SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ok, don’t get me wrong. WrestleMania was big. Huge even. This year’s Summerslam is even bigger.
I know in the land of WWE corporate speak WrestleMania is the showcase of the immortals and typically the biggest show on WWE’s calendar each year, blah blah blah, but this year’s summer event has more pizazz and a feeling of special to it than previous shows with the same moniker.
Summerslam 2021 is a huge event. Big show, a major stage, an enormous crowd, premiere marquee stars, and unique matchups. That’s a lot of checked boxes.
John Cena leads the intrigue. His return to the company has given Smackdown a boost and audiences around the country have taken a liking to him in a way that nobody could see coming. Cena is facing Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship in the main event. Vince McMahon is playing one of the best cards in his deck outside of The Rock vs. Roman Reigns in an attempt to make the event as impactful as possible.
Plus, the Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks rematch is on tap, RK-Bro is alive, well, and wrestling for the tag titles, and Edge goes one on one with Seth Rollins in a first-ever dream match that’s been built effectively. The wrestling world is chalk full of news making moments this weekend, but again, that’s a card that checks a lot of boxes.
Look, like most WWE PPV events, the build to some of the show’s matches has made me want to pull clumps of my hair out and scream into a pillow. Surface level, though, it should be a good night at the office for WWE.
Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?
Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg – WWE Championship
It is what it is, folks. Right? I mean what can you say about this one? Goldberg’s back for a thick check, Lashley will get a win that’s framed as important, but really isn’t, and Monday night things will be back to square one concerning the WWE Championship.
Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki A.S.H – WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair needs the WWE Raw Women’s Championship and really, the WWE Raw Women’s Championship needs Charlotte Flair. I don’t like saying that out loud given how many times Flair has had that belt, but things aren’t clicking with Nikki. They can in the future, but that time isn’t now and isn’t at Summerslam. The character she’s playing needs to go on a journey and the audience needs to live that journey with her. Maybe it will take, maybe it won’t, but without it, she sticks out like sore thumb around Flair and the championship. Charlotte can hold the belt and give it some roots again, so it matters when a new batch of talent comes over later this year in the draft.
Seth Rollins vs. Edge
The simplicity of this feud is what has made it successful to this point. This lacks bells and whistles, but features big personalities, stars, a story, and history. WWE, Rollins, and Edge have leaned into all the right angles on this and the result is a hot, first-time ever match. After a slew of losses, Edge very much needs this victory and will get it. The Extreme Rules PPV looming next screams that this won’t be the only battle between these two.
RK-Bro vs. A.J. Styles & Omos – WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
This should be the opening match on the show. On Raw, it’s the hottest feud with the hottest act in RK-Bro and people genuinely want to see the team in action. Styles and Omos will be the perfect foil for Riddle and Orton to overcome and put a cherry on top of their relationship with a title win.
Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
Summerslam is a smart setting for this rematch. Look, the story here really writes itself. Their WrestleMania match has plenty of notoriety and running it back here is an easy narrative for both Belair and Banks to play into. Since returning, Banks being defined as a heel has made the story easy to follow and added some depth. Belair has taken big strides in terms of her presence and feels comfortable in her role in the top spot. The finish? It’s all about Belair. She’s the project and though a loss sets up the rubber match, losing the belt this quickly could do some unnecessary damage to her momentum.
Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal
My goodness. This is the match for Drew McIntyre, the flag bearer of the pandemic era? Ok, take out all of the pandemic stuff and you still have the most over babyface on Raw in a less than mid-card level match on what amounts to the biggest show of the year for WWE. McIntyre will win and win clean, but there is no excuse for this type of misstep. Period.
Damian Priest vs. Sheamus – WWE United States Championship
Like Bobby Lashley in 2020, Damian Priest is one of the most secretly protected stars on Raw in 2021. With that momentum, this match with Sheamus is a logical step and one that has been built smoothly. Look for Priest to keep the momentum on track and walk out of Summerslam with the title. I can imagine the Vegas celebration vignettes now.
Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie
Yawn. What is the appeal here? Who are we supposed to cheer? Bliss puts her best foot forward on this stuff, but it just isn’t clicking and the acting chops of Eva Marie give it the perception of a bad acted high school student production instead of well thought out storytelling.
The Usos vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Will Dominik turn heel on his Dad or not? That is the question. It’s safe to expect a really good match out of these teams with loads of action and probably some drama. Smackdown is still the Roman Reigns show and his group needs the gold, so the Usos retain.
Roman Reigns vs. John Cena – WWE Universal Championship
Well, in the end, Roman Reigns goes over clean. That’s how this has to go, right? WWE got to this match in quite possibly the most convoluted way possible thanks to the contract musical chairs, but they’re there. The promo battle between both guys has been entertaining and out of touch at times. The match still feels massive, though. And it is. The top guy in the company needs to win said massive match and right now that’s Roman Reigns. Plus, big business for Reigns still looms with The Rock. Keeping him strong and without a loss gives that match more and more steam. Another big show another night with Reigns reigning supreme.