Many pay per views have come and gone over the years but Summerslam has managed to cling on as one of the highlights of the wrestling calendar. It may not reach the heights of Wrestlemania or have the gimmick of a Royal Rumble or Survivor Series but as one of the original 'big four' PPVs Summerslam has always delivered. These days it has made a home for itself at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as a four hour spectacle alongside NXT Takeover. WWE certainly know how to put on a show. Launching in 1988, funnily enough in New York as well, the show was headlined by The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage) against The Mega Bucks of Ted DiBiase and Andre The Giant. But what have been the best matches over Summerslam's near 30 year history? Now that's a tough one..
Summerslam 1991: Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect
My main problem with doing 'best of' lists is that when I get to the early 90s I have a tendency to want to choose every Bret Hart match ever. This is a guy who was quite simply capable of putting on great matches with anyone and everyone you put in front of him. Beyond the over the top characters of Hogan and Warrior etc Bret brought wrestling back to basics. Here he was perfectly matched (pardon the pun) and this was one match that really kickstarted my love for this type of wrestling and guys like Benoit, Angle etc rather than just the 'big' guys in the main events. Perfect was such an incredible character, especially with his vignettes, and his work here with Bret to put him over as a credible singles wrestler was second to none. A fantastic in ring performance from both men and a real emotional moment with Hart winning his first singles title.
Summerslam 1992: British Bulldog vs Bret Hart
I know. We all saw this coming. As a proud Brit there's no way I could leave this off the list. To this day we are still waiting for another PPV to come our way but we'll always have Wembley in 92. While the previous year may have been emotional with Bret's title win this was on a whole different level. Two men from the same family battling to be the best, the family torn between the two and no one really knowing who to support. Well I say that but obviously we were behind Davey Boy Smith and no outcome other than him winning would do. This was our moment and what a moment it was. Bulldog put on the performance of a lifetime, Bret made him look like a superstar and we all got what we wanted in the end. Throw in a heartfelt family reunion and it's one of the best PPV moments of all time.
Summerslam 1994: Owen Hart vs Bret Hart
(Steel Cage match for the WWF Title)
I did warn you this was going to happen. Yes it's another Bret match and no I'm not going to apologise for it. I miss the classic cage for a start. I also really miss Owen who I didn't appreciate nearly enough. He was ahead of his time in many ways. This match wasn't your typical violent cage bloodbath by any means even though it was certainly heated and driven by two brothers whose relationship had fallen apart. It's a classic story and family was often at the heart of Bret's career. Both men made every move count and you felt either one could walk out as winner. Bret was truly solidifying himself at the top of the card and Owen showed he could hang in the main event too. This was both men at their best.
Summerslam 1998: HHH vs The Rock
(Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title)
Back in the day when wrestlers actually worked their way up the card and earned their stripes on a regular basis HHH and The Rock had such a natural chemistry and a lasting feud that they brought the best out of each other consistently. This happened whether it was in the mid card or once they stepped up to the main event. This was a match that made it clear that both men were destined for greater things and the hate between the two was evident. There have been more shocking ladder matches since and more iconic ones before but this one was so important for the two future Hall of Famers.
Summerslam 2013: John Cena vs Daniel Bryan
For pure spectacle alone and seeing Bryan hang with Cena and actually win this match deserves a place on the list. One of those matches that really show the landscape changing in WWE much like Cena’s work with Punk. In fact it’s matches like these that show how underappreciated Cena is by many. He can work with anyone and produce great matches and Bryan is the same so putting them both in the ring together was a great idea. Unfortunately it did kick start the Authority angle as Special Referee HHH turned on Bryan and Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to dethrone Daniel immediately. It did lead to a great moment at Wrestlemania XXX though so we’ll forgive them.
Summerslam 1995: HBK vs Razor Ramon – A classic IC title match and a much underrated ladder match that is often forgotten in favour of their ‘Mania encounter.
Summerslam 2000: TLC – pretty self-explanatory really. Some of the best tag teams of all time do some ridiculous moves and entertain the hell out of everyone.
Summerslam 2002: HBK vs HHH – I went into more detail on this on my Retrojab but this is great tale based in reality brought to life by two of the best in the business.
Summerslam 2010: Team WWE vs The Nexus – Daniel Bryan returned! New guys in the main event! Oh wait, John Cena wins. It was almost perfect. Almost.
Summerslam 2014: Brock Lesnar vs John Cena – In complete opposition to the Nexus result John Cena made Lesnar look like an absolute beast here unlike anything we’d seen in WWE before.
Disagree with the choices above? Leave us a comment below, or on social media with your alternative choices. In the meantime check out all or Summerslam week coverage from the past seven days looking at some of the best moments in Summerslam history, as well as previewing this year's extravaganza, which is sure to get you warmed up for the 2017 edition of "the biggest party of the summer".