Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Notable WWE Summer Title Changes

A photo of Kane winning his first WWE Title.

WWE is a company that incorporates the best from the sporting and entertainment worlds. It combines phenomenal athletics with some of the best storytelling out there. The rare combination makes it one of the best products on the planet but also helps to cause some problems.

The federation is unlike other sports, in that there is no offseason. There is no time off for the wrestlers or the creative staff, which is where the summer comes into play.

Following WrestleMania, WWE goes into a slower period. Until SummerSlam rolls around there isn’t a ton of new ground being broken, but that doesn’t mean the product is devoid of product.

During the summer months, some title changes have dropped jaws. Changes that no one was expecting and iconic ones. Below are some of those changes.

Steve Austin vs. Kane (June 28 & June 29, 1998)

The Attitude Era was always known as an era of overbooking. Championships were hotpotato’d around so much that it became hard to keep track, or care, of who was champion at any given moment. That is why the Kane and Steve Austin summer angle was such an interesting one.

Going into their main event, at King of the Ring, Kane stated he would light himself on fire if he failed to capture the WWE title. The company booked itself into a corner as to how could they logistically get away with burning a man on television. Because of this Kane won the championship in somewhat dubious circumstances.

It was a title change that didn’t last long, however, as Kane dropped the strap back to Austin the next night on Raw. This makes us all wonder why would WWE book the title change. It made no sense, but it was still a notable occurrence.

Demolition vs. The Brain Busters (July 18, 1989)

Back in the Golden Era, the summer was a time of dormancy. Not much of note happened but when it did, it sent shockwaves through the company. This is the case when Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard shocked Demolition and captured tag team gold.

The Brain Busters were a fantastic heel tandem and had worked their way up the tag team ranks. They got a big win at WrestleMania and met Demolition in a losing effort on Saturday Night’s Main Event. This earned them another shot at the straps, and they prevailed, in a best 2 out of 3 falls match on an episode of Superstars.

Superstars was not a show where title changes happened. It was a shock to everyone that WWE would pull a title change in the summer when SummerSlam was right around the corner.

The APA vs. The Hardy Boyz (June 29, 1999)

The tag titles got bounced around more often than not in 1999. The tag division was incredibly deep and just about every team got their run with the straps. Not every team, however, will be considered one of the best, like the Hardy Boyz.

Jeff and Matt were a cornerstone during the Attitude Era. They brought the tag division back from oblivion and were part of the best tag matches in company history. Before they were able to do all of this, they had to get their first reign with tag gold. That came on a hot night in July.

The Hardy Boyz were paired with Michael Hayes, at the time, and with him, they were able to wrestle the tag championships away from Bradshaw and Faarooq. At the time they were not the stars they came for, but that title win put them on the right path.

Ricky Steamboat vs. The Honky Tonk Man (June 2, 1987)

The Dragon’s triumph at WrestleMania III was one of the best stories in 1987. It was a magnificent match that was one of the greatest in WrestleMania history. A victory that should have translated into a lengthy run for Steamboat, only for the fans to suffer a massive letdown a couple of months later.

Ricky Steamboat was in the midst of a title defense against Elvis impersonator Honky Tonk Man when disaster struck. Honky had used every underhanded tactic he could imagine as he shocked everyone and stole the Intercontinental Championship.

It was a title change that no one had expected to take place. Steamboat was the hero who overcame all the odds to be the champ. It was a heartfelt moment that had everyone in the world cheered for, and one that was dashed when the heat magnet won the IC strap.

John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio (July 25, 2011)

The Summer of Punk was a great storyline by WWE, one of the best in years. It’s just too bad that there was some garbage in the middle of it.

After The Second City Saint left the company, with the WWE Championship, Rey Mysterio won a tournament to capture the title. It was a great moment for Mysterio and the audience. It was his first run with the WWE Championship, but it was a moment that lasted all of a few hours.

Since John Cena was well, John Cena was given a shot at Mysterio hours after he defeated The Miz in the finals. Naturally, Cena went over Mysterio leading to Punk’s return and a rematch at SummerSlam.

Outside of Punk returning, there was nothing great about this night. Mysterio was a fan favorite who worked his butt off to get to the top of the mountain. Having him drop the title the same night was a slap in the face to everyone.

There were better ways to work the angle between Cena and Punk, much better than to throw dirt in Mysterio’s face.

The Steiner Brothers vs. Money Inc. (June 14,16, & 19, 1993)

The summer of 1993 was a turbulent one for WWE. The older wrestlers had begun their exodus from the company and ratings were down. WWE needed to pull some excitement out of their hats and enter three title changes within five days.

The Steiner Brothers and Money Inc. had been engaged in a feud for a few weeks before they went into Raw on June 14th. Rick and Scott went over Ted DiBiase and I.R.S. to capture their first tag team championship for WWE. It was a huge moment for the two men as they became one of a handful of teams to win both the NWA and WWE Tag Team titles.

It was a short-lived reign, however, as Money Inc. cheated their way to victory just two days later, on a house show no less. Fans were incensed at the title change but their anger was slightly misplaced as the Steiners got their championships back 3 days later in, yet another shocking house show title change.

A title change is shocking, even more so on a house show. But 3 changes in less than a week? It was unheard of and got the eyes of the world watching.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Edge, Jeff Jarrett vs D-Lo Brown (July 24, 25, & 27, 1999)

The Intercontinental Championship was not an important championship, during the Attitude Era. It shifted around so much that it lost any aura that it had around it. It was a prop as opposed to a championship and it bounced more than a basketball.

One of the most interesting cases of the IC strap being bounced around was in the summer of 1999. Jeff Jarrett was in the midst of a tight heel run with the title when he went up against Edge, who was embarking on his first singles run.

It was a house show in Toronto and WWE switched the championship to get a pop out of Edge’s hometown crowd. However, it was retconned the next night when Jarrett got his title back, begging the question of why it was done to begin with.

Not to be outdone, a mere 2 days later D-Lo Brown took on Jarrett for the title and won it. Sparking a fury of title changes that occurred over 3 days and involved 3 men. A wild weekend for WWE in July of 1999.

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