WWE SummerSlam 2019 is nearly here, taking place on Sunday, Aug. 11 in Toronto, Canada and available to watch on the WWE Network.
The annual summer extravaganza has a rich history that dates back to 1988. Since then, SummerSlam has showcased some epic matches that are among the best and most memorable in WWE history.
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Here’s a look at the 10 best SummerSlam matches of all-time.
Make sure to follow Sporting News’ coverage of WWE SummerSlam 2019 including live coverage of the event on Sunday night.
10. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder match for the Intercontinental title – SummerSlam 1995
It was just a year earlier when these two put on a classic ladder match at WrestleMania X. Now it was time for the sequel, but the roles were reversed with Michaels quickly becoming one of the most popular stars in the company and Razor now truly in the role of “The Bad Guy.”
This match built as it went on with plenty of suspense, including Michaels getting his hands on the IC title as it hung over the ring before being knocked off the ladder with a Razor’s Edge.
9. The Rock vs. Triple H in a ladder match for the Intercontinental championship – SummerSlam 1998
This was a time that Triple H and The Rock were a slight notch below “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. But these guys were hungry to prove they belonged in the top tier of WWE superstars.
These two had incredible chemistry as they told a terrific story of how badly they each wanted the IC title and the prestige it carried. While there weren’t any massively dangerous spots, there was plenty of violence as they fought back and forth in what became a battle of endurance with Triple H outlasting The Rock.
8. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar in a no disqualification match – SummerSlam 2013
This was billed as “The Best vs. The Beast” and it came at a time when Paul Heyman had recently turned on CM Punk and focused on backing Brock Lesnar.
It was as intense of a match with Lesnar dishing out a horrible beating to the smaller Punk with chairs and other weapons. But Punk kept fighting back. And fighting back.
And then people began to believe that Punk could do the impossible and beat “The Beast Incarnate.” But just when it looked like Punk had the match won, Heyman got in the way with Lesnar eventually connecting with a trademark F5 onto a chair for the win.
While Punk lost the battle, he earned a ton of respect from the audience who loudly chanted his name as he limped to the back.
7. The Undertaker vs. Edge in a Hell in a Cell match – SummerSlam 2008
This was a culmination of their rivalry that began earlier in the year including a showdown at WrestleMania XXIV and there was only one match fitting for this clash – inside the unfriendly confines of the Hell in a Cell.
These two used every weapon they could get their hands on including chairs, ladders and tables as they dished out the pain. Despite hitting several spears, the “Deadman” stayed alive and eventually chokeslammed the “Rated R Superstar” off the top rope through two tables and finished him off with a Tombstone Piledriver.
Even after the match with The Undertaker nearly backstage, he returned to the ring to put an exclamation point on the night by chokeslamming Edge off the top of a ladder and through the ring with Jim Ross proclaiming on commentary that Edge was sent straight to hell.
6. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian in a TLC match for the WWF tag team championships – SummerSlam 2000
WWE was willing to up the risk factor during the Attitude Era and the first-ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match took it to a whole other level and then some. It was breathtaking to see these six men take so much punishment in so many different ways including Bubba Ray Dudley falling off a ladder through four double-stacked tables outside the ring.
This was a test of perseverance with Edge and Christian somehow surviving to the end and retaining the tag team titles in the groundbreaking match.
5. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE championship – SummerSlam 2013
At the time, Daniel Bryan was riding a major high as the most popular superstar in the WWE but was still searching for that big win. Luckily for him, John Cena handpicked Bryan as his SummerSlam opponent for the WWE championship and giving fans the dream match they hoped for.
It was a classic story with Cena using counter moves while Bryan showcased his technical skills and counters as they went back and forth. While each kicked out of the other’s finishing moves, Bryan hit the last move – a running knee and he scored the win to both the surprise and delight of the crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
However, his celebration didn’t last long with special referee Triple H laying him out after the match with a Pedigree, allowing Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to score an easy win for the title.
4. AJ Styles vs. John Cena – SummerSlam 2016
AJ Styles was looking to make his mark in his SummerSlam debut and there wasn’t a better person to do that against than the face of the WWE – John Cena.
The two had clashed the previous month at Money in the Bank with Styles getting the win, but needing help from his friends Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. No one would interfere in this showdown with each looking to see who the better man was on that night.
This bout kept building and building with each matching big moves with counters and near falls. Late in the match when Cena hit an AA off the top rope, he was befuddled when Styles kicked out yet again. He went for the move again only to be countered with a Styles Clash and then hit with the Phenomenal Forearm and Styles earning a clean win.
3. Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart in a cage match for the WWF championship – SummerSlam 1994
The jealousy Owen Hart had for his brother Bret had been building for a long time. “The Hitman” got all of the attention and the accolades while Owen felt he wasn’t getting his just due. So, he turned on his brother earlier in the year and beat him at WrestleMania.
But that wasn’t enough and Owen wanted to take the WWF championship from Bret and show that once and for all he was better than his brother. And the right stage for this was SummerSlam inside the confines of a steel cage.
Both the chemistry and intensity between the siblings was incredible as they pulled out all the stops with the drama building as they each tried to win. Finally, Bret threw Owen into the cage with his leg getting trapped between the big blue bars, allowing Bret enough time to escape over the top of the cage and drop to the floor to retain the title.
2. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in an unsanctioned street fight – SummerSlam 2002
It had been four years since Shawn Michaels had retired but when his friend Triple H turned on him, that was just the reason to come back. All eyes were on Michaels and whether or not he could once again be “The Showstopper” or even close to that performer.
Michaels more than answered that question and put on a classic return performance as he and Triple H battled it out. That included Michaels breaking out a flying elbow off the top rope and sending “The Game” through a table on the floor.
Most of the match was Triple H attacking Michaels’ back – the very injury that forced him into retirement years before. Michaels did a marvelous job of selling, fighting through the pain again and again before he countered a Pedigree with a roll-up to score the satisfying win and launching the second half of his Hall of Fame career.
1. Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog for the Intercontinental championship – SummerSlam 1992
It was an amazing backdrop with SummerSlam ’92 taking place in front of 80,000 passionate fans at Wembley Stadium in London who were firmly behind the British Bulldog as he looked to win the Intercontinental championship.
Adding more drama leading up to the match was that the two were brothers-in-law with the story that the upcoming bout was tearing the family apart.
There were no dull moments as they kept up a great pace trading moves for more than 25 minutes. When Hart slapped on the Sharpshooter, it looked like Bulldog was finished but he somehow escaped and then countered a sunset flip to get the three count and an incredible pop from the crowd.
Afterwards, Hart wouldn’t immediately shake his hand, but instead hugged the new champion as they celebrated this classic moment.
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