SummerSlam Title Stats: The First Decade

SummerSlam is one of WWE’s most illustrious events and as such has a rich history of title changes occurring on the event—65 in fact! So, with this year’s SummerSlam on the horizon, what better time to take a look at some SummerSlam title stats?

In this article, I’m going to look at some fun title stats from the first decade of SummerSlam: 1988 to 1997. Sometimes cutting wrestling eras into decades can be quite arbitrary as things spill over, but actually, the 1988-1997 period fits quite nicely as the peak and end of the Hulkamania era and the beginning, middle, and end of the New Generation era. The end of 1997 was transitory, and 1998 saw the Attitude Era officially begin, meaning that the 1997 show, the last one in the event’s first decade, makes a nice closing point before the Attitude Era began in earnest.

There are a ton of fun stats from SummerSlam’s first decade, so stats geeks unite, and let’s get into it!

The Ultimate Warrior holds aloft the Intercontinental Title Belt at SummerSlam '88

  • Out of the 65 total title changes that have occurred at SummerSlam to date, 12 of them took place during the event’s first decade. That is just slightly under a fifth of all the title changes that have happened at SummerSlam.
  • Seven of those 12 title changes were the Intercontinental Championship, over half the title changes in SummerSlam’s first decade.
  • The World Heavyweight Championship changed only one during the first decade, with Bret hart defeating The Undertaker for the belt at SummerSlam ’97.
  • The tag title only changed hands twice over the first decade of SummerSlam, with The Hart Foundation beating Demolition at SummerSlam ’90, and The Legion of Doom beating The Nasty Boys at SummerSlam ’91.
  • The remaining two title changes were for what was, at the time, minority or novelty titles. Virgil beat The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase for the Million Dollar Title in 1991, recently revived in NXT, and the horrendous Bertha Faye defeated Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Championship at SummerSlam ’95 in a horrendous match. This was the only Women’s title change in the first decade of SummerSlam’s history, indicative of WWE‘s attitude towards women’s wrestling at the time.
  • Bret Hart is the wrestler with the most title victories in the event’s first decade, winning the Tag Team Championships in 1990 with Jim Neidhart, the Intercontinental Championship in 1991, and the Heavyweight Championship in 1997.
  • The Ultimate Warrior comes next, with two title victories in SummerSlam’s first decade, winning the Intercontinental Championship in consecutive years in 1988 and 1989.
  • The Ultimate Warrior is the first wrestler to have consecutive title wins at SummerSlam and is the only person to have done so in the event’s first decade. By virtue of winning in ’88 and ’89, he is the wrestler to claim the first two title victories in SummerSlam history.

Kerry Von Erich locks Mr Perfect in the Claw at SummerSlam '90

  • Mr. Perfect, meanwhile, is the first to have consecutive title losses at SummerSlam, losing the Intercontinental Title in 1990 to ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich and Bret Hart in 1991.
  • Along with being the title that changed hands the most in SummerSlam’s first decade, the Intercontinental Title was at the center of the first three title changes in the event’s history. It was only The Hart Foundation’s defeat of Demolition at SummerSlam ’90 that broke the IC belt’s streak (Mr. Perfect had dropped the IC title to Kerry Von Erich earlier on the same show).
  • The amount of Intercontinental Championship and Tag Title changes in SummerSlam’s first decade reflects the fact that there were only three main championships in play regularly at the time, with the Million Dollar Championship only appearing once and the Women’s Championship only appearing twice between 1988 and 1997.
  • There were only two events out of the first ten that did not feature any title changes at all: Summerslams 1993 and 1996.
  • SummerSlam ’97 is notable for one Hart brother losing a title as another one gained one: Owen Hart lost the Intercontinental Championship to Steve Austin earlier in the show, while Bret Hart beat The Undertaker for the World Championship in the main event.

Any interesting SummerSlam Title Stats that I’ve missed from the first decade? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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