Determining which WWE star is “Mr. SummerSlam”

Nov 22, 2021; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Seth Rollins enters the arena during WWE Raw at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2021; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Seth Rollins enters the arena during WWE Raw at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels earned a number of nicknames throughout his legendary in-ring career, including the moniker of “Mr. WrestleMania”.

While Michaels owns some signature wins at WWE’s most prestigious pay-per-view, he truly gained that distinction by producing breathtaking performances in some of the best matches in that show’s history, including memorable encounters with the likes of Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, John Cena, and The Undertaker.

So, we know who “Mr. WrestleMania” is (or, at least, who is marketed as “Mr. WrestleMania”), which begs the question: If there is a “Mr. WrestleMania, shouldn’t there also be a “Mr. SummerSlam?”

Apparently, an enterprising social media manager over at BT Sport had the same question rattling around in their head:

So, which of these six men has a legit claim to the title?

Who is “Mr. SummerSlam”? Let’s look at these six WWE stars and break down the arguments for and against them.

Brock Lesnar

Case For: When starting the research for this piece, it was a bit of a surprise to see a 6-4 SummerSlam record next to Brock Lesnar’s name given his positioning on the card and his unstoppable monster gimmick, but remember, Lesnar played the heel role in most of his matches, so some of those defeats involved him putting over a top babyface.

It wasn’t surprising, however, to see how many good matches Lesnar has had at the event. The worst of the bunch is probably his 2012 encounter with Triple H, but even that one is more underwhelming than outright bad. The others range from memorable spectacles (the squash win over John Cena in 2014) to outright classics (his 2013 win over CM Punk). Lesnar’s presence contributed greatly to the quality of those matches.

Case Against: As underrated as Lesnar is as a worker, there’s a good argument one could make that the entertainment value of Lesnar’s matches depended on the quality of his opponents. After all, is it really that hard to have a good match with Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, or CM Punk? The classics Lesnar has produced are often attributed more to the person standing across from “The Beast”. Fair or unfair, it has an effect on how we view his SummerSlam legacy.

Randy Orton

Case For: With 16 matches at SummerSlam (tied for the most in the company), Orton’s your guy if you value quantity and a relatively steady batch of decent matches. And to be fair to him, most of the matches that fall below that standard are more the fault of WWE creative than Orton. The Elimination Chamber match fell apart thanks to the anticlimactic finish; Goldberg had already eliminated Orton by then.

His respective “matches” with Daniel Bryan in 2013 (a Money in the Bank cash-in) and Rusev in 2017 lasted well less than a minute. And his WWE Championship matches against John Cena (2009), Kofi Kingston (2019), and Sheamus (2010) ended with lame finishes designed to set up rematches.

When Orton has gotten a chance to put together matches without creative meddling, such as in his 2011 World Title match against Christian and his 2020 match against Drew McIntyre, the results have looked much better.

Case Against: Even when accounting for bad writing curtailing his matches, it’s hard not to look at Orton’s SummerSlam résumé and not think “good, but not great”, even with the matches that ended with clean finishes. In a way, it encapsulates the general perception of Orton overall, which is why so many people balk at the idea of him being an all-time great.

Like Lesnar, Orton isn’t the first wrestler you turn to when you’re looking for an all-time great match, which significantly hurts his case.

Seth Rollins

Case For: Rollins may have the most robust case thus far, with tremendous matches against Edge (2021), Brock Lesnar (2019), Dolph Ziggler (2018), John Cena (2015), and teaming with Dean Ambrose to face The Bar (2017) bolstering his CV. Even his less-heralded matches against Dominik Mysterio (2020), Finn Balor (2016), and that lumberjack match against Ambrose (2014) are better than most SummerSlam matches.

With Rollins scheduled to face Riddle this year, he’ll likely add another banger to his growing list. It’s a shame a lot of this gets overshadowed by his horrid gimmick.

Case Against: There isn’t much of a case against Rollins unless you want to hold weird interference finishes (like the infamous Jon Steward run-in against Cena) against him.

Bret Hart

Case For: We’ll exclude Hart’s participation in the WWE vs. Nexus tag match in 2010 since he was a shell of himself by that point and couldn’t take bumps (though he still wasn’t the worst worker in that match). Of course, his run of great singles matches — particularly his 1991 Intercontinental Title match against Mr. Perfect, the famous 1992 main event in the UK against The British Bulldog, and his 1994 steel cage match with his brother, Owen — helps with pretending his involvement in that mess of a tag match never happened.

Even his match with heel Doink in 1993 is worth a rewatch.

Case Against: If you wanted to be pedantic about it, you could hold some of those pedestrian tag matches while teaming with Jim Neidhart against him (particularly their disappointing match with The Brain Busters in 1989). Same with his forgettable match with Issac Yankem, DDS.

The Undertaker

Case For: *takes a deep breath and exhales* Well, he’s 10-5-1 at SummerSlam, but that doesn’t mean much when you have an indestructible zombie mortician gimmick in a predetermined sport. He does boast a few good matches on his list, such as the surprisingly great match with Brock Lesnar in 2015 and the Hell in a Cell match with Edge in 2008.

Case Against: Bad matches, bad matches everywhere. His SummerSlam debut match was against Kamala; need I say more? After that, a Rest in Peace match with Giant Gonzalez in 1993. Things got a bit better in 1994 when he wrestled “himself” (it was Brian Lee cosplaying as Taker). In ’95, he drew Kama, The Supreme Fighting Machine.

We didn’t even get to his match with Kane in 2000, that tag team cage match where he completed the burial of Diamond Dallas Page, facing Test in 2002, A-Train in 2003 (a match I completely forgot about, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield in 2004.

No wonder he only competed at one SummerSlam after 2005.


Case For: When you think of Edge and SummerSlam, the inaugural Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match immediately comes to mind. However, “The Rated R Superstar” has some other classics to brag about: the aforementioned Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, his clash with Lance Storm over the Intercontinental Title in 2001, and an underrated gem against Eddie Guerrero in 2002.

Case Against: Like some of the other names on this list, questionable creative decisions hampered Edge’s tepid outings. Still, that 2005 match with Matt Hardy that killed almost all of Hardy’s momentum, the solid-but-not-spectacular match with John Cena in 2006 that ended with Edge winning in Boston for HEAT, the big tag match against The Nexus, and a couple of ho-hum matches from early in his career still count against him.

So, the wrestler with the strongest claim to the “Mr. SummerSlam title is…Seth Rollins

It was a close call between Rollins and Hart, but “The Visionary” gets the slight nod over “The Hitman”. While both guys established themselves as the ones to call whenever WWE needed to get a good or great match out of someone, the larger sample size and the potential to add to his catalog helped Rollins get the edge.

Now, this could change if Rollins has a string of bad matches over the next few years. And look, Hart’s backlog of matches is more than enough for anyone to anoint him “Mr. SummerSlam if they wanted; after all, this is a somewhat subjective question (if you think Undertaker is that guy, feel free to believe that despite what logic suggests).

Next. Why Becky Lynch could be Ms. SummerSlam, but only if all goes according to her plan. dark

That said, Rollins has christened himself the “King of the Summer” over the last couple of weeks, and judging by his history, he has good reason to.