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Ranking 31 Years of WWE Summerslam Main Events (1988-2018)

Paul Benson
Top 5 / Top 10
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Summerslam 2018 - Marked the 30th anniversary of the show

Summerslam is WWE's third oldest pay per view event having debuted in August of 1988. The most recent instalment in 2018, was the 30th anniversary of the "biggest party of the Summer."

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This list ranks all of the Summerslam main events in descending order from all 31 instalments until we reach the greatest Summerslam main event of all time.


Diesel vs King Mabel - The worst Summerslam main event of all time

#31 1995 - Diesel vs King Mabel

Only one possibility for the worst Summerslam main event of all time. Matching the least financially successful WWF/E Champion of all time in Diesel vs the worst challenger of all time in King Mabel meant the WWF did not send the fans home happy at Summerslam 1995.

Mabel was virtually immobile and Diesel who could excel with superior workers such as Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels could not carry him. This was a mess from start to finish.

#30 1994 - Undertaker vs Undertaker

Ah, the mid-nineties! Someone had the bright idea that the best opponent for The Undertaker was The Undertaker!


If this was 2007, then it may have been an enticing possibility when Mark Calloway was able to wrestle long, thrilling, energetic matches with a range of opponents. However, in 1994, he was playing the "zombie" version of Undertaker, who would (very) slowly stalk around the ring, doing little of interest.

Amazingly, this could have been worse. The original plan was for both Undertakers to engage in a test of strength when the lights were supposed to go out. When they came back on, there would be only one, as both Undertakers would have merged to become one super Undertaker!

Thankfully, the excellent Bret Hart vs Owen Hart match earlier on the card had run long meaning all the supernatural nonsense planned for the main event had to be scrapped due to time constraints. Phew!

#29 1991 - Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior vs Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa & Gen. Adnan

This match is more famous for what happened backstage rather than in the ring. Prior to the bout, Warrior allegedly demanded money up front from WWF boss, Vince McMahon or he would not wrestle in the match. McMahon apparently acquiesced to save his main event, then following the show fired Warrior.

Warrior would not appear for the company again until Wrestlemania the following year.

As for the match, it was abysmal. Exploiting the Gulf War, months after it had finished, the American heroes squashed the Iraqi sympathisers.

#28 1989 - Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs Randy Savage & Zeus

No Holds Barred! That was the title of the movie that was the story of the match and unfortunately not the stipulation. 

In (yet) another bid to prove to the world that he was more than a wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon decided to enter the film business in 1989. He produced a film that was an embarrassment to the industry and a massive money loser for himself personally.

However, the savvy McMahon, made his losses back, when he invited actor Tom Lister, who had portrayed the movie's villain, Zeus to the WWF to transfer the movie's conflict between Hulk Hogan and Zeus to the wrestling ring.

As silly as the storyline was, it did monster business for the company. However, as Lister was an actor and not a wrestler, the match left a lot to be desired.

#27 1993 - Yokozuna vs Lex Luger

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Yokozuna and Lex Luger - Didn't set the world alight at Summerslam 1993

The enormous Yokozuna had surprisingly won the WWF Championship from Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX and then again from Hulk Hogan at the inaugural King of the Ring 1993 event.

However, Yoko' was never presented as a serious champion and most expected his reign to be transitional.

After Bret Hart had failed to light the box office on fire as champion, Vince McMahon decided to return to the Hulk Hogan blueprint which had made his company so much money in the 1980's.

So, McMahon turned Lex Luger face and set about making him the American hero for the 1990's.

Unfortunately, by 1994, the American hero who said his prayers and took his vitamins had become passe. Also, Luger did not possess the charisma of Hogan to attract the fans to his cause.

As a result, the feud was a failure as was the match.

#26 1988 - Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs Ted Dibiase & Andre The Giant

The Mega Powers team of Hulk Hogan and WWF Champion Macho Man Randy Savage defeated The Mega Bucks in the inaugural Summerslam main event. As a match it was serviceable but the virtually immobile Andre significantly slowed the action down. Savage and Dibiase kept the match moving when they were in the ring.

The famous finish occurred when Savage's valet, Miss Elizabeth distracted the heels by tearing off her skirt revealing her panties leaving them sitting ducks for Hogan's pinfall.

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