WWE Summerslam is fast approaching so it makes a good time to look back at who is the performers that have made the most of this mid-summer classic for the WWE. Summerslam has been an event that has given us some of the best matches in the history of wrestling and many key moments in people’s careers. In general, Summerslam has been an event that we do not always remember for the scheduled main event of the show. Some examples of that represented in this list of people that have made the most of Summerslam. So let us get this list rocking and rolling.
5. Brock Lesnar: He is in the main event of this year’s Summerslam against John Cena and since his return from the UFC, Summerslam has been one of the events on his very limited schedule. His matches with Triple H and C.M, Punk were both highly anticipated. Prior to going off to the UFC Brock’s first big moment in the WWE was defeating The Rock to become the Undisputed WWE Champion and at the time the youngest champion in history.
4. Triple H: When you think of Triple H and his long list of matches, a few of the best matches he has had have been at Summerslam. The one that stands out from the pack is his match with a returning Shawn Michaels at the 2002 event who had been out of the business for over four years and many felt his career was over. The match those two put on was an amazing match under normal circumstances but add in the fact it was first time Michaels had been in a ring in over four years. Triple H was a big part of that match coming off as well as it did. Previously mentioned, Triple H had recently a showdown with Brock Lesnar. The birth of “The Game” has its origins tied to a match with Triple H and Stone Cold that would have Mankind added to it with Jessie Ventura as the guest referee. WWE Summerslam has been a place where Triple H has had some of his biggest and best matches.
3. Hulk Hogan: I am not a Hulk-a-Manic and never have been. It is hard not to acknowledge though that Hogan has been a big part of Summerslam. He was in the main event of first Summerslam and many since. It was the first time we saw the Mega-Powers team together facing Andre the Giant and Million Dollar Man. Hogan later in life has had a few dream matches that were better in the build and on paper than they turned out to be in the ring. Matches with people like Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels come to mind. The Michaels match is infamous for how Michaels some say sandbagged the Hulkster by overselling in that match. There were lots of issues behind the scenes with this match with two of the bigger egos in wrestling colliding. Hogan is still the guy that WWE build its four major pay-per-views on his 24-inch pythons. Summerslam is no different from any of the others in that regard.
2. Shawn Micheals: He already has been given the moniker of “Mr. Wrestlemania,” to make him the top dog at Summerslam too would almost be too much. Still, you can’t deny the greatness that is HBK and that was proven on every big show he has ever appeared in for WWE. We talked about his four-year layoff due to injury along with how he jumped back into the ring without looking like he missed a beat. He has fought everyone from Hogan, Vader, Triple H and many others. That list even includes a blood bath along side Triple H as a reformed DX against the McMahon’s with Vince and Shane teamed with Big Show. Micheals is just a great performer and be it a match he had as part of the Rockers, as the young cocky singles competitor with Sensational Sherri, Diesel or as world champion, or as part of “DX”.
1. Bret “Hitman” Hart: “The Hitman” unlike most stars I would argue had his best moments at Summerslam as opposed to Wrestlemania. He had many of his classic matches tied to this event and will run through some of them. First match that jumps to mind is his winning the Intercontinental Title from “Mr. Perfect” at Summerslam in 1991. The back-story to this match is Curt Hennig was suffering from a bad back injury, but insisted on competing in this match to “put over” Bret. You saw Bret putting over his brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith the following year in the only major pay-per-view that was held outside of North America and show to headline an Intercontinental Championship match as the main event. Hart also faced his brother Owen in a steal cage match for the WWE Championship in 1994 edition of Summerslam. He had a classic match with the Undertaker at Summerslam 1997, with his rival Shawn Micheals as the referee of the match. The match would end in controversy with Michaels swinging a chair aimed for Hart that hit the Undertaker instead. HBK forced to count the three counts or face suspension. Bret had far more success and memories made at Summerslam than he did in Wrestlemania.
So that is the list could we have named others of course. Lists are always up for debate, but it hard to deny any of the men on this list to me. Feel free to share your thoughts on the list @BetweenTheRopes on Twitter. I make mention of this, as I always do, these lists they are my personal opinion and do not reflect any of my colleagues on Between the Ropes. You want their opinion on this topic or anything else on your wrestling brain use the #AskBTR and they will answer you on our great podcasts.