The greatest moments in SummerSlam history
Ultimate Warrior demolishes Honky Tonk Man, ending his 18 month Intercontinental Championship – 1988
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was originally slated to challenge the Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship, but because of an injury suffered at the hands of Outlaw Ron Bass, Beefcake could not compete. A replacement was named the night of the first ever SummerSlam, but Honky Tonk Man didn’t even want to know who it was. He was so confident that he didn’t care who his opponent was. But when Ultimate Warrior’s music started blaring over the speakers at Madison Square Garden, the champion was literally shaking in his boots. In mere seconds, the Ultimate Warrior put an end to Honky Tonk Man’s 18 month Intercontinental Championship reign.
Elizabeth rips off her skirt and distracts the Mega Bucks – 1988
In the first ever main event of SummerSlam, the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage) took on the Mega Bucks (Andre the Giant & “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) with Jesse “The Body” Ventura as the special guest referee. The Mega Bucks seemed to have everything going their way as both Hogan and Savage were down. But then Miss Elizabeth hopped up on the apron and whipped off her skirt revealing sexy bikini bottoms. The Mega Bucks as well as Ventura were awe-struck and seemingly in a trance. Thanks to the distraction, the Mega Powers recovered and were able to get the win.
The Legion of Doom help the Hart Foundation defeat Demolition for the World Tag Team Championship – 1990
The Hart Foundation had a shot at Demolition and the World Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam 1990 in a best two-out-of-three falls match. Demolition, consisting of Ax, Smash and Crush at the time, were allowed to use any two members of the team to defend the championship. Crush and Smash were the ones chosen, but during the match, Ax was hiding underneath the ring. After splitting the first two falls, Ax snuck into the ring, taking the place of Smash. They swapped spots once again, trying to keep a fresh man in there at all times. Not standing for such an injustice, the Legion of Doom came to ringside and dragged Ax out from under the ring. With Smash distracted, Bret “Hit Man” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart were able to pick up the win and their second World Tag Team Championship.
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Virgil defeats Ted DiBiase for the Million Dollar Championship – 1991
Virgil had faithfully been in the corner of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase ever since they debuted in WWE. No matter what DiBiase wanted him to do, Virgil would do it. Whether it was rubbing his feet or knocking out an opponent, Virgil was always there. At the Royal Rumble, Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire defeated DiBiase and Virgil. After the match DiBiase slapped Virgil around. Virgil finally could take no more humiliation. The two met at WrestleMania VII and Virgil won by a count-out, but therefore did not win the Million Dollar Championship. Virgil had things going his way at SummerSlam as he had DiBiase locked into the Million Dollar Dream. Sensational Sherri interfered, knocking out Virgil with a loaded purse. The referee called for a DQ, but then said the match would continue. DiBiase dominated Virgil, but when he tried to ram his head into an exposed turnbuckle, Virgil reversed it, knocking out the Million Dollar Man and winning the Million Dollar Championship.
After losing a Jailhouse Match to the Big Boss Man, The Mountie is carried away in a Paddy Wagon and sent to jail – 1991
Big Boss Man and The Mountie certainly had different views on what constituted law and order, so they tried to settle their differences in the first-and-only Jailhouse Match in WWE history. The Big Boss Man was able to pick up the win, and as stipulated in the match, The Mountie went to jail because of the loss. WWE cameras followed The Mountie through the process of being thrown into the Paddy Wagon, having his mug shot taken, his fingerprints taken and being thrown into his jail cell in some of the funniest moments in WWE history.
The Legion of Doom win their first World Tag Team Championship – 1991
The Legion of Doom are one of the most dominating tag teams in sports entertainment history. With their combination of brute strength and intimidation, Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal were almost indestructible. This was clear in their match against the Nasty Boys at SummerSlam 1991. The Nasty Boys used Jimmy Hart’s megaphone as a weapon, but the LOD used Hart’s motorcycle helmet to even the score. A Doomsday Device later, and the LOD were new World Tag Team Champions, making them the first team in sports entertainment history to be champions in the AWA, NWA and WWE.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage gets married to Elizabeth – 1991
SummerSlam 1991 had the Match Made in Hell as Hulk Hogan teamed up with Ultimate Warrior to face Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and Gen. Adnan. But there was also the Match Made in Heaven as “Macho Man” Randy Savage and his long time manager Elizabeth tied the knot. SummerSlam 1991 was being called Nuptials and Napalm, but no matter what you call it, the wedding was one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
The British Bulldog wins the Intercontinental Championship in front of his family and the Wembley Stadium crowd – 1992
This one was for the Intercontinental Championship, but it was also tearing the Hart family apart. The British Bulldog was married to Bret “Hit Man” Hart’s sister, and she couldn't decide who to root for. All Diana Hart really wanted was that neither man get hurt. To make matters even more interesting, this match took place in Davey Boy Smith’s backyard at Wembley Stadium in London, England. After what seemed like an eternity of back and forth wrestling, Davey Boy was able to roll up the Hit Man as Wembley Stadium erupted in deafening cheers. Then, Bret showed he was a good sport and shook his brother-in-law’s hand in a great SummerSlam moment.
Bret “Hit Man” Hart refuses to release the Sharpshooter, giving Jerry Lawler the win – 1993
Bret “Hit Man” Hart had won the King of the Ring in 1993, but Jerry “The King” Lawler was not happy with this. Lawler felt he was the true king of wrestling and during Bret’s victory interview, he attacked Hart. The animosity grew and grew, and the two met in a grudge match at SummerSlam to see who the true King of Wrestling really was. Bret locked Lawler in the sharpshooter, making him submit. But Hart’s hatred towards Lawler was so great that the Hit Man refused to break the hold. The official was forced to overturn his decision, making Lawler the winner by disqualification.
Lex Luger and others celebrate his win over Yokozuna – 1993
Lex Luger had done the unthinkable and bodyslammed Yokozuna aboard the USS Intrepid on the Fourth of July. Luger had what was billed as his one and only shot at Yokozuna’s WWE Championship at SummerSlam 1993. Luger was a powerful man, but Yokozuna’s strength and size was thought to be too much for him. Luger overcame the odds and was able to knock out Yokozuna with his steel-plated forearm. Yokozuna fell to the floor, and was counted out. Luger won the match, but did not win the championship because of the count-out. Several other wrestlers came to the ring to celebrate the win anyways as balloons filled The Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan.
Undertaker stared down the fake Undertaker – 1994
After losing a Casket Match to Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble 1994, Undertaker was nowhere to be seen for months. Then in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase claimed that he had located Undertaker and would bring him back to WWE. Paul Bearer said that was impossible as only he knew where Undertaker was. In one of the most bizarre matches ever, Paul Bearer’s Undertaker squared off against DiBiase’s Undertaker. Who can ever forget when both Undertaker’s stare into each other’s eyes in the middle of the ring at SummerSalm 1994.
Barry Horowitz gets a pay-per-view win over Skip of the Bodydonnas – 1995
Barry Horowitz is remembered by most WWE fans as a guy that lost countless matches on episode after episode of Wrestling Challenge. But every dog has his day and Horowitz was no exception. In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam 1995, Horowtiz shocked Skip of the Bodydonnas with a win. Skip couldn’t believe it and demanded revenge. The two met up at SummerSlam and Skip had things going his way. After hitting a Headbutt from the top rope, Skip picked Horowitz up at the two-count to inflict more punishment. As the match wore on, though, Hakushi came to the ring and distracted Skip. With Skip distracted, Horowtiz rolled him up for the shocking win – the first and only pay-per-view win of Horowtiz’s career.
Paul Bearer turns on Undertaker and helps Mankind win the Boiler Room Brawl – 1996
Ever since coming into WWE in 1990, Paul Bearer had been at Undertaker’s side. But all good things must come to an end. Undertaker faced Mankind in the first ever Boiler Room Brawl. The two destroyed each other in the bowels of The Gund Arena in Cleveland, OH. After brutalizing each other with pipes, ladders and even saw horses, the two Superstars found their way back to the ring where Paul Bearer was waiting. Undertaker went to retrieve the urn, but Paul Bearer turned his back on his protégé, allowing Mankind to get the win.
Owen Hart breaks Stone Cold’s neck with a piledriver – 1997
Stone Cold Steve Austin was hitting his stride as one of the most popular Superstars in WWE at this time. He was embroiled in a bitter rivalry with the Hart family and faced Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam 1997. Stone Cold and Owen were going back and forth, and then it happened. Owen reversed Stone Cold’s piledriver attempt into one of his own, but when they hit the mat, Stone Cold’s head jammed into the mat, breaking his neck. Stone Cold was somehow still able to get the pin, but he was out for a few months because of the injury.
Shawn Michaels accidentally hits Undertaker with a chair to help Bret “Hit Man” Hart win – 1997
Few rivalries in WWE history can match the intensity of the Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels rivalry. Their history is well documented, but in this one, HBK couldn’t be biased against Bret. The Hit Man was facing Undertaker for the WWE Championship. If Bret lost the match, he could never wrestle in the United States again and if the Showstopper was biased against Hart, he couldn’t wrestle in the United States anymore either. During the match, HBK lost his cool and tried to hit Bret with a chair. Bret ducked, though, and HBK leveled Undertaker by accident. With no other options, HBK was forced to count the 1-2-3 and give Bret the win and the WWE Championship.
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Jesse “The Body” Ventura, then Governor of Minnesota, referees the Mankind vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H main event – 1999
It is well known that WWE Hall of Famer Jesse “The Body” Ventura went on to become Governor of Minnesota. SummerSlam was taking place at the Target Center in Minnesota, so it was only fitting that Ventura agreed to be the special guest referee for the Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mankind Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship. Ventura wasn’t afraid to get physically involved either as he disposed of Shane McMahon when he tried to interfere. At the end of the night it was Ventura raising Mankind’s hand in victory.
Steve Blackman hits a flying elbow on Shane McMahon from 20 feet up – 2000
Shane McMahon has no fear. He’s shown that on more than one occasion, and SummerSlam 2000 was one of them. Shane-O-Mac was doing everything he could to defeat Steve Blackman for the Hardcore Championship. Before long, the two somehow found their way up on the scaffolding about 20-feet above the stage. Blackman was able to push Shane off the scaffolding and through the stage. To make this an even bigger spectacle, Blackman jumped off the scaffolding and hit a Flying Elbow Drop for the win.
Goldberg kicks in the glass of the Elimination Chamber to get to Triple H – 2003
There were six men involved in the Elimination Chamber Match, but the biggest question was “who could stop Golberg?” Goldberg was the last man to enter the Chamber, and when he did, Triple H was already trying to hide inside one of the glass enclosures. Tired of waiting for The Game, Goldberg kicked his way through the glass and got his hands on Triple H. In the end, though, Triple H was able to get the win thanks to the help of Evolution.
Undertaker chokeslams JBL through the roof of his own limo – 2004
JBL defended his WWE Championship against Undertaker at SummerSlam 2004. JBL tried to use the WWE Championship belt as a weapon, but Undertaker saw it coming. The Deadman then took the belt and connected with it, but this time the referee saw it. Undertaker was disqualified, but that was bad news for JBL. Enraged at the match’s outcome, Undertaker dragged JBL to his limo and then delivered a devastating chokeslam through the rood of his own limo.
Randy Orton becomes the youngest World Champion in WWE history – 2004
Randy Orton won a Battle Royal to become the No. 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, which set up a match against Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004. Benoit had been on a roll, defeating Shawn Michaels and Triple H in two straight Triple Threat Matches as well as picking up a big win over Kane. Orton was young, but he was rapidly rising up the ranks and was on a roll of his own. Even without Evolution by his side, Orton was able to hit the RKO from out of nowhere to come out on top and become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history.
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