Ranking All 29 WWE SummerSlam Main Events Ever

Where did Sunday's Lesnar/Orton match rank among the all-timers?

Brock Lesnar Randy Orton SummerSlam 2016

SummerSlam this year had three matches that could easily headline a PPV (John Cena vs. AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor), but only one could close out the show. You have to ask yourself in hindsight: Was it the right choice?

As the major summer show, SummerSlam often caps off major storylines that began in the wake of Mania four months prior. SummerSlam has produced some truly amazing matches throughout the years, and it’s given us some turkeys – and that range of match quality applies to the main events of each of the 29 SummerSlams. Some main events have bored fans to tears, while others have brought them to their feet.

Sometimes the strength of the PPV is measured by how good the main event is. A truly memorable last match can elevate fans’ and critics’ opinions of the event, while a forgettable bout can damage the PPV’s reputation.

Ranking some of these matches are easy based on match quality alone or when taking historical context into account. But a lot of this is subjective, and the difference in rankings might be miniscule. Feel free to sound off in the comments about where you would rank some of these matches.

29. The Undertaker Vs. The Undertaker (1994)

Edge John Cena SummerSlam

As a match, as a storyline and as a main event, this flopped. Completely

The backstory is that at the Royal Rumble that year, Yokozuna (and about 10 other wrestlers) beat Undertaker in a casket match. The casket started smoking, then Taker levitated into the heavens to be reborn. (Seriously.) In the interim, Ted DiBiase debuted his Undertaker, who very clearly was not the Undertaker. At SummerSlam, the two collided.

The match was doomed from the start because it followed the excellent WWF title cage match between Bret and Owen Hart. Throw in that the two Undertakers spend a lot of the 10-minute match no-selling moves and you have a recipe to suck the oxygen out of the arena. You know it’s a bad match when it’s never referenced again, except by fans on “Worst of…” compilations.


Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.