (c) vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE Undisputed Championship – 2002
From the opener to the main event. Lesnar had only been in WWE for a few months but was hot-shotted to the main event against The Great One. Accompanied by Paul Heyman, “The Next Big Thing” was already a crowd favourite despite his heel status. He was just a sight to behold – bigger than he is now and more athletic than almost everyone else in the company, he was just a freak. Rock started at a million miles an hour, laying the belt out in front of him on the walkway, mimicking Brock’s hops and then sprinting to the ring.
Heyman was a far more active pest at ringside than usual, stifling any coming backs from The Rock and taking cheap shots when he could. The crowd, as they had a WrestleMania that year, turned on The Rock but just like then it didn’t phase him. Paul Heyman ate a Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce desk as The Rock transitioned into heel mode and played the crowd beautifully to the finish.
8. John Cena (c) vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship – 2013
This was the night that really propelled Daniel Bryan’s story into an unlikely run to the WrestleMania XXX main event. After being handpicked by Cena to fight for the Championship, Bryan was insanely popular and placed as the underdog thanks to Mr. McMahon running him down.
The angle of Cena the entertainer & fame seeker vs Bryan the wrestler was wonderful and the match itself delivered on that promise. Cena used his power advantage while Bryan’s technical prowess was on display. Cena really wore on Bryan for a long time before Bryan pulled himself back into it with stiff shots that brought a big lump up under Cena’s left eye. Every time Bryan started to gather some momentum the noise swelled, only to deflate when Cena cut him off. When the end finally came the roof blew off the building, only for the celebration to be cut short by Randy Orton.
In the aftermath of Orton’s cash-in and HHH’s heel turn, Bryan was instantly the most over person in wrestling.