One of the biggest competitions in WWE, apart from WrestleMania, is undoubtedly SummerSlam. The Pay-per-view is part of the big four main events in the year for WWE, including WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series as the other three.
SummerSlam has a long history and is a highly anticipated event every year. The main reason for this is that at SummerSlam, old feuds are settled and new feuds burst into life. Storylines reach their climaxes or sometimes set the stage for the rest of the year.
SummerSlam was started by WWE to counter the growing influence of Jim Crockett Promotions. This was during the 80s when professional wrestling was being redefined by the new generation.
Then known as WWF, the company’s competitor was Jim Crockett Promotions. This promotion was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Vince McMahon decided to push WWF up by doing what the competitor wasn’t: live pay-per-view.
First, McMahon introduced WrestleMania, which totally blew Jim Crockett’s Starrcade out of the water with its all-round success. Crockett soon had no choice but to sell the company to Ted Turner.
During this free time at the top, Vince McMahon prioritized pay per views. He saw the opportunity and went all-in. WWF soon replaced all the closed-circuit programming with pay-per-views.
The success of WrestleMania was soon followed by the success of Survivor Series. McMahon then placed SummerSlam right in August and the next big PPV after WrestleMania in March. It would be followed by Survivor Series in November.
Just when McMahon thought it was all his, an old foe came back to haunt WWF. Ted Turner and WCW quickly also shifted to PPVs. They would, over the next decade, be in the neck-to-neck competition with WWF.
The wrestling world saw the first-ever SummerSlam on August 29, 1988, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This was coincidentally where the first WrestleMania was held. At the time, Madison Square Garden was one of the most highly reputed and largest arenas of them all.
Since then, SummerSlam has witnessed some of the most legendary Superstars in WWE history compete against each other at the highest stakes.
The main event of the first SummerSlam itself saw Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage go up against André the Giant & Ted DiBiase. Wrestling fanatics would give literally anything to see this match live once more- a true clash of legends.
SummerSlam burst into the scene in 1990, which saw one of the greatest matches in WWE. Crowd favorite WWF Heavyweight Champion The Ultimate Warrior took on “Ravishing” RickRude in a dream match with the title on the line. The event received a staggering amount of viewers and turnout at the stadium.
WWF made a huge landmark in its history in 1992, when SummerSlam was held at the Wembley Stadium in London, England. The event saw the highly anticipated match between The British Bulldog and Bret Hart.
The former tried to clinch the WWF Intercontinental Championship and make history. However, Hart put up a hard fight. Bulldog won at the end, much to the approval of the local crown. WWE is yet to return to London for a major PPV, and the fans there wait patiently.
SummerSlam 1994 at Chicago, Illinois saw two iconic matches that would play a huge role in the future of wrestling. The main event was The Undertaker fighting a doppelgänger of himself who also claimed to be The Undertaker. The fight would determine who the real “Deadman” was and who the impostor was.
However, in retrospect, fans argue that the main event should have been the era-defining Steel Cage match between Bret Hart and Owen Hart. This match was such a perfect portrayal of Wrestling that it is used to date and is shown to aspiring wrestlers.
A very young CM Punk was attending this show live and was inspired by the match. He refers to it as one of the greatest wrestling matches ever fought and also claims that it should have been the main event of the PPV.
SummerSlam 1997 officially marked the end of an era for WWF. The main event saw Bret Hart successfully defend his WWF World Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker.
The reason it marked the end of an era for WWE is that this would be Bret Hart’s final SummerSlam in WWE. Three months later at Survivor Series, he would be involved in of the most infamous incidents in profession wrestling- The Montreal Screwjob.
The departure of Bret Hart from WWE to WCW saw a large part of the fan base also shift to the rival promotion. With Bret Hart, the face of the company gone, WWF transitioned into the Attitude Era.
SummerSlam for the next four years would have some of the best main events fans could ever dream about. 1998 saw “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defend his WWF Championship against The Undertaker. 1999 saw Stone Cold once again defend his WWF Championship but this time against Triple and “Mankind” Mick Foley in a thrilling Triple Threat showdown.
SummerSlam 2000 marked an electrifying year for the most electrifying Superstar as The Rock defended his WWF Championship against a hot-shot Kurt Angle and Triple H.
WWE soon won the Monday Night Wars and acquired WCW. The merge sadly only saw one SummerSlam mega-crossover when Booker T defended the pride of the WCW Championship against The Rock.
SummerSlam continued through the years as the WrestleMania of the second half of the year. WWE fans witnessed mouthwatering clashes between Triple H and Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and Chris Benoit, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, and even Edge vs John Cena.
In recent times, SummerSlam has incorporated a variety of match stipulations. Fans have grown accustomed to seeing Steel Cage matches and sometimes Elimination Chamber matches at SummerSlam.
Brock Lesnar dominated SummerSlam over the last 10 years. Since his return, “The Beast Incarnate” has competed in six SummerSlam Main events.
From 2014, Lesnar battled in the main event for consecutive years up to 2019. Along the way, he fought John Cena, The Undertaker, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns twice, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, and even Bray Wyatt.
This truly proves how consistent and dominant Brock Lesnar is. The fact that he competed against most main roster superstars is as big a statement as one can make.
SummerSlam may not be as exciting as it was back in the day, but it still maintains its element. There will always be a huge shocker at SummerSlam and you can count on it.
In 2020, SummerSlam took place for the first time without a live audience due to the pandemic. However, fans could watch the match through video screens in ThunderDome. The ratings went through the roof as Roman Reigns made a huge return to WWE after the main event between “The Fiend” and Braun Strowman had ended.
WWE fans can continue to rely on SummerSlam for the best matches. There may not be a Randy Savage or Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold, but there will be a new generation always ready to full in the boots of the older ones at SummerSlam.
You can watch WWE SummerSlam 2021exclusively on WWE Network if you are a member. The event can also be viewed through traditional streaming channels.
As of now, there has been no date and location confirmed, but WWE SummerSlam 2021 is most likely to take place somewhere in August 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
|Created By||Vince McMahon|
|Country of Origin||United States of America|
|Distributor / Live Streaming||WWE/ WWE Network|
|History||1985- Present day|
|First Event||August 29, 1988|
|Location||Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA|