Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten SummerSlams

Originally, I had planned on doing a list of the Top Ten Worst Matches in SummerSlam history, but a bit more research needs to be done there to weed out the worst. Instead, we're going with a much more positive Top Ten SummerSlam events. In the 25 year history of the show, we've seen some really great shows and it's time that we rank them. When it comes to Honorable Mentions I have to point out the 2003 edition. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle was just great. Also, the 1999 card surprised me with the great brawl between Test and Shane McMahon. 2005 were pretty solid as well.

10. SummerSlam 2011

Entering the 2011 SummerSlam, the Summer of Punk was hot. CM Punk had just won the WWE Championship in an epic match at Money in the Bank in Chicago the previous month and quit the WWE. He would, of course, return two weeks later after John Cena won a tournament to become "champion." Thus, a Champion vs. Champion match was booked with Triple H as the special referee. As always with Punk and Cena, this was excellent though it had a controversial finish. Never mind that the WWE botched Punk's momentum by having Kevin Nash appear and Alberto Del Rio cash in Money in the Bank on him, the show was still good. Randy Orton and Christian stole the show with a great Street Fight in which Orton regained his World Heavyweight Championship. Add in a fun six man tag opener and a solid bout between Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan and you've got a good show.

9. SummerSlam 2008

The hottest rivalry of the year 2008 had to be the one between Edge and The Undertaker. They met on multiple Pay-Per-Views including WrestleMania XXIV. However, they would headline SummerSlam as well but this time, inside of the Hell in a Cell. According to Edge, the WWE officially went PG hours before the show, so they had to change some things but it was still great. The Undertaker sent Edge to hell to close the show. Also on this show was the first ever match pitting John Cena against Batista. Two megastars with nearly identical rises to the top and their first meeting couldn't even main event. Batista won a really good match with a big powerbomb that injured Cena for a while. CM Punk defended the World Heavyweight Title against JBL in an underwhelming match and Triple H vs. Khali was poor as you'd expect but the angle between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels was great and the opener pitting MVP one on one with Jeff Hardy was also fun.

8. SummerSlam 2004

Being a HUGE Randy Orton fan at this time, I loved this show. Seeing him beat Chris Benoit straight up in a great wrestling match to become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history was awesome. I go through hot and cold streaks now of liking and disliking Orton, but at that time, this was perfect. Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero put on a rematch of their WrestleMania XX classic. It was, by no means, on that match's level but it was still really good. John Cena and Booker T had a solid bout, while The Undertaker and JBL gave me a decent show. Edge put the Intercontinental Title on the line against Chris Jericho and Batista in a fun little match even though he got booed heavily in his hometown, which turned out to be the catalyst for the Rated R Superstar.

7. SummerSlam 2009

I fondly remember this show as the culmination of an excellent rivalry between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy. This was the feud that solidified CM Punk as a top player in the company. His victory in the TLC main event was great, as was the match, and the return of The Undertaker was cleverly done. However, another standout thing to me was that this was the first show to make me stand up and think "Dolph Ziggler is fantastic." He faced Rey Mysterio in a hot opener for the Intercontinental Championship, and while he lost, showed that he had tons of potential. D-Generation X reunited and faced Legacy in another great, underrated bout while Jeri-Show went against Cryme Tyme in a solid match. Yes, this had another mediocre showing from Randy Orton and John Cena, but the rest of the card makes up for it.

6. SummerSlam 1992

This might get some flak. Some people hold SummerSlam 1992 in very high esteem but I don't think it's that great of a show. Don't get me wrong, it's really good, but there have been better. Right off the bat, I must commend the venue. The 80,000+ seat Wembley Stadium was an excellent choice as I'm a sucker for an outdoor show. The Intercontinental Title headlined for the only time in SummerSlam history and Bret Hart and the British Bulldog made the most of it. They put on a 25 minute classic that I had on my top ten SummerSlam match list. The WWF Title match between Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior was also a great contest because those two always had awesome chemistry. The opening tag team match gets mixed reviews but I thought it was decent and the Shawn MIchaels/Rick Martel match was interesting and pretty fun actually.

5. SummerSlam 2001

"Bodies" by Drowning Pool will always be a favorite song of mine and it's mostly due to this show. Yes, the Invasion angle was poorly booked, but it did produce some good shows and this was probably the best. Kurt Angle and Steve Austin tore the house down with an intense WWF Title match that should have gone on last. Angle was sold as THE MAN until the WWF botched it by the end of the year. Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy had a great Ladder Match that helped make the Hardcore Title something of value, while Edge and Lance Storm opened the show with a great match for the Intercontinental Title. Chris Jericho vs. Rhyno and X-Pac vs. Tajiri were both good contests as there is only one real bad match and that's the Tag Team Title match between the Brothers of Destruction and Kanyon & DDP.

4. SummerSlam 2000

2000 was a banner year for the WWF. Pretty much every Pay-Per-View they put on from January until SummerSlam was must see television. It was one of the shows I first bought on DVD and that was mainly for the first ever Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Edge, Christian, the Dudleys and the Hardys all wowed me and to this day, I can still watch this anytime and enjoy the hell out of it. The main event featured The Rock defending the WWF Championship against Kurt Angle and Triple H in a Triple Threat match that was booked beautifully. The Angle/HHH/Stephanie love triangle was one of my favorite storylines ever. We got a 2 out of 3 falls match between Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. Think about that. 2, possibly 3 matches between two of the greatest of all time. Shane McMahon suffered his epic fall from the titantron against Steve Blackman here too. Memorable show for sure.

3. SummerSlam 1991

I've mentioned before that I used to rent certain shows from my local video store as a kid and this was right at the top of the list. Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title is one of my favorite matches of all time. I rank it higher than Bret/Bulldog as the greatest Intercontinental Title match in SummerSlam history. The Heaven and Hell theme was cool, though the "hell" part was poor. The Macho Man and Elizabeth wedding is a fond memory of mine and it's the first thing that my mom wanted to watch when she got the WWE Network. Yes, my mom watches wrestling. I loved the six man tag opener as well, and while this show has some negative aspects to it, it's a memorable one for me that couldn't be topped by many.

2. SummerSlam 2013

Yes, the most recent SummerSlam was one of the greatest ever. Let's start with the main event as Daniel Bryan became one of maybe two guys that I can remember beating John Cena cleanly. And it was for the WWE Title. It was an amazing moment for someone like me who has been a huge Bryan fan since 2006. I know Randy Orton came out after and cashed in Money in the Bank on him to spoil the moment, but we eventually got an even better at WrestleMania XXX, so it all worked out in the end. The best match of the show though was the Best vs. the Beast. Brock Lesnar's best match by far since his return in 2012 was his brutal contest with CM Punk. They went balls to the walls and had the kind of match that Brock should be having nearly every time out. Just great stuff. Bray Wyatt had his first match on the main roster but disappointed with Kane. That was fine because Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow had a good match, while Christian and Alberto Del Rio amazed me with a surprisingly excellent match. Even the two Divas matches and the Kickoff match between Dean Ambrose and Rob Van Dam were really good.

1. SummerSlam 2002

There is, literally, no other possible choice for number one. A stacked card from top to bottom. Let's begin with the opener, which was Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio. Talk about a hot start as we got one of the best openers of all-time and the best ever at a SummerSlam. Next, Chris Jericho and Ric Flair went on second. SECOND PEOPLE. It wasn't a great match but it was good. Edge and Eddie Guerrero, two more awesome competitors, went on third and had a great match. The Un-Americans, who I always liked, took on Booker T and Goldust, which is another favorite team of mine. Intercontinental Championship was on the line next when Rob Van Dam took on Chris Benoit. Another excellent bout between two of the best at the time. The Undertaker and Test wasn't very good but the two final matches were both incredible. Shawn Michaels returned for the firs time in over four years, and put on an amazing performance against Triple H in one of the best Street Fights of all time. Lastly, Brock Lesnar was solidified as the Next Big Thing when he bested The Rock in a great match. Overall, the card is stacked and it's one of the best Pay-Per-Views in WWE history.