Summerslam is known as one of the “big four” events on the WWE calendar. Throughout its twenty-five year tenure, the show has provided fans with heart-pounding action and excitement. In this article, I will discuss some of my favorite matches from this summertime spectacular.

It all began in August, 1988 at the famous Madison Square Garden, in New York City. One of the matches on the card featured the Honky Tonk Man, who was scheduled to defend the Intercontinental title against Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Unfortunately, the challenger was unable to compete due to injury, so a replacement opponent had to be found. When the champion entered the ring, he took the microphone and challenged “anyone in the back” to face him. For a while, it seemed no one would take him up on the offer. Then, a familiar piece of music played. Fans immediately knew who it was. Loud screams and echoing shouts vibrated around M.S.G, and spectators went ballistic when he entered the arena. It was…..The Ultimate Warrior. He stormed into the ring, hit the champion with a couple of moves, then pinned him with a splash for the pinfall to become the new Intercontinental Champion. It was lightening quick and fans were in a frenzy throughout the thirty-second match. Yes, that was all it took – thirty seconds. The Honky Tonk Man was in disbelief that he lost his coveted championship in such a quick manner. What a thrilling moment it was for the Warrior!

One of the greatest matches occurred at the 1991 edition of the event, which was also held at M.S.G. In fact, the Intercontinental title match between Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart is my favourite match in the history of Summerslam. It was a great, action-packed wrestling match, which had the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. After almost thirty minutes of non-stop action, Hart applied his Sharpshooter submission hold to achieve victory, and capture his first Intercontinental Championship. Fans erupted in cheers as the charismatic Bret won his first singles championship, and also showed that while he was known for his tag-team matches at the time, he proved that he could hold his own as a singles competitor. What a moment it was for this talented wrestler.

Let me jump to Summerslam 1992. For the first time ever, the WWE held a pay-per-view event outside North America. It occurred at Wembley Stadium, in London, England. This event was also memorable, because it was the first time, to my knowledge, that the Intercontinental Championship was on the line, in the main event of a pay-per-view.

Bret Hart defended the title against his brother-in-law, and hometown hero, the British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith. To end the match, Bret tried for a sunset flip, but Smith blocked it, sat down on Hart, and hooked his legs for the pin. When the referee counted to three, Wembley Stadium erupted in cheers – fans were proud of their hometown hero for winning the Intercontinental Championship. After the match, Diana Smith (Bret’s sister and Bulldog’s wife) entered the ring and raised both men’s hands in victory. The crowd absolutely loved this. The family ties were evident, and the actions of Bret’s sister, demonstrated that it was possible to be competitors, and still have unity among the family members.

I will now fast forward to Summerslam 1997, which almost proved to be a career-ender for a major WWE superstar. Owen Hart put the Intercontinental title on the line against Stone Cold Steve Austin. As the match progressed, Austin tried to apply a Tombstone piledriver, but Hart reversed it into one of his own. After he executed the move, Austin laid motionless on the mat for a moment. Fans were petrified. I must admit, it was a scary sight. But, Stone Cold was able to miraculously roll Owen up for the win, as well as the I.C title. After the match, fans realized that Austin was struggling to stand and was also favouring his neck. While it was a great victory for Steve, the match was also an eye-opener. It proved that wrestlers would leave no stone unturned in order to capture a championship.

My final favourite memory from comes from the 2011 event. Summerslam emanated from Los Angeles, California. The event was headlined by C.M. Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship…..except neither man left as the champion. The crowd cheered for both wrestlers, since they were both fan favourites.  Punk appeared to have won the match after applying his “Go to Sleep” finishing move, seemingly emerging as the champion. But, the drama had only just begun.

As Punk was celebrating his win, Kevin Nash inexplicably entered the ring and attacked Punk, leaving him lying in the ring. Then, Alberto Del Rio ran to the ring, and “cashed in” his “Money in the Bank” briefcase (which he won a month earlier.) He handed it to a referee, and after getting Punk’s approval, the referee rang the bell. Del Rio then kicked the champion viciously and the pinned him. Alberto Del Rio emerged from Summerslam 2011 as the new WWE Champion. What a chaotic situation to end the night on! Fans were speechless and confused at what transpired. In my opinion, Del Rio deserved to win the title, because he saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.

With Summerslam around the corner, I am sure fans are wondering what will transpire at the big event this year in Los Angeles. Perhaps Vince McMahon and the writers will have a surprise or two in store for fans and viewers – something that will leave everyone in shock, and wanting to tune into Monday Night Raw the following evening, to witness the fallout from Summerslam.

It promises to be an eventful and electrifying Summerslam event, with great matches that will showcase the talents, skill, and fearlessness of the wrestlers. I wish them the best of luck at this year’s summer extravaganza.

Azeem Kayum

Be Sociable, Share!