SummerSlam might be WWE’s second-biggest show of the year, but arguably, the most anticipated match in recent memory will be taking place a month prior. Despite the suspension handed down to Roman Reigns, he’ll still be participating in the ultimate triple threat with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in the main event at Battleground. Where that leaves the SummerSlam main event remains a question, though a three-way rematch could very well be in play with Reigns sitting out the entire buildup to Battleground.
WrestleMania went off the air with Reigns holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship high after defeating Triple H in Dallas. Shortly thereafter, blueprints were being constructed for the marquee matches for the August blockbuster that is SummerSlam. Early drafts had Reigns maintaining his title and putting it on the line against John Cena. Brock Lesnar would go on his customary hiatus until the time was right to strike and set up a major angle with Bray Wyatt. All of it and more is now up in the air.
A month ago, the Inquisitr reported that WWE officials decided to hold off on a Cena-Reigns SummerSlam bout, pushing it back for a potential main event showdown at WrestleMania 33. Lesnar could still very well come back (now fresh off from fighting at UFC 200) and reignite his rivalry with Wyatt, but it’s no longer the certainty it once was. For one, the WWE Draft will affect everything moving forward. And it will be interesting to see if the WWE writing team can easily transition Bray from an angle with The New Day to one with The Beast. The fact that there were plans to turn Wyatt face last month may have been the first indication they were pulling the plug on Bray-Brock already.
Though a cloud of uncertainty hovers over those potential feuds, plans do seem to be in place for two other big matches for SummerSlam weekend in Brooklyn a little less than two months from now. As you may have surmised, the verbiage there indicates that both matches aren’t necessarily for SummerSlam, but will take place that weekend in Barclays Center.
Despite a recent face-to-face teasing a monumental match between Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura, the King of Strong Style is expected to headline NXT Takeover: Back to Brooklyn against Samoa Joe, according to Cageside Seats. That would give another indication that Balor is heading to the main roster before either of those two, but they shouldn’t be too far behind and may even pull double-duty initially.
The other match penciled-in for the actual WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view will pit Charlotte against Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship. The long-rumored bout will finally come to fruition after months of frustration. Injuries to both Sasha and other female superstars kept her off television, but the plan all along was for the two to clash in August, with Sasha finally being the one to take the title from Charlotte. The plan appears as if WWE will heavily push this match, and feature it as one of the top matches on the card.
As noted, the WWE Draft will figure heavily into how all this plays out. Another potential wrinkle unearthed by the Inquisitr on Thursday is the idea that the WWE Women’s Division will be represented on both RAW and Smackdown with the possibility of adding a second title, or the champ appearing on both brands. A Charlotte-Sasha championship match at SummerSlam isn’t necessarily affected by that report, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.
Battleground goes down 5 days, after the WWE Draft takes place live on Smackdown‘s first Tuesday night airing. Hardly enough time to see the extension laid out. So, SummerSlam becomes the first real pay-per-view where fans have had a chance to let the brand split sink in. Both shows will have their top three or four programs carve out the SummerSlam card, and the first brand-exclusive event won’t come until the following month.
[Image via WWE]