SummerSlam is here. The biggest beach party of the summer is upon us, so without any delay, let me take you through, match by match.
Pre-Pre-Show Match: Natalya & Maria Menounos vs. Brie Bella & Eva Marie
This match will take place at SummerSlam Fan Axxess, sometime during the day. The only people who will see it, are those who paid the bucks to get there hours earlier. Good for them. Bad for Natalya. At least she has a match.
Pre-Show Match: Rob Van Dam challenges Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship
Why is the match NOT on the pay-per-view card? WHY? WHY? Really a travesty here. Most people do not actually watch the pre-show and will miss the chance to see these two incredibly talents stars go one-on-one. RVD is on a hot streak, and let me be honest, when is he ever not on a streak? He is R-V-D? Capturing the United States Championship would be huge for the recently returned extreme star, but Ambrose is a solid performer whom WWE can rely on for endless feuds as a mainstay heel. I wonder how more of a future The Shield has, as they lost, big-time to the team of Henry, Show, and Van Dam on SmackDown. The Shield just does not have the dominance feel they had before capturing their titles. With losses now a regular occurrence, the aura of invincibility is gone.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
This could be a show stealer, I kid you not. You have all seen these two as a tag team and just how well they work together. Just imagine how well they will work against each other. Sandow has an amazingly bright future and as Mr. Money in the Bank, WWE has faith to one day put the World Championship on his waist. I would love to see title match feuds with Sandow defending against Rhodes, Ziggler, and even Sheamus. While I always thought Rhodes was a solid mid-card performer, I never suspected him to be capable of main event potential. I feel recently, with the face turn, the mustache gimmick and his outstanding matches as of late, Rhodes might one day see the World Championship over his shoulder. This will be a great match.
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire Match
I brought it up on Monday night, but I will remind my loyal readers once more. Michael Cole adamantly stated the surrounding fire is to keep the wrestlers in and interference out. Not meant to be used as a weapon. I see where he is coming from and understand this is a PG-rated show, but then why have the stipulation at all? Make this one a bit funny, have Harper and Rowan stand around ringside roasting marshmallows and giving it out to the crowd. Or set The Great Khali aflame, your choice of comedy. The match I anticipate being very good, as Kane always delivers and Wyatt will no doubt channel his inner Rotunda and impress the live audience. Remember, he was on NXT as Husky Harris, and a member of the Nexus. The boy can wrestle and he can fly. Yes, he can fly.
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston & AJ Lee
Sad to say this because I am a huge fan of the Ziggles, but this should have been the pre-show match. Instead of the U.S. Title bout, this blasphemy of a match should have been confined to YouTube. Ziggler has fallen fast and hard. World Champion for a month, injured, dropped the belt, and now facing off against the newest members of the JOB Squad. If you did not watch RAW, you do not know what I am talking about. AJ Lee and Langston lost to Natalya and the Great Khali. What was great, Khali not being in the match for more than 30 seconds, and Natalya earning a convincing and dominant submission victory over AJ Lee. Sigh. I truly hope this is just a temporary low point for Dolph. The guy IS main event potential. Everyone, even the big names have their mid-card feuds, just to keep their presence in the minds of fans, but this is ridiculous. Just end the feud and move back up the ladder already. I feel like Ziggler is only in this feud to elevate Kaitlyn to defeat AJ. Which, is a terrible thought.
Christian challenges Alberto del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship
Mr. Mexican Aristocrat is on one hell of a mean streak. Beating big names, even losing to big names, but still on fire as a top baddie right now, and fans just love to hate him. Del Rio is back in what I believe is a more comfortable position as arrogance personified. I enjoyed his short run as a face, but this role fits better like one of his taylor-made suits. Christian shed his ring rust, easily causing critics (myself included) to forget and or ignore his first few matches back and focused solely on his recent high-praised performances. With Del Rio savagely beating up Ricardo a couple of weeks ago, I would not be surprised if the former personal ring announcer returned to repay his former employer in kind, helping Christian capture the title.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
You want to see a fight? You will get a fight. Believe it or not, but there is not much to say about The Best vs. The Beast. Punk is purely the best in WWE right now. He does not need a championship to say so. Look at his status. It is approaching the level of going up against the big names, the special returns, the former superstars, and beyond. He faced The Rock. The Undertaker. You face off with the Deadman, you’re place in wrestling history is cemented. I think facing off with Brock Lesnar is a step down, but then again, once you face Undertaker at WrestleMania, where else is there to go? Shawn Michaels? Triple H? Bret Hart? Or maybe… “Stone Cold” Steve Austin? In any case, a match with Brock is not just a match, it is a display of endurance and resilience. Brock does not sell moves anymore, he just takes a beating and returns the favor thrice over. Punk is the guy who can give the beat which Brock will dish back, take it and return it to Brock with interest. The match may never end, it might go all night.
Daniel Bryan faces off against John Cena for the WWE Championship, Triple H serving as Guest Referee
Well, this just got interesting. McMahon family feud, Maddox needs some Maalox, and we get the “Wrestler’s wrestler” in Bryan against the “I’m an entertainer” in Cena. Their face-off promo on Monday night was epic, although I felt Cena came across as trying to make Bryan look heelish, which of course was a display of futility as EVERYONE LOVES BRYAN. I will give Cena credit where due, a lot of what he said, making fun of himself via Five Moves of Doom, and the face he knows people hate him and are sick of him as champion, but all that makes him who he is and who he is to the WWE fans. Gotta say, he spoke the truth there. Bryan does deserve respect, the guy has wrestled all over the world and when Cena said he would not be on the level of Shawn Michaels or Triple H, boy did that raise eyebrows. It added the fuel to the growing fire and I for one, cannot wait to watch these two collide. Love him or hate him, Cena can and will deliver in the big matches. I fully expect suplexes galore and incredible wrestling from both men. Now, will this be the one where Bryan gets his first WWE Title Reign? I certainly hope so. Bryan has enjoyed the benefit of a slow push, starting with his comedic pairing with Kane and their hug-it-out therapy with Dr. Shelby, then going on to one-on-one matches and proving to everyone he goes all-out for every single match he is in. This one, will be memorable.
There is just one more thing. Randy Orton. For weeks, he taunted both Cena and Bryan with his Money in the Bank contract. He might not cash in at all. He might come down to the ring and make the match a Triple Threat. Or, he might cash in on the winner of the match. Also remember, Cena was first at being unsuccessful in cashing in. After a first, comes a second.
Vince McMahon and Triple H are also wild cards. When McMahon is involved anything can happen. He could be on the side of Cena or maybe this was a ruse with him and Bryan conspiring to take the title? Maybe Triple H was on the side of his father-in-law all along? So many scenarios.
Ryback is done. We get it. He is the “bully” of WWE. Give him a bowler hat and have him take lunch money from interns.
Big headline this week. Darren Young is gay. The impact lasted all of 24 hours and life moved on. This is actually a positive step for humanity. We’re all human, and it shouldn’t matter what a person chooses. Ethnicity does not matter in sports, neither should sexuality. Unless you are Chyna, and must be locked away in the looney bin. Seriously, I applaud Young for not ‘coming out’ but more like stepping forward and being proud of his life. It is his life, he can live it the way he wants to. Maybe society and humanity at large is not there yet, so we still need to show support for those who step up. One day it really will not matter. One day, being gay or being straight will not be an issue, which is the same way Jim Ross respondeded to a question on Twitter, and I could not agree more.