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 Phenom seeks his revenge against the Beast!
SummerSlam 2015 – August 23, 2015, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Trying to enforce the idea that SummerSlam is the second biggest show of the year, WWE expanded the show to 4 hours in 2015, with 10 matches on the card. While there were a number of good matches on the card, everything seemed a bit stretched and nothing really stuck out as an amazing moment. That’s not necessarily a byproduct of the show’s length, but by the time the main event hit, I felt a little burnt out watching the show. And let’s be honest, the main event didn’t help matters any.
Instead of the WWE World Heavyweight Title vs. US Title Match, the last match on the card was the rematch that was more than a year and a half in the making – The Undertaker looking to avenge the end of his WrestleMania streak against Brock Lesnar. The match was probably better than the WrestleMania XXX match, especially since Undertaker didn’t get concussed early on, and it was a fun brawl to watch that included one of the creepiest bits ever:
But overall, the match was marred by the odd ending, which saw the timekeeper go into business for himself and ring the bell while Lesnar had the Undertaker in a Kimura. Brock broke the hold, Paul Heyman started celebrating and the ref started yelling at the timekeeper. And in the confusion, Undertaker got up, hit Brock with a low blow and put him in the Hell’s Gate, causing Lesnar to pass out.
I don’t really know what they were going for here, with Undertaker using heel tactics to overcome his nemesis, but it really kind of fell flat, especially with the live crowd, who got no announcements to explain what was going on. All the shenanigans really brought the match down and it probably shouldn’t have been the main event.
Best Match: Seth Rollins (c) defeated John Cena (c) – Winner Take All WWE Title vs US Title Match. Even with all the stuff going on at the end of this match, with SummerSlam host Jon Stewart coming down to the ring and shockingly hitting Cena with a steel chair – in one of the loooooooongest waits to set the shot up ever – I still think this match should have been the main event. The stakes were high enough – WWE World Heavyweight Title vs. US Title, as Cena and Rollins were each trying to prove themselves as the dominant force in the company. While Rollins’ title reign probably wasn’t lighting the world on fire, I thought he was at the top of his game in his feud against Cena, and the match here was a great showcase for both of them. No one should confuse this for one of the greatest matches of all time, but it was definitely the best of this show.
Worst Match: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. A little more than a year before this match, the Shield and the Wyatts were tearing it up in six-man tag matches, but turning it into a tag team feud seemed to tam down the intensity levels. All four guys just seemed to be getting their moves in and little else, making this tag team match supremely disappointing. Another loss for the Wyatts, the pushes for the former Shield members continue. Ho hum. The best part of the entire match came about towards the end of the 11-minute match, as the fans chanted “ROMAN’S SLEEPING” at Reigns, who had been beaten down outside the ring.
Comic Book Rivalry: Stephen Amell, the star of the CW show “Arrow” is a huge wrestling fan. He spent a lot of time on social media lobbying to be a guest host on Raw, and got a chance to get in the ring as he developed a feud with Stardust. Since he played the future Green Arrow, it only made sense to team him up with Neville, the man who mastered the Red Arrow, against Stardust and King Barrett. It wasn’t the best celebrity match in WWF/E history, but Amell flew around the ring pretty well and held his own for a midcard match on the show. The non-stop references to other DC Comics properties were also fun for a long time comic book fan. I would have liked to see more of him with WWE, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, which is a shame. WWE should use more celebrities who are legitimately fans of the product.
Too Little, Too Late: Back in 2010, Randy Orton was challenging Sheamus at SummerSlam for the Celtic Warrior’s WWE Title, a match that Orton won by disqualification. Sheamus really needed to win that match in dominating fashion to establish himself as a top level guy, but it didn’t happen. Cut to five years later and Orton and Sheamus are going at it at SummerSlam again, with Sheamus carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase. With WWE’s history with briefcase holders, it would have surprised no one if Orton hit an RKO “OUTTA NOWHERE” to beat Sheamus. Instead, Orton got hit with two Brogue kicks before eating a pinfall. Too bad it didn’t happen back in the day.
The Revolution Will be Stupid: The first raid of female talent from NXT happened in the summer of 2015, with WWE bringing up Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch to shore up the Diva’s division and instead of having these women start competing for the Diva’s Championship, they created three three-woman teams to go up against each other. At SummerSlam, Becky, Charlotte and Paige fought Team BAD – Tamina, Naomi and Sasha – and Team Bella – Nikki, Brie and Alicia Fox – in a three way elimination match. The action started off great, but things fell off a cliff once Team BAD was eliminated and the match became a bit more plodding. It’s a shame WWE didn’t go with an 8-woman tournament to determine a number one contender to Nikki’s Diva’s Title. We could have had a bunch of great matches instead of the Women’s Team Challenge Series we got.
The SummerSlam Top Twenty!
Nothing breaks the Top 20 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 – Brock Lesnar defeated CM Punk – No Disqualification Match (2013)
6 – Shawn Michaels (c) defeated Razor Ramon – Intercontinental Title Ladder Match (1995)
7 – Kurt Angle beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) by DQ – WWF Title Match (2001)
8 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1991)
9 – Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena (c) – WWE Championship Match (2013)
10 – Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1992)
11 – Randy Orton defeated Christian (c) – No Holds Barred World Heavyweight Championship Match (2011)
12 – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Hart Foundation (1989)
13 – Edge and Christian (c) defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz – TLC Tag Team Title Match (2000)
14 – Randy Orton defeated the Undertaker (2005)
15 – Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock (c) – WWE Title Match (2002)
16 – CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy (c) – TLC World Heavyweight Championship Match (2009)
17 – The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition (c) – 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Team Title Match (1990)
18 – Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose – Lumberjack Match (2014)
19 – John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton – WWE Title Match (2007)
20 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)