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SummerSlam Power Rankings Part 4 (#10-6)

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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 have long had the tendency of ending up the best show of the year, as well as often being a reflection of the state of the company at that time. If WWE strong, SummerSlam is usually great. Here are some of those great ones.

  1. Summerslam 2000: August 27, 2000 – Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Center – Raleigh, North Carolina

2000 may have been the best year in the history of the WWE, so that SummerSlam that year ends up in the top ten isn’t much of a surprise. This is an event that I have long thought well of, but as was recently profiled on Something to Wrestle With: Bruce Prichard, this show has not aged well in certain respects-the opening six man, Undertaker-Kane turning on each other dozens of times, the Thong Stinkface match, Chyna winning the IC Title, and at least five instances of male on female violence…

But this match is still chock full of good stuff. Shane McMahon takes his first giant bump against Steve Blackman, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit have an excellent two of three falls match, and of course, The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian stole the show in the first TLC match, which is probably the best match in their series of crazy matches. The show is built around one of the better angles of the era, as Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon’s love triangle intersected with the men’s Triple Threat Title match with the Rock (if Twitter was around then, they would complain about the Champion being a secondary character.) The result was a fun angle and a great match. It’s one of the better glimpses into WWE’s greatest era.

  1. Summerslam 1994: August 29, 1994 – United Center – Chicago, Illinois

While 1994 wasn’t one of the best years for WWE business wise, it certainly isn’t a bad one when it comes to in-ring work, and that is showcased here in one of more underrated SummerSlams ever.  I mean Diesel and Razor Ramon have an excellent IC Title Match, with fun shenanigans featuring Shawn Michaels and Walter Payton. Bull Nakano and Alundra Blayze probably have the best women’s match in America in the decade of the 90s in the Women’s title match. And then of course, Bret and Owen Hart had one of the best cage matches ever for the WWF Title, certainly the best cage match ever that didn’t have a drop of blood.

Yes, there are some duds here, but this show gets a bad rap from many for one reason – the Ewoks of Summerslam-UNDERTAKER vs UNDERTAKER. And as if with the Ewoks, there is a line. If you were over a certain age when you saw this match, you hate it. If you were under a certain age, you thought this was the coolest shit ever. I was seven. I loved this. Still do. Not ashamed Suck it.

  1. Summerslam 1998: August 30, 1998 – Madison Square Garden – New York, New York

1998 is probably the hottest year in the WWE and SummerSlam is a prime example of that, one of the better shows in a year full of great shows. This show didn’t have that one five-star classic that some of the earlier and later SummerSlams had, just good consistent work, strong storylines, and good stories all around.

Jeff Jarrett and X-Pac had a great match. Edge made his SummerSlam debut alongside Sable versus Marc Mero and Jackie in a surprisingly good mixed tag. Mankind somehow manages to make handicap Tag Team Title match versus The New Aged Outlaws really intriguing. Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock have the first ever Lion’s Den match downstairs at the Theatre, one of the cooler elements to any SummerSlam. The Rock and Triple H steal the show in one of the more straight up brutal ladder matches of all time.  And while their WWF Title match, built up for weeks to the tune “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC couldn’t quite live up to near impossible expectations, the main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker is worth watching just for their incredible reactions, with SCSA’s pop here one of the loudest ever. This show is one of the best snapshots to why this era is so good and why people miss it.

  1. Summerslam 2014: August 17 2014 – Staples Center – Los Angeles, California

In era where there is a new big show every three weeks in WWE, sometimes remembering one that is truly good can be hard. Summerslam 2014 is a show that seems to fall into that trap. The last of an era of very good to great SummerSlams held in Los Angeles, this edition is pretty damn excellent, even before its controversial main event.

Dolph Ziggler and The Miz had a sizzler of an opener, reignited what has become a great feud. AJ Lee and Paige had a great match, just as the Divas Revolution began to get itself going. Rusev and Jack Swagger had a heated Flag Match that should be remembered a hell out of a more than it is. The first singles match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose on PPV was a crazy Lumberjack Match that somehow went all over the arena. In her first match in almost ten years, Stephanie McMahon had a hell of an entertaining contest with Brie Bella.

The main event was, of course, Brock Lesnar’s sixteen German suplex performance against John Cena, clobbering him to win the title in a way that has seldom been seen in any era. Some hated it, others loved it. But the WWE went with it and it created one of the most memorable main events of recent years, and capped off an excellent show.

  1. Summerslam 2001: August 19, 2001 – Shark Tank – San Jose, California

This show happened to hit during the doomed Invasion Angle, which is beat up for justified reasons, but forgotten as an era that had a lot of great talent having great matches. So much of that happened here. Edge won his first IC Title in a great opener against Lance Storm. Chris Jericho and Rhyno have a very fun match. Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy have a fun, hard-hitting ladder match.

In addition to having some fun backstage vignettes with the likes of Shawn Stasisk and the Hurricane, Steve Austin had an excellent hard-hitting match with Kurt Angle that was built up tremendously in vignettes set to “Bodies” by Drowning Pool. The show culminates with one of the true dream matches of the era, with the Rock beating Booker T. It’s a full, fun, and excellent show-everything we love about SummerSlam.

Come Back Tomorrow for the top 5 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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