SummerSlam is one of the greatest events that WWE has ever hosted. It is traditionally one of WWE’s “big four” events alongside the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, and Survivor Series. Despite being the last one to be created, it’s arguably the second-biggest event after WrestleMania. There have been some outstanding SummerSlams over the years with some exceptional matches that will live in infamy.
Title changes and grudge matches have been a huge part of SummerSlam history. Even some memorable returns to WWE have happened at SummerSlam. Fans and critics on Cagematch.net are opinionated, but it’s hard to argue with their choices of the greatest SummerSlam events in WWE history.
UPDATE: 2023/07/07 07:30 EST BY TEVON KING
SummerSlam is the “Biggest Party of the Summer” and it has been a staple on the WWE calendar in August since its inception in 1988. However, the 2022 iteration of the event took place in July which was the first time that it hadn’t taken place in its traditional August slot. SummerSlam is a fascinating event and some of the biggest matches in WWE history have occurred at SummerSlam. It’s one event that the WWE Universe looks forward to as there are generally marquee matches on the show. However, the greatest SummerSlams in history have been superb but some of these events had underwhelming matches. Ratings on Cagematch.net always fluctuate with fans changing their minds on the best SummerSlams in history.
14 SummerSlam 1994 – 7.17
SummerSlam 1994 marked the return of The Undertaker who was out of action for seven months after the 1994 Royal Rumble. Undertaker headlined the event against the doppelganger in an underwhelming match in which Undertaker prevailed.
Alundra Blayze retained the WWE Women’s Championship against Bull Nakano in the first Women’s Championship match that took place at SummerSlam. Other noteworthy results included Razor Ramon defeating Diesel for the Intercontinental Championship, and Tatanka beating Lex Luger. Afterward, Tatanka turned heel by joining the Million Dollar Corporation. Bret Hart and Owen Hart’s steel cage match for the WWE Championship was a five-star epic and they should have closed out the show.
13 SummerSlam 2003 – 7.33
SummerSlam 2003 was historic as it was the first SummerSlam in seven years to feature no title changes. The Undertaker saw off A-Train in a hard-hitting match, and La Resistance saw off the Dudley Boyz to remain as World Tag Team Champions.
Kurt Angle made Brock Lesnar submit to the Angle Lock in their WWE Championship match, and Eddie Guerrero retained the United States Championship in a fatal-4-way match. It was a steady card, and in the main event, Triple H retained the World Heavyweight Championship in an Elimination Chamber match and he was far from 100% as he was nursing a groin injury.
12 SummerSlam 2014 – 7.33
The 2014 iteration of SummerSlam was eventful, and it wasn’t a good night for the defending champions. Three titles were on the line, and all three titles changed hands. Dolph Ziggler beat The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in the curtain-raiser, and Paige won her second Divas Championship on her 22nd birthday at AJ Lee’s expense.
Seth Rollins saw off Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack match and Stephanie McMahon defeated Brie Bella after Nikki turned heel after attacking Brie. The main event featured Brock Lesnar taking John Cena to Suplex City and he captured his fourth WWE Championship emphatically.
11 SummerSlam 1998 – 7.45
“The Highway to Hell” was the tagline of SummerSlam 1998, and it was one of the best editions of SummerSlam in the Attitude Era. Madison Square Garden hosted SummerSlam once again. Jeff Jarrett lost a hair versus hair match to X-Pac, and D’Lo Brown retained the European Championship against Val Venis.
Edge made his WWE pay-per-view debut, and he teamed up with Sable to beat Marc Mero and Jacqueline. It was a good night for DX as the Outlaws regained the WWE Tag Team Championship, and Triple H defeated The Rock in an outstanding Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Steve Austin and The Undertaker closed out the show in arguably their best match together with the Texas Rattlesnake retaining the WWE Championship.
10 SummerSlam 2022 – 7.51
SummerSlam 2022 was the first SummerSlam to take place and there were tons of surprises. Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch had a rematch for the Raw Women’s Championship and the EST of WWE retained her title. Afterward, Bayley returned to WWE alongside Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky, which was the formation of Damage CTRL. Bobby Lashley overpowered Theory in a successful United States Championship title defense.
Other notable results included The Usos retaining the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against the Street Profits with Jeff Jarrett as the special guest referee. Liv Morgan beat Ronda Rousey to remain as SmackDown Women’s Champion, and in the main event, Roman Reigns battled past Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing match to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
9 SummerSlam 2015 – 7.53
The 2015 iteration of SummerSlam was the first one in seven years to not be held in the Staples Center. It was also the first SummerSlam to be four hours long. There were some good matches on offer with Sheamus defeating Randy Orton in the curtain-raiser, and the New Day kickstarted their historic 483-day reign as WWE Tag Team Champions.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns combined to beat The Wyatt Family in a tag team match. There was celebrity involvement with Stephen Amell and Neville seeing off King Barrett and Stardust. One of the highlights of the show was Seth Rollins overcoming John Cena to retain the WWE Championship and win the United States Championship. The main event saw The Undertaker gain his revenge for losing his unbeaten WrestleMania streak, by beating Brock Lesnar.
8 SummerSlam 2011 – 7.67
SummerSlam 2011 is underrated, and it was spearheaded by the two rivalries that dominated the summer of 2011 on Raw and SmackDown. Randy Orton and Christian stole the show in an excellent No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Championship which saw the Viper recapture the Big Gold Belt.
CM Punk once again defeated John Cena to become the Undisputed WWE Champion with Triple H as the special guest referee. Other notable results included Wade Barrett sailing past Daniel Bryan, and Kelly Kelly upsetting Beth Phoenix to retain the Divas Championship. The show ended on a bitter note for some fans with Alberto Del Rio successfully cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Punk for the WWE Championship.
7 SummerSlam 2009 – 7.71
To close out the 2000s, SummerSlam 2009 was another strong edition of the Biggest Party of the Summer. Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler had an excellent Intercontinental Championship to get the show off to a positive start. Jeri-Show continued their dominance as they beat Cryme Tyme in a relatively short match to retain the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.
Kane and The Great Khali stunk out the joint in a dreadful match. Moreover, DX saw off Legacy in a brilliant tag team match, and Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship against John Cena in their second SummerSlam encounter in three years. Ultimately, CM Punk got the better of Jeff Hardy in a TLC match to become World Heavyweight Champion for the third time in his career, and The Undertaker made his return in the aftermath to lay out Punk.
6 SummerSlam 2000 – 7.72
2000 was a good year for WWE with their pay-per-views, and SummerSlam was one of the best events that WWE produced. The inaugural TLC match took place with Edge and Christian battling past the Hardys, and the Dudleys to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
DX imploded with X-Pac seeing off Road Dogg, and Chyna regained the Intercontinental Championship from Val Venis in a mixed tag team match. Kane and The Undertaker went to a no-contest with Undertaker removing Kane’s mask, and The Rock retained the WWE Championship in the main event against Triple H and a concussed Kurt Angle.
5 SummerSlam 1992 – 7.76
WWE hosted its biggest event across the pond at SummerSlam 1992. The main selling point of the show was The British Bulldog defeating his brother-in-law Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in an emotionally-fueled main event.
The Undertaker also made an appearance in a lackluster match with Kamala. Other results included Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel’s contest ending in a double count-out. The Legion of Doom defeated Money Inc., and Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior had an excellent WWE Championship match which ended up in a count-out finish all thanks to outside interference from Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect.
4 SummerSlam 2008 – 7.79
SummerSlam 2008 was jam-packed with several marquee matches on the card. Glamarella defeated Mickie James and Kofi Kingston to win the Women’s and Intercontinental Championships respectively. CM Punk beat JBL to retain the World Heavyweight Championship, and Triple H was subjected to a dire WWE Title defense when he was pitted with The Great Khali.
Batista and John Cena’s contest had the potential to be better, but Cena herniated a disc in his neck. The rivalry between The Undertaker and Edge culminated with The Deadman defeating Edge in the first Hell in a Cell match to take place at SummerSlam in the main event.
3 SummerSlam 2001 – 8.13
The final SummerSlam to occur in the Attitude Era was the 2001 iteration of the event. It was a stellar card with the battle lines drawn between the Alliance and WWE. Edge overcame his fellow Canadian, Lance Storm, to win the Intercontinental Championship for the second time. X-Pac beat Tajiri to hold the WCW Cruiserweight Championship and WWE Light Heavyweight Championships simultaneously.
The Brothers of Destruction destroyed DDP and Kanyon en route to holding the WWE and WCW Tag Team Championships at the same time. RVD and Jeff Hardy tore the house down in a Hardcore Championship match, and it was the first time that the WWE and WCW Championships were defended on the same night on a WWE pay-per-view. Kurt Angle beat Steve Austin in their WWE Title match albeit by DQ, and The Rock ended Booker T’s WCW Championship reign.
2 SummerSlam 2013 – 8.78
WWE knocked it out of the park with an excellent SummerSlam 2013 card. The first couple of matches on the card were underwhelming with Bray Wyatt beating Kane in a Ring of Fire match, and Cody Rhodes seeing off his former tag team partner Damien Sandow.
Alberto Del Rio and Christian had an underrated World Heavyweight Championship match. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk’s No Disqualification match that lasted 25 minutes was outstanding. John Cena and Daniel Bryan hit a home run in a superb WWE Championship match with Bryan seeing off Cena for his first WWE Championship. His joy was short-lived as Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to kickstart another World Title reign.
1 SummerSlam 2002 – 9.27
Unquestionably, SummerSlam 2002 may be the greatest SummerSlam of all time. The stars aligned, and every match on the card was watchable. Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle set the tone with a fast-paced opener. Rob Van Dam regained the Intercontinental Championship on the show.
Shawn Michaels wrestled in a WWE ring for the first time in four years, and he beat Triple H in an Unsanctioned match. The main event saw fans turn on The Rock as he was leaving for Hollywood, and Brock Lesnar dethroned him to become the youngest WWE Champion at the age of 25.