We are fast approaching WWE SummerSlam 2016 this Sunday.
Here are some WWE legends speaking on their fondest memories of SummerSlam…..
One of my favorite memories of broadcasting this classic actually did not come on television but rather on “Radio WWF” when the late Gorilla Monsoon and I called the 1994 version of SummerSlam, the first event held in the United Center in Chicago, on syndicated radio. Being able to provide the soundtrack with a legend like the Hall of Famer, the “Big Ape” as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan called his dear friend, was a bucket-list experience while bringing a unique “theater of the mind” presentation to the squared circle. I also have fond memories of broadcasting SummerSlam 1996 with Vince McMahon and the late Mr Perfect, Curt Hennig, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the same year as was I in 2007. The show emanated from Cleveland, Ohio and was highlighted by Shawn Michaels vs Vader in the featured bout that was arguably one of the more underrated main events in the 28 years of Summer Slam events which was a testament to 205 pound HBK’s amazing skill set and the athleticism of the near 400 pound former Colorado Buffalol All-American offensive lineman. **Tickets for the RINGSIDE with Jim Ross Shows at Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando go on sale Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. ET at ticketfly.com.
Dave Meltzer, Editor/Publisher of Wrestling Observer newsletter
“When you’re talking about 28 major shows, there are a lot of memories both large and small. There are a ton of outstanding matches from which to choose, Bret Hart’s matches versus Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, and especially Davey Boy Smith in 1992 in Wembley Stadium in London, England to the 2002 match between Shawn Michaels, who had been away from the ring approximately four years due to a serious, back condition, vs. Triple H. On that day, Michaels showed that he was as good as anyone in the business at that time. Still for pure memories it was a mid-card match in 2000 in Raleigh, N.C., with Edge and Christian vs the Dudley’s vs the Hardy Boys that gets my number one. … when one brings that match up 16 years later to anyone who saw it they’ll have vivid memories of it that won’t have faded over time.”
Taz (@OfficialTAZ, morning drive radio host, Tazshow.com)
“I was fighting Jerry “The King” Lawler at SummerSlam 2000 when JR (Jim Ross) attacked me and cost me the match, cementing that the ‘Pride of Oklahoma’ is a mean man!” (I will join Taz this Sunday night after SummerSlam nationwide on the CBS Radio Network to discuss WWE’s biggest event of the summer.)
Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette, host of The Jim Cornette Experience podcast)
“In 1993, the team that I managed in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the Heavenly Bodies, Dr Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray, were booked to face the Steiner Brothers, Rick and Scott, in their home state of Michigan in Auburn Hills. The catalyst of booking the match by WWE was actually a practical joke, a “rib,” in the form of a videotape that we sent Tom’s brother Bruce Prichard, aka Brother Love who worked in the office in WWE. We had the Prichard boys’ dad on camera cutting a wrestling promo for entertainment purposes only. Long story short, that apparently gave WWE the idea to book the Bodies against the Steiners and eventually for me to become the American spokesman for Yokozuna. We all thought that we stole the show as the match was a Southern-style, tag match when other teams were working a bit slower and more deliberate in those days. It was unprecedented for teams from different promotions to wrestle each other on a WWE event especially one as significant as SummerSlam.”
Matt Hardy (@MattHardyBrand, currently performing for TNA Impact Wrestling)
“In 2000, we had the first TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) match in WWE history at SummerSlam versus The Dudleys and Edge and Christian and it was an incredible experience. It took place in our home state in from of our home crowd, which made the night even more special. The entire atmosphere during the match, the innovations within the match and the emotion that the match created was all magical. None of the six men involved had any idea the TLC match would have the impact on the business that it did. I hold that match close to my heart and am extremely proud of it.”
Debra Miceli (aka Alundra Blayze, @Madusa_rocks, WWE Hall of Fame)
Madusa participated in the first, women’s wrestling match at SummerSlam … in 1994 vs Bull Nakano. “SummerSlam 1994 versus Bull Nakano is one of the greatest matches and moments of my career. We told a strong story and I’m so proud knowing that all those years ago that we made a difference as I wanted to prove that a woman could look good, be athletic, kick ass and still be taken seriously.”
Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley, WWE Hall of Famer, currently the GM of WWE’s Monday Night RAW)
1999, Target Center in Minneapolis. Triple Threat match for the WWE Title vs HHH and Steve Austin with then-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura as the referee. “My memories of this weekend largely center around me taking batting practice the day before SummerSlam with the Minnesota Twins. I had not swung a bat since Little League and the result of my escapades in the batter’s box sent me into the match more sore than I had ever been going into any match in my career. I never hit one out of the park that day but I did take one to the warning track. I also got a cool, dark blue Twins jersey that had a nice, slimming effect on me. I wore that jersey a lot because few fans, especially in those days hated the Twins. I won my last of three WWE Titles at the ’99 SummerSlam in the Twin Cities but my hands were so sore from the batting cage experience that I couldn’t shake anyone’s hand.”
Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle, current on-screen advocate of WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar)
“My first SummerSlam was as Jim Ross’ broadcast partner in 2001 and it was Austin vs. Kurt Angle and The Rock vs. Booker T in a double-main event. If anyone wants to see a method performer at his height, watch the intensity of Stone Cold Steve Ausitn versus Kurt. It was much like when the glass broke and Austin headed to the ring to confront Mike Tyson when Tyson was TYSON! It was in Austin’s head that he could whip Angle’s ass all over the ring and when Austin spoke there was such credibility in his statements because he himself BELIEVED every word that he was uttering. As for this year’s SummerSlam, Lesnar vs Randy Orton, Brock has told me that any praise that I heap upon Orton is my own opinion and not reflective of the mindset towards Orton that is harbored by Brock. Even though they started in WWE together in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), Brock did not really notice anyone there including Randy and I dare suggest that Brock doesn’t really notice anyone now.”
Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24, 92.9 The Game Atlanta, voice of Gwinnett Braves, producer, University of Georgia/IMG football & basketball)
1989 SummerSlam (Tony’s only Summer Slam appearance) “I was very nervous working SummerSlam ’89 with Jesse Ventura. It was at the Meadowlands and he was, after all, a big star from NBC’s “Saturday Night’s Main Event” and I was a few months removed from a small office at Jim Crockett Promotions in Charlotte. But Jesse was great to work with and he made me feel welcomed. During the show, I pitched to Gene Okerlund for a Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude interview. It was pre-taped but the production truck cued up the wrong one and played an outtake where the SummerSlam sign fell off the set and Gene exclaimed, “F##k It!” They quickly came back to us and Jesse did a great job of covering up the mistake while still remaining a heel. It helped relax me for the rest of the event. Afterwards, Jesse told me that I did a great job, which coming from him meant a lot.
Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels, host of Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures on The Outdoor Channel)
2002 SummerSlam “I had been away from the ring for about four years with a back injury and had every intention of the 2002 SummerSlam match vs. HHH being a one-off. I looked at it as an opportunity to have a better ending for the HBK persona after my last match at WrestleMania 14 vs Steve Austin. Hunter and I wanted to start fast to see what I could still do because you never know until you rip off the ‘band aid.’ We tried to practice the match before hand but after I hit the ropes once I said that I can’t do this and can only do it for real. I soon found out that against my friend HHH that I was back in a place that I was meant to be and with a man that I trusted. This match was really amazing considering the circumstances of me being away so long. It was one the best matches of my career and one of which I’m still very proud. Considering it wasn’t a WrestleMania match it likely gets overlooked by some but not by me.”
2002 SummerSlam “One of my career favorite matches was SummerSlam 2002 versus Shawn Michaels. I was honored that Shawn asked me to do it as it was likely going to be a one and done. He did not know what he had left to give or if his body could hold up in the ring so his trust in me was humbling. I remember a few minutes after starting the match being in awe and blown away that Shawn hadn’t lost a step after being out all those years and literally stepping back into the ring for the first time at that level and being as good as ever. My next thought was ‘WOW’ this is going to be fun and easy … and it was!”
Steve Austin (@SteveAustinBSR, WWE Hall of Famer, host of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge on CMT, host of Steve Austin Show on Podcast One)
“SummerSlam is the second biggest event of the year in WWE in my opinion. It’s sort of like a summertime version of WrestleMania and when you get on that show, especially in a main-event level match, it provides you with an opportunity to hit a grand-slam home run and clean the bases. When you get that opportunity, you take it. That happened for me in 2001 against Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle). I was a heel and loved being the villain that night. I relished it. I just re-watched that match recently after some fans encouraged me to do so. Kurt was absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anyone pick up the wresting business as fast Kurt Angle did when he first joined WWE. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer in my book and a wonderful, good hearted guy. I felt like I was on fire in that match and I’m very proud of what Kurt and I were able to accomplish that night in San Jose.”
Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff, Host of ‘Bischoff on Wrestling’ podcast on iTunes and AudioBoom.com)
2002 vs Shane McMahon “Creative called me and laid out the idea that I would uninvitedly enter the McMahon family home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and essentially force myself on Linda McMahon. This set up the storyline with Shane McMahon who would defend his mother’s honor at the 2002 SummerSlam in Phoenix. Linda was a good sport and Vince McMahon actually produced the segment. For the match, I was not big on practice or rehearsals, which did not particularly set too well with Vince but I figured if I was going to get hurt it might as well be during the live presentation and not in practice. I trusted Shane and appreciated his physical nature but when he set me up on the Spanish announce table and climbed to the top turnbuckle to deliver an elbow on me it looked as if he was a million miles away. He protected me as best that he could but during the match I busted my head open and only realized it when I went home there in Phoenix and discovered blood in my shower, which necessitated a trip to the hospital and a few stitches. Having Steve Austin involved in that match was also very cool …. and physical.” Photo: Ethan Miller
Here is the full match card for WWE SummerSlam on Sunday: