10 things you didn't know about SummerSlam
Besides beaches and barbecues, summer means one other thing for the WWE Universe — SummerSlam!
Since its inception in 1988, WWE’s premier summertime event has provided plenty of iconic memories for WWE fans, whether it was “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth’s tear-jerking wedding or John Cena and CM Punk colliding to determine the Undisputed WWE Champion.
But behind all the pomp that comes with SummerSlam are tons of interesting factoids and statistics that are sure to bring back memories of exciting moments and thrilling matches. As the WWE Universe gets ready for SummerSlam, check out 10 things you might not have known about The Biggest Party of The Summer.
Hulk Hogan has never lost at SummerSlam
While The Undertaker's 21-0 Streak at WrestleMania ( prior to Brock Lesnar conquering it) may never be matched, the longest streak at SummerSlam without a loss is a bit more achievable for the determined competitor.
That distinction currently belongs to WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster has competed in six matches at The Biggest Party of The Summer and won them all. It started with a victory alongside Randy Savage over The Mega Bucks at the 1988 event. He followed it up with another tag team win, this time with Brutus Beefcake against Savage and Zeus.
In 1990, the five-time WWE Champion took a count-out victory over the enormous Earthquake. Hogan teamed with Ultimate Warrior to send turncoat Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan and Col. Mustafa packing back to Iraq in 1991. He returned to SummerSlam in 2005 to pick up his fifth victory, this time over Shawn Michaels. The Hulkster's sixth victory came one year later, when he defeated Randy Orton.
Brutus Beefcake had to pull out of two Intercontinental Title Matches
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake might be the unluckiest Superstar in WWE history. Twice during his career, Beefcake was quite possibly on the verge of becoming a champion, only to have it ripped from his hands by fate.
“The Barber” was engaged in a bitter rivalry with The Honky Tonk Man throughout 1988. He was given a chance to end the Elvis wannabe’s record-setting Intercontinental Title reign at SummerSlam. A vicious attack from “Outlaw” Ron Bass and his steel spurs ended Beefcake’s championship dreams, opening the door for Ultimate Warrior to take the title.
Brutus was back on the golden path in 1990. Having ended Mr. Perfect’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania VI, he was the best choice to face the newlycrowned Intercontinental Champion. In the days leading up to that year’s SummerSlam, however, Beefcake was injured in a parasailing accident that put him out of action for almost three years. The Texas Tornado stepped in and dethroned Perfect, leaving Beefcake — and the WWE Universe — wondering what might have been.
Highest Attendance: Wembley Stadium, 1992
Every WWE fan that’s worth his or her salt knows the number: 93,173. That’s how many people crammed into the Pontiac Silverdome to see WrestleMania III. But what about 80,355?
That was the number of passionate Brits that packed Wembley Stadium on Aug. 29, 1992, for the fifth annual SummerSlam. Those in attendance were witness to an action-packed event, kicking off with The Road Warriors taking out Money Inc. Britain was also treated to The Undertaker’s first SummerSlam appearance, as well as a drama-heavy brawl for the WWE Title featuring “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior.
They also saw a rarity in WWE. The WWE Championship Match was not the main event on this night. Instead, Wembley Stadium erupted when hometown hero British Bulldog defeated Bret “Hit Man” Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.
City with the most SummerSlams: Los Angeles
SummerSlam started in The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. It’s been all over the United States since, even to England for a massive show at Wembley Stadium. But one city has been such a great host for WWE’s summer spectacular that it’s returned five years in a row.
Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center has packed in sellout crowds since it hosted its first SummerSlam in 2009. The WWE Superstars have returned every year since for The Biggest Party of The Summer.
New Jersey’s IZOD Center comes in second place, having hosted three SummerSlams, the most recent in 2007. The Garden is next, with two — the inaugural and 1998 editions.
Jesse Ventura has been guest referee for two SummerSlam main events
When things get out of control going into SummerSlam, there’s only one man bold enough to don the stripes and call the match as needed: Jesse “The Body” Ventura. On two occasions, the WWE Hall of Famer has been called upon to officiate SummerSlam’s main event.
The first came at the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988. It seemed as though the devilish Ventura was going to slyly aid The Mega Bucks to victory over The Mega Powers. However, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage came prepared with a secret weapon. Miss Elizabeth shockingly ripped off her skirt, giving The Mega Powers a distraction to claim victory. “The Body” was forced to make the three-count.
Eleven years later, during his term as governor of Minnesota, Ventura got back in the ring to officiate a WWE Championship Triple Threat Match featuring Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Mankind. This time, “The Body” made sure things were called right down the middle, awarding Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy the WWE Championship after a thrilling bout.
The first match in SummerSlam history ended in a time limit draw
There have been all kinds of unique matches at SummerSlam. But whether it was a Ladder Match or a Street Fight, there has usually been a decisive winner. That wasn’t the case at the inaugural SummerSlam. In fact, the first match in the event’s history ended with a bit of a whimper.
The WWE Universe jam-packed Madison Square Garden. They were extra-pumped to see two of WWE’s premier tag teams, The British Bulldogs and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, clash in the opening bout. They weren’t disappointed, as the two teams put on a thrilling bout.
Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid looked to have the victory in hand after Smith tossed his partner onto Jacques Rougeau with a flying headbutt. However, Raymond Rougeau distracted the official while Dynamite went for the cover. The diversion lasted long enough for the 20-minute time limit to expire, ending the match in a draw and ensuring The Rougeaus escaped without a blemish on their record.
SummerSlam Match stipulations have included “no face punching”
Members of the WWE Universe love watching matches with unique stipulations. Whether it’s seeing Superstars locked inside a Steel Cage or marveling as they crash through tables, these wild bouts have them on the edge of their seats.
Still, there are some twists on the typical wrestling match that leave fans wondering what to expect. Take, for instance, the 1992 bout between Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel. Unwilling to risk their good looks, the conceited Superstars agreed not to hit each other in the face during the match. That didn’t last too long, as both men decked each other within minutes.
And though many matches are fought over championships, we can only find one instance where a child was up for grabs. At SummerSlam 2005, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero clashed in a Ladder Match with custody of Mysterio’s son, Dominick, hanging in the balance. Mysterio won to keep his family intact, leaving courts around the country wondering if they could settle disputes in a similar manner.
There were three matches at SummerSlam 1992 that didn’t make the pay-per-view
SummerSlam 1992 was packed with plenty of action for WWE fans. The pay-per-view event featured WWE Hall of Famers like Shawn Michaels, Bret “Hit Man” Hart, The Million Dollar Man and legends like Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker.
If that wasn’t enough for the 80,000-plus in attendance, they also got to check out three matches that weren’t aired in America for several weeks.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and The Bushwhackers put a beating on The Mountie and The Nasty Boys in a Six-Man Tag Team Match. The frightening Papa Shango tamed “El Matador” Tito Santana with a bone-crunching shoulder breaker. And before Bret Hart took on British Bulldog in the main event, Tatanka pulled off a surprising victory over the hard-hitting Berzerker.
SummerSlam played host to the first TLC Match
The Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match is one of the most dangerous bouts a Superstar can take part in. But although the match has a December pay-per-view event named after it, it was at The Biggest Party of The Summer where it first made a mark on the WWE Universe.
Taking the trademark weapons of the The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian, then-WWE Commissioner Mick Foley concocted the vicious bout for SummerSlam 2000. Little did he know that he’d be setting one of WWE’s trademark bouts in motion.
Since Edge & Christian emerged victorious at SummerSlam, many of WWE’s brightest stars have survived the brutal TLC Match, including John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H and CM Punk.
Longest stint between SummerSlam matches: Hulk Hogan (1991 until 2005)
In WWE, Superstars come and go. Some leave to rehab nagging injuries, some to pursue interests outside of the squared circle. More often than not, their first passion ends up calling them back to WWE rings.
It took Hulk Hogan close to a decade to return to WWE after leaving in 1993. It took even longer for him to return to SummerSlam, a show he was a central part of in its early years. Though Hogan and The nWo showed up in WWE during 2002, The Hulkster did not return to The Biggest Event of the Summer until 2005, when he defeated Shawn Michaels with his trademark Atomic Leg Drop.
It was Hogan’s first SummerSlam appearance since 1991, when he teamed with Ultimate Warrior to defeat Sgt. Slaughter, Gen. Adnan and Col. Mustafa. After 14 years away, The Hulkster proved he hadn’t lost a step.