Eight Matches Official for WWE SummerSlam

Several new matches were added to the SummerSlam card over the last few days, bringing the match count for WWE’s second-biggest show of the year to eight. Here’s the current lineup, which shakes out almost exactly as I expected.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar v. John Cena

Roman Reigns v. Randy Orton

Brie Bella v. Stephanie McMahon

Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt

Flag Match
Jack Swagger v. Rusev

Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins
(Stipulation to be announced)

Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee v. Paige

Intercontinental Championship Match
Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz

Re-evaluating the Potential SummerSlam Card: Orton v. Reigns, Brie v. Steph, AJ v. Paige

A1K_jz2KuNL._SL1500_Yesterday I wrote about the SummerSlam card starting to take shape and following Monday’s episode of Raw the picture is becoming even more clear. With that sharpening view comes an addendum to the potential card, with a Brie Bella v. Stephanie McMahon match looking obvious and Roman Reigns liking battling Randy Orton instead of Triple H. Below is my potential SummerSlam card, version two.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar v. John Cena


WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz

This match isn’t as obvious now that the two squared off on Raw, but with Dolph winning clean it sets up a title match down the road.

Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose

Not as sure about the cage match stipulation today but it seems like these two need some kind of stip to settle the score.

Randy Orton v. Roman Reigns

Originally I predicted Triple H v. Reigns but after Reigns attacked Orton when Triple H was about to name him as John Cena’s SummerSlam challenger, we’re looking at Orton v. Reigns.

Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt

Divas Championship Match
Paige v. AJ Lee

After Paige attacked AJ and turned heel, this feud has new life.

Stephanie McMahon v. Brie Bella

After Stephanie slapped Brie and was subsequently arrested, this match is all but a lock. We’ll probably get the added stipulation of Brie being re-hired if she wins.

Brock Lesnar v. John Cena WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match Official for SummerSlam

“Plan C” was revealed to be Brock Lesnar, who will challenge John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, as has been rumored. Randy Orton was seemingly Triple H’s first choice but Roman Reigns wasn’t having it, brawling with the Viper while Triple H stood in the ring befuddled. That brought out Paul Heyman, who introduced “Plan C,” leading Lesnar to the ring where both men shook hands with the COO, sealing the deal.

Heyman then cut one of the best promos we’ve seen in a long time, much of which is in the above video.

WWE Announces Star-Studded SummerSlam Panel Series

WWE has announced the roster of superstars and legends that will be appearing at its SummerSlam Panel series this year in Los Angeles. The series will feature four panels including a roundtable-type interview and Q&A session. There is an additional VIP experience for those ticker holders, which includes a photo on-stage with the panel guests. Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin are among the featured guests.

The dates and panels are below, via WWE.com:

SummerSlam Panel Dates & Times
Friday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan

Saturday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
“WWE 2K15” Roster Reveal with John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Sheamus, Cesaro and Roman Reigns*
VIP Ticket holders will receive their photo opportunity with Roman Reigns for this SummerSlam Panel

Saturday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
D-Generation X (WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels & Triple H)

Sunday, Aug. 17, 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
*VIP Talent

Tickets start at $50 for balcony seating, with VIP floor tickets going for $200.

Potential SummerSlam Card Already Taking Shape

A1K_jz2KuNL._SL1500_We’re 27 days from SummerSlam, WWE’s second-biggest show of the year, and coincidentally right around the time that a lot of WWE Network subscriptions are coming to an end. That would lead a wise wrestling fan to think that WWE will be giving its all to make this show something special. After last night’s Battleground and thanks to wrestling “newz” sites, the card is already starting to take shape. Below are my early predictions for what the SummerSlam card could look like.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar v. John Cena

This has been rumored for a while following the leak of the SummerSlam poster which showed these two on the marquee. It also makes sense since Paul Heyman tweeted last night that he was headed to pick up “Plan C.”

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz

Since The Miz won the battle royal to become Intercontinental Champion by hiding outside the ring for most of the match then dumping an unsuspecting Dolph over the top rope, it makes sense to have these two square off next month.

Steel Cage Match
Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose

Hat tip to Chris Miles for this one. Rollins v. Ambrose has to happen at some point and his suggestion that it be in a steel cage makes too much sense.

Triple H v. Roman Reigns

This one has also been rumored for a while. They would need to hurry to set this up in storyline, but WWE has been known to squeeze a quick feud out when it needs to.

Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt

Jericho got the surprising win over Wyatt last night and it doesn’t make sense to end the feud so quickly.

Randy Orton v. Kane

These two were supposed to be allies heading into the Fatal 4-Way match last night but that, of course, didn’t happen. I’m less confident about this happening since it would depend on Triple H wrestling Roman Reigns. If that match doesn’t happen, Orton v. Reigns would be the logical next option.

Ringside Rewind: Triple H v. The Rock, Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match, SummerSlam ’98

Instead of watching another going-through-the-motions episode of Raw, I sifted through the DVD collection and chose SummerSlam 1998 for my viewing pleasure. Emanating from Madison Square Garden, the card was highlighted by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defending the WWF Championship against The Undertaker, Jeff Jarrett v. X-Pac in a Hair v. Hair match, The New Age Outlaws v. Mankind in a No DQ Handicap match for the Tag Team titles, Ken Shamrock v. Owen Hart in a Lion’s Den match, and Triple H challenging The Rock for the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match.

This was a time when then-WWF really cared about the undercard, which is what made the entire product so much stronger. When I long for the days of the Attitude Era, it’s not the “attitude” or the scantily clad women that I miss; it’s the quality of the roster. The New Age Outlaws were more over then than Alberto Del Rio could even dream of being, for example. WWF put time into creating valuable and compelling storylines for everyone from the bottom of the card to the top, which gave you more of a reason to tune in than, “Hey, this one match might be good.”

But I digress.

The Rock and Triple H were feuding over the Intercontinental Title in 1998 as well as jostling to see who would be the next man up to the main event scene, which made their matches and promos against each other great.

WWE brass discuss “disappointing” SummerSlam, future TV deals on conference call

vkmVince McMahon and other WWE senior management hosted a conference call earlier today discussing the company’s third quarter report. ProWrestling.net has all the highlights of the call but some notable things stuck out to me.

McMahon said he was disappointed with the SummerSlam buyrate and video game sales, noting that people didn’t “buy the attraction” of the SummerSlam pay-per-view. This touches on a larger point; WWE doesn’t really try to differentiate their PPVs like in the past. Aside from the aesthetics being the same each month, there are few events which have a signature element. Royal Rumble has the Rumble match, Money in the Bank has the two ladder matches and WrestleMania is the big show. Hell in a Cell has lost a lot of its appeal thanks to the matches being basically regular matches in a cage and events like TLC and Extreme Rules have lost their luster thanks to WWE making their product more family friendly.

Also discussed were WWE’s television contracts. The company’s US and UK deals are coming up. CFO George Barrios said there is an exclusive negotiating window with current partners which expires on January 1 and then WWE can shop it to other bidders, with the goal of having everything resolved by April 2014. Judging from the Forbes SportsMoney discussion I posted yesterday about how valuable WWE is to NBC Universal, I can’t see them going anywhere else. A lot will depend on the future of the WWE Network, though.

WWE SummerSlam 2013 review

SS13_Photo_292WWE delivered a really strong pay-per-view, perhaps the company’s best effort this year, in SummerSlam. The newsworthy item is Randy Orton cashing in, with the assistance of Triple H, and defeating Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship after the bearded one had just won the belt from John Cena. Dean Ambrose and Alberto Del Rio both retained their championships, and Brock Lesnar defeated CM Punk in a great, hard-hitting contest.

Some quick thoughts on the card:

• Randy Orton cash-in not withstanding, Daniel Bryan and John Cena put on an excellent main event WWE Championship match. We all know Cena can put on a great match when he’s in the ring with the right guy, but let’s not discredit Cena either. He was on top of his game last night.

Daniel Bryan was also at another level. Even though he is usually the smaller man in the ring, Bryan’s offense is so believable because of the aggression he portrays. That was the case again last night. The crowd was in a frenzy and thoroughly behind Bryan, which made the Orton/Triple H heel turn even more bittersweet.

• Speaking of believable offense, no one looks the part more than Brock Lesnar. His match with CM Punk was full of stiff action, chair shots and excellent storytelling. It was expected that Lesnar would go over and we’ll likely get some continuation to this program. I’d give this match the nod for Match of the Night, since it went about 30 minutes and the near-falls were tremendous.

• Alberto Del Rio and Christian put on a really good match and Del Rio winning makes sense since Christian almost came out of nowhere to challenge him. Del Rio’s post-match program about being the role model the Latino people need had me thinking Rey Mysterio would run-in, but maybe we’ll get that tonight on Raw. I’m curious to see who Del Rio will work a program with next, especially after that promo.

• The opening Ring of Fire match was fine. It would have been unfair to expect a five star wrestling exhibition out of Bray Wyatt and Kane, but the story behind it makes a lot of sense and the post-match attack on Kane fits right in. The Wyatt Family continues to look strong and, as with Del Rio, I’m interested to see where this takes them.

• Dean Ambrose and Rob Van Dam were having a very entertaining match, then The Shield, Mark Henry and Big Show showed up. It didn’t really hurt the match, but it felt like we were getting set up for a tag team match later in the show, which never happened. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something come from this on tonight’s Raw.

• As for my predictions, I was correct with seven of nine picks. I had Ambrose retaining the title, but not by disqualification. My other incorrect pick was Bryan to defeat a cashing-in Orton, which obviously was not the case.

Like it or not, WWE has the wrestling world buzzing after SummerSlam ending

SS13_Photo_294Much of the talk coming out of SummerSlam will focus on Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship win and the subsequent Randy Orton cash-in to defeat Bryan, with the help of Triple H. While it is definitely heart wrenching to have the guy everyone was behind have the rug pulled out from under him, the ends justify the means.

Randy Orton is now a heel again. A mega heel. Daniel Bryan loses nothing from this and, in fact, probably gains something. He will be an even more fiery version of what we saw in the last few weeks and his “man vs. the WWE machine” feud is elevated even higher. Now it’s Bryan v. Orton, Triple H and the McMahons. We also can’t forget that Bryan pinned John Cena, defeating him cleanly, to win the WWE Championship.

I see why people are upset. I see why people hate it. But the truly great wrestling angles leave us talking, elicit emotion out of us, and have us itching to find out what’s next.

That’s what happened at SummerSlam.

Ringside Rewind: Brock Lesnar v. Kurt Angle, WWE Championship Match, SummerSlam 2003

Ten years ago at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar challenged Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship in a rematch of their encounter at WrestleMania XIX. Lesnar had defeated Angle to win the title at ‘Mania, then lost the title in a triple threat match involving Kurt Angle and Big Show at July 2003’s Vengeance pay-per-view.