Since 1988, SummerSlam has been WWE’s second biggest show of the year. As we count down the days to the 2016 edition, the Top Ten will rank the annual event’s matches year-by-year to determine the best SummerSlam matches of all time.
In this edition, THE BEAST IS BACK and the boss gets booed.
SummerSlam 2012 – August 19, 2012, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
What a dreadfully average show. It felt like nothing of any consequence happened over the course of the event. No title changes on the main line (Antonio Cesaro won the US Title from Santino on the preshow, though) and the main event was a slow, plodding WWE Main Event with absolutely NO force or effect on the main roster, since both guys are part-timers.
Triple H, the Chief Operating Officer of the WWE (although they may have just rebranded the job to its initials, COO) refused the demands of the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, including changing the name of Monday Night Raw to “Monday Night Raw featuring Brock Lesnar.” Lesnar did not take kindly to this and attacked Triple H. Then he attacked Shawn Michaels. And COO HHH vowed revenge.
The main event between the two had very little heat, almost no crowd engagement and it didn’t seem like anyone really cared what happened. Until, of course, Triple H lost via submission and then tried to get some crowd sympathy. That did not end well for him. The camera picked up Triple H uttering “I’m sorry, guys” to the crowd after the match, but the crowd wasn’t having any of it. The show went off the air with Triple H looking crestfallen and the crowd gleefully watching him go.
I was pretty happy when the show went off the air, too…
Best Match: Chris Jericho defeated Dolph Ziggler. Let’s go for something a little different this time around, shall we? Nothing on this show was what you would call earth shattering. Nothing was even mind-numbingly bad. Everything was just middle of the road. But I enjoyed the Ziggler-Jericho match that opened the show – a fairly rare phenomenon for me with a match featuring Ziggler and Jericho both. Maybe Ziggler should have won, but hey, I guess we’re used to that with Jericho at this point, so I may be more forgiving with hindsight.
Worst Match: Sheamus (c) defeated Alberto del Rio – World Heavyweight Championship Match. Here’s another example. Not a terrible match by any means, but Sheamus and Alberto del Rio, even 4 years ago, felt stale and the fans were very clearly not into anything they were selling. The convoluted ending was also unnecessary, with del Rio’s foot on the ropes despite Sheamus getting a three count, and called back to a much better match from last year – CM Punk vs. John Cena – where the same thing happened. But Sheamus and ADR are no Punk and Cena. Like much of the match and the two guys involved, no one cared.
No Respect: Speaking of CM Punk and John Cena… Punk was in the middle of his modern-day record-breaking WWE Title run that was started at the previous year’s Survivor Series and trying to fend off Raw General Manager AJ Lee’s advances. So, of course he gets put in a Triple Threat match at SummerSlam against Cena and perennial challenger Big Show. The match saw heel mode lead announcer Michael Cole complain about how Punk hasn’t seen a PPV main event since the previous December, in a case of shoot comments that probably weren’t meant as shoot comments. Punk wins after a match (Cena and Punk both caused Show to submit) restart to set up a rematch with Cena the next month at Night of Champions.
Hell Yes To Hell No: The seeds of the greatest tag team act of the last 10 years continued to be sowed here as the Demon Kane took on his future tag team championship partner, Daniel Bryan. Probably not coincidentally, AJ Lee had a lot to do with this feud, too, as she was Bryan’s on-screen squeeze until he lost the World Heavyweight Title in 18 seconds at WrestleMania. Bryan ended up winning, causing Kane to lose his mind and destroy backstage interviewer Josh Matthews while seeking Bryan out. At Night of Champions, the pair would win the tag team titles, and a legendary tag team was born! Kudos to Bryan for having a match with Kane that wasn’t worst of the night, though.
Midcard Hell: Just a note about the Intercontinental Title Match at SummerSlam 2012: the competitors, champion Miz and challenger Rey Mysterio, were the finalists in the WWE Title Tournament held after CM Punk beat John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011. One year later, they battled over the Intercontinental Championship. People cared a lot less this time around.
The SummerSlam Top 20!
No changes this time around.
*DISCLAIMER* The Top Ten is for discussion purposes only and is in no way an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, leave your thoughts in the comments section.
1 – Undertaker defeated Edge – Hell in a Cell (2008)
2 – CM Punk (c) defeated John Cena (c) – Undisputed WWE Championship Match (2011)
3 – Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H – Street Fight (2002)
4 – Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) defeated Owen Hart – WWF Title Steel Cage Match (1994)
5 – Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (1995)
6 – Kurt Angle beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) by DQ – WWF Title Match (2001)
7 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1991)
8 – Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1992)
9 – Randy Orton defeated Christian (c) – No Holds Barred World Heavyweight Championship Match (2011)
10 – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Hart Foundation (1989)
11 – Edge and Christian (c) defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz – TLC Tag Team Title Match (2000)
12 – Randy Orton defeated the Undertaker (2005)
13 – Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock (c) – WWE Title Match (2002)
14 – CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy (c) – TLC World Heavyweight Championship Match (2009)
15 – The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition (c) – 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Team Title Match (1990)
16 – John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton – WWE Title Match (2007)
17 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)
18 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan defeated Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (1988)
19 – The Rock (c) defeated Triple H and Kurt Angle – Triple Threat WWF Title Match (2000)
20 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Undertaker (c) – WWF Title Match (1997)
We’ve got three more of these before SummerSlam 2016! Will any other matches crack the Top 20?