Since 1988, Vince McMahon and company have put on the summer spectacular as one of their cornerstone events. While it’s certainly not built up with the same level of prestige as WrestleMania, it’s certainly an event where WWE targets some of their bigger feuds of the year to culminate in the months following their flagship event.

Here’s a look back at the history of the event and some of the top feuds in SummerSlam history.

1988 – Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs Andre The Giant & Ted DiBiase

This match provided a gateway for Randy Savage to finish out his feud with DiBiase and his hired Giant, and then gave us the foundation upon which the Savage vs Hogan feud was built upon for WrestleMania V.

1988 – Rick Rude & Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Though the two didn’t have a match on the card, the feud started and really got heated leading up to this event and during Rude’s match (which Roberts interrupted). How much more personal can you get when a guy who gyrates his hips puts a picture someone else’s wife on his crotch?

1989 – Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs Zeus & Randy Savage

Savage and Hogan had their feud continued from WrestleMania V a couple months prior, and you also add in the aspect of Zeus bringing his feud from the film “No Holds Barred” into real life. Though it might seem a bit lame now, back when wrestling had the “this is REAL” aspect to it, it was cool to see the cross-over. Not to mention the fact that Zeus seemed like a scary dude.

1989 – Intercontinental Championship: Ultimate Warrior vs Rick Rude

The feud started with tensions at Royal Rumble as Warrior got a beatdown from Rude. Then the title changed hands at WrestleMania V when Rick Rude beat Ultimate Warrior for the belt, and things continued into SummerSlam, where the two battled for 16 minutes (likely one of the longest matches in Warrior’s career).

1990 – World Championship Steel Cage Match: Ultimate Warrior (c) vs Rick Rude

How much bigger does it get than the blow-off match for a feud that lasted more than a year? Put it in a steel cage!

1990 – Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, you’d be hard pressed to find anything in the world of wrestling to rival the popularity of Hulkamania. Following WrestleMania VI, Earthquake put Hogan out of action with an “injury” for two months, and then did the same to Hogan’s right-hand man who was supposed to be in Hogan’s corner for the match. (How about that for a comparison to Lesnar vs Triple H w/ HBK?)

1991 – Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior vs Sgt Slaughter & Col Mustafa & General Adnan

The Hogan vs Slaughter feud was soo heated, there were reports of needing snipers at WrestleMania to ensure Slaughter’s protection from any crazies who wanted to get to him. This was the final big match in the feud, and being that they included Ultimate Warrior, that made it all the bigger.

1992 – Undertaker vs Kamala

Though not one of The Undertaker’s more high profile opponents, it was a feud that spanned multiple events and culminated in a casket match (at Survivor Series).

1992 – Bret Hart vs British Bulldog

The stature of this match tells you how popular the Civil War between brothers-in-law was, especially given that it was an Intercontinental Championship match. To main event the night was unheard of at that point, but it created one of the top moments in the history of the event.

1993 – World Championship: Lex Luger vs Yokozuna (c)

After defeating Hulk Hogan for the belt, Yokozuna seemed unstoppable. Lex Luger got rebranded as an American Hero of sorts, and he took the “Lex Express” straight to the big man after body slamming him on an aircraft carrier six weeks prior.

1993 – Bret Hart vs Jerry Lawler

The Hitman battled twice on the card, having to defeat Doink before he even got the opportunity to battle his rival, Jerry Lawler, in what resulted in a very heated match in one of the top feuds of the early 90’s.

1994 – DiBiase’s Undertaker vs The Undertaker

Following a loss to Yokozuna in a casket match six months prior at Royal Rumble, The Undertaker had not been seen in or out of the ring. Ted DiBiase claimed to have acquired the services of The Deadman, a claim that Paul Bearer refuted… bringing back the man he claimed was the TRUE Undertaker.

1994 – Bret Hart vs Owen Hart

Owen Hart claimed to be better than his brother and worthy of being the World Champion, having beaten him in the opening match at WrestleMania X. Tensions got so high that they had to contest this match inside the confines of a steel cage – partially to keep out the other members of the Hart family.

1994 – Lex Luger vs Tatanka

Tatanka made claims that Lex Luger had sold out to Ted DiBiase’s “Million Dollar Corporation”, and a series of misunderstandings along the way impassioned the Native American’s resolve to prove it. In the end, it was all revealed to be a ruse, as it was Tatanka who was employed by DiBiase.

1994 – Razor Ramon (with Walter Payton) vs Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels)

When a feud gets soo heated that you have to bring in an NFL legend, that’s serious business.

1995 – Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels

Any time a ladder match comes into play, especially in a singles match, you know it’s a big deal. Being that this match was a rematch from WrestleMania X and the fact that the match went 25 minutes is also saying a lot.

1996 – Boiler Room Brawl: Undertaker vs Mankind

The feud between Undertaker and Foley was one of the best of the 90’s, and this 26 minute match was one of the cornerstones.

2000 – TLC Match: Dudley Boys vs Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz

Three teams, countless ladders, tons of carnage through broken tables… all for the tag team championships – back when the division was worth a damn.

2000 – Hardcore Title: Steve Blackman vs Shane McMahon (c)

The fact that Shane-O-Mac had a championship match where people still remember the parting moments of the contest speaks volumes.

2001 – WCW Championship: Booker T (c) vs The Rock

One of the first huge battles between the faces of their various companies, it was a dream match for many who lived through the Monday Night Wars.

2001 – Undertaker & Kane vs Diamond Dallas Page & Chris Kanyon

DDP had been stalking Undertaker’s wife, and this was the culmination of the heated-but-onesided feud.

2002 – Unsanctioned Street Fight: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels

Whenever these guys went from being best of friends to mortal enemies, things were just as heated as any feud in WWE.

2002 – WWE Undisputed World Championship: The Rock (c) vs Brock Lesnar

Though the two didn’t come to blows until the event, the two month long feud leading up to the match saw plenty of stare-downs  between the duo, and the involvement from Lesnar in several situations involving The Rock’s matches. It even saw Hulk Hogan play a side role in the feud on The Rock’s behalf.

2003 – WWE Championship: Kurt Angle (c) vs Brock Lesnar

In a rematch from a prior pay per view, the two former amateur wrestlers squared off following some deception by Lesnar and Vince McMahon which lead to a beatdown of the Olympic Gold Medalist.

2004 – Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero

A feud that had built up actively over the six months prior, including a match at WrestleMania, this was the culmination of their feud which included Angle disguising himself in the weeks prior as El Gran Luchadore.

2005 – Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels

By the very nature of their respective statures, this match was huge, but the build-up to the match showed that this wasn’t a contest based on mutual respect.

2005 – Ladder Match: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio

Does a feud get any more personal than basing it around the custody of one of the participant’s sons? Eddie was claiming to be the father of Mysterio’s son Dominick, and they decided to settle the custody dispute in a ladder match.

2005 – WWE Championship: John Cena vs Chris Jericho

In the build-up to this feud, Jericho hit Cena with a steel chair on one show, and a television camera two weeks prior. Soon after this match, Jericho was forced to leave the WWE due to his inability to beat Cena.

2006 – WWE Championship: Edge vs John Cena

Does it get more personal than Edge going to Cena’s house and slapping his father? How about Cena attacking Edge in his hotel room?

2006 – Mick Foley vs Ric Flair

Need I say more?

2009 – World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk

When one competitor calls out another for having a long-standing drug problem, that’s personal. There’s a reason this one was contested with tables, ladders and chairs.

2009 – Degeneration X vs Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase

If Triple H and Shawn Michaels are teaming up on pay per view, it’s for good reason. This time around, it was to quiet the guys who were claiming to be the next generation stars to put away the past-their-prime superstars.

2010 – Big Show vs Straight Edge Society

They tried every combination of having CM Punk & Crew take on Big Show, and it culminated with Big Show fighting the trio in a handicap match.

2010 – Team WWE vs Team Nexus

Seven on seven, the WWE put together a team in the hopes of quelling the rebellion from the young competitors coming from NXT.

2012 – Dolph Ziggler vs Chris Jericho

Though it started with both men as heels, they played up the arrogance of both competitors and somehow managed to turn Jericho into a face in the process in a feud that has spanned two months, but involves Ziggler referencing things that have happened over the course of the past 8 months. Don’t be surprised if one of these competitors gets carted out.

2012 – Triple H vs Brock Lesnar

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion broke Triple H’s arm months ago, and (through Paul Heyman) has avoided him since, questioned HHH’s parenting abilities and even brutally attacked the man who was going to be in Hunter’s corner at SummerSlam, Shawn Michaels – likely breaking his arm as well.

How would you rank those feuds? Here’s my attempt, building up to the most heated feud in SummerSlam history:

1989 – Intercontinental Championship: Ultimate Warrior vs Rick Rude

1988 – Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs Andre The Giant & Ted DiBiase

1992 – Undertaker vs Kamala

1994 – Razor Ramon (with Walter Payton) vs Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels)

1995 – Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels

2000 – TLC Match: Dudley Boys vs Edge & Christian vs Hardy Boyz

2000 – Hardcore Title: Steve Blackman vs Shane McMahon (c)

2001 – WCW Championship: Booker T (c) vs The Rock

2002 – WWE Undisputed World Championship: The Rock (c) vs Brock Lesnar

2001 – Undertaker & Kane vs Diamond Dallas Page & Chris Kanyon

2012 – Dolph Ziggler vs Chris Jericho

2009 – Degeneration X vs Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase

2010 – Big Show vs Straight Edge Society

2003 – WWE Championship: Kurt Angle (c) vs Brock Lesnar

2002 – Unsanctioned Street Fight: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels

2005 – WWE Championship: John Cena vs Chris Jericho

2006 – WWE Championship: Edge vs John Cena

2005 – Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels

2009 – World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk

2012 – Triple H vs Brock Lesnar

1990 – World Championship Steel Cage Match: Ultimate Warrior (c) vs Rick Rude

1990 – Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake

1991 – Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior vs Sgt Slaughter & Col Mustafa & General Adnan

1988 – Rick Rude & Jake “The Snake” Roberts

1989 – Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs Zeus & Randy Savage

2005 – Ladder Match: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio

2004 – Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero

2006 – Mick Foley vs Ric Flair

1992 – Bret Hart vs British Bulldog

1993 – World Championship: Lex Luger vs Yokozuna (c)

1994 – DiBiase’s Undertaker vs The Undertaker

1994 – Lex Luger vs Tatanka

2010 – Team WWE vs Team Nexus

1993 – Bret Hart vs Jerry Lawler

1996 – Boiler Room Brawl: Undertaker vs Mankind

1994 – Bret Hart vs Owen Hart