By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on SummerSlam Recall, I will be ranking my top 20 favorite matches in WWE SummerSlam history. A new installment will be posted every day leading up to SummerSlam 2016, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Saturday, August 20th. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
As I write this, I just finished watching Dean Ambrose's interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin on the WWE Network from this past week, and among the controversial topics that were brought up, Austin asked Ambrose if The Shield should have split up when they did. And I absolutely loved Ambrose's answer that it was best for them to go out on top, because let's face it: no one saw Seth Rollins' heel turn coming, and if you say you did, you're a liar!
I bring that up because the unpredictability of Rollins' heel turn was one of the many reasons his subsequent rivalry with fellow Shield stablemate Dean Ambrose has been a favorite of mine as a wrestling fan. I haven't strayed away from comparing it to what Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels was in the early to mid-2000s, and that backstabbing moment was akin to when HHH turned on his longtime friend when D-Generation reunited on Raw, later leading to HBK coming out of in-ring retirement.
In the weeks that followed The Shield's split, Ambrose was relentless in ensuring Rollins did not successfully cash in his newly won Money in the Bank briefcase. As long as The Lunatic Fringe was around, Rollins knew he would never win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, so he had to take care of him once and for all. Their premier match, which was originally scheduled to take place at Battleground, never got underway, so it was instead saved for SummerSlam.
This wasn't going to be any ordinary match, however; a few weeks prior to the event, it was confirmed that they would fight in a Lumberjack match. As soon as I heard that, I rolled my eyes, mostly because I couldn't recall a single Lumerjack match that I enjoyed. They always ended in chaos i.e. the focus being on anything but the combatants in the ring. It unnecessarily muddied the waters, and I did not look forward to my favorite feud of 2014 being ruined by such a silly stipulation.
Considering who was involved, I guess I should have assumed they would make the most of it and turn the match into absolute gold, because that is exactly what happened. Before the third "ding" of the bell could even sound to signal the start of the bout, Ambrose and Rollins went at it, unleashing all of their anger and pent-up frustration on each other. There was no separating the two archrivals at that point, and before long, it turned into an all-out war between the former friends.
Ambrose and Rollins were just starting to contest an extremely well-wrestled matchup when the action spilled to the outside of the ring where the lumberjacks were. That could have been the turning point where the match went to crap, but that didn't end up being the case whatsoever. Ambrose and Rollins were so determined to inflict pain on one another that they took the fight to the crowd, despite the lumberjacks' best efforts to contain them. Even after they were finally pulled apart, Ambrose came crashing down on top of Rollins with a flying elbow from the top rope.
Ambrose slowly started to build momentum, and with a Curb Stomp of his own, it looked like he had the match won. And then Kane, Rollins' Authority ally, had to interject himself into the affair and prevent Ambrose from scoring the victory. All hell broke loose when Goldust stood up to Kane and then everyone started brawling. From there, Rollins capitalized on a distraction from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to lay out Ambrose with his golden briefcase and pick up the win.
SEE ALSO: "SummerSlam Recall, Match #11: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, SummerSlam 2013"