This Sunday, Brock Lesnar will likely main event SummerSlam once again.
Over the previous thirty-one SummerSlam PPVs, Brock Lesnar has amassed the most main event appearances with seven (with the Undertaker as the runner-up at five). In fact, six of the seven matches have been within the last seven years.
Here we will be ranking each of Lesnar’s SummerSlam main events. With all of that said, let’s get to it.
7. Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H – SummerSlam 2012
Coming off the heels of Lesnar’s return to the WWE, the storyline was well-detailed in the video package, which showed Triple H defending the WWE corporate brand from Lesnar’s high-priced demands.
Lesnar ‘broke’ both Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ arms in the lead up this bout via Kimura Lock – exposition for later on in the match.
The crowd was quite out of it and the product in the ring reflected it. Things started to heat up about halfway through the contest when both men attempted, and countered, each other’s finishers.
Lesnar’s previous match with John Cena had been a unique, violent, bloodbath. Something that stood out in 2012 when WWE was a squeaky clean product. This match lacked that intensity, instead resembling many of Triple H’s other slow, plodding pay per view main events.
In the end, Triple H tapped out to Lesnar’s Kimura Lock. The crowd, even at their hottest, was completely absent for this match. Considering this was the first match between two of the company’s biggest stars, it left a lot to be desired.
6. Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton – SummerSlam 2016
Billed as “fifteen years in the making”, this was Lesnar and Randy Orton’s first match in the WWE. Lesnar said that he, “became a mega superstar and [Randy] became a star,” while Orton remarked that all he has do is hit Brock with, “one RKO, and [he’s] going to Viperville,” – which is adjacent to Parts Unknown.
The match was heavily dominated by Lesnar who tallied seven German suplexes. There were big offensive exchanges between both competitors, including Orton hitting an RKO to Lesnar onto one of the commentary tables and Lesnar countering an Orton punt attempt into an F-5.
This match is only remembered for its finish. Nearing the end of the match, Lesnar removed his gloves and began landing bare knuckle punches and elbows on Orton’s temple. Orton’s head started gushing blood, at which point a medic came into the ring to check on him.
Finally, the referee called for the match with Brock winning via TKO. Lesnar looked dominant throughout the match and at no point, even when Orton rallied, did the crowd think he was in jeopardy of losing.
5. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns – SummerSlam 2018
Lesnar had been threatening to leave the WWE and return to Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he had been rumored to fight Daniel Cormier.
Before the match started, Braun Strowman, then the Money in the Bank contract-holder, noted that he’d cash in his briefcase against the winner. The bell rang and Reigns hit Lesnar with three Superman Punches right out the gate, before Lesnar took control, dishing out three, consecutive, German suplexes.
At one point, the fight moved to the outside and Lesnar quickly turned his attention to Strowman. He hit the awaiting challenger with an F-5 and further immobilized him by hitting Strowman with his own briefcase.
Lesnar found a chair and unloaded on Strowman again before he returned to the ring to do the same to Reigns. As he swung the chair, Reigns ducked the attack and hit a spear. Cover, 1-2-3, Roman Reigns is the NEW WWE Universal Champion.
In an act of crowd manipulation, WWE had sent Strowman to ringside to make the crowd believe neither Lesnar nor Reigns would leave with the title. Knowing the crowd would boo the finish as they had at WrestleMania, WWE gave them the hope that Strowman would cash in only to quickly cut to black after Reigns had won. It was cheap and slimy but after four years, Reigns had finally beaten Lesnar.
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe – SummerSlam 2017
In the weeks leading up to this match, the storyline heavily centered around then RAW General Manager, Kurt Angle, looking to rid his brand of Lesnar as WWE Universal Champion. Heyman, unfazed by Angle’s booking, threatened that if Lesnar lost he would leave the WWE forever, on his own accord.
What made this match work was the absolute carnage of it all. All four participants were big, burly and legitimately tough. It is easy to suspend your disbelief when everyone in the match looks like these guys.
For over 20 minutes, this match was destruction. This was something that was lacking in the forthcoming Lesnar vs. Strowman matches. Lesnar won, and the match received a very high ****3/4 rating in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
3. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker – SummerSlam 2015
The video package featured WWE Superstars mentioning the shock of Lesnar ending the Undertaker’s perfect WrestleMania streak, at 21-1.
This match showed that their WrestleMania match could have been great had Undertaker not suffered a concussion. The two battled with their patented strikes, suplexes and finishers before an incredibly wacky finish.
Lesnar applied a Kimura Lock, and the timekeeper started ringing the bell. Paul Heyman celebrated and proclaimed that Undertaker had tapped out. However, the referee was confused having not seen a tap and ordered the match to continue.
While the ref was distracted, Undertaker hits Brock Lesnar with a low blow. He then locked in the Hell’s Gate submission and Lesnar finally passed out after first flipping ‘Taker the bird.
It was later shown in the post-match replay that ‘Taker had tapped out to the Kimura which signaled the timekeeper to ring the bell. The ref didn’t see this, and neither did anyone watching on PPV because the camera angle wasn’t present.
The finish was odd but it did protect Lesnar as much as possible in defeat. A great match that would unfortunately be one of Undertaker’s last.
2. Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock – SummerSlam 2002
This match was effectively the start of The Rock’s 2003 heel turn. On his way out of the WWE and just stepping through Hollywood’s front door, the millions quickly jumped on the Rock, chanting, “ROCKY SUCKS!” throughout the match.
Heyman would get involved on a handful of occasions, distracting the referee before tripping up the Rock and wrenching on his neck. In fact, Heyman kind of stole the show which isn’t necessarily a good thing. But nonetheless, he would get his comeuppance in the form of a Rock Bottom through an announce table.
The finish of the match saw the Rock attempt a Rock Bottom on Lesnar who countered into an F-5 for the pinfall victory.
The win officially made Lesnar the youngest WWE Champion in history. Michael Cole noted in the closing moments of the PPV, that it only took him five months to win the title.
The match wasn’t stellar but the outcome and implications surrounding it are still looked back on fondly, to this day, which is why it sits as high up on our ranking as it does.
1. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena – SummerSlam 2014
This was one of the most unique main events in WWE history. John Cena, the company’s poster boy for the prior decade, was squashed by Brock Lesnar. In the wake of Lesnar’s breaking The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, this match portrayed him as he always should have been since his return in 2012.
As for the match itself, there really isn’t much offense to mention on behalf of John Cena, who did an excellent job of playing the squash victim in this encounter.
The match concluded with an F-5, but it should be noted that Lesnar hit fifteen German suplexes throughout this bout. FIFTEEN!! Michael Cole perfectly summarized the match by saying, “it wasn’t even close.” The PPV came to a close as Heyman, on his knees, bowed to his prodigy and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar.
So, if Cena didn’t really put up a fight, why is this match number one? Simply, Lesnar looked like an unstoppable, ass kicking, machine. It is easy to look past a one-sided affair so long as the reasoning is logical and that’s what this match was.
Lesnar’s other matches since have rarely exhibited this kind of magic and it tops our list as his best SummerSlam main event.