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 don't care what anyone says: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 was absolutely atrocious. Some fans claim the match was "bad by design" in order to tell a story. No, that wasn't the case whatsoever. Undertaker was legitimately knocked out during the match, which is why it looked like he was literally dead out there. Other than The Streak getting broken by The Beast Incarnate, that is a match that is better off forgotten, and needless to say, I had no desire to see them face off in a rematch.
Even when it was rumored in mid-July that Undertaker would be making a rare return during the summer season, I wasn't at all enthralled at the idea of him potentially rekindling his rivalry with Lesnar. Forget their sensational series of matches on SmackDown, that was over a decade ago. Their last one-on-one outing was beyond horrid. Yet somehow WWE managed to change my mind in the matter of a night when Taker resurfaced at Battleground and the two engaged in a brawl for the ages on the subsequent episode of Raw.
In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Paul Heyman billed the now anticipated sequel as the rematch that was too big for WrestleMania. The best part about it was that I already had my ticket punched for the August extravaganza, so I was extremely amped to be able to witness the mayhem live, especially after they reeked havoc on Raw. Undertaker appeared to be in the best shape he had been in in years, so I had high expectations for this epic encounter.
Even after a near-four hour event, everyone in the Barclays Center was still buzzing for this bout. Unless you've experienced either of them, you truly have not lived life until you have seen the iconic entrances of Undertaker and Lesnar in person. And before the arena could even take in the moment of them sharing a ring together, Lesnar pounced on The Deadman, causing the bell to be rung and the bout to begin. At that moment, fans knew they would be in for a treat.
This match was the exact opposite from its predecessor. The pace wasn't nearly as slow and you could truly feel the personal animosity between the two this time around. They weren't going through the motions. They were simply intent on beating the living hell out of each other. When each of them went for their respective finishers, it didn't feel as formulaic as their 'Mania meeting. There was true suspense behind every maneuver, and the audience (myself included) ate it up.
Was it a technical masterpiece the same way Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio or John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan was? Absolutely not, but given their limitations and what they were capable of, they hit it out of the park and worked the type of match they needed to, filled with energy and excitement. Going counter for counter, there didn't seem to be a clear winner or a predictable finish, so everyone was on the edge of their seat awaiting what would come next in this battle of the titans.
Alas, the fluky finish ruined the match for many, but not for me. Time stood still when the bell rang for no apparent reason as Lesnar had 'Taker in the Kimura, and then the match was restarted and The Phenom was deemed the victor when Lesnar passed out to the Hell's Gate. Sure, The Conqueror was technically conquered, but not by pinfall or submission. Although people in attendance left the arena that night complaining about the conclusion of the show, at least it would later lead to an even better bout at Hell in a Cell.
SEE ALSO: "SummerSlam Recall, Match #10: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, SummerSlam 2014"