When one looks at the impressive history of WWE SummerSlam, you come to a somewhat surprising realization: some of the greatest matches in event history (hell, *WWE* history) didn't go on last. Shawn-Razor II, Bret-Owen in the cage, Punk-Lesnar, Shawn-HHH, Cena-Styles, the first TLC - each of them were either the semi-main, or an undercard epic. That in itself speaks to just how storied and prolific SummerSlam's match history has been.
Here today, we're talking about the "mainers," and here's where you see some serious variety. In its history, SummerSlam has ended with some genuine clunkers ('Taker vs. Taker, Diesel vs. Mabel), some boring fare (Lesnar-HHH), surreal beatings (Lesnar-Orton, Lesnar-Cena), and surreal flop-fests (Hogan-Shawn). Then there are the truly great matches, of which there have been far more than five. Paring this list down was a challenge, and I had to excise some of my personal favourites (forgive me, Lesnar-Rollins and Punk-Cena).
Your mileage is certain to vary, but for my money, these are the five greatest SummerSlam main event matches ever.
5. Jeff Hardy Vs. CM Punk (2009)
Shortly after this match, Hardy (he of an expiring contract) was faced with serious legal issues, and didn't return to WWE for over seven-and-a-half years. We sometimes forget that the SummerSlam headliner (and defending World champion) finished his run with WWE that same week.
But on his way out, Hardy delivered his typically-chaotic performance in a TLC match for his championship against nemesis Punk. Lots of creative stunts filled out the bulk of the battle, culminating with a clever Hardy/Undertaker switcharoo in the final post-match scene.