SummerSlam preview: Anything worth watching on Sunday?
SummerSlam is the summer WrestleMania, the unofficial midpoint of the WWE year, and as such, it’s usually a loaded show.
There are a lot of matches scheduled for Sunday’s show: at last count, 10, suggesting that we’re going to be watching well into the night.
Which would be fine, if there were compelling matches that you just had to see.
To borrow from Paul Heyman, this isn’t a prediction, it’s a spoiler, but … there ain’t.
What we do have is:
- the rehash of a Universal title match between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins that we saw already at WrestleMania four months ago, and wasn’t good then.
- Goldberg returning, for some reason, and for some reason, he’s paired with Dolph Ziggler.
- another match involving Shane McMahon, this time with Kevin Owens, that seems destined to yet again put the non-wrestler over the wrestler.
We also get Randy Orton challenging Kofi Kingston for the WWE title, which should be fine, because both guys are good workers, and there’s been a decent buildup, playing off a storyline that has Kingston blaming Orton for burying him backstage a decade ago.
It seems pretty clear here that the belt is coming off Kingston, whose reign hasn’t resonated with fans at the box office or on the TV on Tuesday nights.
The women’s title matches – Becky Lynch defending the Raw belt against Natalya, and Bayley defending the Smackdown strap against Ember Moon – have suffered from lack of any kind of good build.
The same is true for the other women’s match, Charlotte Flair facing WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, who should get a nice pop in Toronto.
Any other time, Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt would be a show-stealer, but we maybe shouldn’t expect much from Wyatt in his return, and latest reboot. WWE had something going with him five years ago, and then again in his brief WWE title run in 2017, but 50/50 booking killed his buzz each time.
Balor, meanwhile, is reportedly on his way to a hiatus after SummerSlam, so you can probably expect him to do the job here to give Wyatt the rub going forward.
AJ Styles will defend his U.S. title against former champ Ricochet. If Vince McMahon just tells them how much time they have and otherwise shuts up, this one is the match of the night, but … McMahon isn’t going to do that.
Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan. You’ve not heard of them. They work on 205 Live. You’ve not heard of that. Moving on.
The matches worth watching, in order of their worth, in watching:
- Styles vs. Ricochet
- Kingston vs. Orton
- Owens vs. McMahon
- Balor vs. Wyatt
- Flair vs. Stratus
The Lesnar-Rollins match will likely close things out, which is a shame. The crowd will be absolutely dead by the 11 p.m. ET hour, after six hours of wrestling – the pre-show starts at 5 p.m. ET – and this one could use some artificial giddyup from the paying fans.
We can hope for a nice “AEW!” chant as things wind down to keep our attention watching from our living rooms.
Preview by Chris Graham