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Top 10 Most Memorable WWE SummerSlam Moments

This year’s WWE SummerSlam is mere weeks away, and as the momentum and card continue to build, it’s hard not to reflect. As the company’s second-largest event, behind Wrestlemania, it also happens to be rich in history. Time to take a stroll down memory lane to review some of the best moments of this pay-per-view (PPV) over the years.

WWE SummerSlam
Source: @WWE__History, Twitter, Screenshot

This year’s WWE SummerSlam is mere weeks away, and as the momentum and card continue to build, it’s hard not to reflect. As the company’s second-largest event, behind Wrestlemania, it also happens to be rich in history.

Time to take a stroll down memory lane to review some of the best moments of this pay-per-view (PPV) over the years.

1. 1988 – In The Beginning …

This year marks the 36th SummerSlam, as the event debuted in 1988, and traditionally takes place sometime in August. Known as the “Biggest Party of the Summer”, the very first main event of SummerSlam occurred at Madison Square Gardens and pitted the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, along with Miss Elizabeth in their corner) against the Mega-Bucks (“The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Virgil, Andre The Giant, and Bobby Heenan in their corner). Of course, Jess “The Body” Ventura was the special guest referee.

Unlike these days, the build-up to the first SummerSlam looked a lot different and was far longer. The entire arena was pumped for the final event, and things seemed dicey with a heel Ventura as the referee.

While the Mega Powers were down, they weren’t completely out. As the bout came to a close, Miss Elizabeth began an argument with Ventura, ripped off her skirt, and revealed her panties, which helped to distract the Mega-Bucks. Savage was able to climb to the top rope, dropped his Macho Elbow on DiBiase, and the Hulkster hit the leg drop afterward. As Hogan pinned the Million Dollar Man, Ventura was hesitant with his three-count, until Randy slammed his arm down for the win. The crowd went wild!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtELwbOm2Lg

2. 2020 – Roman Reigns Returns As A Heel

From the very first SummerSlam to a relatively recent one, time to profile a moment that occurred in 2020 (not that anyone really wants to remember anything from that year!) Roman Reigns respectfully bowed out of WrestleMania 36 months before and took a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No one was quite sure when he would return.

The main event was Braun Strowman versus “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship. Wyatt scored the win and the title, only to suffer a surprise attack from a returning Reigns, which left fans with a lot of questions. Roman would answer some of them on the following episode of SmackDown when he aligned himself with Paul Heyman. A heel Roman re-emerged during the 2020 SummerSlam event, creating a new layer to Reigns and opening many interesting chapters to come for the superstar.

3. 1994 – Brother Versus Brother

Digging into the SummerSlam history book, there’s a gem from 1994. Owen Hart and Bret Hart’s rivalry began in late 1993 and spilled over to the next year. While they did first face off at WrestleMania 10 in an incredible match, the feud continued on strong into the spring. Their 1994 SummerSlam face-off in a cage match was the culmination of a little brother wanting to prove he was just as good (if not better) than the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

With most of the Hart Family in attendance, the cage match was set, and both men fought an incredible bout for over 30 minutes. In the end, the older brother emerged out of the cage victorious retaining his WWF title.

4. 2013 – Daniel Bryan Wins The WWE Title, Daniel Bryan Loses The WWE Title

The 2013 main event match that pitted John Cena against Daniel Bryan was a good bout and had a surprise ending in the fact that Bryan cleanly pinned Cena (which was somewhat of a rarity at this point in John’s career) to win the WWE Championship. Triple H was the special guest referee, and the “wow” moment came during Bryan’s celebration, in what was clearly staged between HHH and that year’s Money in the Bank (MITB) winner, Randy Orton. Hunter attacked Bryan with Pedigree, only for to Orton swoop in and cash the briefcase and win the WWE title.

This catapulted the storyline between DB and The Authority, which culminated at WM 30 when the YES man finally became WWE Champion after not one, but two matches on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

5. 2005 – All In The Family

Remember when Eddie Guerrero claimed to be Dominik Mysterio’s dad? Hard to forget now that Dominik is a WWE superstar mentioning it in often current storylines. The feud between Rey and Eddie circa 2005 was spot on, and while the plot seemed over-the-top, the matches and promos they had were on fire. SummerSlam of that year saw the two men face off in a ladder match with a briefcase suspended above the ring that contained legal custody documents for the young boy.

The ladder match had plenty of action, suspense, and plot twists, as Rey won the match, with a little help from Eddie’s wife, Vickie, as she held her hubby down so that Mysterio could climb that ladder and snag the briefcase.

6. 2002 – Best Friends Become Worst Foes

Remember when Shawn Michaels first retired in 1998? Fans never thought they’d see him wrestle again until 2002 arrived. When he came back, many thought a reunion between him and his fellow DX buddy was inevitable; however, the very opposite happened. HHH eased nicely into Michaels’s position in the company after he left and didn’t like the idea that his friend returned.

The two dived into a feud and were set to collide at the 2002 SummerSlam event. Michaels had not wrestled for four years, and many wondered if he “still had it”. Turns out he did, and the two had an incredible match, with Shawn ultimately picking up the win.

7. 2014 – The Falling Of A Hero

Off the cusp of breaking The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak at WM 30 earlier that year, the WWE was set on enhancing Brock Lesnar’s powerhouse persona. In order to do this, they had to continue making him look strong, even at the expense of one of their biggest superstars. While many were betting on Lesnar to win the match, no one expected it to be a squash bout.

Lesnar placed Cena in 16 German suplexes during the match, much to the horror of many fans watching. While the term “Suplex City” originated between The Beast and Roman Reigns at WM 31, the phrase was likely thought of during this bout.

8. 2018 – The Man Is Born (Sort Of)

Becky Lynch had always been popular with the fans since her debut on the main roster in 2015. However, until her fellow NXTers and friends, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, she wasn’t given the “groundbreaking” opportunities they were handed. When she finally received a SmackDown Women’s Title match at the 2018 SummerSlam event, fans were elated. That is, until Flair was inserted into the bout as well, where Carmella held the title. In the end, Charlotte won the match and the title, only for Lynch to attack her in the celebratory aftermath.

While the WWE had every intent of turning Becks heel, the opposite occurred, where Lynch slowly but surely transformed into one of the biggest WWE superstars of the time period. She launched into a feud with Charlotte Flair, and this is when her “The Man” persona began to emerge.

9. 2008 – The Undertaker Vs. Edge, Hell In A Cell

HHH recently kiboshed the Hell In A Cell (HIAC) pay-per-view (PPV) and for good reason. Keeping this type of gimmick match as a specialty bout was a smart move. Back nearing the end of 2007, Edge and The Undertaker had an epic feud that occupied a bit of 2008.

Their HIAC 2008 SummerSlam was booked to end this rivalry, once and for all. They used a camera, chairs, steel steps, tables, ladders, and the “cell” itself. When all was said and done, the Phenom sent the Rated-R superstar to hell, landing the win.

10. 1992 – Hometown Love At Its Finest

Picture it, WWF, 1992, during a time when there wasn’t a PPV every month, rather, storylines and feuds were given the right amount of time to grow, foster, and engage fans. SummerSlam that year took place in England, at Wembley Stadium, with 80,000 roaring fans supporting their hometown hero. The Intercontinental Title was on the line, back during an era where that championship had prestige and “meant” something.

It’s been dubbed as one of the greatest SummerSlam matches of all time by many. Not only for the bout itself, pitting two incredible in-ring technicians, Davey Boy Smith and Brett Hart, against each other; however, when Smith pinned Hart to become the new IC Champion, the pop across the stadium was also like nothing else.

Dorathy's been an avid fan of the WWE and sports entertainment since she was a small child. She attended... More about Dorathy Gass

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