SummerSlam 2023: WWE’s Hottest Event of the Year

By Rockin’ Reese

Nearly 35 years ago, World Wrestling Entertainment created an event that would ultimately become its supercard of the summer. As the heat of summer intensified, so did the competition inside the squared circle. Saturday August 5th at Ford Field in Detroit, MI, the latest chapter of the biggest wrestling party of the summer will be written. All you need to know is one word: “SummerSlam”.

As one of the original 4 supercards for WWE, “SummerSlam” started back on Aug. 29, 1988 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was the last of WWE’s “big 4” to be created, but it wasn’t the last to be featured on pay-per-view. (That would be “Royal Rumble” in 1989.) Throughout the event’s history, it has been held in cities such as Philadelphia, London, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Raleigh, San Jose, Phoenix, Toronto, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, & Nashville. Thousands of wrestling fans came from all over the world to witness pro wrestling’s summer spectacular.

SummerSlam History

Some of the most memorable matches of “SummerSlam” involved the WWE Intercontinental Championship. About 15 times, the title changed hands at WWE’s hottest show of the year. Two matches that many wrestling fans remember involved Bret “Hitman” Hart. In 1991, he would challenge Mr. Perfect for the title at Madison Square Garden. In a back & forth match that saw each man nearly pin his opponenet on several occasions, it would be a submission that eventually determined the outcome.

Hitman would become the new WWE Intercontinental Champion by applying his Sharpshooter & forcing Perfect to submit instantly. In 1992, Hart would defend the title against (his brother-in-law) “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith. In front of a crowd of approximately 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Hitman & Bulldog wrestled in a match that many fans called the greatest Intercontinental Title match at a “Summerslam”. To add to the drama, Diana Hart-Smith (Bret’s sister, whom Davey Boy married) was in attendance praying that the championship wouldn’t cause some bad blood between the brothers-in-law.

When all was said & done, Bulldog would counter a sunset flip attempt to pin Hitman and become the new WWE Intercontinental Champion. After some tense post-match moments, Bret congratulated Davey, then Diana would celebrate with her family, much to the delight of the Wembley crowd. Another match was a rematch that was 17 months in the making. In 1995, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels would defend the championship against Razor Ramon in a ladder match. Ramon defeated Michaels in a ladder match at WrestleMania 10 in Madison Square Garden, but HBK was looking to avenge his loss to Razor. Despite some vicious falls & ladder hits, Michaels would finally climb the ladder to retreive the title.

SummerSlam

“Summerslam” isn’t all about great matches. The show is also about memories. Some were good, while others were bad. Either way, they stood out. The first “Summerslam” had 2 memorable moments. First, the Honky Tonk Man was looking to continue his record-setting, especially since (his schedule opponent) Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was unable to attend, due to an attack by “Outlaw” Ron Bass.When Honky Tonk demanded a challenger, the Ultimate Warrior rapidly accepted. In 30 seconds, Warrior became the new champion.

Second, during the main event, the Mega Powers were in trouble, but (their valet) Miss Elizabeth went into action. Removing her mini-skirt, she distracted the MegaBucks, as well as (special referee) Jesse “The Body” Ventura. This distraction allowed (WWE Champion) “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan to spring into action. After taking care of Andre the Giant, they focused on “The Million Dolllar Man” Ted DiBiase and hit both of their signature moves, allowing Hogan to pin DiBiase, while Savage helped Ventura make the 3 count. “SummerSlam” 1991 had its share of interesting moments.

After losing to the Big Boss Man, the Mountie was forced to spend a night in a New York City jail. Savage & Elizabeth had a wedding in thee arena at MSG. However, their wedding reception was ruined when Jake “The Snake” Roberts hid a cobra in their wedding gifts. While Roberts & the Undertaker attacked Savage, Sid Justice chased them away. In 1992, before the Intercontinental Title match, the Balmoral Highlanders would perform “Scotland the Brave” on bagpipes. Midway through the set, they were joined by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In 2002, after 4 years away from the ring, due to back issues, HBK would return to the ring.

This year’s card will feature some great action & high drama. Roman Reigns defends the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against (his cousin) Jey Uso. At last month’s “Money in the Bank”, Jey became the first man, since December 2019, to pin Roman in any kind of a match. Who knows what will happen as the Bloodline’s (maybe?) final chapter is written. Seth “Freakin’ ” Rollins defends the World Heavyweight Title against (Judgement Day leader) Finn Bálor. Seven years ago at this very event, Bálor (despite being injured during the match) pinned Rollins to become the inaugural WWE Universal Champion.

However, the next night on “Monday Night Raw”, Finn had to vacate the championship, because of his injury. Bálor has never forgotten that & he hopes to exact revenge on the man who caused his injury. However, all parties may have one specific problem. Damian Priest (another member of Judgement Day) has the “money in the bank” briefcase, so he could use that briefcase on anyone & cash it in for a championship. Will he decide to do it at “SummerSlam”? Also, the trilogy will be settled between “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes & “The Beast” Brock Lesnar.

Rhodes pinned Lesnar at “Backlash” in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lesnar had a referee stoppage victory over Rhodes at “Money in the Bank” in London. Who will win in Detroit? We will find out the results to these matches & more. Detroit Rock City, get ready to feel the heat, this Saturday night. “SummerSlam” is going to burn the Motor City up, all night long.

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