SummerSlam is one of WWE’s longest-running Pay Per Views and one of the legendary “Big Four”, a massive show which WWE likes to tout as “the biggest PPV of the summer”. And when you have a Pay Per View that has been around for roughly three decades, you get all sorts of weird statistics and interesting facts that crop up from years and years of matches. As a result, we’ve picked through the entire history of SummerSlam to come up with some items about WWE’s big summer party that we thought you’d find interesting. Enjoy!
13. The Birthplace of TLC
While Ladder Matches, TLC Matches, and Money in the Bank matches have been heavily featured at WrestleMania over the years, and everyone remembers the incredible matches between The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge & Christian during the Attitude Era, in many ways the very first TLC match in WWE history has become some sort of forgotten classic, simply because it didn’t take place at WrestleMania. That’s right, for the first official Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (Oh My!) match, you have to go back to SummerSlam 2000, when the feud between WWE’s three top tag teams got so intense that they were bringing their signature weaponry into their matches all the time. Tired of watching tag team matches on Raw devolve into hardcore matches on a constant basis, Commissioner Mick Foley demanded that they get it out of their systems in a big blow-off match. Thus was born TLC, and the first-ever match of its kind blew everyone away, setting the bar for all three teams even higher than before.
12. Bad Luck Brutus
Not a lot of people will feel much sympathy for Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, who often gets accused of using his position as a friend of Hulk Hogan to secure better positions within the wrestling companies he worked in, and to get him hired in the first place. These accusations are not necessarily false, but even so, you have to feel a little bad for ol’ Brother Bruti and his run of terrible luck when it came to SummerSlam. Twice in Beefcake’s career, he’s been set up with hot feuds leading to matches for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam, and both times, an unfortunate injury has taken him out of the match ahead of time. To make matters worse, in both cases, his replacement won the match, and the title! In 1988, Brutus had to watch as The Honky Tonk Man issued an open challenge that was answered by The Ultimate Warrior, who would win the match in less than thirty seconds and ride a wave of momentum into a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania VI. Then again, in 1990, a tragic parasailing accident which legitimately crushed the bones in Beefcake’s face led to him being removed from his long-awaited match with Mr. Perfect, and replaced by “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, who also took home the gold when he defeated Perfect.
11. Technically Undefeated
For the first twelve years of his WWE career, the Big Show was undefeated at SummerSlam, before finally losing a match in 2012. However, to be completely fair, that’s because he managed to only have a match on the show card times in that span. Yes, between injuries, a trip to developmental, outside projects, and WWE Creative just not having anything for him to do, The Big Show has actually only wrestled six times at SummerSlam, despite being part of the WWE roster since early 1999. In fact, Show didn’t even have his first SummerSlam match until 2006, when he defended the ECW Championship against Sabu. Then there was a dark match against Chavo Guerrero’s short-lived bodyguard Bam Neely in 2008, the team of JeriShow defending the Tag Team Titles against Cryme Tyme in 2009, singlehandedly beating CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society in 2010, the loss in 2012, and failing to win the Intercontinental Title in a Triple Threat match in 2015 (although he wasn’t pinned).
10. Actually Undefeated
Meanwhile, there’s a long list of people who actually haven’t lost at WrestleMania, although most of them are of the 1-0 or 2-0 variety. Standing on top of the heap, in what should probably be a surprise to nobody, is Hulk Hogan, who is a spotless 6-0 at the event, including the main event of 3 out of the first 4 SummerSlams. Actually, for the first few years of its existence, SummerSlam seemed to exist as a show for Hulk Hogan to wrestle in the main event in matches that were often a rematch from WrestleMania, except they were tag or multi-man matches, so his WWF Championship actually wasn’t on the line. There was also the infamous match from SummerSlam in 2005 (which also gave Hogan the record for longest time between SummerSlam matches, from 1991 to 2005) against Shawn Michaels, which saw a (somewhat justifiably) disgruntled HBK massively oversell Hogan’s offense, turning the match into a farce. The point is, when it comes to SummerSlam, always bet on the power of Hulkamania.
9. Curtain Jerking And Main Eventing
Hogan is one of a number of Superstars who have main-evented SummerSlam, and there are a surprising number of wrestlers who have consistently appeared in the opening match as well. However, in the history of SummerSlam, only one Superstar has wrestled in both the opening and final matches of the same show, and you’ll probably never guess who it is. Time’s up, it’s the Mexican Aristocrat, Alberto Del Rio. In 2011, Del Rio teamed up with The Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) in a basically meaningless six-man tag match against Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, and Rey Mysterio, a match which was won handily by the face side. However, the night wasn’t over for Del Rio, who had an Ace up his sleeve in the form of the Money in the Bank briefcase, and thanks to Kevin Nash’s surprising (and unwelcome) interference in the main event, Del Rio cashed in his contract for a title match and defeated a disoriented CM Punk to win the WWE Championship in the final match of the evening.
8. A Chance To Cash In
Speaking of Money in the Bank, in modern WWE it’s a near-constant threat to anyone holding a World Title, and it seems to be a particularly dangerous weapon around SummerSlam, mostly due to the Money in the Bank PPV happening relatively recently before the event. In fact, two Superstars have successfully cashed in the briefcase in the main event of SummerSlam and walked away as WWE Champion. One would be the aforementioned Del Rio, and the second is Randy Orton, who ripped the hearts out of every wrestling fan watching when he defeated the newly crowned Champion Daniel Bryan with the help of referee Triple H at SummerSlam in 2013. Needless to say, both those shows left bad tastes in a lot of mouths, as both Bryan and Punk were massively beloved fan favorites at the time, and the decision to take the title off them, in both cases, was widely questioned.
7. The Rated R Superstar Can’t Lose
It sometimes seems like Edge fashioned a Hall of Fame career without anyone really noticing. He’s one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE history, he’s won ten World Championships, had countless incredible matches including many Match of the Year candidates, had incredible feuds with top stars like John Cena, Kurt Angle, and The Undertaker,, and yet he never seems to get mentioned in the same breath as other legends of the business. Edge’s incredibly but under-hyped success runs true for SummerSlam, too, because while he isn’t undefeated at the event, in ten matches, Edge has won 8. And we’re not talking about meaningless undercard matches, either. He won that aforementioned first TLC match in WWE history, multiple matches for the Intercontinental title, a massive seven-man tag match against the Nexus, a huge grudge match against Matt Hardy, and he beat John Cena to retain the WWE Title in Cena’s hometown of Boston. Plus, even his rare losses included a huge Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker! But speaking of things Edge can hold over John Cena…
6. John Cena Can’t Win
You would think a guy who has a reputation for always winning would have a pretty good record at SummerSlam, but you’d be wrong. In fact, John Cena doesn’t even have a .500 winning percentage at WWE’s biggest show of the summer. As of 2015, Cena is a dismal 4-8 in SummerSlam matches, and actually hasn’t won a match at the event since 2010. Even more incredible, of those 12 matches, 9 of them have been for a World Title, and Cena has lost seven times, against Edge, Randy Orton, CM Punk (twice), Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, and most recently, Seth Rollins. Actually, Cena has never won a World title at SummerSlam, as both his victories came when he was already the champion. Throw in a clean loss to Batista in a heavily hyped match in 2008, and it shows that when it comes to SummerSlam, John Cena just can’t get the job done. If there’s any good news for John Cena, it’s that his terrible record looks like The Undertaker’s compared to this next guy…
5. Jeff Hardy Really Can’t Win
The Charismatic Enigma has a ridiculous level of incompetence when it comes to SummerSlam, as he hasn’t managed a single win in five matches, which is actually kind of shocking given that he was part of one of the biggest tag teams of the Attitude Era and had several big pushes, including multiple World Title wins, as a singles star. But whatever the case, when it comes to SummerSlam, Jeff Hardy ends up crashing through the table of defeat every single time. Fortunately, he’s not alone in this, as WWE Hall of Famer Booker T is not only a 5-time WCW Champion, but a 5-time loser at SummerSlam, without a single win to his name. The good news for Booker is that he’s at least won a single match at WrestleMania (giving him a still-disastrous 1-5 record), but as for Hardy, he’s just as bad on the grandest stage of them all, sporting a second winless record at 0-5. Hey, you can’t be a scrappy underdog character if you don’t lose a few matches, but we can’t help but feel like Jeff Hardy might have taken it…wait for it…to the EXTREME!
4. The (Attempted) Home Of SummerSlam
Over the years, WWE had made it a tradition to move their Pay Per View locations around to a number of different cities, but in the late 2000’s, a decision was made that because so many PPVs were being hosted by East Coast cities, including WrestleMania, they should make sure that there was at least one major show every year that took place on the West Coast. Thus, the call was made to make SummerSlam the “West Coast” show. Unfortunately, rather than cycle around a few different cities, WWE chose to try and make the Staples Center in Los Angeles the “home of SummerSlam”, and the arena would proceed to host every SummerSlam from 2009 to 2014, more than any other reason. No one is quite sure why WWE changed their mind on hosting in LA (or any other West Coast cirt, for that matter) after that, but from 2013 on, the show has moved back to the East Coast, being held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for three straight years, making SummerSlam the most immobile PPV on the WWE calendar, a dubious record if ever there was one.
3. Bret Hart, SummerSlam Triple Crown Champion
Any number of titles have changed hand at SummerSlam, up and down the card, with the Intercontinental Championship changing hands an incredible 14 times on its own. In fact, 2003 is the only year in which every title was successfully defended. One person you certainly won’t hear complaining about that fact is the legendary Bret “Hitman” Hart, who not only won multiple titles at SummerSlam, he won an entire Triple Crown’s worth. In 1990, the Hart Foundation defeated Demolition to capture the WWF Tag Team Championships, ending that team’s third and final reign. Then, in 1991, Hart would defeat Mr. Perfect in an incredible match to claim the Intercontinental Championship. To finish things off, Hart won his seventh and final WWF Championship from The Undertaker in 1997. Many wrestlers have achieved Triple Crowns and Grand Slams in WWE over the years, but nobody else has done it all at the same Pay Per View, one more accomplishment of Hart’s Hall of Fame career.
2. Randy Orton, SummerSlam World Champion
Okay, so a Triple Crown is great, but Randy Orton has managed to top that by being the only wrestler thus far to win 3 World Titles at SummerSlam. Orton first accomplished the feat in 2004, becoming the youngest World Champion in WWE history in the process, at the age of 24. But he wasn’t done there, as he would defeat Christian at SummerSlam in 2011 to end their long-running feud, and finally, he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase at the end of SummerSlam 2013 to steal the WWE Title away from the newly-crowned champion, Daniel Bryan. Overall, Orton is 6-4 at SummerSlam, but when three of those wins are World Title victories (plus a successful title defense against John Cena in 2009), they have to be extra sweet.
1. Wait, There’s A World Title?
Traditionally, the final match at any Pay Per View, barring some sort of special, once-in-a-lifetime match taking precedence (or the Royal Rumble) is for a World title. It makes sense, after all, the World title is supposed to be the most important thing in the company (or the two most important things, in the case of the Brand Extensions), it should probably be the main event of the show. However, at SummerSlam, an astonishing ten times in 28 years (roughly a third of the time), the show has closed with something other than a match for a World title. In the early years, it was a series of tag matches involving Hulk Hogan, but this also includes the legendary Hart-Bulldog match from Wembley Stadium, the infamous Undertaker vs Underfaker match, and the huge 7-on-7 elimination match between John Cena’s team and The Nexus. While other Pay Per Views, and even WrestleMania, have ended the night with a match that wasn’t a World title affair, no regular WWE PPV has done it as frequently as SummerSlam.
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