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 know, I know, I am most definitely biased toward 2008 given it was when I officially started watching wrestling on the regular, but I still maintain that it is one of the more underrated years in WWE in recent memory. Okay, so business wasn't exactly booming, and fans tend to hate 2008 for it was the year the product adopted a PG rating, but both Raw and SmackDown had plenty of fantastic feuds to offer. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho were killing it on Raw while Edge and The Undertaker were having an awesome program on SmackDown.
I don't want to recall the entire rivalry since I already did that earlier this year as part of WrestleMania Recall, but just know that they had history dating back to May 2007. They finally went one-on-one at WrestleMania 24, a match that was won by Undertaker, but their feud was far from over. In fact, the best had yet to come. The Deadman remained then-SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero's No. 1 enemy, later leading to him having to relinquish his newly won World Heavyweight Championship in May 2008.
In the months that followed, Undertaker and Edge traded victories over SmackDown's top title, eventually culminating in a TLC match at One Night Stand with the stipulation that being if Undertaker lost, he would be banned from WWE. Thanks to interference from La Familia, Undertaker was ultimately sent packing from the company, presumably never to be seen again. But alas, banishments in WWE rarely last forever, and it was only inevitable before Undertaker surfaced.
I'll never forget it. I was sitting on the couch at my uncle's house on Friday, July 25th, begging my cousins for the remote so I could watch SmackDown (I never wanted and still don't want to miss an episode). They reluctantly let me watch SmackDown, and among the few things I remember from that night, Vickie Guerrero was fuming at her "husband" Edge after he cheated on her with the wedding planner (Alicia Fox). His punishment? A Hell in a Cell match against a returning Undertaker at SummerSlam.
The build-up to the bout was brilliant with WWE keeping The Phenom off programming until the event. In the meantime, Edge proved he was willing to do whatever it took to prepare for Undertaker by taking out Mick Foley and even his own stablemates in La Familia. But as we would later discover, none of that was enough, as Undertaker was in rare form at the biggest blockbuster of the summer and appeared to be better than ever before. Not to mention he was right at home inside Satan's Structure.
All of the matches these two contested against each other were excellent, but in my opinion, this was the best of the bunch. Undertaker and Edge went to great lengths to make the matchup as special as possible, and they were certainly successful. This was a much more aggressive Edge than we were used to seeing. He took Undertaker to his absolute limit and dished out a perverse amount of punishment on his longtime adversary, going so far as to Spear him right through the cell wall!
Perhaps what I loved about the match the most was how it was almost like a highlight reel of their rivalry. From the con-chair-to to Undertaker blasting Edge with a camera (shades of Survivor Series 2007) to a Tombstone on the steel steps, it was a perfectly fitting way for Undertaker to score the victory. To add the extra exclamation point at the end of their feud, Undertaker returned to the ring after the match to chokeslam him through the canvas, seemingly sending The Rated-R Superstar straight to hell.
SEE ALSO: "SummerSlam Recall, Match #3: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena, SummerSlam 2015"