Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lesnar vs. Undertaker headlines a unique SummerSlam card

I will be the first to admit that WWE's build to SummerSlam hasn't really inspired me to more regularly watch their weekly television programming outside NXT. They have jobbed out up and coming stars, made a mess of the US and WWE title picture and pretty much left themselves scrambling to put together the card with only days before the event. But even with all the problems of their weekly episodic programming, they have crafted a pretty solid card for Brooklyn on Sunday night. 
Image credit: WWE.
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev: This one could have used a built more build from Ziggler's return, but I think it should be a great match-up. Rusev needs a solid feud to take him towards Wrestlemania while Ziggler needs to desperately get a win to get him into the title picture against Seth Rollins (where he should be right now.) I suspect this is only the beginning of the feud over Lana though, so even though I predict a Ziggler win to kick off SummerSlam this one is far from over. 
  • Team Bella vs. Team B.A.D. vs. PCS: We all understand this three team elimination match only exists to delay Nikki's title loss for a month, right? She's going to hold that title longer than AJ because WWE wants their former talent to not be their longest reigning Divas champion. I have doubts Nikki's team will come out on tops here though, as I strongly suspect this will set up a stronger Charlotte vs. Nikki (possibly with Sasha Banks) storyline heading into Night of Champions.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: Before John Cena's unfortunate nose-breaking, I suspect this match would have been for the United States championship. These two men are built to feud with one another and had classic battles in their tag team days in Ring of Honor. This one has the potential to be great, but only if WWE uses that four hour programming to give it time to develop. 
  • Prime Time Players vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Lucha Dragons: Four way tag team matches seem to be the go-to for WWE at big events and they never seem to result in a title change. I personally suspect this one won't as well, although I still live in a world where WWE would actually push The Ascension against the Players, so make of that what you will.
  • Stephen Amell and Neville vs. Goldust and King Barrett: WWE has done a great job building up their feud between their resident superhero and a TV superhero against Stardust and the newly cosmic King Barrett. This promises to be the most fun match of the night as Stardust and Barrett are straight up comic villains here going against a pair of superheroes. I cannot imagine this ending in anything other than a Neville and Amell win, but expect some great spots before that happens.
  • Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose: This is the match we all wish featured Sting and a new Wyatt Family member. Instead it's a continuation of the Wyatt vs. Reigns feud and the approximately 984th encounter between Harper and Ambrose. This is the fight that will almost certainly feature some kind of outside shenanigans or perhaps even a turn by one of the two former Shield members. 
  • Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz: This was once meant to be a transitional match to set up something bigger for Ryback at SummerSlam, but Ryback's injury delayed it until the big summer show. It doesn't have much going for it overall, but a Ryback win seems likely unless this is the start of some kind of Big Show final run.
  • Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: If you think the encounters between Ambrose and Harper were common, Orton and Sheamus have wrestled probably twice as many times. Last month was a decent battle between the two men, but I doubt they have a chance to top it even when this battle will get far more time than it deserves.
  • John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (title vs. title): Surprisingly the only match with a special stipulation, the battle between Rollins and Cena promises to also feature some level of interference. A lot of folks are giving the win to Cena here, but I suspect this will instead start a new feud with a new player entering into a feud with John Cena. Of course, in a perfect world Cena would turn here, but let's never hold our breath for that. 
  • Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: The rematch from Wrestlemania XXX could be a huge, entertaining masterpiece between a living legend and arguably the best in-ring competitor in modern WWE. Or it could be a repeat of the mess that was their previous encounter, where Undertaker suffered a massive concussion. It is anyone's guess where this one will fall, but expect the final hour of SummerSlam to be filled with the action between two of WWE's most successful competitors. 
Overall, the card is a mix of interesting new fights and stale feuds that have been seen time and time again. WWE desperately needs to expand the range of their roster, but seems terrified of rocking the boat with their current ratings set-up. Whether or not, SummerSlam will be another safe bet from WWE or the company actually trying to innovate with their storytelling is anyone's guess. 

Catch SummerSlam this Sunday on the WWE Network. 

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