As the 2013 edition of WWE’s SummerSlam approaches, let’s take a moment to look back at the Top 20 Matches in the “Big Four” event’s history. When coming up with this list, I asked a panel of people to consider the quality of the match, the storyline build-up going into it, and potentially the cultural / historical significance.

Here’s the list:

20. Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit – Best 2 Out Of 3 Falls (2000)

Two of the best wrestlers of our generation… in a 2 out of 3 falls match? Yes please!

19. Triple H vs The Rock – Ladder Match (1998)

Though they would go on to be two of the best World Champions in WWE history, this match was for the Intercontinental Championship.

18. Bret Hart vs Mr Perfect (1991)

Oft identified as two of the best wrestlers in WWE history, when you’re looking for a match between them, this is where to look. It’s a much better match than it should’ve been, given the injured back Perfect had at the time.


17. Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon – Ladder Match (1995)

For my money, it’s the lesser of the two Intercontinental Title Ladder Matches between the two, and also less enjoyable than the bout 12 months earlier which featured Walter Payton and Kevin Nash (Diesel) outside the ring. Despite that, it was still an entertaining match.

16. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase & Andre The Giant (1988)

Four of the biggest names in WWE history, all in one match, with multiple angles involved? Certainly one of the cornerstones that made SummerSlam a viable pay per view entity on the WWE calendar.

15. Tatanka vs Lex Luger (1994)

The build to this match and its potential influence on the way future angles unfolded make this a more important match that it appears on paper. Ted DiBiase had been building his Million Dollar Corporation by paying off competitors to be part of his stable. For a while it began to seem as though All American Lex Luger, who had become a fan favorite just a year before, was the next member. Tatanka touted the fact that he had uncovered the truth as he confronted his friend about it. Despite denials from Luger, the evidence started building up against him, and Tatanka challenged him to a match at the big event. As the match transpired, it would turn out that Tatanka was lying to Luger and his friends all along, where he had actually joined DiBiase’s group secretly, finishing the encounter by stuffing dollar bills into Luger’s mouth.


14. Bret Hart vs Undertaker – Guest Referee Shawn Michaels (1997)

It was the final big pay per view event before the infamous Survivor Series that hosted the Montreal Incident. Shawn Michaels was tapped to be the special guest referee, and as the match neared the end, Bret Hart spat in his rival’s face, leading to an errant chairshot that caused the demise of The Undertaker, allowing The Hitman to retain the championship.


13. Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero (2005)

I don’t know if it gets more personal than a match for the custody of someone’s son, and when you mix in the great wrestling talent that both of these guys possess, it has all the ingredients for a great match.

12. Bret Hart vs Doink and then Jerry Lawler (1993)

Though Jerry Lawler wasn’t a full time wrestler, he still managed to have a great feud with Bret Hart. After The Hitman won King Of The Ring in 1993, he was immediately attacked by “The King” Jerry Lawler. A very heated feud ensued, and Lawler claimed that he would only give Bret a shot at him if he first defeated Doink, which he did in a match that was more entertaining than might seem on paper. The match Hart had with Lawler has to be factored into this ranking, as they both happened on the 1993 SummerSlam event, and wrestling twice helps give this encounter some clout.


11. CM Punk vs John Cena (2011)

His contract having run out while still holding the WWE Championship, CM Punk decided to return to WWE to face John Cena, who was the interim champion. Many considered this match to be a test of whether WWE would continue to bank on CM Punk by having him once again defeat John Cena, an outcome which seemed considerably unlikely. The match is significant not only because Punk retained the title against Cena, but he would then be attacked by Kevin Nash and lost his title when Alberto Del Rio cashed in the Money In The Bank briefcase.


Continue to Part 2!