The inaugural Summerslam was a massive achievement for WWE. With the success of Wrestlemania and the Survivor Series WWE gambled on a summer PPV, and boy did this gamble pay off. They packed Madison Square Garden, to the rafters, and created the Biggest Party of the Summer.

    Since that day Summerslam has become one of the marquee’ shows on WWE’s calendar. It is widely considered to only rival Wrestlemania in importance and has been the stage for many a memorable moment.

     Because of the history and highlights of Summerslam the moniker “The Biggest Party of the Summer” has been plastered over any marketing material available. For some editions of Summerslam, this is the best way to describe the show, while others the Biggest Party of the Summer cannot be further from the truth. Let’s look at times in history when Summerslam was the Biggest Party of the Summer and times it was the Biggest Flop of the Summer.

    Biggest Party: Summerslam 2002

    Not only was Summerslam 2002 the best PPV of the year, but it is also widely considered to be one of the best WWE has ever put together. From top to bottom the show had it all. The WWE roster was stacked with great veterans and impressive young stars that made every match enjoyable. They also produced some memories that are revisited today.

    The opener between Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio was one of the best matches, in history, that lasted less than 10 minutes. Thes street fight between HBK and Triple H was personal, emotional, and brutal and everything that we all wanted it to be. These were followed by a great main event where The Rock passed the torch to Brock Lesnar. It was a fantastic night of wrestling that was the Biggest Party of the Summer.

    Biggest Flop: Summerslam 1989

    WWE was hoping to build on the success of the inaugural Summerslam in 1989. Unfortunately, for us all, they put on a greatly disappointing show. A show that had little business being a PPV and one that didn’t use any of the talent properly. Frankly, the show was used as a 2-hour long trailer for WWE’s first foray into film making.

    Outside of the hot opening tag team bout there wasn’t a match on the card that was good. Either the matches went too short or in the case of the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude were too long. It was an exercise in excess that was hit home by the overbooked main event. Randy Savage was the only good worker in the tag match. Hogan and Brutus were mediocre and let’s not start about the inclusion of Tiny Lister. It was the exclamation point on a night of mediocrity that was overshadowed by every show on the calendar.

    Biggest Party: Summerslam 2013

    Summerslam 2013 marks an interesting period in WWE history. Fan discontent, because of years of terrible booking, had reached a point where top brass was forced to alter their strategy. Fan darlings were getting their chances and making this Summerslam one of the best.

    This PPV was a three headed beast of awesomeness. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk put on a great No-DQ match that played the David v Goliath angle perfectly. That was followed by two fantastic world championship matches. The first a PPV quality match between Christian and Alberto Del Rio and the second an all-time great where Daniel Bryan went over clean on Big Match John. It was a night where the stars aligned perfectly to create one of the best Summerslam’s of all-time.

    Biggest Flop: Summerslam 1995

    1995 was not a good year for WWE. Outside of a few stars the push for a ‘New Generation’ wasn’t working very well. The company relied on terrible gimmicks for their talent and most of the booking decisions were head scratchers. It was a tumultuous time for the company, and it led to some pretty bad shows, the worst being Summerslam.

    Granted, Razor Ramon and HBK’s ladder match was the highlight of the night, but that’s not saying much when compared to the rest of the night. There were several matches that went on past the point of entertainment. It was confusing why WWE would want to bore their crowd to death during the night. And of course, Diesel defending the WWE Championship against Mabel was just short of unwatchable. Mabel had no business challenging for the title at what should have been the Biggest Party of the Summer.

    Biggest Party: Summerslam 1988

    Wrestlemania and Survivor Series were immense successes for WWE. So much so that Vince McMahon created Summerslam. It was a gamble to add another PPV to the schedule but if they pulled it off, they would establish a staple in WWE programming for years to come. That is exactly what happened with the first Summerslam. It was a great night of wrestling that highlighted everything that was great about the Golden Era.

    The main event pitting the Mega Powers against the Mega Bucks was a gloriously overbooked mess. It was exactly what it needed to be and the inclusion of Jesse Venture, as the guest referee was exactly what the match needed. That was bolstered by the Ultimate Warrior winning the IC strap in a short but impactful contest. Then there were some great tag matches that helped to round out a stacked card. It was easily the best night of wrestling that year.

    Biggest Flop: Summerslam 1999

    The Attitude Era was a great time in WWE. They were knocking it out of the park nearly every night and the buy rates reflected that. It was a great time for the company but that doesn’t always mean that it was a great time for every show. See Summerslam 1999 for an example of how a show shouldn’t have gone.

    The triple threat main event made no sense. Shoehorning Mankind into the Triple H/Austin feud added nothing to the match and provided for one of the screwiest finishes in Summerslam history. Then there was a terrible Kiss My Ass Match that halted Billy Gunns push in its tracks and a slew of other matches that shouldn’t have been on a Summerslam card. It was a bad night of wrestling all around, one not deserving of being called Summerslam.

    Biggest Party: Summerslam 2000

    The Attitude Era was ending in the year 2000, insert Conan O’Brian joke here. New stars were pushing their way to the top of the card and meshing with the mainstays that helped carry the WWE. It was a great time in WWE and one that help to produce one of the best Summerslams in company history.

    For starters, this Summerslam contained the inaugural TLC Match. It was the culmination of over a year of hard work by six men whose careers were intertwined. It was a fantastic match and one that paved the road for all others that followed it.

    Then there was a fantastic Attitude Era match for the WWE Championship. The Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle were on-point during this match. It highlighted everything that was great about the era with three of its best balling out.

    Also, there was a great match between two Canadian wrestlers and a very entertaining mix-gender match that added depth to the card. It was a well-rounded night of wrestling that was the highlight of the summer.

    Biggest Flop: Summerslam 1990

    The Ultimate Warrior experiment was a failure. He had surpassed Hulk Hogan in popularity but WWE’s decision to give him a lengthy run with the strap wasn’t a good one. He was unable to carry a PPV like Hogan had previously. This led to some shows that weren’t great, Summerslam 1990 being one of them.

    Sure, there was a magnificent tag match with Demolition and The Hart Foundation squaring off but that was it. Warrior and Rick Rude failed to connect as they had in previous matches. Hogan and Earthquake was an abject failure that had no business being on one of the biggest shows of the year.

    Outside of those two flops, there was a smattering of other matches that ran 5 minutes, or less, and did nothing to sell the importance of the evening. It was not a night fitting of the Summerslam name and one that ranks among the worst.

    Biggest Party: Summerslam 1992

    Bringing Summerslam 1992 to another country was a huge gamble for WWE, but one that paid massive dividends. It was the first time that Summerslam had been held in an outdoor stadium and it provided some stunning visuals. The British crowd was also white hot for the entire show. They brought the energy all night and made the best moments that much better.

    Speaking of moments there were some great undercard matches involving Rick Martel, Shawn Michaels, L.O.D, Money Inc, The Natural Disasters and The Beverly Brothers. These matches were great supporting characters to the double main events. Events where Randy Savage carried the Ultimate Warrior to a 4-star match and Bret Hart carried the British Bulldog to one of the greatest main events in history.

    Biggest Flop: Summerslam 2020

    Yes, Covid was an unexpected roadblock for WWE. Not being able to have fans took away from the product in a huge way and forced WWE to think outside the box. Unfortunately, they managed to bungle almost every PPV during this time with Summerslam 2020 taking the prize.

    Before we get to the train wreck that was the main event, every match on the card failed to deliver. It was a night of missed opportunities and disappointing finishes. It was a marvel that every match was able to fall short of the mark.

    Then there was one of the worst main events in history between The Fiend and Braun Strowman. Neither should have in the main event of a major PPV and the interference by Roman Reigns made both men look incredibly weak. It was a head-scratching decision that added nothing to the match and was an exclamation point of a bad night.