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, it’s the rise of Daniel Bryan and the Beast takes on the Best.
SummerSlam 2013 – August 18, 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
This was a roller coaster ride from beginning to end, starting with one of the worst matches in SummerSlam history and ending with a deflating scenario that ultimately led to one of the greatest WrestleMania moments of all time.
The main event of SummerSlam 2013 had a similar feel to the way that eventual WrestleMania turned out, it seemed like they were going to pull the trigger on Daniel Bryan. All the signs were pointing in the right direction. The YES! movement was gaining momentum. John Cena had an elbow injury that he needed to deal with and the timing felt right. But you just weren’t 100 percent sure that they would do it.
I was in the Barclays Center the night John Cena chose Daniel Bryan to be his SummerSlam opponent. It was absolutely electric. The fans loved this guy. They wanted him to be champion, and there seemed to be a genuine sense of excitement when he finally hit Cena with the knee and got the three count. And everything was great until the set-up sunk in. Money in the Bank briefcase holder Randy Orton made an appearance and while he stalled outside, special referee Triple H got in position and hit a pedigree, leading to the cash-in.
Whether you believe WWE backed into the amazing moment of WrestleMania XXX or if you give them the benefit of doubt that maybe, JUST MAYBE they saw how big Daniel Bryan was and were giving the man a moment at the biggest show of the year, there’s no question that the SummerSlam match was a coming out party for Bryan and would eventually lead to bigger and better things, however short-lived those things were.
Best Match: Brock Lesnar defeated CM Punk – No Disqualification Match. Paul Heyman, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar all building to a match. No titles on the line, just pride. The Beast Incarnate takes on the Best in the World, with the man who knows both of these man very well at ringside. When all three of these guys are motivated and at their best, of course they’re going to have the best match on the show. Heyman’s interference leading to the Lesnar win doesn’t hurt the flow of the match at all and keeps Punk strong – even though he’d be gone after the next Royal Rumble.
Worst Match: Bray Wyatt defeated Kane – Ring of Fire Match. Ugh, what an absolute mess. These Ring of Fire/Inferno matches have a history of being terrible, and this one is no different. It was Wyatt’s first real impression with the character in WWE, but mostly it was all about the angle of keeping Rowan and Harper out of the ring, while they found a way to circumvent the flames to help their leader. Which, of course, they did, helping Wyatt beat Kane. A terrible match to kick off SummerSlam 2013.
One For The Rhodes: Centimeters away from become the Money in the Bank briefcase holder the previous month, Cody Rhodes got knocked off his ladder by his tag team partner, Damien Sandow, who ended the briefcase to his very comfortable looking robe. Sandow should have rode that wave, but instead he fell victim to the WWE’s protocol of knocking people down before they elevate them. Only Sandow never got elevated. Rhodes pinned him here. His cash-in failed and he ended up as a sidekick to The Miz. And now, he’s in TNA. Poor guy.
Speaking of Miz: The Most Must-See WWE Champ of all time served as the host for SummerSlam, but his night wasn’t devoid of action, as he had Fandango trolling him all night, until Miz popped him in the jaw. The segments weren’t terrible and they allowed WWE to play Fandango’s music, which usually got a pop.
Such Divas: The women of WWE were featured in two matches. The first, which saw Natalya beat Brie Bella with a sharpshooter, was a set-up for Total Divas. Natalya came to the ring with Cameron and Naomi, while Brie was accompanied by Nikki and Eva Marie. The second was a mixed tag match between Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn against AJ Lee and Big E. This was easily one of the best mixed tag matches I have seen (which, to be fair, says little).
The SummerSlam Top 20!
We’ve got some movement again! Welcome your new additions to the Top 20!
*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 – John Cena (c) defeated Randy Orton – WWE Title Match (2007)
19 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)
20 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan defeated Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (1988)