The greatest matches in SummerSlam history

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December 31, 1969

The greatest matches in SummerSlam history

Brain Busters vs. Hart Foundation -- 1989
The Hart Foundation and the Brain Busters will go down in WWE history as two of the most technically sound tag teams ever. While Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart utilized his bruising power, Bret "Hit Man" Hart was the perfect mat technician, proving time and time again that he was indeed the "Excellence of Execution." Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard of the Brain Busters were nothing flashy, but they got the job done. They had just won the World Tag Team Championship from Demolition, but this match was a non-title match up. With the fans behind them, the Hart Foundation took the advantage early, working on the arm of Arn Anderson. Hart and Neidhart utilized some classic double team maneuvers, prompting the referee to get Neidhart, who was the illegal man, out of the ring. With the ref's back turned, Arn Anderson was able to land a top-rope double axe handle for the big win.

Hart Foundation vs. Demolition -- Two out of Three Falls for the World Tag Team Championship -- 1990
One year after losing to the World Tag Team Champions at SummerSlam, the Hart Foundation got a crack at the titles against Demolition. Demolition had just added a third member to their team as Crush joined Ax and Smash, but the Hart Foundation didn't know which two members they'd be facing, and therefore were at a disadvantage before the match even started. Demolition decided to go with their newcomer Crush as well as Smash in the contest. The Hart Foundation started out with the advantage, but Demolition's power proved to be too much in the first fall as Demolition hit the Demolition Decapitation for the pin. With no room for error, the Hart Foundation looked to be in trouble. Demolition continued to work over Bret, but the Hit Man caught a break and finally made the tag to Neidhart as the crowd went crazy. After hitting a series of power moves, Bret came in to complete the Hart Attack to even the match at one fall apiece.

During the third fall, Ax ran to ringside, and with the referee distracted, hid underneath the ring. As the Hit Man and the Anvil started to get the upper hand, Ax switched places with Smash unbeknownst to the ref. Demolition continued to pound Bret, and Smash switched places with Ax once again, keeping each other fresh. Apparently fed up with the injustices going on, the Legion of Doom came to the ring and pulled Ax out from under the ring. Smash confronted Hawk and Animal, leaving Crush all alone with the Hit Man and the Anvil. The Hart Foundation capitalized on their numbers advantage and scored the pin for their second World Tag Team Championship.

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Mr. Perfect vs. Bret "Hit Man" Hart -- Intercontinental Championship -- 1991
It would not be an easy task to find a match that included two Superstars more technically sounds than Mr. Perfect and Bret "Hit Man" Hart. Not only was this a clinic in scientific wrestling, but the Intercontinental Championship was on the line, and the action was fierce. Previously, Bret had pretty much been known as a tag team specialist, but he had quickly risen to the top of the Intercontinental Championship ranks.

This one got intense early on as Bret nearly tore Perfect's singlet in half. The emotion of both Superstars was off the charts showing how much the Intercontinental Championship meant to both men. Mr. Perfect was able to catch Bret off guard and nail his patented Perfect Plex, but the Hit Man was able to kick out, shocking the champion. Bret then hit a series of his signature moves including the vertical suplex, Russian legsweep, backbreaker, second-rope elbow drop and the Sharpshooter. With Perfect locked in the Sharpshooter, his manager The Coach hopped up on the apron, prompting Bret to go release the hold and go after him. Perfect tried to regain the advantage, but Bret was able to lock in the Sharpshooter once again, and this time the champion tapped out, giving the Hit Man his first ever singles championship.

The British Bulldog vs. Bret "Hit Man" Hart -- Intercontinental Championship -- 1992
This one had all the makings of an instant classic and it certainly did not disappoint. SummerSlam emanated from Wembley Stadium in London, England -- The British Bulldog's own backyard. Bret "Hit Man" Hart, normally an overwhelming fan favorite, clearly did not have the crowd's support in this one. To make matters even more interesting, this one turned into a family affair. Davey Boy was married to Bret's sister Diana and she was torn on who to support. And if all that wasn't enough drama, the Intercontinental Championship was on the line. The British Bulldog also had England's own Lennox Lewis in his corner for even more support. Bret certainly had the deck stacked against him in this one.

The two Superstars went back and forth against each other at a blistering pace. Hart was able to catch Davey Boy off guard and lock in the dreaded Sharpshooter, and even the hometown fans thought their hero was doomed. But somehow, the British Bulldog drew strength from the raucous crowd and powered out of the move. Bret stayed on the attack and went for a sunset flip. Davey Boy was able to hook Bret's leg and roll him up for the pin in a shocking ending to a superb match. The crowd went berserk as Davey Boy celebrated with his wife Diana. Bret showed great sportsmanship and shook his brother-in-law's hand after the match as well.

Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Owen Hart -- Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship -- 1994
This will go down as one of the most personal Steel Cage Matches in WWE history. The rivalry between Bret and Owen Hart was over more than just the WWE Championship. Owen was out for respect and pride. He felt he had been in his brother Bret's shadow all his life, and he was ready to step out on his own. Bret, however, had no desire to face his brother. But Owen's underhanded tactics left him no choice but to fight for his pride.

This rivalry became so heated that they had to settle their differences in the confines of a Steel Cage. Both brothers knew each other so well that they actually had counters for each other's counter maneuvers. No one could get a clear cut advantage. Owen Hart got his brother locked in the Sharpshooter and screamed that the WWE Championship would be his. But Bret, being the pioneer of the move, was able to counter it into a Sharpshooter of his own. After releasing the hold, both brothers started to scale the cage. It looked as though Owen would get to the floor first, but his leg got hooked on the cage. With Owen hanging from his leg, Bret was able to exit the cage first to retain the championship.

After the match, however, Bret's former partner Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, threw Bret back into the cage and pummeled him with Owen's help. The rest of the Hart family, who were watching at ringside, scaled the cage to come to Bret's aid.

Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon -- Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship -- 1995
Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon are often credited for making the Ladder Match famous. They had an instant classic at WrestleMania X that stole the show. More than a year after wowing the audience on the grandest stage of them all, the two Superstars battled over the Intercontinental Championship once again.

After taking turns using the ladder as a weapon, HBK slipped and got his leg stuck on a rung of the ladder. Razor immediately attacked Shawn's injured knee while still on the ladder. After Shawn was off the ladder, Ramon clipped the Showstopper and slammed him knee-first onto the ladder. Ramon continued to punish the knee, slamming it into the apron and wrapping it around the post. Ramon tried to climb the ladder, but Michaels knocked him off, sending him flying. Ramon brought in a ladder of his own and both Superstars tried climbing. Ramon suffered a Superkick off the ladder and HBK suffered a Razor's Edge off the ladder. With both men battered, they ascended the ladder once more. Razor Ramon went for another Razor's Edge, but HBK back body dropped him to the mat and claimed his prize at the top of the ladder.

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Undertaker vs. Mankind -- Boiler Room Brawl -- 1996
This was the first match of its kind. Mankind and Undertaker are two of the most unique Superstars in WWE history, so it's only fitting that they battled in such a unique match. This one took place in the bowels of the Gund Arena in Cleveland, OH. The object of the match was to escape the boiler room and retrieve the urn from Paul Bearer who was waiting inside the ring.

Mankind started the match out by sneaking behind Undertaker and nailing him with a lead pipe. From pipes to ladders to saw horses to everything else imaginable, Undertaker and Mankind pummeled each other with whatever they could get their hands on. As they brawled towards the ring, Undertaker nailed Mankind with a 2x4, but he eventually recovered to return the favor with a piledriver on the concrete. Undertaker recovered, though, and he went to retrieve the urn. Paul Bearer shockingly turned his back on his protégé, though, allowing Mankind to apply the Mandible Claw. Bearer then smashed the urn over Undertaker's head, giving the win to Mankind.

Owen Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin -- Intercontinental Championship -- 1997
Heading into SummerSlam, Stone Cold had been embroiled in a bitter rivalry with the entire Hart Foundation, and he was gunning for Owen's Intercontinental Championship.

After a feeling out process, Owen was able to land a German Suplex, which prompted him to work on Stone Cold's neck. Owen landed a DDT and reversed a Stone Cold Sleeperhold attempt into a jawbreaker. Stone Cold rallied and went for a Tombstone, but Owen reversed it and hit the move himself. It was that move that nearly ended Austin's career. Austin's head crashed into the mat, and he laid motionless for a moment. Then, somehow, he was able to catch Owen off guard and roll him up for the victory, despite having a broken neck.

Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Undertaker -- WWE Championship with special guest referee Shawn Michaels -- 1997
Undertaker put his WWE Championship on the line against Bret "Hit Man" Hart in the main event of SummerSlam 1997. If Bret "Hit Man" Hart lost, then he could never wrestle in the United States again. And if Shawn Michaels, who was the special guest referee for the match, did not call the match down the middle, he would also never be able to wrestle in the United States again. With so much at stake this was like a virtual powder keg waiting to go off.

After going back and forth for a while, Undertaker's former manager Paul Bearer came to ringside. His appearance distracted Undertaker, allowing Bret to go on the offensive. The Hit Man went to work on the Deadman's leg, locking in the Figure Four Leglock around the ring post. Soon after, Hart Foundation members Owen Hart and Brian Pillman also came to ringside, providing even more distractions.

Undertaker rallied, hitting the Chokeslam. The Phenom went for the pin, but HBK was distracted dealing with Owen and Pillman. Undertaker responded by choking Michaels, allowing Bret to go for a rollup. After being unable to make Undertaker submit to the Sharpshooter, Bret nailed Undertaker with a shot to the head with a chair. HBK questioned the chair in the ring, and Bret responded by spitting in his face. Unable to take Bret's actions, Shawn took the chair and swung for the fences. Bret ducked, however, and Shawn connected with Undertaker. Bret made the cover and HBK was forced to count the reluctant pin.

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Triple H vs. The Rock -- Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship -- 1998
The Rock and Triple H have had some legendary battles over the years, but this was one of the first in their long-and-storied rivalry. And it was a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship.

The Rock came to the ring with fellow Nation of Domination member, Mark Henry while Triple H had fellow D-X member Chyna by his side. Triple H was able to utilize the ladder to bust The Rock's head open, but Rock rallied to take the advantage, hitting the People's Elbow on top of the ladder. The Rock also hit the Rock Bottom, but Triple H was able to persevere and hit the Pedigree. It seemed as though neither man could put the other away. Mark Henry responded by throwing powder into Triple H's eyes, temporarily blinding him. Triple H tried climbing the ladder anyways, but he couldn't see the belt. The Rock joined Triple H at the top of the ladder as they started to slug it out. Chyna came in and delivered a crushing low-blow to The Rock, though, allowing Triple H to grab the Intercontinental Championship.

Test vs. Shane McMahon -- Love Her or Leave Her Match -- 1999
This one was certainly personal. Shane McMahon felt that Test was not the right man for his sister Stephanie, and in an attempt to keep the two apart, Shane decided to settle things in the ring. If Shane McMahon could defeat Test, then Test would have to stay away from Stephanie. If Test won, then Shane would have to stay out of his and Stephanie's relationship.

Shane had the Mean Street Posse in his corner, and the numbers advantage played a part early on. The Posse handed Shane weapon after weapon, including a framed portrait of the Posse that he smashed over Test's head. The Posse then laid out Test on the Spanish Announce Table, and Shane soared from the top rope and landed a flying elbow, sending both men through the table. Test was somehow able to kick out at two, though. Soon after, Rodney leveled Test with his cast, but this also only got Shane a two-count. Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson made their way down to ringside and got rid of the Posse, evening up the odds. With it being just one on one, Test was able to hit his Pumphandle Slam and the top rope flying elbow for the emotional win.

Mankind vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H with Jesse "The Body" Ventura as special guest referee -- WWE Championship -- 1999
Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Undertaker in June for the WWE Championship, and now the two top contenders were Mankind and Triple H. The only option was to have a Triple Threat Match, and with such a potentially volatile match, there had to be a special guest referee. Who better than WWE Hall of Famer and then-Governor of Minnesota, Jesse "The Body" Ventura?

Mankind and Stone Cold forged an early, and temporary, partnership as they double-teamed Triple H. Their union proved to be temporary when Stone Cold leveled Mankind after the deranged one extended his hand in friendship, solidifying the fact that this match was every man for himself. Chyna tried to get involved in the match, but Ventura would have none of it, and sent her to the back. The action eventually spilled into the crowd, and when it returned to the ring, Triple H took out Austin and Mankind with a chair. Ventura refused to make the count, though, as Triple H had laid out his opponents in an illegal fashion. This brought out Shane McMahon who vehemently protested. Austin gave Shane a Stunner for his troubles, and Ventura tossed him to the outside.

Stone Cold was able to hit the Stunner on Triple H, but Mankind broke up the pin. Then Triple H hit the Pedigree on Austin, but Mankind broke up the pin once again. Then Mankind hit a double-arm DDT on Austin for the win and the WWE Championship.

Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudleys -- Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match for the World Tag Team Championship -- 2000
This match definitely had to be seen to be believed. The six men involved showed absolutely no regard for their bodies. Early on, Edge executed a leg sweep on Matt Hardy, sending them both crashing off the ladders. Bubba Ray followed that up by taking Christian down off the ladder with a Full Nelson Slam.

Eventually, a larger ladder came into play as everyone tried climbing it. Bubba Ray's climb was cut short when he was pushed off the ladder, sending him to the outside, crashing through a stack of tables. Matt Hardy then tried to go for the belts, but he met the same fate as Bubba on the other side of the ring. Edge and Christian seemed to have a clear shot at the belts, but Lita ran in and knocked them off. D-Von Dudley and Jeff Hardy were the only two Superstars left, and they began to race up the ladder. Each grabbed a belt, but D-Von fell to the mat. Jeff couldn't seem to loosen the belt, and Edge and Christian knocked him down with a ladder. With everyone down and out, Edge and Christian climbed the ladder and grabbed the World Tag Team Championships.

Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam -- Ladder Match for the Hardcore Championship -- 2001
This was the second year in a row that Jeff Hardy was involved in a Ladder Match, but this time it was in singles competition as he took on Rob Van Dam with the Hardcore Championship on the line. Both Superstars showcased the unique and versatile arsenals that made them so popular with WWE fans.

RVD slammed Hardy in the jaw with the ladder early on. But then Hardy recovered, and as RVD straddled the ladder to pick it up, Hardy crotched him with it. Later on Jeff hit a DDT and went to the top of the ladder for the Swanton. RVD got out of the way and went up top for the Five Star Frog Splash, but this time Hardy got out of the way.

With Hardy climbing the ladder, RVD knocked the ladder out from under him, but Jeff had already grabbed the Hardcore Championship, so he was hanging from the belt, just as he had done one year ago. Hardy couldn't loosen the belt and fell to the mat. Hardy recovered and tried going up the ladder once again, but RVD pushed him off, sending him into the ropes. With Hardy down, RVD was able to finally climb the ladder and grab the Hardcore Championship for the hard-fought win.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle -- WWE Championship -- 2001
This one was so intense that the action actually started out on the floor instead of in the ring. Once back in the ring, Angle took an early advantage by connecting on seven German Suplexes in a row. Austin was somehow able to stay in the match after the beating, and took control once the action spilled back to the outside.

While on the outside, Austin dominated, sending Angle into the steel post repeatedly until the Olympic Champion was wearing the proverbial crimson mask. Even after suffering a suplex on the concrete floor, Angle was able to hook in the Ankle Lock back in the ring. Austin, on the verge of tapping out, fought his way to the ropes in the nick of time. Angle connected with a couple of suplexes on the outside and then hit a moonsault inside. On the verge of defeat, Stone Cold reached deep down and pulled out a Stunner from out of nowhere. It only got a two count, so Austin tried for it again, except this time Angle blocked it and hit the Angle Slam leaving both men lying on the mat.

Angle went back to the Ankle Lock, but Austin got to the ropes and took out the referee in the process. A second referee came in but after another Angle two-count, Stone Cold disposed of that referee as well. A third referee came to the ring, but he got taken out as well. Finally, referee Nick Patrick came to the ring and disqualified Austin for the mistreatment of officials.

Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels -- Street Fight -- 2002
This was a classic case of best of friends turned into bitter enemies. After being out of commission since WrestleMania XIV, Shawn Michaels made a surprising return to WWE. In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, it appeared as though Shawn and Triple H were going to reunite and reform D-Generation X, but The Game had other plans turning on HBK. The betrayal practically forced Shawn Michaels to come out of retirement and face Triple H in his first match back. But this was too personal to be just an ordinary match. WWE wouldn't even sanction it. This was a non-sanctioned Street Fight.

Triple H got the upper hand after nailing two debilitating backbreakers, focusing on Shawn's weak spot that had kept him out of action for so many years. Triple H followed that up by smashing Shawn's back with a chair. HBK came back with a suplex, but Triple H went right back on the offensive, DDTing HBK on a chair. Triple H went under the ring and grabbed his trusty sledgehammer, but Michaels was able to avoid its wrath. The Game stayed on the attack, though, setting up a chair and slamming HBK on it, further injuring his already ailing back. Triple H waited for HBK to get up so he could hit him with the chair again, but HBK was able to Superkick the chair into The Game's face, giving the Showstopper new life.

After pummeling Triple H with a chair and a belt, Michaels rolled Triple H back into the ring. Triple H had a brief flurry of offense but HBK laid Triple H on a table in the ring and nailed him with a top rope splash. He then climbed the ladder for a flying elbow drop and set up for Sweet Chin Music. Triple H ducked and went for the Pedigree, but HBK was able to roll him up for the win.

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Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar -- WWE Championship -- 2003
Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar had one of the more heated, competitive, exciting rivalries in recent memory. Although Lesnar had a distinct size advantage, these two Superstars were fairly evenly matched. Both had extensive amateur wrestling backgrounds and could attack an opponent from all angles. Lesnar defeated Angle earlier in the year at WrestleMania XIX, but Angle defeated Lesnar and Big Show in a Triple Threat Match at Vengeance to regain the WWE Championship.

Both Superstars went for their finishers early on, but Angle was able to avoid the F-5, and Lesnar kicked out of the Angle Slam. During the action, the referee got knocked out. Angle was able to secure the Ankle Lock, and Lesnar tapped out, but with the referee incapacitated, no one was there to call for the bell. Mr. McMahon then made an appearance and slammed Angle in the back with a chair. Lesnar then hit the F-5, but it only got a two-count. Lesnar went for another one, but Angle reversed it and hooked in another Ankle Lock. Lesnar made it to the ropes twice, but Angle was able to pull him back to the center of the ring and keep it locked in, and Brock finally tapped out.

Triple H wins the Elimination Chamber -- World Heavyweight Championship -- 2003
SummerSlam marked the second time that the Elimination Chamber was ever used. Shawn Michaels had won the first Elimination Chamber match, and he hoped lightning would strike twice. Triple H was aligned with Evolution teammate Randy Orton, but would anyone be able to stop Goldberg? Chris Jericho and Kevin Nash were also trying to get back to the top of the ladder, and with the unpredictability of the Elimination Chamber, anything was possible.

In the Elimination Chamber, two Superstars start the match and then after a predetermined amount of time, another Superstar, who is waiting in a glass enclosure, enters until all six participants have entered the ring. The action continues until only one Superstar remains.

Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho started out, getting the match off to a blistering pace. Randy Orton was the next to enter as the action heated up. Kevin Nash was the fourth man into the Chamber, but his time was limited as HBK nailed his former bodyguard with Sweet Chin Music, eliminating the big man from contention. Triple H came in next, but Michaels nailed him with the Sweet Chin Music as well, sending him back into his chamber.

Goldberg was the final man to enter the chamber and he immediately cleaned house. He started out by spearing Randy Orton, eliminating the Evolution member. He then speared Chris Jericho through the glass of one of the chambers and hit Michaels with a spear when HBK came off the top rope. After Jackhammers to Michaels and HBK, only Triple H remained. Triple H was hiding inside a chamber, but Goldberg smashed through the glass to get to him. While Goldberg was getting ready for the spear, though, Ric Flair gave Triple H the sledgehammer, and The Game nailed Goldberg as he rushed towards him for the win. After the match, Triple H handcuffed Goldberg to the structure as he, Flair and Orton pummeled Goldberg with the sledgehammer, leaving him a bloody mess.

Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero -- 2004
Eddie Guerrero narrowly escaped WrestleMania XX with his WWE Championship still around his waist. Kurt Angle took him to the limit, but Guerrero was able to walk away with the gold. There was no gold on the line in this one, but pride and respect was at stake.

These two Superstars didn't waste any time going to the submission maneuvers. In fact, Eddie went for Angle's patented Ankle Lock early on, but Angle was able to escape with a crafty thumb to the eye. Angle later connected with the Angle Slam and hooked in the Ankle Lock, but Eddie reversed into another Ankle Lock of his own. Angle also hooked in an STF and a toe hold, loosening up Eddie Guerrero's boot in the process.

Eddie bounced back with a series of suplexes, and then he went to the top rope. His injured ankle slowed him up just long enough, however, that Angle was able to deliver a top-rope belly-to-belly suplex. Angle took off Eddie's boot and hooked in the Ankle Lock once again. Guerrero pulled the referee into Angle and then knocked Angle out with his boot. Eddie then went to the top for the Frog Splash, but Angle somehow kicked out at two. Angle was able to hook in the Ankle Lock once again, and this time Eddie couldn't break the hold and was forced to submit.

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