SummerSlam, WWE’s second biggest pay-per-view event of the year, has a long-standing tradition of delivering memorable matches and moments that have become legendary in the world of professional wrestling.
Throughout its 33-year history, SummerSlam has witnessed career-defining performances and historic achievements that continue to be talked about by fans to this day. In this article, we will take a look at the top ten greatest SummerSlam main events of all time, showcasing the best of the best in terms of both in-ring action and storyline significance.
10. SummerSlam 2020: The ThunderDome Era Begins
SummerSlam 2020 marked a significant milestone for WWE as it was the first pay-per-view event to take place inside the WWE ThunderDome, a state-of-the-art arena that created a visually stunning and immersive experience for fans watching from all around the world. The show delivered on multiple fronts, setting the stage for the weeks and months to come.
The event kicked off with a thrilling match between Bayley and Asuka, where Bayley managed to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship with the help of her partner Sasha Banks. However, later in the evening, Asuka got her revenge by defeating Sasha Banks to capture the Raw Women’s Championship.
In another standout match, Drew McIntyre successfully defended his WWE Championship against Randy Orton in a hard-fought battle that showcased both superstars’ immense skills and resilience. Dominik Mysterio also made his WWE debut in a street fight against Seth Rollins, putting up a valiant effort despite coming up short. The feud between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville reached its climax at Summerslam 2020, with Mandy emerging victorious in a Loser Leaves WWE Match.
However, the most memorable moment of the night came in the main event, where The Fiend Bray Wyatt defeated Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere Match to capture the Universal Championship. But it was the shocking return of Roman Reigns, who attacked both The Fiend and Strowman after the match, that truly stole the show and set the tone for the ThunderDome era.
9. SummerSlam 2019: The Return to Toronto
After a 15-year absence, SummerSlam returned to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2019, bringing with it a night of electrifying action and unforgettable moments. The main event of the evening featured Seth Rollins challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship in a highly anticipated rematch.
The match between Rollins and Lesnar exceeded all expectations, with Rollins delivering a gutsy performance to reclaim the Universal Championship and bring it back to Monday Night Raw. The opening match of the night saw Becky Lynch successfully defend her Raw Women’s Championship against Natalya in a hard-hitting encounter.
Other title matches on the card included Kofi Kingston retaining the WWE Championship against Randy Orton in a match that ended in a double count-out, and Bayley successfully defending the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Ember Moon. AJ Styles also retained the United States Championship by defeating Ricochet, while Kevin Owens emerged victorious in a grueling match against Shane McMahon.
SummerSlam 2019 also featured the return of Goldberg, who made quick work of Dolph Ziggler in a dominant performance. The event will also be remembered for the dream match between Charlotte Flair and Trish Stratus, where the two women showcased their incredible skills and left the crowd in awe.
8. SummerSlam 2015: The Undertaker Seeks Revenge
After a seven-year absence from SummerSlam, The Undertaker made his highly anticipated return to the event in 2015, seeking revenge against Brock Lesnar for ending his legendary WrestleMania undefeated streak at WrestleMania 30. The stage was set for an epic clash between two of WWE’s most iconic figures.
The match between The Undertaker and Lesnar was brutal and physical, with both men throwing everything they had at each other. The Undertaker unleashed his devastating Hell’s Gate submission hold, forcing Lesnar to pass out and securing a hard-fought victory. This match not only provided a satisfying conclusion to their long-standing rivalry but also showcased the resilience and determination of The Undertaker.
7. SummerSlam 2019: The Beast Slayer Rises
Brock Lesnar headlined SummerSlam for the sixth consecutive year in 2019, defending the Universal Championship against Seth Rollins. The match delivered on all fronts, with Rollins proving to be a worthy adversary for the dominant champion.
Despite the sheer power and brute force of Lesnar, Rollins refused to back down and fought back with everything he had. The chemistry between the two superstars was evident as they put on a spectacular display of athleticism and storytelling. In the end, Rollins emerged victorious, capturing the Universal Championship and solidifying his status as the “Beast Slayer.”
6. SummerSlam 2014: The Beast Incarnate Returns
In a match that showcased the sheer dominance of Brock Lesnar, SummerSlam 2014 saw John Cena defend his WWE Championship against a red-hot Lesnar. The match was a one-sided affair, with Lesnar systematically dismantling Cena and delivering an astonishing 16 German Suplexes.
Cena had no answers to Lesnar’s onslaught and was ultimately put out of his misery with a devastating F5. This victory marked Lesnar’s first WWE Championship reign in ten years and established him as a force to be reckoned with in the WWE landscape.
5. SummerSlam 1992: A British Triumph
SummerSlam 1992 will always be remembered for its historic main event between Bret Hart and The British Bulldog. Taking place at Wembley Stadium in London, England, the match was a culmination of a personal and emotional storyline between the two family members.
Bulldog had the home-field advantage, with the London crowd firmly behind him. The match itself was a technical masterpiece, with both Hart and Bulldog delivering a clinic in storytelling and in-ring prowess. In the end, Bulldog emerged victorious, capturing the Intercontinental Championship and solidifying his place in wrestling history.
4. SummerSlam 2004: The Legend Killer’s Triumph
In 2004, Randy Orton embarked on a path of destruction, earning the moniker of “The Legend Killer.” At SummerSlam that year, Orton challenged Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship in a match that would forever change his career.
Orton, at the age of 24, became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history, solidifying his status as a rising star and future main event player. This victory marked the beginning of a legendary career for Orton and set the stage for his reign of dominance in the years to come.
3. SummerSlam 2008: The Devil’s Favorite Playground
The rivalry between The Undertaker and Edge reached its climax at SummerSlam 2008, as the two superstars battled inside Hell in a Cell. This brutal match, which took place without any championships on the line, was a testament to the personal animosity between the two men.
The match was filled with intense moments and jaw-dropping spots, including Edge spearing The Undertaker through a panel and The Undertaker chokeslamming Edge through a couple of tables. Ultimately, The Undertaker emerged victorious, delivering a devastating Tombstone Piledriver to secure the win and bring an end to their heated rivalry.
2. SummerSlam 2013: The Rise of Daniel Bryan
In 2013, Daniel Bryan’s popularity reached its peak, and he challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship in the main event of SummerSlam. The match was a clash of styles, with Bryan’s technical prowess contrasting Cena’s power and resilience.
The crowd was firmly behind Bryan, desperate to see him end Cena’s reign as WWE Champion. With Triple H serving as the special guest referee, the match was filled with near-falls and false finishes, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. In the end, Bryan connected with his signature Running Knee to secure the victory and capture his first WWE Championship, solidifying his place as one of the top stars in the industry.
1. SummerSlam 2017: The Fatal-4-Way Showdown
The most chaotic SummerSlam main event of all time took place in 2017, featuring Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe in a fatal-4-way match for the Universal Championship. This high-stakes encounter had everything: power, athleticism, and intense rivalries.
All four competitors had their moments, with each showcasing their unique skills and laying it all on the line. In the end, it was Lesnar who emerged victorious, delivering a devastating F5 to Roman Reigns and successfully defending his Universal Championship. This main event will forever be remembered as a true classic and a testament to the talent and athleticism of the superstars involved.
In conclusion, SummerSlam has provided wrestling fans with countless memorable main events over the years. From historic victories to intense rivalries, these matches have solidified the legacy of both the event itself and the superstars who competed in them. Whether it’s the ThunderDome era, the return to Toronto, or the legendary battles that took place inside Hell in a Cell, Summerslam continues to deliver unforgettable moments that will be talked about for generations to come.