30 Facts You Might Not Know From 30 Years Of WWE SummerSlam History

We go behind the curtain at the biggest parties of 30 summers...

Over the last month or so, keen-eyed readers of this illustrious website will know that our writer, the incomparable Justin Henry, has taken us on a journey of wonder and discovery as he's taught us things we didn't know about each and every WWE SummerSlam since the very first event, way back in 1988. If you haven't read those things, please do. They're really chuffing good and too pure for this world.

Given that SummerSlam is 30 years old meaning there's 30 years worth of Superstars and stories to tell - not to mention that many believe it's the second biggest event on WWE's stacked calendar - there are plenty of interesting revelations from both in front of and behind the curtain to tell. And bloody hell, our website houses the most comprehensive collection of those stories, and then some.

I'm a fan of best-ofs - if you, like me, don't answer the question of 'what is the greatest musical album ever made?' with ABBA GOLD, you doing this life thing all wrong. In the spirit of compilations, I've taken what I believe to be the most interesting fact from each of Justin's 30 articles about SummerSlam and put them all under one roof. So then, here's my compilation of 'That's What I Call Now The Best Of The Music WWE SummerSlam GOLD' - or something.

30. Savage Objected To Elizabeth's Outfit - 1988


The main event match of SummerSlam 1988 in which Hogan and Savage vanquished DiBiase and Andre was most notable for the finishing sequence. Just when it seemed as though the heroes were teetering on the brink, an immaculately-dressed Miss Elizabeth climbed to the apron and stripped off her skirt, revealing red full-bottoms, the sight of which would distract the heels, their seconds (Bobby Heenan and Virgil), and referee Ventura. Hogan and Savage would use the diversion to turn the tide, though Savage's flying elbow would only be the second best visual of that entire portion of the match.

According to Bruce Prichard, Miss Elizabeth's clothing reveal was originally supposed to be a skimpier bikini, but Savage flat out refused to let that come to pass. Ultimately, Vince and Savage managed to come to an agreement on the somewhat conservative bottoms, though the bikini idea was apparently in play up until the final days before SummerSlam, where Savage suddenly got cold feet. As Prichard notes, one of their top-selling posters featured Liz in a bikini, so he's not sure why Savage grew so skittish.

29. Hogan And Beefcake Had An Interesting Way Of Reining In Zeus - 1989


The summer of 1989 was all about the life-altering cinematic masterpiece known as No Holds Barred, and three months after its release, the world would be treated to the sight of film antagonist Zeus teaming with Randy Savage to battle WWE Champion Hulk Hogan and partner Brutus Beefcake. With a little extra smoke and mirrors and some assorted gaga, plus Savage shouldering much of the physical load, the match turned out fine. The important thing was that the minimally-trained Zeus didn't get exposed too badly.

According to Beefcake, he and Hogan had to work to keep Zeus on an even keel during the match. At times, Zeus would get a little too aggressive, and in response, either Hogan or Beefcake would mutter to him: "Free James Brown," a reference to the then-incarceration of 'The Godfather of Soul' on a handful of serious charges. The phrase apparently amused Zeus, and had a calming effect on him that caused him to work a little more smoothly.

28. WWE Had To Act Quick To Replace Brutus Beefcake - 1990


The original IC Title match for SummerSlam 1990 would've seen Mr Perfect defend the gold against nemesis of many months Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake. Beefcake, as noted recently in our list of unusual injuries, was catastrophically injured in a parasailing accident on Independence Day 1990 and would miss more than two years of action. His replacement was a relative newcomer to WWE, but a familiar face to wrestling fans nonetheless: 'The Texas Tornado' Kerry Von Erich.

Because of WWE's then-penchant for taping their television shows many weeks in advance, they had a very small window to get Von Erich ready to replace Beefcake as Perfect's challenger. Just 12 days after Beefcake's accident, Von Erich debuted at the Superstars tapings in Omaha, NE, winning a pair of matches while also issuing a direct challenge to Perfect at the same tapings. The episode where Von Erich made the challenge aired just two weeks before SummerSlam, which by 1990 standards was cutting it close.

27. We Learned What Everybody Made - 1991


Wrestler salary figures aren’t often made available to the public, so it’s generally up to us to use our imaginations when considering what wrestlers make. We don’t have to wonder about what the performers who worked the 1991 SummerSlam made, however, since the payroll sheet was produced during a 1993 lawsuit filed by The Ultimate Warrior.

Both Hogan and Warrior, along with Randy Savage, topped the salary charts with $75,000 apiece for the event, with Sgt. Slaughter and Miss Elizabeth each netting $50,000. Interestingly, and somewhat humorously, Elizabeth was paid as much as both Legion of Doom members combined ($25,000 apiece) and almost as much as Mr Perfect ($20,000) Bret Hart ($17,500), and Big Boss Man ($15,000) combined, just to take part in a wedding vow renewal inside a wrestling ring. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that this isn’t an awesome industry.

26. Bulldog Forgot The Match Plan Minutes After It Started - 1992


If you've seen the Hart/Bulldog IC title match, you know its greatness. You've read many accounts from others who back up the assertion that the match is a masterpiece. Usually, it takes two to tango, but in the case of this match, it was Bret doing almost all of the heavy lifting. That's because, per Hart's recollection and that of others, Bulldog wasn't in the best state of mind.

Bulldog had apparently not returned Hart's calls throughout the summer, and Hart didn't get a hold of him until the night before the show. When Hart confronted him, a sheepish Bulldog admitted that he had partaken in heavy drug use that summer with Jim Neidhart. Left to his own devices, Hart designed the entire match and helped Bulldog remember the details. Come match time, Bulldog admitted minutes in that he'd forgotten the entire plan. It was up to Hart, with assists from referee Joey Marella, to carry the match and to make sure Bulldog was in the right position to carry out each ensuing step. The fact that nobody could have guessed that from watching is a testament to just how remarkable a wrestler Bret Hart truly was.

25. Luger Really Did Drive Around On That Damn Bus - 1993


After Lex Luger Bodyslammed Yokozuna at the Independence Day challenge, he was whisked off on a coast-to-coast campaign in order to drum up fan support, similar to a politician stumping for votes. But this was no part-time endeavour: Luger legitimately did not wrestle for about six or seven weeks, whilst driving around the country on the Lex Express.

Luger's rigorous schedule included multiple autograph sessions per day, along with radio and TV appearances. The minimal downtime he received while on tour was used for going to the gym and getting a good night's rest. Otherwise, he was busy taking the Hulk Hogan Accelerated Main Eventer course. From the time Luger finished up a house show loop the week after the bodyslam challenge, he would not wrestle another match until the week before SummerSlam.

24. 'Taker Vs. 'Faker's Ending Could Have Been Much Weirder - 1994


So finally, after some bad Leslie Nielsen comedy, The Underfaker stinking out the arena, and a pre-match light show, we get the goddamned Battle of the Takers. It took only nine minutes and some of the slowest wrestling this side of a La Brea Tar Pits Deathmatch for Real 'Taker to put Faux 'Taker out of his misery for good. Apparently, purple gloves are Brian Lee's kryptonite.

As bad as all of that was (and make no mistake, it was all pure toxic sludge), the match ending was reportedly supposed to be even stranger. When all was said and done, there was reportedly supposed to be another lights-and-magic show with both Undertakers standing in the ring. Somehow, some way, through an unexplained act that goes beyond mere humanity, the two Undertakers were to somehow "merge", so that when the lights came back on, only Calaway remained. You know, as though Calaway somehow absorbed Lee's physical form. The federal prosecutors may have actually gotten a conviction if they'd tried WWE for illicit LSD use.

23. The Ladder Match Came With Several Restrictions - 1995


In our 1994 SummerSlam list, we noted that Bret and Owen Hart were met with some strict guidelines in regards to what they were allowed to do in their Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship due to the crackdown on televised violence that was being bandied about by lobbyist groups. Michaels and Ramon had the same difficulties for their Ladder Match, as McMahon told them in no ambiguous terms that the ladder could not be used as a weapon.

Michaels and Ramon protested, but it was no use. The two, along with their Kliq allies, spent the night before the pay-per-view trying to put together a match that would still be incredible, while adhering to the skin-tight rules. It was a young Triple H who told them that they could still jump off the ladder, and they could still be thrown into it as though it were the turnbuckles. With these facts in mind, Michaels and Ramon assembled a sheer beauty of a match, with Ramon dropping the ladder on Michaels' leg the only spot that came close to violating Vince's edicts.

22. There Was A Change Of Plan - 1996


Michaels would beat Vader pretty decisively at SummerSlam, which didn't seem all that unusual, as it was a case of a proven top-of-the-card heel laying down so that the face of the company could score a major victory, further establishing him as a worthy champion. That wasn't the original plan, however, and it was because of Michaels that things changed.

Originally, SummerSlam's main event was to have seen some sort of controversial non-finish that would necessitate a rematch between the two at Survivor Series, where Vader would capture the belt. Michaels would then regain the title at the Royal Rumble before 60,000 of his fellow San Antonians. As it turned out, Michaels loathed working with Vader, whose brutally-stiff work admittedly wasn't all that fun to endure. Michaels reportedly even threatened Vader's job at one point when Vader grabbed his scalp a bit too hard during a house show match. Vader was swapped out for Sid, who would carry on with the two title changes in the Mastadon's place.

21. The Ugly Fallout From The Botch - 1997


It's been noted in various places over the years that Austin largely refused to work with Owen as a result of the Piledriver gone wrong. There were brief moments together (notably the Survivor Series 1997 match), but Austin found it hard to forgive Owen for the accident. Stone Cold's ex-wife Jeannie Clark would even claim that Austin refused to attend Owen's funeral in 1999 due to the unresolved iciness between the two parties. Austin also claimed that Owen never reached out to apologize for the mistake, despite Bret insisting that Owen do so.

In an astonishing claim, Owen's widow Martha Hart wrote in her 2004 book that Owen thought Austin was faking his injuries. That sounds pretty far-fetched, given that nobody else has ever questioned Austin's condition that night or after the fact. Both Austin and Jim Ross have theorized that Owen felt such guilt and shame over what happened that he may have found it hard to openly acknowledge it.

20. Out Stone Cold - 1998


For a little while there, it seemed like Stone Cold was destined to never be able to enjoy a SummerSlam moment. He managed to overcome his horrifying spinal injury at the hands of Owen Hart in 1997, winning two WWE Championships in the year after his comeback, and would headline SummerSlam against The Undertaker in '98, capping off a summer's worth of drama and intrigue. If only Austin could've remembered the moment personally.

Though nowhere near as bad as the neck-crunching stinger from a year earlier, Austin would end up concussed on a very subtle botch. Charging off the ropes, Austin kicks a hunched-over Undertaker, causing 'Taker to stand straight up, and the back of his head would whack Austin in the chin. Austin was knocked loopy for several seconds, and while the match was still pretty good, The Texas Rattlesnake admitted to being disappointed with how it came off, feeling he and Undertaker didn't hook the crowd the way they could have.

Austin has recalled on his podcast how Earl Hebner looked down at him after the clash of heads and said "God Damn boy, you alright?" with Stone Cold replying "where am I?"

Earl then humorously said back: "God Damn, boy, you in the Garden!"

19. A Surprising Ending - 1999


It wasn't as surprising as Lex Luger being all happy and on-board with beating Yokozuna by countout, but it was a shocker nonetheless when Mankind, not Triple H, left SummerSlam 1999 as WWE Champion. Mick Foley was hastily inserted into the World title Triple Threat Match the week before the pay-per-view, pinned Stone Cold, and would only hold the belt for 24 hours before dropping it to Triple H.

The decision to have Mankind play go-between in getting the belt from Austin to Triple H was apparently made just days before SummerSlam. There were rumours that Austin wasn't keen about laying down for Triple H, due to Shawn Michaels allegedly insinuating himself into the situation, as Austin loathed The Kliq's politics from days past. Whatever the case was, Triple H's ascent to the top of WWE didn't take place at SummerSlam as most were expecting, and was instead delayed by 24 hours.

18. No Happiness For The Home Fans - 2000


Prevailing logic said that The Hardy Boyz were an ideal pick to win the TLC Match on account of not only their general popularity, but also the fact that SummerSlam's location of Raleigh wasn't all that far from their shared home of Cameron, NC. Edge has indicated that the original plan was to have Matt and Jeff Hardy reign supreme that night, but plans were changed along the way.

According to "The Rated-R Superstar", WWE officials felt that Edge and Christian had built up a great amount of heat in their time as champions that so totally reeked of awesomeness, and that having them beat the Hardyz on their home turf (the state of North Carolina, not the eerie Hardy Compound) would only make them even more hated. Edge adds that Vince felt a title change was too predictable, to which Edge counters that sometimes predictable can be a good thing.

17. Deviating From The Script - 2001


One of the big knocks against DDP as a wrestler is a subjective one. Page is notorious for scripting out his matches to the most minute detail, as he feels that having a pre-configured plan helps him give the most optimum performances. "Macho Man" Randy Savage was a bird of that same feather, but Page's insistence on following plans to the letter earned him some scorn - particularly, from The Undertaker.

Some sources, including Dave Meltzer and Hardcore Holly, noted that Page comprised a script for the Steel Cage Match at SummerSlam, and presented his finished product to Undertaker. This didn't sit well with "Big Evil", and what followed probably was not what DDP had written down - he and Kanyon took a one-sided ass-whooping that did neither man any favours. Page was made to look like a chump, and was even pinned the next night on Raw by Undertaker's then-wife Sara.

16. Questions About The Comeback - 2002



Part of the match's underlying story was the idea that Triple H might be able to take full advantage of a rusty Michaels. In WWE canon, Michaels had not wrestled since Steve Austin planted him with a Stunner at the conclusion of WrestleMania XIV almost four-and-a-half years earlier. While that little note would only enhance the match's story, it turns out that it's not exactly true.

This is nitpicky, and something that any sensible fan would be willing to forgive, but it's still worth a mention. During a period in the year 2000 when Michaels trained wrestlers down in San Antonio, he performed in one match for the Texas Wrestling Alliance. It was in April 2000 that Michaels warred with former partner and nemesis Paul Diamond (then working as "Venum") in a hardcore-based match. Hope this doesn't ruin SummerSlam 2000 for ya any.

15. Happy Birthday Boss - 2003

Talking Stick Resort Arena

The 16th annual SummerSlam would take place on the date August 24 for the only time ever, which just so happens to be the birthday of one Vincent Kennedy McMahon. After the show went off the air, Stone Cold Steve Austin hit the ring for a special segment (that would be seen on his Stone Cold Truth DVD) in which he called out Vince McMahon, as well as the entire roster, for a little birthday celebration.

Highlights of the segment included Big Show rolling out of the ring to prevent a weight-related collapse, Austin and Undertaker coercing a hesitant Vince into admitting his real age ("I'M 58 YEARS OLD!!" he would bark), and Vince vowing to outlive everybody present (which is probably a safe bet). It was a charming little piece of business unto itself, and almost makes up for the sour taste the pay-per-view left. Almost.

14. Diva Dodgeball Resulted In Wrestler's Court - 2004


Owed to the success of the hilarious Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, WWE pitted its incumbent divas (Gail Kim, Jazz, Stacy Keibler, et al) against the remaining Diva Search contestants (including Maria Kanellis, Christy Hemme, and Michelle McCool) in a six-on-six game of playground-style dodgeball. The Diva Search contingent would win, only losing one team member along the way.

Some may have believed that this was a worked competition, that the outsider team was given a win to boost their profile, but no - this was one hundred per cent a shoot. The Diva hopefuls mopped the floor with the contracted WWE women, with the competition not even being close. This reportedly caused an uproar backstage among the boys, some of whom felt the ladies had embarrassed the company by getting their visors handed to them. The losing women's faction would have to endure Wrestler's Court, with Val Venis as prosecutor and Triple H as judge, with Ivory acting as pseudo-defense attorney.

13. That Jericho, Always Working The Web - 2005


As mentioned earlier, Jericho and Cena worked together in the WWE Championship match, with Jericho putting Cena over clean as a sheet. The next night on Raw, Cena defeated Jericho in yet another title match, this one with the added stipulation that the loser would be fired from the company. That, obviously, was Jericho's out, freeing him from wrestling for more than two years.

What's interesting is that Jericho's contract actually expired at the end of July, and WWE had to sign him to a one-month extension to ensure that he was under contract come SummerSlam Sunday. In an oh-so-Jericho note, Y2J requested that WWE announce his contract extension on the website, but omit the part that stated the length. This way, some fans who figured Jericho was leaving may have been fooled into thinking he might have a chance at beating Cena after all.

12. Hulkamania's Last Ride - 2006


Twenty-one years earlier, on the broadcast premiere of Saturday Night's Main Event, Hogan defended the WWE Championship against "Cowboy" Bob Orton. The fact that Hogan would one day be wrestling a featured pay-per-view match against Cowboy's then-five-year-old son Randy has to make Hulk feel a little older than perhaps he already does.

The match is, to date, Hogan's last inside a WWE ring. Plans to have Hogan compete at WrestleMania 23 the following year fell by the wayside, and he would instead focus any and all in-ring focus on personal tours (the Hulkamania tour of Australia) and occasionally donning the tights in a TNA ring. As of now, Hogan's last match ever took place in January 2012, competing in six-man tag action during TNA's tour of the United Kingdom. But I wouldn't rule out one last foray in a WWE ring, for posterity's sake.

11. Literal Stunt Casting - 2007


SummerSlam was due to have a celebrity tie-in, as the cast of the irreverent MTV series Jackass was due to take part. The original event poster depicted the castmembers buried up to their necks in beach sand, with an angry Umaga looming beside them. Umaga had previously mauled Steve-O and Chris Pontius on WWE television, the prelude to what was allegedly going to be a handicap hardcore match featuring several Jackass stars against The Samoan Bulldozer.

Plans began to change in light of the Benoit fallout, as suddenly it wasn't so cool to be associated with the WWE product. It was reportedly Johnny Knoxville that had the coldest feet about appearing on company programming, and he began backing out of scheduled appearances on Raw that summer, before pulling out altogether. Once Knoxville washed his hands of the arrangement, WWE decided to scrap the entire union, even though several Jackass members were still willing to appear.

10. Edge's Suggestion Was A Bit Too Risky - 2008


The Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Edge was as excellent as it could be, even with the restrictions of a family-friendly product taking away the potential for some welcome gruesomeness. The creative violence and weapons-based mayhem were well-executed, and the match itself was more than satisfying. What was missing was a helluva crazy spot that came up in discussion.

Edge had suggested that Undertaker Tombstone him on top of the Cell, presumably as a finish. It would've looked cool, and would've got the crowd buzzing, but it was decided that it wouldn't be the right thing to do. Given how one of the partitions broke away a decade earlier when Undertaker Chokeslammed Mankind, the move may have been asking for more trouble than it was worth. To make up for the lost opportunity, Edge was instead Chokeslammed into the fiery pits of hell. So there was that, at least.

9. Always Leave 'Em Wanting More - 2009


The opening match of the 2009 SummerSlam was a doozy, as Rey Mysterio successfully defended his Intercontinental Title against a coming-of-age Dolph Ziggler. The barrage of near-falls down the stretch made it one of the first potential show stealers of Ziggler's career, whereas it was just another day at the office for the ever-reliable Rey-Rey.

Just days after the pay-per-view, however, it was announced that Mysterio was subject to a 30-day suspension for violating the company's wellness policy, though the suspension would be held off until the following week so that he could drop the belt. Mysterio would lose the IC title to John Morrison in an excellent match on SmackDown, before going off to serve his 30 days at home. Mysterio was reportedly furious about the suspension, however, claiming that he'd had a valid prescription for the substance that he was popped for.

8. Questionable Ending - 2010


So Super Cena did what Super Cena does, and that's make the big comeback on The Nexus, finishing off Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett in succession to save the day for the erstwhile good guys. Chris Jericho says it was Vince's idea to have Cena survive, even as he and others felt Nexus leader Barrett needed to be the one standing tall. Gabriel recalled in an interview that Cena had the finish changed so that he would win.

Another area where Jericho, as well as Edge, differed with Cena was in the setup to the finish. They felt that Barrett shouldn't have DDT'd Cena on the concrete if Cena was just going to shake it off and prevail anyway. Jericho would note that later in the night, Cena conceded that the way the match ended wasn't the right call after all.

7. Ringside Sleaze - 2011


In the undercard, Mark Henry would defeat Sheamus via countout, but not in normal countout fashion. The World’s Strongest Man drove Sheamus through the ringside barricade with a running slam, causing the sort of OMG! moment that you would see in WWE’s video games. And who better to accentuate said OMG! moment than a wrestler making an OMG! face?

A local indy talent of considerable renown was seated in the front row near the eventual accident site, planted there to react with abject horror at Henry putting Sheamus through the wall. The wrestler in question was none other than Joey Ryan, who did what he’d call a “Home Alone” sell to the spot, something he claims popped the boys in the back, per what CM Punk told him. The next night at Raw, Ryan received a tryout match with Bo Dallas, but was not hired.

6. Wild Thing, Won’t Step In The Ring - 2012


From Jon Stewart to Stephen Amell to an example we’ll get to later, WWE likes to try and augment SummerSlam with some celebrity ordnance. In 2012, they had intended for Daniel Bryan to receive his own brush with greatness, courtesy of the patron saint of sin himself, Charlie Sheen. Gordon Bombay’s kid brother even appeared via a Skype call on the Raw 1000 telecast the previous month, insulting Bryan in about the least enthusiastic manner possible.

Sheen was apparently disinterested in working with WWE for anything more than a brief moment, and while company officials wanted to do a match between the two at SummerSlam, obviously it never happened. Sheen was reportedly asked later about the connection, and he cracked that WWE would need to pay him a lot of money if they wanted his services.

5. The Fight Before The Fight - 2013


The World Heavyweight Title match between Alberto Del Rio and Christian would have been match of the night on a number of other pay-per-views, but had to settle for a noble third at SummerSlam. Del Rio held up his end of a damn good match, despite some noticeable bruising on his face. Turns out, those marks were fairly fresh.

Del Rio was reportedly involved in an altercation at a bar very early Sunday morning, per The Wrestling Observer. The story goes that Del Rio was with Drew McIntyre, and Del Rio confronted a man who made an unkind remark toward McIntyre's date. A scuffle ensued, and Del Rio was allegedly struck with a beer bottle. However, Del Rio would later claim in a radio interview that the marks were from an errant spot in the ring.

4. A Fate Worse Than Sitting At Home - 2014


It was a sad day when Daniel Bryan, due to injury, had to vacate the unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship that he'd won in an emotionally-charged WrestleMania XXX main event. Bryan's absence on WWE programming throughout the remainder of 2014 was palpable, with the main event of SummerSlam being just one of the events he would miss.

Yes, Bryan was originally set to defend his gold against Lesnar in the SummerSlam finale, and he would've lost the belt just as Cena had. The plans for the match were apparently to have seen Bryan take a similar excessive beating that Cena did (read: lots of spine-bending Suplexes) at the meaty hands of Lesnar. When you realize what bad shape Bryan was in at the time, that's a scary thought.

3. The Summer Of Sting? - 2015


The year 2015 would see a sight that many assumed was no longer in the cards: Sting wrestling in a WWE ring. His two most high-profile WWE matches included the WrestleMania 31 time-warper with Triple H, and his WWE Championship match against Seth Rollins at Night of Champions. Turns out, one more Sting WWE match could have been in play.

Reports indicated that for SummerSlam, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan were to have faced Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and a mystery partner, which would've been revealed as Sting. However, an injury to Rowan led to WWE downsizing the match into a standard tag, no Sting required. Some thought was given to debuting Braun Strowman early, and putting him with the Wyatts, but it was believed that a Sting surprise and an early Braun match would've been too much to process, since one would've taken a backseat to the other.

2. Come At Me, Maaaaaaan - 2016


Also not clued in to the situation was one Chris Jericho, who was just as aghast as many of his peers when he saw Orton's head turn into sink faucet at Lesnar's hands. Not realizing that the entire spectacle was part of the plan, Jericho queried Michael Hayes at the Gorilla position as to whether or not this was planned. Hayes hesitated to answer, as McMahon likes to keep the fiction of Lesnar's angles tightly-wrapped, and that only spurred Jericho's anger further.

Just as Lesnar came back through the curtain, he thought he overheard Jericho trashing him, which led to a confrontation. Jericho reportedly shoved Lesnar into the wall, and the two began a scrap, which McMahon and Triple H had to separate. For the sake of calming tensions, McMahon confirmed to Jericho that the blood spillage was preordained. And another note: what a set of balls on Jericho, no?

1. Four's A Crowd - 2017


The main event four way for the Universal Title, pitting Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and Braun Strowman in the ultimate mean guy match, was the absolute show-stealer and is likely among the 15 greatest matches in SummerSlam history. As fun as the match was, and as much as Strowman shined as an untamed force of nature, neither he nor Joe was apparently originally scheduled for the match.

Meltzer claims that Lesnar vs. Reigns, which had long been slotted for WrestleMania 34, had been moved up to SummerSlam 2017 as a one-on-one clash, but that would be changed in short order to include Joe and Strowman. From an aesthetic standpoint, it was the right call, as the wild brawl was the perfect punctuation to a SummerSlam that wasn't short on fun matches.

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Presenter over on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]