Hey Yo! It’s ”The Wrestling Takeover” Jordan here with another article for discusspw.com listing 15 of the best Summerslam matches. The event is tomorrow night, and the feel is in the air if you’re a fan of WWE right now. Especially with all the recent changes happening in management. So I thought I would list my favorite matches from the annual event. A lot of blockbuster matches took place over at SummerSlam throughout the years. I figured I would create a catalog of matches from the event’s ”party of the summer” and I feel you need to check it out.
Some matches didn’t make this list, which is okay. You all should still check it out and let me know what you think. These are the best WWE SummerSlam matches everyone should watch!
Let me know your thoughts; I hope you all appreciate the list.
15 SummerSlam 2002 (C) The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE Undisputed Championship
It was the “Next Big Thing” versus the “Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment” for the Undisputed Championship. Brock Lesnar was fresh on the WWE scene in his rookie year when he won the opportunity to face the champion after winning the King of the Ring tournament. The Rock focused more on his Hollywood career in 2002 and was scheduled to take time off after the event.
For hardcore fans like myself who were reading dirt sheets back then, the writing was on the wall. This was a match that started off hot and never really slowed down. Paul Heyman even went through a table. Although the outcome felt inevitable, it felt like the beginning of a new era when Brock Lesnar finished The Rock off with an F5 to win the WWE Championship in the main event of SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar still remains the youngest WWE Champion, winning it at the age of 25.
14 SummerSlam 1995 Shawn Michaels (C) vs. Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Championship – Ladder Match
The pioneers of the ladder match in the WWE would have a rematch of their Wrestlemania X classic the following year at SummerSlam. Once again, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels would fight over the Intercontinental Championship, but this time they were both coming in as baby faces, and there was way less of a build-up. Originally, it seemed like Michaels would be wrestling Sid at this event, but it was scrapped for this match instead. To the fans’ luck, these two put on a stellar performance ahead of its time in this era and evolved from their first ladder match. This was when a moonsault off a ladder was still a spectacular sight. This was also the first time we saw a second ladder introduced into the match. The finish came when Shawn retrieved the title, even though it took him a second climb to retrieve it properly, and he seemed visibly mad about that.
13 SummerSlam 2011 Christian (C) vs. Randy Orton – World Championship – No Holds Barred
Randy Orton and Christian put on a series of great matches in 2011 for the World Championship. They sometimes get overshadowed by everything happening on Raw with the “Summer of Punk.” Although, if you were tuning into Smackdown’s product, these two consistently gave us top-quality matches.
This rivalry began in May when Christian finally won the World Championship from Alberto Del Rio, only to lose it to Orton five days later. Christian was unsuccessful in his next two opportunities to win the title back, but his third opportunity at Money in the Bank led to him regaining the championship under some unique stipulations. Orton was granted his rematch at SummerSlam in a No Holds Barred match, and these two had yet another great match. They had great chemistry and put on bangers; I dislike how this match falls under the radar. This was a blow-off to a great series of matches, and you should watch them all.
12 SummerSlam 1998 The Rock (C) vs. Triple H – Intercontinental Championship – Ladder Match
The Rock and Triple H were on the rise simultaneously as their careers ran parallel for many years. In 1998, The Rock was the leader of the Nation of Domination, and Triple H was the leader of DX. The two factions were immersed in a heated rivalry for most of the year. The feud led to a ladder match between Triple H and The Rock at Summerslam 1998. This was the first ladder match in WWE not to feature Shawn Michaels, but the Intercontinental Championship continued to be the prize. This was an outstanding ladder match that told a great story of The Rock attacking the knee of Triple H. Chyna, and Mark Henry got involved in the match too. In the end, Triple H retrieved the belt, ending The Rock’s nine-month reign. Both men left this match as bigger stars ascend to the top continued.
11 SummerSlam 2017 Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe – Universal Championship
Are you a fan of demolition derbies or monster truck shows? Then this is the match for you. It was four of the WWE’s biggest men in a fatal four-way for the Universal Championship. Brock Lesnar defended the championship against Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and Braun Strowman. The odds were stacked against him, and there was a stipulation that if he lost, he had to leave the WWE. This was chaotic and spilled all over ringside, destroying everything in sight. I never realized how enjoyable this was until I rewatched it for the first time. I guess when watching it live, I must have been wanting something to happen, but just watching back years later, I got just to enjoy the mayhem. Check it out to see if Lesnar survives.
10 SummerSlam 1994 Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WWE Championship – Steel Cage
In 1994, the sibling rivalry between Owen Hart and Bret Hart escalated to the point where the two faced off against each other inside of the steel cage over the WWE Championship. This was the blow-off to their feud that started back at Survivor Series 1993 for the time being, although they kept the tension until 1997. Owen was sick of being in Bret’s shadow because he felt he was better than him. This may be one of the best cage matches in WWE history and specifically up to this point. The entire Hart Family being in the audience watching this family affair firsthand added to the drama. However, watching it back, my only complaint was that it felt long. Regardless of the length, it is truly one of the greatest SummerSlam matches of all time.
9 SummerSlam 2021 (C) Roman Reigns vs. John Cena – WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns, around this time, has defeated every single person put in front of him. When John Cena made his legendary return at Money In The Bank, we knew where WWE was headed. The thing is, we all knew Roman Reigns was going to win; then again, it was always that doubt because he is John Cena. They delivered at SummerSlam, and not a lot of people, for some reason, appreciate what these two men did on that night. We saw unbelievable storytelling, from body language to trash-talking.
8 SummerSlam 2013. (C) John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan – WWE Championship
John Cena was allowed to choose his own opponent for SummerSlam and picked fan-favorite Daniel Bryan. They had great promos leading up to the match, splitting the fans down the middle, while Mr. McMahon didn’t like the idea of Bryan being the poster boy for WWE. Triple H would appoint himself the special referee for the match to avoid any shenanigans taking place.
Overall, this was a good match that showed WWE giving smaller indy darling guys a chance. Bryan defeated John Cena clean with a running knee to win his first WWE Championship. Cena even showed him respect following his shocking loss. The celebration was cut short, though, when Triple H hit the pedigree on Bryan, allowing Orton to successfully cash his Money in the Bank contract to win the championship. I ranked this match high on the list because—watching it back—it felt like the match dragged on longer than I remembered, even though the finish was awesome.
7 SummerSlam 2021 Seth Rollins vs. Edge
To me, the feud between Edge and Seth Rollins is personally one of my favorites of the last decade. The storytelling that these two had, from Seth Rollins taking personal jabs at Edge and his family. Thing is, this feud started in 2014 on an episode of Monday Night Raw, and we haven’t seen it till 2021, and the wait was worth it. These two delivered from bell-to-bell, two of the best in our generation when it comes to in-ring going out there and creating magic. This match is re-watchable for sure.
6 SummerSlam 2000 Edge and Christian (C) vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz – WWE Tag Team Championship – TLC Match
The three teams that are synonymous with the Table, Ladders, and Chairs match had their first TLC match at SummerSlam. Although the Wrestlemania X-7 match stands out to many casual fans, it was not the first. This was everything you expected from The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian in a TLC match. It was a car wreck with everyone risking their bodies, not only to win the tag team titles but to entertain the fans and steal the show. It set the bar for all future TLC matches and even forced them to step up their game in their second TLC encounter at Wrestlemania.
I’ll always appreciate the beating these men put themselves through during these matches. They set the bar for years to come and changed the game. Matches like this are why I love tag team wrestling! Three legendary tag teams went out there and put on a clinic.
5 SummerSlam 2016 AJ Styles vs. John Cena
AJ Styles made a name for himself worldwide for 16 years before making his official debut in WWE. When he finally made his debut at the Royal Rumble, there were many dream Styles matches. On the top of that list was AJ Styles versus John Cena. They had their first match at Money in the Bank when AJ Styles came out on top, but not without help from Gallows and Anderson. The rematch was set for SummerSlam, but this time The Club wasn’t expected to interfere due to them being drafted to different shows. This was a fantastic match filled with near falls, and it was really unpredictable who would win.
The idea of Styles winning two straight matches against Cena seemed unlikely since Cena was WWE’s golden goose and that rarely happened. It had me on the edge of my seat, as I was rooting for Styles. When Styles hit the second Phenomenal Forearm for the clean win, I was ecstatic. This was a SummerSlam classic for sure, and must watch it if you’ve never seen it.
4 SummerSlam 2013 Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk – No Disqualification
Imagine Wolverine going to battle against the Incredible Hulk duking it out. That’s what this felt like. It was dubbed “The Best vs. The Beast,” and we were all in for the ride. CM Punk was beloved by the fans and a bonafide top guy at this point in his career. Punk was feuding with his former friend and advocate Paul Heyman, who was also the advocate for Brock Lesnar. While it seemed as if Lesnar was attacking Punk on Heyman’s behalf, he made it clear that he never liked Punk, but only left him alone out of respect for Heyman.
The match was incredible, and there were a few instances when it seemed as if Punk had the upper hand on The Beast. Lesnar had underestimated CM Punk, as they had never wrestled before, which allowed Punk to catch him off guard many times. In the end, it was Punk’s obsession with getting his hands on Heyman that truly cost him the match. This didn’t feel like a wrestling match, but a true battle between two superhumans. This match was beautiful to watch from start to finish.
3 SummerSlam 2002 Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – Unsanctioned Street Fight
Shawn Michaels had retired from wrestling for four years after losing the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 14 in 1998. No one ever thought he would step back into the squared circle. Michaels would appear on television sporadically during those retired years in different roles but never wrestled. When Shawn Michaels returned in 2002 for the short-lived NWO angle, we still didn’t think he would wrestle. However, when the reunion with his old friend Triple H was cut short due to Triple H turning on him, it was inevitable that it would lead to a match. Shawn Michaels and Triple H would go on to have a bloody unsanctioned street fight where the “Heartbreak Kid” came out victorious.
Although we were expecting less from Michaels due to his career-ending back injury, he hadn’t lost a step. What was supposed to be a one-off led to Michaels returning to the ring for the next eight years? It was special to see the “Showstopper” return to the ring. And it was special as everything was there, from the story and in-ring work.
2 SummerSlam 2008 Edge vs. Undertaker – Hell in a Cell
This match was a sins match for Edge, as he had to pay for what he did to The Undertaker throughout the year 2007. The Edge and Undertaker rivalry went all the way back to May of 2007 when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on the Undertaker to win the World Championship. Although they took breaks from the rivalry in late 2007, the feud reignited when Edge returned at Survivor Series, crashing Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell match against Batista.
They were even the main event of Wrestlemania in 2008 and had a TLC match later that year. The blow-off to the feud was inside of Hell in a Cell, and it really was a helluva match, fueled by months of frustrations with one another. These guys found a way to make this match memorable without doing any crazy stunts off the top or side of the cell. The Undertaker would defeat Edge, but the visual we were left with when he choke-slammed the “Rated R Superstar” off a ladder through the canvas to be engulfed by flames was unforgettable.
1 Bret Hart (C) vs “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith – WWE Championship
The 1992 edition of Summerslam featured the Intercontinental Championship as the main event of the show. It was appropriate due to “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith being the number one contender for the championship, and the event taking place in his home country of England. They wanted to see their hometown boy bring it home on their own soil, which made the match big enough to be the main event. Davey Boy had his brother-in-law and current champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart as his opponent. He couldn’t have asked for a better dance partner.
These two told a great story when Hart, the top babyface at the time, played a more heeled role, knowing the fans were behind the Bulldog. It was a back-and-forth battle that ended with Davey Boy catching the Hitman unexpectedly with a pin when he was going for a sunset flip. The crowd pop for Davey winning was insane, and the atmosphere was electric. This was professional wrestling at its finest. This match still holds up today, and if you’re a wrestling fan who has never seen this match, go watch it now! THE BEST SUMMERSLAM MATCH TO EVER HAPPEN IN WWE!