Summerslam has been one of the most important dates on the WWE calendar since 1988. Labelled as “The Biggest Party of the Summer”, it has been considered by many to be the second biggest PPV for WWE. It is not hard to see why as the company pulls out all the stops for the show… but sometimes, we get some SummerSlam Hidden Gems!
Some of the biggest names in wrestling, and the entertainment industry, have strutted out for the world. Most of these names have provided some entertaining moments and fantastic matches that will forever be etched in Summerslam’s history.
As much as these moments, and matches, have a storied history some have flown under the radar. There have been some great matches at the Biggest Party of the Summer that has been forgotten about by many. There have been some that are fantastic in their own right and deserve their rightful place in the annals of Summerslam history. Below we will take a look at 10 matches at Summerslam that deserve a second look.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Rick Martel v Shawn Micheals (Summerslam 1992)
Summerslam 1992 will be forever remembered for the outstanding main event between The British Bulldog and Bret Hart. It was a great match but it took away from others on the card, namely the fun little match between HBK and Rick Martel.
Martel and HBK were feuding over the services of Sheri Martel. It was an interesting heel v heel angle and gave us the hilarious “no hitting in the face” stipulation.
Look, this match will never win the match of the year, but the work put in by both men made it entertaining. Both were so protective of their faces during the match that it got some great laughs from the fans. Not all matches need to be masterpieces, sometimes an entertaining break is exactly what we need.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Chavo Guerrero v Rey Mysterio (Summerslam 2006)
How WWE used the death of Eddie Guerrero didn’t get much applause from the wrestling world, but it did provide us with a great match to start Summerslam. Mysterio and Guerrero were two of the best technicians on the roster. Their match outshone many on the card and should be thought of more fondly. It included some great chain wrestling, which is to be expected but then they layered brawling into the contest. This sold the seriousness and personal nature of the match and helped to engage the fans.
Vickie Guerrero costing Rey the match was a great way to end the bought. It brought Vickie into the feud in which she began to develop her great heel character.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Barry Horowitz v Skip (Summerslam 1995)
Barry Horowitz was one of the more famous jobbers on the WWE roster. Throughout his tenure, Horowitz never got his W and no one expected him to get it. Thus when he beat Skip, of the Body Donna’s, the world was in shock. Saying this was a fluke Skip demanded a rematch for Summerslam.
This was not your catch-as-catch-can style of match. There was not great chain wrestling but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. Horowitz was incredibly over with the crowd and him getting another win over Skip gave us a great pop. It should be a match that is more fondly remembered than it is.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: The Steiner Brothers v The Heavenly Bodies (Summerslam 1993)
The Steiner Brothers are one of the most successful teams in wrestling history. They won championships all over the world but their WWE tenure left little to be desired. It was unfortunate for the brothers from Michigan but we can find solace that they were able to have some great matches. The best of these matches came at Summerslam 1993.
This was your typical tag match, with a hot start and then Scott playing the face in peril until the hot tag that brought brother Rick. It was a paint-by-numbers match but that is not a bad thing. When the men in the ring are as talented as these men were anything is going to be great.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Rey Mysterio v Dolph Ziggler (Summerslam 2009)
Mysterio and Ziggler had been entrenched in a feud over the Intercontinental Championship for nearly a month leading into this match. Ziggler had come up short once before but earned his way back into the opener of Summerslam opposite Mysterio.
This was one of the best openers in Summerslam history. They were given ample time to tell a great story in the ring and both men delivered. Ziggler and Mysterio went at a breakneck pace that only the two of them could pull off. It was a fantastic back-and-forth match and was a beautiful way to start the show.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Kevin Owens v Cesaro (Summerslam 2015)
There was very little build to this match. Owens had just started his main roster journey while Cesaro was perpetually one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster. They had been interfering in each other’s matches for a few weeks leading up to this, but that lazy booking led to an absolute banger of a match at Summerslam.
This match was as physical as one could get. Both men incorporated a heavy-hitting style throughout the match and it was impressive. They continually traded high-impact moves that showcased the incredible talent they possessed.
WWE should have capitalized on the popularity of this feud judging from the critical and crowd reception. It is a much watch of Summerslam matches.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: British Bulldogs v The Rougeau Brothers (Summerslam 1988)
The inaugural Summerslam was so long ago that many might only remember the main event between the Mega Bucks and Mega Powers. What people should be talking about was a fantastic tag team match that opened the show.
We were deep into the golden era of tag team wrestling with this match. Both teams put on one hell of a show for the Madison Square Garden crowd. They were given an ample amount of time to put together some great spots. The wrestling was crisp and the technical mastery of all four men was on display. This is a match that should be watched by all, don’t just skip to the main event of the evening.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Edge v Lance Storm (Summerslam 2001)
The Invasion storyline didn’t pan out the way we had all hoped. The dream matches that were left on the table led to some mediocre angles. Luckily, Lance Storm was able to showcase his talent, including his great Summerslam opener against Edge.
This was the beginning of Edge becoming a single’s success. He, and Storm, meshed perfectly with each other in the ring. We got to see some great heel work from Storm throughout which helped to get the fans on Edge’s side. It was a shame that Storm was not utilized more going forward.
Edge picked up the win, after some shenanigans, which was a natural end to booking during that time. This was a feud that WWE should have highlighted more during the Invasion.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Savio Vega v Owen Hart (Summerslam 1996)
Sure, this Summerslam will be remembered for the selfish working of Shawn Michaels, but many should be focused on the first match of the night.
Savio Vega and Owen Hart were put together to open up the show and they gave the crowd an entertaining 14 minutes. Anything Owen touched turned to gold during this time. His heel work during the match was fantastic and Vega was the perfect babyface to contract Hart’s heelish ways.
Despite his comeback, Vega fell to a timely Hart cast shot and sharpshooter. It was the right way to end the match and it was a great finish to keep the crowd hot for the night.
SummerSlam Hidden Gems: Shinsuke Nakamura v Jeff Hardy (Summerslam 2018)
The previous month Nakamura stole the United States Championship from Jeff Hardy following a low blow. The rematch, on Smackdown, had ended in a DQ so the blow-off was scheduled for Summerslam.
This match had the unfortunate luck of being put in between some world championship matches. It took away from the importance of the match and was an insult to Nakamura and Hardy. Both men put in some incredible work during this match. The strong style of Nakamura provided a perfect contrast to a high-flying moveset of Hardy. It was a breath of fresh air when compared to the slower style of matches that followed them.
This was a mid-card feud that deserved much more credit than it got and is a match that flies under the radar in Summerslam history.