Whether or not you agree with Shawn Michaels’ opinion that WWE is failing when it comes to the follow-up to a main event, the train keeps moving, with the next stop being Payback. Roman Reigns defeated Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania and then found out he’d be defending his title at the May pay-per-view against AJ Styles the very next night. No hint of Triple H, which seemed to support HBK’s argument. But what is in store for SummerSlam?
Some recent reports suggest that WWE’s plan for their big summer angle will involve a brand split of some kind. The Authority will run one show while Shane McMahon honchos the other. But we’ve also had some light shed on at least two of the marquee matches set to headline SummerSlam in Brooklyn in August. Keep in mind that there are still four other pay-per-views (Payback, Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank, Battleground) between now and SummerSlam and August 21, so this is certainly subject to change.
In fact, WWE may already be forced to call an audible on one (if not both) of the proposed matches. Originally, Daily Wrestling News reported that Brock Lesnar was being penciled in to face either Bray Wyatt or Braun Strowman at SummerSlam. They set the wheels in motion on this angle even before January’s Royal Rumble but have yet to deliver on a payoff match. Now, with Bray Wyatt recently suffering an injury in Milan, it could force WWE to go with Strowman depending on how long Wyatt is on the shelf. Vince McMahon was already forced to pull the plug once with Strowman, deciding against a WrestleMania match with the Undertaker due to online backlash. He may be faced with a similar dilemma if Wyatt is unavailable for SummerSlam.
WWE fans are still waiting for official word on how long Wyatt will be out, but anything beyond three months might force WWE to go in another direction when it comes to Brock Lesnar. The Beast already wasn’t thrilled with the direction of his WrestleMania match with Dean Ambrose, and their less-than-memorable showing didn’t help matters. Now with the company’s second-biggest pay-per-view in SummerSlam on the horizon, booking their biggest crossover star might need to become a major priority.
Current discussions regarding SummerSlam’s main event continue to center around Roman Reigns and John Cena competing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This would obviously insinuate that Reigns is still the champion by then and deep into his fourth month at that point. The feeling within WWE is that Cena will be deserving of another title opportunity, and sliding a match that was originally discussed for WrestleMania to SummerSlam could transition easy enough.
The trouble is, two major wild cards have emerged that could also throw this match for a loop. Those wild cards are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. Styles is already booked in the main event against Roman Reigns at Payback for the title. If Styles’ popularity continues to climb, he may force WWE officials to change their plans, including the SummerSlam championship match. Not to mention, the arrival of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson throws an added dimension into the mix, where they could potentially reunite with Styles in a reformation of The Bullet Club.
Rollins could be returning at or near the Money in the Bank pay-per-view and either win the briefcase again or lay claim to the championship he never lost. In Styles and Rollins, WWE will have two superstars fans will almost certainly cheer. It might be a different story with Reigns or Cena. It will certainly be interesting to hear the feedback if the current SummerSlam plans come to fruition or if a new blueprint is drawn up before then.
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