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Summerslam has always been recognized by the WWE as their second biggest ppv, second only to Wrestlemania when it comes to importance. But to be honest, during the last few years, Summerslam hasn't really seemed all that special. If anything, the previous ppv, Money in the Bank, overshadowed Summerslam in both quality and importance. However, this year, for the first time in a while, Summerslam seems to really be the "biggest party of the summer."
The largest reason for the momentum being pushed back into Summerslam after it has been drained out like helium from a balloon, is the WWE Title match between Daniel Bryan and John Cena. As it has been stated earlier, the unpredictability of this match is uncanny, and it features the most over guy in the company going up against the face of the company for the last decade or so.
The WWE threw in two more curveballs this week, announcing on Raw that Triple H will be the special guest referee. In storyline, HHH has shown so far that he is more interested in fairness than anything else; making himself the referee to make sure that no funny business goes down with his father-in-law. But, with the idea of a HHH/McMahon power struggle looming as the big draw for Wrestlemania XXX, there is really no telling what could happen. A big move would be to have Triple H turn on Daniel Bryan, hit him with the pedigree and then have Cena cover him for the win. Again though, anything can happen so it is impossible to pin point exactly what is going to take place on Sunday.
Another big reveal is just how bad John Cena is hurt. According to multiple reports, Cena's elbow has been swollen up to the size of a softball and will need surgery immediately following Summerslam. Because it looks like Cena is going to need some time off, it is likely that he would have to drop the title at Summerslam, either to Randy Orton or to Daniel Bryan. Of course, we are relying on backstage reports and rumors to fill us in on Cena's injury. For all we know, the WWE could be making this whole thing up and put it out there to add another facet of unpredictability.
Moving beyond the WWE Title match is the highly anticipated Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk match. Punk has made a big face turn over the last few months, and to capitalize on his momentum, a victory over Brock Lesnar would be a smart move. On the flip side, Brock Lesnar is always being booked as an unstoppable beast, despite a lackluster 2-2 record since his return. Both men need a win badly, and the match should be really good. Brock, for all the knocks on his passion for pro wrestling, has a truly great understanding of in-ring psychology and is not just a Rhino in the ring, he can really work. Punk obviously, is no slouch himself in that department, so this one should be fantastic.
In the less-anticipated world title matchup, Alberto Del Rio will be taking on Christian for Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship. The buildup for this one has been mediocre at best, with most of the TV time going to other, more prominent feuds. With that being said, Christian has looked better in the ring as of late, after a pretty bad start coming off of a long absence, and even at this point in his career he still has a large fan base who support him. Del Rio, for all of his faults, has developed into one of the most reliable workers in the WWE, and between the two, a surprise match-of-the-night could very well take place. Alberto Del Rio's title reign has been pretty bad, but I'm not sure if someone like Christian, who is nearing retirement and nursing a million injuries, is the right guy to take the title off of Del Rio. I think Alberto Del Rio holds on, but there is the possibility of a Ricardo Rodriguez return which could pull things in Christian's favor. The fans love Ricardo, and after ADR beat him down several weeks ago, it is possible that Ricardo could come back and screw ADR, which would make the fans very happy.
In a new development for the WWE, two young rising stars are working together to get themselves over. Unlike the usual formula, where a young guy works with an established veteran to get over, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes are relying on each other's abilities to move up the card. I'm a big fan of both competitors, and it is great to see this feud getting a good amount of exposure on WWE TV. The match is not for Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase, so I think that Rhodes will get the victory on Sandow, setting up a match for the briefcase at the next ppv.
Bray Wyatt is being thrown right into the fire (pun intended) with his matchup against Kane. We haven't seen a fire based match in around six years, and the times have changed with the WWE. The object of the match is not to set your opponent on fire, but now it is just to pin or submit your opponent. Booking a match where the object is to set someone on fire is probably too malicious for the WWE these days, but I wouldn't doubt someone being set on fire Sunday. Kane is going to spend time away filming his new film, so setting him on fire would be a perfect way to both write him off TV, and put over the Wyatt family.
This very well might be the most Diva-centric ppv of all time, with not one but two matches on the card with somewhat actual builds. The first match is the mixed tag team bout with AJ and Big E Langston taking on Kaitlyn and Dolph Ziggler. After being one of the most over men at Money in the Bank, Ziggler's star power has spiraled right down the tube over the last month. He needs this win badly, and the WWE really likes Kaitlyn for some reason, so I think they pull this one out.
The second Diva's match gives a whole new meaning to "made for TV." Natayla will take on Brie Bella, with the Funkadactyls in her corner, and Nikki and Eva Marie in Brie's. I personally could not care less about this match, as whatever happens will only be used to further whatever storyline is going on in Total Diva's. I'm going to say Brie wins, because the WWE loves the Bella twins, but who really knows at this point?
The pre-show is going to be one of the better pre-shows that the WWE has had, with Dean Ambrose finally defending his United States Championship against Rob Van Dam. Rollins and Reigns have been noticeably absent from the Summerslam card, and with a feud with Big Show and Mark Henry looming, I think we will see Reigns and Rollins interfere in the matchup, only to have Show and Henry come out and clean house. It has been reported that the WWE is less interested in the Shield then they are in the Wyatt family, and that the Shield will be moved down the card. If that is the case, it will not be surprising to see Ambrose drop the US title. Contrary to that idea, Ambrose could also drop the title and move onto the main event, a task in which he is more than capable of performing.
One last thing I'd like to mention is that I am really not a big fan of the WWE holding Summerslam every year in Los Angeles. I understand they want to penetrate the Hollywood market, but Los Angeles to me has always been a subpar wrestling city. The crowds are always mediocre, which is sad because in a great wrestling city like New York, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, etc. Daniel Bryan vs John Cena would have one of the best reactions in recent memory. In LA, it will just be typical.
Wrestlemania 29 was not that exciting for me, but I think Summerslam might more than make up for it. If the WWE books everything right, they could have the best ppv event of the year. Hopefully, they will make the right decisions that suit them best in the short term, and the long term.