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.
We're back at it again, folks! After counting down my top 31 favorite WrestleMania matches ever earlier this year and receiving some rad feedback from you guys, I decided to go ahead and do something similar for SummerSlam, albeit on a smaller scale. Yes, the biggest party of the summer has been around for just about as long as 'Mania has, and although it has often been more consistently entertaining than the spring spectacle at times, the road to SummerSlam isn't quite as extensive, so I decided to do 20 matches and not 31.
At any rate, I consider SummerSlam one of my favorite pay-per-views of the year because in the eight years I have been a fan, only one installment disappointed me (cough 2010 cough). And even prior to that point, there were several SummerSlams I thoroughly enjoyed from 1988 onward after having watched them all for my WrestleRant video series on YouTube, including 1992. The first and only major WWE pay-per-view to take place in England, it is highly regarded as one of the greatest events the company ever produced.
Of course, SummerSlam 1992 is widely remembered as the show that featured the five star match between Bret Hart and The British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Championship in its main event. It was an extraordinary contest, yes, and I really liked it when I watched it for the first time several years ago, but it didn't resonate with me quite as much as that night's WWE Championship match did. As I said during my WrestleMania Recall series, everyone is entitled to their own opinion... not to mention that this is my list, dammit!
And you guys should know by now that not many matches from the early WrestleManias were listed in the aforementioned series with the exception of Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior from WrestleMania 7. What that match lacked in exceptional in-ring action made up for in sensational storytelling, drama and emotion. Despite Macho Man seemingly retiring from the ring that night, it thankfully wasn't the last time they went one-on-one in WWE.
One year removed from their classic clash on the grandest stage of them all, Warrior returned to WWE at WrestleMania 8 and from there he shifted his sights to recapturing the WWE Championship. At that same event, Savage regained the gold from Ric Flair, and one of the most anticipated rematches in recent memory was set for SummerSlam. But this time, however, the coveted WWE title would be on the line, and both men entered the match as babyfaces.
Or did they? In addition to the different dynamic that separated this match from its predecessor and the electric environment provided by the English audience, Savage and Warrior had a hell of a story heading into their encounter. Although they initially trusted one another, they weren't completely confident that the other wasn't secretly in cahoots with Flair and his partner-in-crime Mr. Perfect, who made their presence felt at various points throughout this contest.
In the end, Flair and Perfect weren't actually siding with anyone and were merely trying to tear them apart from within, and it resulted in the one match where I didn't mind its interference because it added to the narrative. The match nearly lasted a whopping half hour, and the sole gripe I had with the bout was its underwhelming ending with Savage getting counted out. Warrior was out of the organization a short time later, so a rematch never came to fruition, but I still appreciated this for each of its elements that combined created a compelling contest.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #1: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania 25"