What are the best Summerslam matches of the last decade?
Summerslam has been a staple of the WWE calendar for over 30 years. It has had a ton of memorable matches, from Bret versus Owen Hart in 1994 to the main event of Summerslam 1992 in England to The Rock passing the torch to Brock Lesnar in 2002. Let’s look at the more recent history instead. What have been the best matches of the last 10 Summerslams? Some are luckier than others, with certain years not getting even an honorable mention. 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2020 – you know what you did.
- The Fiend vs Finn Balor – 2019
- Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins, Universal Championship Match – 2016
- Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus – 2019
- Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks (c), Women’s Championship Match – 2016
- Randy Orton vs Christian (c), World Heavyweight Championship Match – 2011
#5 Seth Rollins (c) vs John Cena (c), Winner Take All WWE & United States Championship Match – 2015
Despite already being WWE Champion, this is one of the matches that truly elevated Seth Rollins to a main event fixture. A few months into his reign that started with a cash-in during the Wrestlemania 31 main event, Rollins was up against one of his biggest tests: John Cena. The now-Peacemaker was in the middle of his entertaining US Open Challenge run with the mid-card belt, and both were on the line in the match. Yes, this match gets dinged for the heel turn of Summerslam host Jon Stewart on Cena. You can forgive that strange ending for the quality of the match turned in ahead of time.
#4 CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar, No Disqualification Match – 2013
Has anybody heard anything about CM Punk these days? No? Just figured I’d ask. In 2013, Punk was looking for retribution on former associate Paul Heyman who had realigned with Brock Lesnar. Their match at Summerslam was a brutal affair with both men (and Heyman) taking damage. While Punk would be unsuccessful in getting comeuppance on Heyman or the win, the match is still an excellent 20+ minute affair. Will we see more of these from Punk soon?
#3 A.J. Styles vs John Cena – 2016
This match sometimes is forgotten in the storied rivalry of Styles and Cena. Their match at Royal Rumble 2017 had the added stakes of the WWE Championship and Cena tying Ric Flair’s record. This match at Summerslam 2016 was as pure a wrestling affair as one could ask for. The two traded finishers and had the best match on the card, a preview of what was to come in January.
#2 Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman vs Samoa Joe, Universal Championship Match – 2017
This match is one of the greatest and most chaotic fatal four-ways I’ve ever seen. Lesnar had been an unbeatable monster, but against three of the toughest in the company, Lesnar was vulnerable. Announce tables were broken, barricades were busted through. Every man had a chance to shine in this match. By this point the formula of Lesnar versus Reigns was stale, so adding in Strowman and Joe made it a much fresher match. I still think Samoa Joe was robbed here, but it is still an incredible match.
#1 Daniel Bryan vs John Cena (c), WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match with Triple H as Special Referee – 2013
The best Summerslam match of the last decade is the one that brought Daniel Bryan to the WWE Championship. Bryan was the scrappy underdog who the fans were behind. Cena was the man who gave him the opportunity, but also represented the WWE establishment. It’s a hard-hitting affair that sees Bryan go over clean as a whistle. Bryan would then embark on a long journey culminating in the main event of Wrestlemania 30. It’s the start of a classic storyline and the best match of the last ten Summerslam events.
Evan Gomes is a freelance sports & pop culture writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsEvanGomes, and check out his two podcasts: Crossbody of Work and The Pop Capsule Podcast.
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