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Top 10 SummerSlam matches: Part III

The conclusion of our series on the top ten SummerSlam matches in history is here, and who got #1?!


SummerSlam is just around the corner, and at RealSport we have been counting down the top 10 greatest matches in SummerSlam history as we look forward to what should be one of the biggest and best SummerSlam cards ever. We end our list looking at matches 4 to the big #1 bout of all time. You can see the rest of the list here:

PART ONE

PART TWO

Disagree with our list? Let us know in the comments below!

4. John Cena (c) vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – 2014

Brock might not have coined the phrase “Suplex City” until WrestleMania 31, but this is the match where it really became a concept.

Cena had Lesnar’s first match back in WWE, and despite taking a beating Cena won and walked away with a skip in his step. So going into SummerSlam 2014, despite Brock being fresh off of beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX there was a sense that Cena would walk out the victor and hero – Because it’s John Cena and that’s what he always does.

And then, 20 seconds into the match Cena ate an F-5 and only just managed to kick out. After some trash talk from Brock came the suplexes. Just german after german after german. Cena was picked apart methodically as the crowd, barring one kid close to a mic yelling “let’s go Cena”, started to lose faith. Cena got some small flurries of offenses in, a few right hands and blows before Brock would fire in knees to the ribs and clubbing blows onto his back and it was back to Suplex City. The commentators were muted, selling the enormity of the beatdown the 15 time champion was taking.

For a few years fans had been growing tired of Cena, tired of his “5 moves of doom” and “LOLCenaWins”. They would boo his comebacks, but not today. When Cena really fired up and hit Brock with clotheslines and an AA the crowd was on its feet. Only for Brock to kick out, at sit up with a laugh, mocking The Undertaker.

Brock played the unbeatable monster to perfection. Cena sold the impossibility of the task incredibly. The destruction was simply amazing and when it was all over the Staples Center was stunned.

 
3. Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk – 2013

Our third Brock Lesnar match, who’d have thought it! This match started when Paul Heyman turned on Punk at Money In The Bank, leading to weeks of brilliance on the mic between the two sprinkled liberally with Brock’s brand of violence and Punk’s flair for underdog fighting.

The power disparity between Lesnar and Punk was huge, and it was on display early but Punk’s own brand of high knees and aggression kept him in it. They took a tour around the ringside, using the no disqualification stipulation to full effect as they got the steel steps and announce tables involved. Back in the ring it slowed down a little but Punk’s flurries always pulled the crowd back. In one flurry Punk went to the top rope looking for a double axe handle only to be caught by Lesnar and just thrown across the ring.

Punk just kept coming back though, hitting roundhouse kicks and diving knees. They traded finisher attempts before going to the ground for a beautiful kimura-armbar-triangle sequence which was finally broken by a running powerbomb. Soon a steel chair was involved and then, incredibly, Paul Heyman gets physically involved. First the advocate pulls the chair from Punk’s hands, and then after Punk blocked and F-5 by grabbing onto Heyman’s tie, he broke up the pin off of a crowd-exploding Go To Sleep. Punk was incensed and chased Heyman but ran into an F-5 only to counter again.

The ending was sublime. This whole match was terrifically worked and is a symbol of why Punk was justified in calling himself “The best in the world”. The match takes on a special meaning when you take into consideration that it was Punk’s last huge match in WWE, that he was pissed off and battered and injured going into it. It was awesome bell to bell but the added spice now of knowing the state Punk was in adds to the match as a whole.

 

2. Tables, Ladders & Chairs – The Hardy Boys vs The Dudley Boys  vs Edge & Christian (c) for the Tag Team Championship – 2000 

Just missing out on the #1 spot is, in the immortal words of Mick Foley “Tables and ladders and chairs oh my!”. This match had been brewing for months. Edge & Christian had started getting vicious with the challengers for their tag belts, using a double chair shot named the “conchairto” to ruin both the Hardys and the Dudleys, so Mick Foley made this match, allowing each team to use their signature weapons.

This match got going immediately, Howard Finkel couldn’t even finish announcing the Hardys as they raced down the ramp to start the match at a million miles an hour. Right from the word go the toys were in use, with chairs and ladders getting thrown around at a vicious pace.

To give you a blow by blow account of this match would be impossible. With 6 men involved at all times it is understandably chaotic and always brilliant. I counted 10 broken tables and far more chair shots that were comfortable. There was a run-in from Lita and a spear that nearly cracked her skull on a ladder. Jeff Hardy and D’Von Dudley were left hanging from the belts and ladders were being thrown around like it was going out of fashion.

These 6 guys set the bar for chaotic multi-man brilliance that WWE has tried to top with its Money In The Bank matches and failed. The only time this match was bettered was when the three teams hooked up again at WrestleMania X-Seven.

1. Bret “Hit Man” Hart (c) vs Owen Hart – Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship – 1994

As great as that original TLC match was, it doesn’t hold a candle to Bret & Owen inside a steel cage.

The seeds of this match were planted back in Survivor Series 1993 when Owen was the only Hart to be eliminated in their match. Owen then completed his turn on Bret at the Royal Rumble, angry that Bret hadn’t tagged out to him when he was injured and allowed the ref to call the match off.

The two fought at WrestleMania X, where Owen Hart won in an upset, but later on that night Bret would win the WWE Championship. Later down the line Owen won the King of the Ring tournament and with that crown, plus a win over the champion, a match was made for SummerSlam inside a steel cage to settle the feud that had been raging for months.

One of the best things about this match is that there are no pinfalls like modern cage matches. The only way to win is via escaping the cage.

Owen attacked immediately and soon the brothers were trying to escape, diving over each other for the door. They battled on the top rope and over the edge of the cage as they tried to win. The lack of pinfalls forced the two to wrestle a completely different way to a normal match. At one point Owen was hanging over the cage with Bret holding him by the hair only to be dragged in and slammed of the top rope and then do the the same thing to Bret a moment later.

The only down side of this – other than Vince McMahon commentating – is constant cutaways to the rest of the Hart family at ringside. But while that is on the action in the ring is relentless, brilliant and unique.

Both Hart’s are amazing technical wrestlers but this match, with its escape only stipulation, turned them into vicious brawlers and as the match went on the desperation shone through. The brothers exchanged Sharpsooters before once again finding themselves up top and falling. The ending when it came was superb and this match was fully deserving of Dave Meltzer’s maximum 5* rating.

Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

Top 10 SummerSlam matches: Part III

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