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SummerSlam Power Rankings Part 3 (#16-11)



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. It is a show that has long tradition of being one of the best pay per views of the year, if not the best. The next slate of shows begins to show that standard. They are not quite in the top ten, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t really damn good.

  1. Summerslam 2006: August 20, 2006 – TD Banknorth Garden – Boston, Massachusetts

There was a lot of fun stuff going on at this time in the WWE. D-Generation X had recently reunited, King Booker was in the midst of his ultra-fun run, and John Cena and Edge were in the midst of a feud that was all sorts of fun, and hadn’t even hit its zenith. The WWE had also recently relaunched EC…nah, let’s just forget about that one.

All things considered this show was a little disappointing. Seeing Randy Orton having to do the J-O-B for Hulk for one, is a little tough to swallow, and seeing John Cena booed in his hometown was a little eh. But this was still a fun show. DX carried the McMahons threw a really fun tag match. Mick Foley and Ric Flair have a crazy fun brawl, and Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero have a hell of an opening match. Honestly though, this show falls just a little short of expectations.

  1. Summerslam 2008: August 17, 2008 – Conseco Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana

This one is a bit of a fist pounder, because it looks like a show with tons of potential on paper, but in execution just lacked a little bit of punch. CM Punk vs JBL is a disappointment, as is the ECW Title match, and any card that has the Great Khali at the top of the card is suspect.

But there is also a lot of good stuff on this card. MVP and Jeff Hardy have a great opening match. While the buildup to the first ever match between John Cena and Batista was severely rushed, it delivered in the ring. And Undertaker and Edge culminated their excellent feud with one of the better Hell in the Cell matches we’ve seen. Although the show stealer and must see segment of the show isn’t a match, but a talking segment between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, where Michaels teased retirement and Michaels’ wife ended up being shoot accidently punched in the face by Jericho. It’s an absolute must see segment, the highlight of a pretty damn good show.

  1. Summerslam 1988: August 29, 1988 – Madison Square Garden – New York, New York

It is always difficult to judge the place of the first of anything. In hindsight, the first WrestleMania is nothing to write home about, but you can’t quantify its impact in star ratings. And while it may not have the strong matches and great segments of some newer shows ranked lower, it is still the first SummerSlam, and thanks to mostly to a hot crowd, the original SummerSlam still holds up.

The show keeps a fast pace and has pretty good action throughout. Rick Rude and Jake Roberts continue their angle in matches with others, Demolition and the Hart Foundation have an excellent Tag Team Title match, and see the Ultimate Warrior come of age and end the Honky Tonk Man’s historic Intercontinental Title reign is always fun to see. And the main event-The Mega Powers beating the Mega Bucks, with a little help from Miss Elizabeth, goes down as one of all time great attraction matches. 30 editions of SummerSlam later, this is still a fun one.

  1. Summerslam 2015-August 21, 2016-Barclays Center-Brooklyn, New York

As hard as it to rank the first of something, evaluating the most recent edition of SummerSlam may have been even harder. Of course, for me, it would have been impossible until recently because for reasons I can’t remember, I didn’t watch all of SummerSlam live last year. That actually could be a good thing, because watching a show with Twitter goggles can be sway a show one way or another. It’s hard to say.

But the truth is…I was really loving this show for a while. John Cena and AJ Styles had an absolute classic. Charlotte and Sasha had a great match, as did Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. It was also cool to see the surprise return of Nikki Bella, and even the opening of the show with Enzo and Big Cass was a lot of fun. But then Finn Balor ripped his shoulder…and the show fell apart.

Balor was clearly in distress and it takes you out of a show that was already about two matches too long. That those matches were Roman Reigns, who somehow wrestled for the US Title after the two World Title matches (?!?!?) and Brock Lesnar (yawn) is even more of a downer. It’s the common WWE problem-it might be great, but it’s too damn long…

  1. Summerslam 2011: August 14, 2011 – Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

In the world of the current wrestling fandom, especially in recent times, where so many fans are looking to escape their lives, we sometimes forget why we watch wrestling-because it’s FUN! I had gotten away from wrestling for a few years in college, and this was the first show I had watched in almost in a year, and I remember it just being fun.

The show isn’t perfect for sure. I mean, Kelly Kelly wins the damn Divas Title here. But it has a hot crowd, it carries a fast pace, and it’s a show where every match means something. The two World Title matches, Randy Orton vs Christian and John Cena vs CM Punk are matches given ample times and tell great stories. That being said, in the midst of the wonderful time that was the Summer of Punk, seeing Alberto Del Rio cash in his MITB to beat a red hot Punk is one that fills me with pain. Yes, it made sense. Yes, Punk got the belt back several months later. But I feel like it was a missed opportunity here, and the ending of the show makes me want to headbutt a table to this day.

  1. Summerslam 2009: August 23, 2009 – Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

This another show that jumps out of me when it comes to fun. Yes, we had sit through William Regal losing in less than a minute and Kane and the Great Khali (yuck!), but this was a really fun card. Dolph Ziggler and Rey Mysterio had one hell of an opening match (I feel like I’ve said that more than once about Rey). Jeri-Show was in the midst of their very fun Tag Team Title reign, and John Cena and Randy Orton had a fun match back when that was still interesting.

But this show is topped by a tremendous TLC match between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk that is one of the most underrated, in terms of build up and execution, World Title matches in WWE history. It was a tremendous match and seeing the beginnings of Straight Edge Society CM Punk was a damned fine moment for this Straight Edge Punk Rock Kid, All Grown Up.

Have I told you guys that I love CM Punk? 😉

Come Back Tomorrow for #10 through 6 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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