WWE’s SummerSlam is fast approaching, and this year’s Biggest Party of the Summer™ has the most matches involving wrestlers who are women in the PPV’s history. We have Alexa Bliss defending her Raw Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey, Carmella defending the SmackDown Women’s Championship in a triple threat match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte, and Rusev and Lana facing off against Cien Almas and Zelina Vega in a mixed tag team match on the pre-show, and two out of three of these have had high-profile builds on their respective weekly TV shows.
Over the previous thirty SummerSlam PPVs, women wrestled in a total of twenty matches. Some SummerSlams had multiple women’s matches and/or mixed tag matches, the 2001 and 2009 shows only had women in dark matches, and the 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2012 shows didn’t included any women’s wrestling.
It seems unlikely we’ll slam in the summertime without seeing any women pretending to fight each other in the future, unless they move this PPV to Saudi Arabia or something, and the all-women Evolution PPV is coming up this fall, so now seems like as good a time as any to rank all the SummerSlam matches in which women wrestled! They range from bona fide classics to dull disasters, and work as a microcosm of the how women have been booked in WWE over the decades.
20. Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire, 1990
The Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire match doesn’t actually happen, so it’s at the bottom of this ranked list of matches! The build to this segment started before WrestleMania VI, when Randy Savage used Dusty Rhodes’ valet, Sapphire, as an example of women who were not ladies, contrasting her with his valet, Sherri. All four faced off in a mixed tag team match on the Grandest Stage Of Them All, and same-gender singles matches within the rivalry were scheduled for SummerSlam.
But when “American Dream” hits at SummerSlam, Sapphire doesn’t come out, and Sherri is left in the ring looking fantastic and also like what we would get if Finn Balor merged his Demon King and LGBT+ rights PPV entrance types into an impossibly powerful demonic drag queen persona. Sapphire doesn’t show up for so long that the match gets thrown out, and Sherri celebrates the win via forfeit.
Backstage, a concerned Dusty says he can’t find Sapphire anywhere, and describes the lavish gifts she’s been receiving from a mysterious source, which included a mink coat, a diamond and sapphire necklace, “cruising around the world,” and a new Cadillac. Then, before Rhodes vs. Savage, it is revealed that Ted DiBiase has bought Sapphire, in one of wrestling’s many weird allusions to slavery. If you think I’m being facetious to make 20th century WWF sound more racist, check the tape! I will leave deciding whether this was the most racist thing on a card that also included the Orient Express and Mr. Fuji up to you lovely readers.