This Sunday, lightning will strike in the middle of a wrestling ring for the second time when Brooklyn, NY plays host to a rematch that was more than a full calendar year in the making. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Superstar The Undertaker looks to avenge his first-ever Wrestlemania loss when he squares off against former ultimate fighter Brock Lesnar.
In anticipation of the 27th annual event, Costume Discounters has decided to count down the Top 10 Summerslam matches of all-time. To keep things interesting, though, we’re only including matches that featured members from the WWE’s active roster. Check out our list and let us know if there’s one we missed!
While neither Shawn Michaels nor Triple H have a match this Sunday, we’re hard-pressed not to include this match on our list. Michaels’ first match in nearly five years after what was thought to be a career-ending injury was highlighted by his signature elbow drop off the top of a ladder and a roll-up pin for the victory.
9. Triple H def. Michaels, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Kevin Nash & Goldberg; 2003 – Elimination Chamber
The second-ever match to be held in the Elimination Chamber structure pitted World Heavyweight Champion Triple H defending his title against five opponents, all of whom had previously worn the belt. After Goldberg did the dirty work by pinning three of the match’s six competitors, Triple H won by pinfall after an attack with his patented sledgehammer.
8. Kurt Angle def. Brock Lesnar; 2003
This back-and-forth between two collegiate wrestling champions was almost cheapened by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who acted as a manager for Lesnar and broke a submission hold by hitting Kurt Angle across the back with a steel folding chair. Even still, Angle would recover and force Lesnar to tap out to his signature ankle lock.
7. Bray Wyatt def. Kane; 2013 – Ring of Fire
In the match that opened Summerslam 2013, relative newcomer Bray Wyatt took on WWE mainstay, and the “Devil’s Favorite Demon,” Kane in a ring surrounded by a burning inferno. Wyatt’s stablemates Luke Harper and Erick Rowan overcame the flames by covering them with an asbestos blanket, distracting Kane and allowing Wyatt to take control of the match and cover him for the pin and the victory.
6. Randy Orton def. The Undertaker; 2005
After an array of dominating maneuvers that seemingly placed The Undertaker in position to win convincingly, After a chokeslam, a crazed fan scrambled into the ring, distracting “The Deadman” and allowing the third-generation superstar Orton to successfully perform his finishing RKO in its typical “Out of Nowhere” fashion. After the match, it was revealed that the fan was Orton’s father, the former champion “Cowboy” Bob.
5. The Undertaker def. Edge; 2008 – Hell in a Cell
The main event of Summerslam 2008 took place in the structure made famous by The Undertaker, “Hell in a Cell.” While WWE Hall of Famer Edge dominated much of the match with help from weapons like tables and chairs, but The Undertaker would ultimately prevail, sending his opponent through a wall of the cell and eventually through the center of the ring with a chokeslam off of the top of a ladder.
4. CM Punk def. John Cena; 2011
After CM Punk defeated John Cena at the Money in the Bank event earlier that summer, then seemingly left the company, there was some confusion as to who the actual WWE Champion was. When Punk returned, he was welcomed back with this match to determine the actual champion. Punk defeated Cena via pinfall, but then lost his belt to Alberto Del Rio who “cashed in” his contract for a guaranteed title shot after an attack by guest referee Triple H.
3. Daniel Bryan def. John Cena; 2013
Yup – Two matches in a row that ended with Triple H as a guest referee costing the winner of the main event his newly-won WWE Championship. After a hard-fought year of scrapping his way to the top of the proverbial wrestling ladder, Daniel Bryan defeated Cena for the title, only to have Triple H attack him and allow Randy Orton to cash in his “Money in the Bank” contract. Thus marked the beginning of the WWE Universe’s least favorite faction; The Authority.
2. Brock Lesnar def. The Rock; 2002
While a version of The Undertaker’s theme song once started with the words “He’s here,” this match stated the same of Brock Lesnar without anything needing to be spoken. Lesnar defeated The Rock, who was then seen as the poster boy of WWE, in dominating fashion, becoming the youngest world champion in WWE history at just 25 years old.
1. Brock Lesnar def. John Cena; 2014
Two intimidating showings from Brock Lesnar top our list, as the number one match of the modern Summerslam era came just last year. With 16 German suplexes and two of his signature F-5 finishing moves, one of the most dominating title reigns in recent memory began, as Lesnar would hold the belt with seemingly no competition until Wrestlemania 31.
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