It’s the summer WrestleMania. That’s one way to think of SummerSlam, arguably, with apologies to Royal Rumble, the second-biggest WWE pay-per-view of the year, if only because of its timing.
SummerSlam has in recent years served as the turning point in the WWE calendar, as the culmination of storylines from the previous WrestleMania, and the starting point for what we can expect to see at the next WM.
As such, we can expect to see the winner of the main event between John Cena and Brock Lesnar remain as the guy through WrestleMania 31, when everybody expects the challenger in the main event to be Roman Reigns.
The school of thought for months leading up to where we are now is that Brock Lesnar was being built up for the run as champ heading into the WrestleMania season on the heels of his win over Undertaker to end The Streak at WM 30, but now we can start to speculate about alternative plans with what we’re seeing from Roman Reigns. Reigns, you may have noticed, has been paired in segments on WWE TV with John Cena more and more lately, and while the two have been civil, you can see some tensions between the two ready to bubble to the surface.
Reigns has also gotten a bit edgier in interviews and on social media, sending a warning to Sting to “stay away” from him in the ring, among other things.
One smart booking plan for Reigns heading into WM31 would be to turn him into a monster heel who would still, of course, get cheers from fans as the rival of the babyface Cena, who as always gets jeered by about 40 percent of your average house-show crowd, if not more than that.
How Reigns turns heel at SummerSlam in his match against heel Randy Orton is a question. Maybe it happens after the match, perhaps with him interfering in the Cena-Lesnar main event in some way, ostensibly to aid Cena, almost screwing up his assist, and then getting upset when Cena rebuffs his efforts to explain his side of things.
The other way this can go is the way we’ve seen it going all along, that Lesnar, the one in 21-1, elevated by his win over ‘Taker, gets the clean fall over Cena, and either attacks Cena tonight post-match or the next night on Raw, and Reigns comes down to make the save, and inserts himself into position to be Lesnar’s next rival.
If I had to bet, I’d go with that scenario, though as a fan, I’d probably rather see a walkup to Cena-Reigns, with Reigns as the monster heel, perhaps with Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece, since Reigns is still subpar at best on the mic, and needs a mouthpiece.
But the prediction here is for Lesnar to win, because that’s the easy booking, and WWE, having recently let go several members of its creative staff, is likely to go for the easy booking.
The rest of the card:
– Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella: Assuming a heel win at the end of the night, let’s go with Brie in the comedown match preceding the main event. I like what WWE is doing to keep Daniel Bryan’s name in the mix as he makes his slow recovery back from surgery.
– Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt: My heart says Wyatt, who to me shouldn’t be jobbing to a part-timer like Jericho, but I think they job him to the part-timer.
– Jack Swagger vs. Rusev: Rusev gets the win to continue the headlines about him being a big fan of vladimir putin.
– Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins: The match of the night, first off, from pure entertainment value. I’ll go with Ambrose, as a way to elevate his status with a W over the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. I definitely want to see more of this feud.
– Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton: Reigns needs the push into WM, so he gets the win.
– AJ Lee vs. Paige: I like what they’re doing to add depth to the character of Paige, who will get the win to further one of the more interesting Divas feuds in WWE in a while.
– The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler: Ziggs deserves better, but at least he’s getting a title match on the main card of a PPV, so we’ll have to settle for that in what will otherwise be a Miz win in what will turn out to be the second best match of the night in terms of entertainment value.
– Column by Chris Graham