On paper, SummerSlam 2004 looked like a kick-ass show. You had Chris Benoit defending the World Heavyweight Title against rising star Randy Orton, a Kurt Angle/Eddie Guerrero WrestleMania rematch, Eugene seeking revenge on Triple H in an unexpectedly-enjoyable feud, and an IC title triple threat with Edge, Chris Jericho, and Batista duking it out. It seemed as though SummerSlam was destined to be a good one.
Instead, the show is hardly ever called back on, save for mentioning that Orton won his first World Title there (over a nameless opponent). Some questionable angles like the portrayal of the Eugene character, the involvement of Lita as an unwilling broodmare for Kane, and, of course, the ultimate fate of the defending champion in the night’s main event don’t exactly reflect the more stringent values of the company today. While WWE revels in some of their over-the-top Attitude Era zaniness when it’s convenient, SummerSlam 2004 could be termed as slightly inconvenient.
Viewed on its own merits, it’s a somewhat unusual show, but hardly a bad one by any means. More or less, SummerSlam 2004 is an oddity that encapsulates just what WWE was in 2004, and where it was going to be headed in the not-too-distant future.
10. Canadian Grand Slam
The 2004 SummerSlam emanated from the Air Canada Centre (today Scotiabank Arena) in Toronto, ON, making it the first (and so far only) SummerSlam to take place north of the border. Prior to 2004, SummerSlam was the only event from WWE’s classic Big Four to have never taken place in Canada.
The Royal Rumble was the first to have a Canadian locale, when the televised 1988 edition took place in Hamilton, ON. WrestleMania followed suit in 1990 when the sixth annual grand spectacle occurred in the relatively-new SkyDome in Toronto. Survivor Series was third to the part with the infamous 1997 event in Montreal, and we all know how that one turned out. Thankfully, SummerSlam 2004 would come to a conclusion without any promoters getting punched out by deposed, outgoing champions.