SummerSlam! The biggest party of the summer, and the WWE’s second biggest pay per view event after Wrestlemania. The show which has been running annually since 1988 has always been a highlight for any wrestling fans calendar. That’s not to say that every match has been a classic. In fact, some have been downright stinkers. But hell, would we be able to truly appreciate the all time classic matches like The British Bulldog’s win against Bret Hit Man Hart from SummerSlam 1992 or Edge vs. The Undertaker from 2008 had we not been treated to matches with the likes of Giant Gonzales in? The bad allows us to appreciate the good, and put perspective on it.
So here are the top five worst matches in SummerSlam history. Not an easy list to compile, and whilst it was very hard to include the classic Marty Janetty vs. Ludvig Borga match on the list I do believe that each of the following matches was either a terrible match, a terrible idea or a huge let down sometimes because of the high expectations if the match included otherwise top notch talent. Not that that could be said about the Janetty-Borga match.
Janetty, as we know, was the Sliding Doors ‘parallel universe’ version of Shawn Michaels who had a poor career whereas he could have had a great one. That’s why his match with Borga was such a shame as he had to utterly job against the late Ludvig Borga, a man so Dolph Lungrenish he could have been in Universal Soldier 2 with Bill Goldberg.
Honourable Mention: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Yokozuna (1996)
OK, so technically this isn’t one of the top five, but technically speaking this match wasn’t part of Summerslam. This match was part of the 1996 SummerSlam pre-show ‘Free For All’ so although I’d want this one on the list proper, I’ll only include as a bonus extra to match the original matches status as an extra at SummerSlam 1996.
On paper this should have been a great match. Yokozuna was a two time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion, and he was facing the recently crowned King Of The Ring Stone Cold Steve Austin. Sure, Austin was on the verge of his stardom and not actually there yet, but even so you have to question why a match between these two would be put as an opening match before the PPV proper even begins. Being a former World Champion, Yokozuna should have never been booked to lose in such a low profile match, in such a short time (the match lasted under two minutes) and with one of the most ridiculous endings not to happen in a WCW ring. Such a booking move only devalues Yokozuna which has a knock on effect of devaluing the World Championship as it highlights that if a former World Champion can become so irrelevant just two years after holding the belt is really says something about the level of competition the company has.
Booking Austin into this match was also a dumb move. He had just become Kind Of The Ring and done his famous ‘Austin 3:16’ speech, but at the next big PPV to follow KOTR he’s booked in a free match. To sum up the situation with Austin’s future catchphrase… ‘What?’ Austin defeating a former World Champion after winning the KOTR should have been part of a continued streak of success, but this was a meaningless match which did nothing to elevate Austin (although as history tells us, he was no worse off in the long run).
The worst thing about the match was that it defied logic in more than one way. Yokozuna was seemingly one bonsai splash away from defeating Austin (which was stupid as it showed Austin could have been defeated in two minutes), but Austin was able to get the victory when the ring ropes broke and Austin got the quick pin on Yokozuna, who had fallen on his back after the ropes failed to hold his weight, suggesting that simply falling from the height of the middle rope is all that was required to beat the former two time World Champion.
What’s worse was that a move wasn’t even done on him after he fell. If Jeff Hardy misses a swanton at the end of a twenty minute match you’d accept the impact of the high risk move could be enough to finish him off, but Yokozuna fell the same distance as he would if he had performed a vertical suplex and was somehow out? This wasn’t even the worst part though.
It’s very established in WWE and all pro wrestling that a pin attempt can be broke up by making contact with the ropes. Not only was Yokozuna in contact with the ropes, but it was lying across his chest as Austin made the pin.
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