USA Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
USA Insider WWE

Bad Blood And Good Fights: These Are The Top 5 WWE SummerSlam Matches Of All Time

Ahead of SummerSlam 2023, take a look back at the best WWE matches to happen at the event in the past.

By Ethan Absler
Shawn Michaels punching Triple H in the ring

We don't know if you've noticed, but WWE programming has been on fire lately.

From storylines and feuds that rival the most captivating stories found in Hollywood (shout out to the neverending Bloodline saga!) to white-hot matches featuring the best athletes on the planet (WWE's roster has never been deeper or more talented), WWE is riding a wave of momentum since the beginning of 2023. 

Of course, it helps when each Premium Live Event is a home run. On August 5, SummerSlam 2023 continues WWE's impressive streak of presenting major events that consistently blow away the WWE Universe's expectations. We can't wait for Saturday, August 5, but until then, it's a perfect time to reminisce about the greatest matches in SummerSlam history. 

So, which matches have withstood the test of time throughout the years and are still being talked about? Here are the five best matches in SummerSlam history. 

The Undertaker vs Edge: Hell in a Cell, SummerSlam 2008

With Edge and The Undertaker feuding for almost a year, the only logical way to settle the score was Hell in a Cell. The Undertaker won the first bout between the two before losing the rematch to Edge. SummerSlam 2008 was their rubber match and the final match in a trilogy between the two legends. 

The fight started off with The Undertaker dominating Edge by using the Cell as a weapon. He slammed Edge into the sides of the cage and dragged his face along the miles of chain link that make up the demonic structure. 

Edge would soon regain control by utilizing the steel ring steps and a chair. Eventually, the fight spilled outside the Cell after Edge Speared Undertaker straight through the cage wall. The two superstars went back and forth until The Undertaker eventually took control and chokeslammed Edge from the ring through two tables to the outside. The Undertaker wasn’t done. He brought Edge to the top of a ladder and Chokeslammed him again. This time, Edge went through the ring canvas and seeningly went straight to hell as a billow of flames arose from the hole in the ring.  

Shawn Michaels vs Triple H: Street Fight, SummerSlam 2002

Prior to this match, Shawn Michaels had not wrestled in four years. Fans wondered if he would be like the HBK of the 90s, or if ring rust and injury had gotten the better of him over the years. That question was answered instantaneously when the charismatic Michaels emerged from the curtain, made his way to the ring, and put on the match of the night with a giant smile on his face the whole time. 

There’s a famous saying in the Superstar business that goes: “You never hit anyone harder in the ring than your best friends.” 

Well, Triple H and Michaels took that literally as they hit each other with stiff shots all around the arena. The match was long, about half an hour, but nobody noticed because they were so enthralled by the action. Both superstars looked great and inflicted a great deal of punishment and pain on each other, including elbow drops off a ladder, splashes through tables, and stiff chair shots to the head that busted both men open. Although HBK would go on to pick up the win, Triple H got the last laugh as he nailed Michaels in the back of the head with his signature sledgehammer, sidelining him for a couple more months. 

Kurt Angle vs Steve Austin: SummerSlam 2001

Steve Austin and Kurt Angle put on arguably the greatest match to end in disqualification ever. The psychology of both men in this match added to the realism of the bout and the in-ring product was second to none. 

Austin hit his Stunner early on and went for a pin, which Angle kicked out of. A frustrated Austin busted Angle wide open, adding a layer of intensity to the match. The Olympic gold medalist continued to fight his way back into the match despite Austin’s best efforts. Stone Cold was clearly getting more frustrated.

Toward the end of the match Angle kicked out of yet another Stunner before he managed to hit Austin with his Olympic Slam and ankle lock for the near fall. The angry Austin lost his temper and began to attack the referees which forced a disqualification and the end of the match. Most fans don’t like disqualification finishes, but the match leading up to the finish was so good and both men sold the storyline so well that a disqualification made sense in the end. 

Edge and Christian vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz: TLC, SummerSlam 2000

With this match being the first three-team TLC match of all time, The Dudleys, The Hardys as well as Edge and Christian knew they had an unprecedented opportunity to create a blueprint for TLC tag team matches in the future. In fact, the series of matches they had would go on to become arguably the greatest series of tag team matches of all time and WWE’s most creative and violent to date. 

Teammates were flying off ladders, getting smacked in the face with steel chairs and jumping through tables all in the name of the tag team championship titles. After 20 minutes of career-shortening competition, Edge and Christian retained their titles. This match is a great example of beautiful chaos and is definitely one of the most extreme and creative matches in WWE history. 

Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith: SummerSlam 1992

Everything about this match was perfect. From the 80,000 rowdy fans in attendance at Wembley Stadium in England to the emotion, psychology and backstory surrounding this match, Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith for the Intercontinental Title is the greatest SummerSlam match of all time. 

Fans slowly started to get behind Smith as he built momentum toward dethroning Hart, a near impossible feat. At the end of the match, Hart locked in the Sharpshooter. Fans believed this was the end of the match, but The British Bulldog made it to the ropes to force a break. Hart then picked up Smith and threw him off the ropes. He went for a Sunset Flip, but Smith sat through it, rolling up Hart for the three count to become the new Intercontinental Champion. 

The crowd exploded into one of the loudest pops in wrestling history. The match was a technical masterpiece and displayed a master-level understanding of in-ring psychology. Between the fan reaction and the in-ring product, this match has withstood the test of time for good reason. 

Honorable Mentions

-    CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy: Ladder match, SummerSlam 2009
-    John Cena vs Brock Lesnar: SummerSlam 2014
-    Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero: Ladder match, SummerSlam 2005
-    John Cena vs AJ Styles: SummerSlam 2016
-    Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon: Ladder match, SummerSlam 1995

Make sure to watch SummerSlam Saturday, July 30 on Peacock to catch all the action!

Additional reporting by Chris Phelan

Read more about: