In less than a month’s time WWE will head to Cardiff for Clash at the Castle, the biggest show in the UK since the company hosted SummerSlam in 1992.
WWE has been coming to these shores since the UK Rampage shows of the early 1990s, and while Clash at the Castle will present a stadium event for the first time in three decades, there has been plenty of highlights from their UK shores in between.
GiveMeSport picks out the top 8 WWE matches to take place on UK soil.
Macho Man vs. Ultimate Warrior
August 29, 1992
While Warrior matches are never expected to be in-ring classics, there was something about his battles with Randy Savage that bought the best out in him, and this SummerSlam 92 match is often overlooked due to the evening’s main event.
A rematch from the classic encounter from WrestleMania VII, Warrior and Savage worked this one at an even quicker pace and added to the mix were conspiring foes Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect who had teased allegiances to both in the build to the bout. In the end it all became a ruse, as Flair and Perfect interfered in the bout, causing a countout win for Warrior and setting up another meeting between Flair and Savage days later.
The British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels
One Night Only
September 20, 1997
Five years on from Davey Boy Smith’s crowning glory at SummerSlam, Bulldog was back in the spotlight and defending his European Title against Shawn Michaels at the One Night Only event from Birmingham’s NEC Arena.
The two Superstars produced an excellent mix of styles, with Bulldog delivering the power offence while Michaels used his speed and technical prowess to ground the hometown hero. That grounding led to HBK focussing on Bulldog’s knee and when he slapped on a Figure Four Leglock, it saw Davey pass out – much to the chagrin of the rabid Brummie crowd. With shenanigans and interference aplenty, too it was a match fitting of the time, just with a disappointing end.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho
3 November 2001
A match pitted as part of WWE’s ongoing Alliance storyline that saw WCW Champion Chris Jericho of the WWF put the belt on the line against the Alliance’s Kurt Angle, and as expected it was a doozy of a match.
The pair continuously mixed styles during the match, with an aggressive start making way for a more technical middle before it broke down to mealy of each man countering each other’s best offences. It finished though, by way of Jericho rolling up the Olympic Champion after evading an Angle Slam, giving Y2J a clean win over Angle just a month before he became the company’s Undisputed Champion.
The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Shane McMahon
May 6, 2000
Who doesn’t love a match full of classic Attitude Era tomfoolery and involving the red-hot rivalry of The Rock and Triple H? Well, London’s Earls Court certainly did for this main event of Insurrextion 2000, especially with the added bonus of Shane McMahon added to the mix.
Shane had been added to aid Triple H in taking the WWE Title off The Rock, but in true fashion of the time Shane O’Mac had desires of his own for the title. What transpired was McMahon Jr turning on The Game to try and win the match but eventually falling foul to a People’s Elbow and allowing Rock to retain his WWE Championship and send the London crowd home happy.
The Undertaker and Team Hell No vs. The Shield
April 22, 2013
A rare treat for the London crowd to see not only the Undertaker, but the future WWE Hall of Famer alongside his brother of destruction, Kane and Daniel Bryan as they took on WWE’s new dominating force, The Shield.
The Deadman looked in great shape and kept up the pace with his younger piers, as he allowed Bryan to put in the workhorse shift around him and Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns take the bumps from his greatest hits of manoeuvres. It was The Shield though who earned the rub off the babyface team, as Ambrose took advantage of Bryan’s missed headbutt to sneak a pin and continue their rise up the ranks.
Bret Hart vs The Undertaker
One Night Only
September 20, 1997
Three weeks after Bret Hart had won the gold off Undertaker at SummerSlam the pair met again in Birmingham in a big-time main event for the UK crowd.
Title changes were never expected on these one-off shows at the time, but the two WWE Hall of Famers put on a display that had fans fooled into thinking something big could happen. Hart typically worked on Taker’s legs throughout the match as the Deadman tried to outpower the WWE Champion. Yet, the finish came when Hart got his head stuck in the ropes after escaping a Tombstone from the challenger, and it led to Undertaker beating on Hart until he was ultimately disqualified.
The Rock vs. Steve Austin
3 November, 2001
If it’s a meeting between two of the biggest stars of any era and arguably the greatest in-ring rivalry WWE has ever created, then it’s a shoo-in to make a top ten list. C’mon this is The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Ok, so Rebellion – held at Manchester’s Evening News Arena – didn’t have the same significance at their WrestleMania epic earlier in the year, but this meeting of Alliance members still has the same energy that the pair bought to every match against each other. It’s wild, it’s frantic and it sees Rock play the perfect babyface role to Austin’s turncoat heel. With the finish coming by way of an assist from Kurt Angle who hit Rocky with the WWE championship and allowed Austin to hit the stunner for the win.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
NXT: TakeOver London
December 16, 2015
An NXT bout at the height of the NXT black and gold era, with two of the most talented Superstars to ever grace the brand. NXT TakeOver shows had already gained a reputation for being the ones to watch and the London variant was no exception.
Finn Balor took on Samoa Joe in the evening’s main event and it was twenty minutes of hard-hitting action like only NXT can deliver. Balor competed as ‘The Demon’ and battled a Joe with renewed vigour following his move to WWE. Both men tried to weaken the other as the attempted to lock in their finisher, but in the end Balor’s Coup de Grace put the explanation point on a killer of a match.
John Cena vs Shawn Michaels
April 23, 2007
A classic from two of the greatest to do it, and boy did they do it in long-form in this Raw match from 2007 – three weeks after the two had waged war at WrestleMania 23.
Despite being held in the middle of the show the bout went a full 56 minutes, fast tacking to the night’s main event and leading to the rest of the card being cancelled. During the near hour-long epic, the bout built on the pairs’ WrestleMania outing as HBK pulled out all the stops to try and beat the WWE Champion in this non-title match. Eventually this well constructed, story driven match was settled by Michaels slipping out of an FU attempt and finally hitting Cena with Sweet Chin Music to get the win. Everyone involved was totally exhausted by the end.
Bret Hart vs British Bulldog
August 29, 1992
An era defining match, played out in front of 80,000 people on the biggest show the WWE has ever produced outside of North America. Bret Hart vs British Bulldog is a classic for so many reasons and why it’s regarded as the best match ever to take place in the UK.
WWE capitalised on Bulldog’s popularity of the time by booking him in the main event against brother-in-law Bret Hart, and what followed was a thirty-minute masterclass. Driven in emotion and expertly told by the two competitors in the ring. The finish came when Bulldog revered a sunset flip into a pin to win the biggest match of his career and send Wembley Stadium crazy as he celebrated winning the Intercontinental Championship. A genuine WWE classic and one of SummerSlam’s very, very best.