This August, the WWE will present the 28th annual SummerSlam event and continue one of the best traditions in the history of sports entertainment.
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Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker is the only bout announced for The Biggest Party of the Summer, which emanates live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Aug. 23, but there are sure to be several more compelling contests added to the card.
As part of an on-going series, Sports World News has delved into each SummerSlam event and has picked out the best moments and matches from each edition of the WWE’s summer spectacle.
From there, we’ve ranked each of those events within a five-year span, starting with 1988-1992 last time and continuing here with 1993-97.
As SummerSlam evolved, it began to get more ‘Attitude’ in the mid to late 1990s and there is quite the transition from the 1993 event in Michigan to the 1997 spectacular in New Jersey.
Here are our best moments from each edition from worst-to-first. CLICK START at the top right of this page to view it in slideshow form.
5) Dibiase’s Swansong, SummerSlam 1993
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase was a huge part of SummerSlam lore, having main evented the inaugural event in 1988 and then competing in every single one up until 1993.
Dibiase battled Razor Ramon at The Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan on Aug. 30, 1993, in what proved to be the final match in his career.
Ramon hit Dibiase with the Razor’s Edge, ending his in-ring WWE career at The Biggest Party of the Summer. Unfortunately, this is a mostly forgettable show.
4) Bearer’s Betrayal, SummerSlam 1996
Paul Bearer was by The Undertaker’s side for six years heading into the first ever Boiler Room Brawl between The Demon from Death Valley and his deranged adversary Mankind. The two engaged in an all-out war live from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Aug. 18, 1996.
After the two rivals threw everything they had at each other in the boiler room, the action spilled into ringside where the winner was to receive the urn from Bearer.
The Undertaker, having gone through hell, reached out for his prized possession, but Bearer turned his back on him, eventually striking him with the hardware and handing it over to Mankind, betraying The Undertaker in a shocking development.
3) Hart’s War, SummerSlam 1994
What are you surprised Undertaker vs. Undertaker didn’t make this list?
Bret “Hitman” Hart and his brother “The King of Harts” Owen Hart engaged in a legendary feud in 1994 and Owen got a win over his big brother at WrestleMania X, just hours before Bret went onto win the WWE Championship.
The two brothers would eventually go on to face each other in a Steel Cage at SummerSlam at the United Center in Chicago on Aug. 29, 1994, for the WWE Championship.
The cage match was a gritty family affair that saw both men fight tooth and nail for the richest prize in the game.
In the end, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith got involved and this time it was Bret standing tall by escaping the cage after a grueling match that lasted over 32 minutes.
2) Climbing The Ladder To Steal The Show Again, SummerSlam 1995
Razor Ramon knocked off a heel Shawn Michaels in an epic industry-changing Ladder Match at WrestleMania X in 1994, and even when both men were babyfaces, they still had unfinished business.
Michaels and Ramon clashed once again in another Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship live from the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pennsylvania on Aug. 27, 1995.
The match was a knockdown, drag out fight that saw both individuals pull out all the stops to try and top their previous legendary performance. In the end, Michaels avenged his loss at The Show of Shows by defeating Ramon after 25 minutes to retain his championship gold. It was literally the only good thing to come from SummerSlam 1995.
1) Hart and Soul, SummerSlam 1997
Bret Hart’s final SummerSlam match before the Montreal Screwjob and his last encounter at The Biggest Party of the Summer until 2010 was a very memorable one as he battled The Undertaker with his on and off-screen rival Shawn Michaels serving as the guest referee.
This bout occurred on Aug. 3, 1997, at the Continental Airlines Arena and saw the heel Hart use dirty tactics to wrest the WWE Championship away from The Deadman. Hart spit in HBK’s face, causing him to wildly swing a chair at him. The Hitman ducked and The Undertaker took the brunt of the special referee’s blow.
Ever the opportunist, Hart took advantage and pinned ‘Taker, causing Michaels to reluctantly count the fall. It marked the fifth and final time that the Excellence of Execution held the WWE Championship.
Now that we’ve discovered the best moment of each one of these events, here’s a ranking of each event in its entirety from first-to-worst
1) SummerSlam 1997: Hart’s victory, Austin vs. Owen (despite injury) and Mankind vs. Triple H in a cage make this a memorable one.
2) SummerSlam 1994: Ridiculous main event aside, Bret/Owen and Ramon/Diesel were both great.
3) SummerSlam 1996: Paul Bearer’s betrayal and Michaels overcoming Vader highlight this one.
4) SummerSlam 1993: Not a strong card, Luger chokes again and nothing else stands out aside from another solid outing by Bret Hart.
5) SummerSlam 1995: The worst SummerSlam ever. Diesel vs. Mabel is the main event. Only saving grace: Michaels/Ramon.