Greatest Slams of the Summer
August 22, 2016
It’s easy to view SummerSlam as the redheaded stepchild of WWE’s big pay-per-views. Unlike Royal Rumble and of course Wrestlemania which speaks for its self and sells itself. However, that’s not to suggest that SummerSlam hasn’t seen its fair share of significant moments. A key part of WWE’s long history, the show has always been one of the highlights of the calendar year – due to being known for shocking moments. The show has been the site for some of WWE’s most stirring championship victories and unbelievable daredevil acts. The pay-per-view’s history is also rich with moments that marked the beginning of Superstars’ rises or key chapters in their stories. WWE often enters something of a lull in the months following WrestleMania, but such a dip is often sparked back into life by a shocking turn of events at WWE’s annual summer extravaganza. Of course, these moments don’t always have the desired effect, but they at least get people talking and remain etched in our memories many years later. Like these events:
- Shane McMahon leaps off tower (2000) & Jeff Hardy soars off the ladder (2009)
Daredevil stunts equaled astounding visuals in two SummerSlam spots nine years apart. McMahon created his career on risky moments, making up for his lack of in-ring acumen by being willing to do whatever it takes to get a crowds reaction. He took on one of the most memerable leaps of his career in a match with Steve Blackman. He climbed up a tower that was part of the SummerSlam set to avoid Blackman’s blows. At an extremely high point in the climb, a whack of a Kendo shook him off the structure. McMahon then dropped a breathtaking distance.
Hardy didn’t reach that amount of air but still made his mark by way of a downward flight. During his battle against CM Punk, Hardy climbed a ladder and hit an incredible Senton Bomb, breaking the table underneath the two men. It is one of the spots that WWE can’t help but playback when looking at past SummerSlam moments.
- Owen Hart breaks Stone Cold’s neck with a piledriver (1997)
A miscalculation made Owen Hart and Steve Austin’s tussle over the Intercontinental Championship in 1997 unforgettable in an unsettling way. Austin attempted a Piledriver, but Hart countered it, delivering his own version of the move. However, it did not go as planned. Hart drove Austin’s head into the mat, leaving him temporarily unable to move his limbs. Stone Cold was somehow still able to get the pin, but was out for a few months following. Austin then had to get neck fusion surgery in 1999 and later retired from wrestling in 2003. The brutal nature of the injury alone makes this moment hard to shake. How it affected Austin’s career greatly adds to its significance. The sight of Austin struggling to move on the mat will outlive anything else that happened that night.
- Ultimate Warrior demolishes Honky Tonk Man, ending his 18 month Intercontinental Championship (1988)
It didn’t take Ultimate Warrior and The Honky Tonk Man long to make an indelible mark on SummerSlam history. Their battle for the Intercontinental Championship lasted just 31 seconds. The Honky Tonk Man had reigned as IC champ for a record 454 days. It felt like no one would beat him by that point. He issued an open challenge at SummerSlam, and at first it looked as if no one would answer. Then came Ultimate Warrior charging down the entrance ramp. That stunningly quick win not only put a stop to a record reign, but it also launched a megastar. Ultimate Warrior would follow this win with a rapid climb up the WWE ladder, eventually headlining WrestleMania and entering the Hall of Fame.
- Elizabeth rips off her skirt and distracts the Mega Bucks (1988)
In the first ever main event of SummerSlam, the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage) took on the Mega Bucks (Andre the Giant & “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) with Jesse “The Body” Ventura as the special guest referee. The Mega Bucks had the match in their hands; Hogan and Savage were down. But then Miss Elizabeth hopped up on the apron and whipped off her skirt revealing sexy bikini bottoms. The Mega Bucks as well as Ventura were awe-struck and seemingly in a trance. Thanks to the distraction, the Mega Powers recovered and were able to get the win.
- The Brittish Bulldog prevails in his home country (1992)
The climax of SummerSlam 1992 stands out in a way that’s different from the usual pay-per-views. This remains the only SummerSlam that the United Kingdom has hosted. The main event, The British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart, is the only time in event history that the Intercontinental Championship was the center of the night’s final match. Family drama added to the emotional nature of Davey Boy Smith’s win, too. He not only won the IC crown in his home nation, but he did so against his brother-in-law. Bret’s sister and Smith’s wife, Diana, watched on from ringside. Tears and fireworks capped off a stirring moment.