This Sunday’s SummerSlam is shaping up to be the biggest in the history of the WWE. The advent of the WWE Network has enabled the company to push the envelope in terms of timing out a certain event. They are no longer constrained by pay-per-view restrictions, and thus, a two-hour kickoff show followed by four-plus hours of competition will result in Sunday night SummerSlam coverage that will exceed six hours.
This past April’s WrestleMania is the only other event to navigate those type of waters, and you get the feeling that the big four shows (‘Mania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series) will all operate this way from now on. At some point, though, you begin to wonder whether durability becomes an issue for the crews, what with major shows happening on four straight days beginning this Saturday.
In any event, as of press time, WWE is advertising 11 matches for SummerSlam, none of which have been announced as either kickoff show matches or the main event match that closes the night. Eleven matches (kickoff show included) would tie the record for the most amount of matches at any SummerSlam in history. There were also 11 bouts in 1990, 92, 93, and 98, though in 90, 92, and 93, there was at least one dark match before the pay-per-view went on the air. The dark match could be considered today’s version of the kickoff show, while 1998 relegated one of their matches to the now-defunct Sunday Night Heat.
Four other SummerSlams boasted a 10-card match, including the first-ever event in Madison Square Garden and last year’s show that saw the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar headline. As mentioned, WWE is currently advertising 11 matches, but Ringside News is reporting that they will likely add yet another to the show.
With a SummerSlam card already stacked with Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the WWE Universal Championship, Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE World Championship, John Cena vs. AJ Styles, Roman Reigns vs. Rusev for the United States Championship, The Miz vs. Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship, The New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson for the Tag Team Titles, Enzo & Cass vs. Jeri-KO, Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship, Cesaro vs. Sheamus, and a multi-women tag match, the leading candidates to get added to SummerSlam are Darren Young and Titus O’Neil.
It’s expected that a Young and O’Neil match would be added to the SummerSlam kickoff show, with the thought being that the pre-show would feature two to three matches before SummerSlam officially kicks off at 7 p.m. Eastern. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that in light of Eva Marie’s suspension, the multi-women match she was scheduled for is now in jeopardy, though it’s still being advertised under uncertainty on WWE’s official SummerSlam preview page.
If the women’s match is dropped, there is also the possibility that the WWE could add Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto to SummerSlam, though the hope was to hold that off until the first SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view, Backlash, on September 11. The same likely goes for any blue-branded tag team match that would almost certainly include American Alpha.
It’s hard to imagine that with the potential of having 12 matches in over six hours of programming, neither Sami Zayn or Bray Wyatt are booked to compete. We speculated last week that Zayn had been left off due to possible backstage heat, but seeds are seemingly being planted as far as Wyatt is concerned.
We’ve noted in the past that in the aftermath of SummerSlam, the two big feuds on SmackDown will be Ambrose squaring off with Styles, and Orton locking horns with the Eater of Worlds. This past week’s SmackDown Live teased its viewers with a little glimpse when Wyatt (and Erick Rowan) arrived in the ring just as Orton was leaving. They exchanged nothing more than a stare-down, but it certainly clued fans in on what’s to come.
[Image via WWE]