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SummerSlam Power Rankings Part 2 (#23-17)

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It’s August once again and that means the eyes of the WWE Universe will once again be turning to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center where WWE’s SummerSlam will emanate for the third year in a year. This one carries additional historical significance as this will be the thirtieth edition of “The Biggest Party of the Summer, which first took place on August 29, 1988 from Madison Square Garden.

While SummerSlam lacks the pageantry and mainstream appeal of WrestleMania, what SummerSlam had not lacked over the years is the kind of amazing moments that make us all wrestling fans. With the tendency of SummerSlam to deliver incredible matches and great storylines, one can think of SummerSlam as almost the Smart Fans WrestleMania is some ways, and SummerSlams are some of the best shows in the history of the WWE. One thing that is for sure is that the men and women who will be putting on a show next week in Brooklyn will have a lot to live up too.

Not all SummerSlams are created equal, of course. SummerSlam is an event that breeds high expectations and while some years meet and even shatter those expectations, it doesn’t happen every year. Here are some that try as they might, fell a little short.

  1. SummerSlam 2015: August 23, 2015 – Barclays Center – Brooklyn, New York

This show was dead in the water before it even began in some respects, as it was coming on the heels of an incredibly emotionally NXT Takeover Brooklyn I the night before, which has gone down in the annals as one of the best shows in recent wrestling history. Suffice to say, the guys and gals on the big show didn’t quite measure up.

This show isn’t all bad. Kevin Owens and Cesaro have a little gem of a match. The New Day begin their record-breaking Tag Team title reign in impressive fashion, and despite its controversial ending, John Cena and Seth Rollins had one hell of a WWE vs US Title match. But several matches were disappointments and the fans were in no mood for a controversial finish in the Brock Lesnar/Undertaker WrestleMania XXX rematch. This is one of the biggest misses in recent WWE History, to be sure.

  1. SummerSlam 2007: August 26, 2007 – Continental Airlines Arena – East Rutherford, New Jersey

Ten years ago, the WWE and the entire wrestling industry was under the darkest cloud it had ever been, following the tragic death of Chris Benoit and his family. That SummerSlam even happened, two months after, feels like something of a miracle. WWE had also been hit by the injury bug in a way that it seldom had before. No Edge, no Shawn Michaels, no Undertaker. WWE had one hell of an uphill battle here.

In many ways, they delivered the best show they could at the time. Rey Mysterio and Triple H both made triumphant returns in solid matches, Mr. Kennedy, Carlito, and Umaga had one hell of a three-way match, and John Cena and Randy Orton had a solid match in a main event before we had seen it 9,000 times. This show isn’t super great, but if the WWE ever deserved a pass, it’s right here…

  1. SummerSlam 1999: August 22, 1999 – Target Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota

1999 will go down as one of the hottest years in wrestling history and while this show isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, it just isn’t one that you particularly remember. There’s a fun tag team gauntlet on this show, Ken Shamrock and Steve Blackman have a very cool Lion’s Den match, and Shane McMahon has his first show-stealer in a street fight versus Test, but this show…just seemed to lack something. The main event, where then Governor Jesse Ventura counted the pin when Mankind beat Stone Cold and Triple H in a Triple Threat, is cool in a way, but also just seems…weird. This show feels like one that should be better, but it just isn’t.

  1. SummerSlam 1992: August 31, 1992 – Wembley Stadium – London, England

This SummerSlam is remembered, of course, for an all time great crowd at Wembley Stadium, as well as the main event match between Bret Hart and his brother-in-law, the British Bulldog, in one of the best matches in WWE History. This shows the power of a great main event, because the match was so good, everyone forgets that the rest of this show is pretty much crap. Without the main event, it may be the worst SummerSlam ever. No wonder Bret Hart got the title a few months later.

Go ahead, name another good match on this card. I’ll wait.

  1. SummerSlam 1991: August 26, 1991 – Madison Square Garden – New York, New York

This is where we get into shows that are actually very fun to watch, and really show the standard that SummerSlam has set over the years. The 1991 edition was a fun show with a hot crowd, and the commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Roddy Piper really stands out here. Of course, this show is most remembered for the excellent IC Title match between Bret Hart versus Mr. Perfect, and there some more fun matches in this show, but there are some things that keep it from being ranked higher.

One is the wedding of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Nothing really happens. It’s just a wedding. Nothing fun or particularly wrestling about it. Just a wedding. Feels like a lost opportunity. Two, seeing Andre the Giant on crutches on this show is depression city. And then the main event is just…not good, especially when you know the Warrior held up Vince for money. Plenty of good stuff, but also plenty to fast forward here too.

  1. SummerSlam 1997: August 3, 1997 – Continental Airlines Arena – East Rutherford, New Jersey

If this was “Friends,” this SummerSlam would be called The One Where Owen Hart Breaks Steve Austin’s neck. When the man who would soon became the biggest star in the history of wrestling gets dropped on his head but another beloved superstar, it puts a damper on the whole show, which it is a shame because this is a pretty good one. There are some good matches and some very fun stipulations, but there are a few head scratchers.

Mankind and Hunter Heart Helmsley kill it in the opening cage match and Bret Hart and Undertaker with Shawn Michaels in the referee remains one of the more fascinating main events in WWE History. This SummerSlam might be a whole lot higher if not for that one tombstone piledriver, especially since Austin and Owen were having a hell of a match. But alas…

  1. SummerSlam 2010: August 15, 2010 – Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

No show in SummerSlam history makes you say “Oh, What Could Have Been” more than this edition. The shortest edition of the Show in this decade, it was built tremendously to one huge match-the 7 on 7 match pitting the white-hot Nexus Stable against the John Cena led Team WWE. It was a one match show, and the match became even bigger when Daniel Bryan, fired unceremoniously two months prior, returned to help Team WWE.

But as has been documented on several podcasts, mainly Chris Jericho’s ‘Talk Is Jericho’, John Cena changed the finish from Nexus winning to Cena winning, which Cena has since said was a bad idea. It was a good show, but the ending killed what could have been the beginning of something very special.

Plus this show featured the famous Melina vs Alicia Fox match…

Come Back Tomorrow for #16 through 11 on Frank’s All-Time SummerSlam Power Rankings

image credit – WWE

Frank has been a wrestling fan since he was two years old. (Don’t worry, he’s got proof.) He’s also a huge boxing and UFC fan and has a long standing love affair with Popeyes Chicken. He still owns a VHS copy of the first Ring of Honor show ever and was watching NXT before it was cool (or good). Bret Hart > Shawn Michaels. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightFanaticPod and on Tumblr at FrankTheFightFanatic. He’s also starting his own podcast soon!

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