WWE: Fantasy Main Event SummerSlam Substitutions

Summerslam has always been considered one of the biggest shows on the WWE calendar. Vince, and company, usually strut out the best matches and the best talent to make the show feel like “ The Biggest Party of the Summer”. For the most part, they do a fantastic job of this… however in some cases, there needed to be some SummerSlam Substitutions.

Since 1988, WWE has been able to create some great cards that showcase the immense talent that they house. These cards have been great top to bottom, especially at the top. The main events of Summerslam have been the reason why the show has been running since 1988. That being said the main event has not always been the best idea to close out the show. There have been a few instances where the main event should have been another match on the card. Below we will discuss 5 such times.

SummerSlam Substitutions | Summerslam 1994
The Undertaker v The Undertaker – instead of – Bret Hart v Owen Hart

The summer of 1994 was a tale of two angles, one terrible and one outstanding.  It started with Ted Dibiase claiming that he had acquired The Undertaker a client. This led to a mind-boggling angle where two men were claiming to be the Undertaker. It was a poor decision by WWE and one that led to them booking a horrific match between the Imposter and Real Undertaker. One that had no business being the main event.

Then we had an engaging story between two brothers, one a celebrated champion of a dynastic family. The other, the youngest sibling, was desperate to upend his brother and become the WWE Champion.  The feud between Bret and Owen was the best of the summer and was much more deserving of the main event. To top that off Owen and Bret had one of the best matches in WWE history in their cage match for the championship. This would have been the best way to end the evening.

SummerSlam Substitutions | Summerslam 2003
Elimination Chamber Match – instead of – Kurt Angle v Brock Lesnar

The Raw Championship scene was weak in 2003. Triple H was deep into his bury everyone phase and the match quality was sometimes suspect. Goldberg was the only bright spot on the roster but Vince dropped the ball with the WCW stalwart. Treating Goldberg like an unstoppable force was the only way to book the man, but at the main event of Summerslam, this all went away. After tearing through the chamber competitors Goldberg was dispatched quickly by HHH. It was a disappointing end to the night and one that ruined its aura of Goldberg.

What should have been in its place was a great match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Both men were never disappointing in the ring and this match was no different. They produced a captivating encounter that included some great technical wrestling and some brutal brawling. They were also over with the crowd and the finish, with McMahon being put through a chair, would have been a more suitable way to send the crowd home happy.

SummerSlam Substitutions | Summerslam 1995
Diesel v Mabel – instead of – HBK v Razor Ramon

1995 was not exactly a banner for WWE. The booking was sub-par and they had a tremendously misguided idea of what made for a good main event. This issue was evident when WWE Champion Diesel met Mabel in the main event of the evening.  Diesel was passable in the ring when given the correct opponent and Mabel was not it. Both men lumbered around the ring for close to 10 minutes and had a hard time keeping the attention of the Pittsburgh faithful. It was a mistake to have them close out the show.

WWE could have rectified this issue easily by switching the WWE Championship match with the match that preceded it. HBK and Ramon put on one of the best ladder matches in WWE history. They took the foundation that was laid at Wrestlemania 10 and built on it beautifully. It was something new and was made better by the face v face dynamic that wasn’t present in their previous match. It was a much more deserving main event than what we were given.

SummerSlam Substitutions | Summerslam 2020
The Fiend v Braun Strowman – instead of – Drew McIntyre v Randy Orton

The Thunderdome era had its ups and downs. The main event of Summerslam has to be considered a down. Sure, the return of Roman Reigns, as a heel, was a great surprise but the match itself was not worth watching. Both men’s reputations had been sullied to the point of no return which made it hard for anyone to care about this match. To top that the match was slow and didn’t involve the brutal brawling one would come to expect with a Falls Count Anywhere Match.

In its place, WWE should have gone with the man who carried the company during the pandemic. McIntyre had been a beast for the company since fans left the buildings and his feud with Randy Orton was easily one of the best parts of the Thunderdome era.

It was a damn shame that both men were not rewarded with the main event slot. They turned in a much better performance than the actual main event and it would have been better to reward both men with the main event slot of The Biggest Party of the Summer.

SummerSlam Substitutions | Summerslam 2016
Randy Orton v Brock Lesnar – Instead of – Seth Rollins v Finn Balor

Summerslam 2016 was the beginning of a new era for WWE. The brand split was in full force and WWE seemed to be treating it seriously. Unfortunately, the seriousness didn’t extend to the main event of the evening.

WWE was looking for a new opponent for Brock Lesnar, and they settled on The Viper. It wasn’t a terrible call and the build-up to the match left fans salivating. Alas, the build-up was the best part of the feud. The match was not anything worth watching. Orton was made to look like a chump for most of the match, which is a travesty considering his standing in the company. It was a disappointing match that was not deserving of the main event.

On the other side, the match to decide the inaugural Universal Champion should have closed out the night. The match between Balor and Rollins was your usual exciting contest. Both men are fantastic wrestlers and their chemistry in the ring was unmatched by Lesnar and Orton. Plus, ending the night on the high of fan-favourite winning his first world championship was a more palatable finish.

More From This Author