ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

The two main events of this Sunday's SummerSlam feature Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the Universal championship and Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE World championship.

Both of these matches could tear the house down. You have four workers who know how to tell a story in a wrestling match. That doesn't always happen in SummerSlam main events. But when great matches happen, they live forever.

Let's look at some of the greatest matches in SummerSlam history. These aren't matches with big names for the sake of names. These are matches featuring great wrestlers putting on a great show.

10. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy: SummerSlam 2009

This is pre-Cult of Personality CM Punk. This is CM Punk straight out of the WWE's version of ECW. This is CM Punk trying to make an impression on the WWE brass. And he's against Jeff Hardy, a once-great high flyer who was at the end of his era of greatness here.

Hardy may have been a stuntman in a wrestling ring, but he was a great stuntman and he made his matches memorable. He and CM Punk put on a tremendous show of high spots and ring psychology. It's too bad Hardy is in TNA and Punk is in the UFC. These guys could be having great matches in the WWE today.

9. Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero: SummerSlam 2005

Guerrero has myth-like status when it comes to his in-ring work. He deserves it. One of the original members of The Radicalz, along with Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn defected to the WWE from WCW, Guerrero was a little guy who could go.

He could work a match with a beast like Brock Lesnar, or on this night the diminutive Mysterio, and make it all look real. Throw in the fact that both Guerrero and Mysterio were fearless, and real-life friends, and you have a recipe for high-art. Eddie's frog splash tore the house down. "THIS IS AWESOME." Yep, sing it.

8. Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz: SummerSlam 2000

At one time these were the three best tag teams in the world. And they were all inside the ring at SummerSlam 2000. Hardy appears here again, in the perfect venue for him, a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.

Making this match even better is play-by-play commentator Jim Ross, "it looks like a car wreck out there." Edge was emerging as singles star. In fact, the WWE would try to make singles stars out of everyone here, and it worked, with the exception of the Dudley Boyz. This is not the match you want your mama to see, but it's perfect for you and your buddies.

7. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H: SummerSlam 2002

Shawn Michaels supposedly came back for one more match to settle an old score with a formal rival and friend. How the heck does a guy return after four years and have the best match on the show? When that guy is Shawn Michaels.

Michaels was born to be a professional wrestler. He was gifted in ways that other greats, including Ric Flair and Bret Hart weren't. Michaels was having the best matches in the world in the mid-1990s. And then he returned and put on another great one, after a four-year absence. One more match turned into seven more years and Michaels ended his career with an argument that he is the greatest of all-time.

6. Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. Mr. Perfect: SummerSlam 1991

Hart was a technician, a wrestler's wrestler. His matches were flawless. They looked real. Hart's legacy is that he won tons of titles, his matches were executed with precision, and he never hurt anyone inside that ring. Hart also has an argument for being the greatest of all time and if you watch this match with Mr. Perfect you will know why. His timing and psychology was off the chart.

Throw in the fact that the other guy in the ring was Mr. Perfect and you can't go wrong. These guys worked well together, like a 7-game series between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Hart won the Intercontinental Title that night and "History Was Made."

5. Triple H vs. The Rock: SummerSlam 1998

Imagine a time when The Rock and Triple H were just regular mid-card guys trying to get over. They had no baggage or drama. They were just wrestlers in a feud. Well that's how it was in 1998, but when this match was over, both Triple H and The Rock were stars, destined for greatness.

This was probably the first match where Triple H carried another guy to greatness. Of course he would do it very often later in his career. The Rock owes Triple H for making him look like a decent wrestler. Triple H's ring psychology is unparalleled. No one thought The Rock could win this, but by the end of the match we all thought he would do it, but then Triple H reminded us why he was the future "Game" and rallied to win the Intercontinental title.

It didn't matter who won. Both guys became stars that night. We might see something similar with Rusev and Roman Reigns at this Sunday's SummerSlam.

4. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon: SummerSlam 1995

Razor Ramon's two greatest matches came against the same guy: Shawn Michaels. This was a rematch to their iconic Wrestlemania match — and it was awesome. These two didn't invent the ladder match, but they put it on the map. Razor liked and trusted Michaels and the feeling was mutual.

This match was more gimmicky than the first one. More ladder sports and as a fan you could see some of the moves coming before they happened, which is never a good thing. Still, this was a 4-star match, with Michaels not yet at the peak of his tremendous career, and Razor working his butt off to hang with Michaels.

3. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan: SummerSlam 2013

Had the WWE played its cards right, Daniel Bryan could have been the next Hulk Hogan. He was immensely popular with the fans, in an organic way. Everything the WWE wants with Roman Reigns, it had with Bryan. And it was unforced. It was just natural.

Instead of treating him like a "B+ player," the WWE could have cashed-in on him and enjoyed a resurgence. Instead, Bryan ended up just having the greatest matches on the card and by the time they decided to run with Bryan as the champion, he was injured and concussed, and unable to hold the spot. On this night, however, he did what everyone likes to see. He "beat up John Cena."

Bryan could not have a bad match if he tried. Here he won, only to lose it on a Money-in-the-Bank cash-in that was lame. Triple H was the special guest referee, and let's just say he was not "objective." Those kinds of endings are what make people hate professional wrestling. Bryan was "The Man" that night, no matter what anyone in the office was trying to tell us.

2. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart: SummerSlam 1994

What's better than Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect? Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart. This was the end of the battle between two brothers who were fighting for superiority. Owen was jealous of Bret and turned on him, giving us some of the best matches ever. Owen played the jealous heel perfectly and Hart played the older brother who was tired of his little brother getting in his way. There was some great drama and ring psychology here. Watch the network to see who won, but appreciate the great working ability of both.

1. Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog: SummerSlam 1992

If you are looking for a classic wrestling match, featuring two great athletes, and a family back-story drama, all in front of a monstrous crowd, this is the best match for you. Hart's sister Diana Hart was married to The British Bulldog and she was forced to choose between her sister and her husband. What is this the television show "Dynasty"?

She tried to stay neutral, but in the end chose her husband. This match featured something rare for the time. Even though it was for the Intercontinental title, and not the world title, it went on last, as the main event, a great nod to these two guys' wrestling ability. The match was back and forth and nip and tuck and in the end The British Bulldog won the match in front of his home country -- and the family reunited. What a great moment and story.

This is the match you want your mama to see if you want her to understand why you love professional wrestling.


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