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.
I apologize in advance for anyone who grew up during that time period, but I'm sorry, 1995 was an absolutely awful year for WWE, both from on-air standpoint and from a business standpoint. They were legitimately on the verge of closing shop until the boom of the Attitude Era a little over a year later, and of course, the rest is history. Thus, it shouldn't come as any surprise that I didn't feature a single match from WrestleMania 11 in my WrestleMania Recall series, and this match was the saving grace of SummerSlam that year.
Long before I ever watched the event in its entirety last summer, I vividly remember seeing Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon from SumemrSlam 1995 for the first time in August 2008. I was about to leave for a picnic, but before taking off, I thought I'd enjoy some free classic wrestling matches courtesy of onDemand, and much to my surprise, this match was among them. I appreciated the classic contest even then, and grew to love it more once I realized the rest of the show was a total train wreck.
And the best (or worst?) part about it is, Michaels vs. Ramon was never supposed to happen at SummerSlam! I might be wrong here, but I recall hearing/reading someone say not too long ago that it was supposed to be The Heartbreak Kid defending his Intercontinental Championship that night against Sycho Sid, but because Vince McMahon (or whoever else) realized it was such a crappy card on paper, they opted to change it to this anticipated rematch from WrestleMania 10 instead. Smart call!
Similar to their initial outing, Michaels and Ramon were set to face off in a Ladder match, a stipulation they made famous a year and a half earlier. The Bad Guy emerged victorious on that historic evening with the title in tow, but could he repeat that feat the second time around? That was the question on everyone's mind, along with how these two amazing athletes were going to top themselves following their phenomenal performance at WrestleMania 10.
Well, it didn't take them long to put those doubts to rest when they went for their finishers early on, showing that they knew each other inside and out. Quite a bit had changed in the year and a half since they last met, including Michaels' major Royal Rumble win, his subsequent WWE Championship match at WrestleMania and his slow-burning babyface turn, but the one thing that hadn't changed was the tremendous chemistry they had, which was on full display in his bout.
Neither man wasted any time in going for ladders. While Michaels attempted to quickly ascend the ladder and retain his title, Ramon had other plans in mind. He wanted to inflict as much pain as possible onto the left leg of HBK so he couldn't climb the ladder and he therefore could claim the championship for himself. Brilliant strategy, right? It was so simple that it worked wonderfully for the storytelling of the match, not to mention they didn't repeat all the same spots from their first match as they easily could have.
After being beat up for a majority of the match, Michaels worked up enough energy to battle back against Ramon with the crowd going nuts for his flurry of offense. He even went for the splash off the top of the ladder that he executed at WrestleMania 10, yet came up short. Both men came close to clinching the championship gold, but it was Michaels who ultimately had his hand raised in a match that was as excellent as their 'Mania match (botched finish aside). Needless to say, there was no way Diesel vs. Mabel could top that in the main event.
SEE ALSO: "SummerSlam Recall, Match #19: The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, SummerSlam 2005"