The wait for the biggest party of the summer, SummerSlam, is finally over. Depending on your personal views, SummerSlam is either the second or third-biggest pay-per-view of WWE’s calendar year, behind only WrestleMania, and arguably on par with the Royal Rumble. In this new age of the WWE Network, the company is certainly giving Sunday’s SummerSlam the red carpet treatment.
SummerSlam will feature over six hours of programming, packed with a two-hour kickoff show and a four-hour main card, the same amount of coverage afforded to WrestleMania back in April. And consider the fact that NXT put on their big Takeover special Saturday night and RAW and Smackdown Live will boast five more hours of tv following SummerSlam, it’s either a wrestling fan’s dream or wrestling overload.
Over the course of SummerSlam‘s six-plus hours, the WWE will feature a record-breaking 13 matches on the card. This will break the event’s previous record of 11, set on four previous occasions. We do know now that three of the matches will be on the kickoff show and the remaining ten on the main card. Those pre-show matches include a 12-man tag team match of American Alpha, Hype Bros and The Usos vs. Breezango, The Vaudevillains and The Ascension, Cesaro against Sheamus in the first of their best-of-seven series and a swiftly put together tag match between Sami Zayn and Neville taking on The Dudley Boyz.
While the kickoff matches have been announced, nothing official has come from the WWE in regards to the SummerSlam main event. Four matches could certainly state their claim to the coveted show-closing spot, but Ringside News is reporting that one has separated itself. While speaking with the media on Friday night, Randy Orton told reporters that he was under the impression that his match with Brock Lesnar will headline the 29th annual SummerSlam event.
John Cena and AJ Styles had an argument, but because there’s no gold on the line and it’s a rematch, the WWE was able to take their match out of contention. The two others might have made a case with Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler fighting over the coveted, and most recognizable title in the company, while Seth Rollins and Finn Balor battle for the new WWE Universal Championship which certainly adds an extra level of intrigue.
The fact that Orton and Lesnar are certified main-eventers and first-ballot Hall-of-Famers helps their cause, plus it will be the first cross-promotional match since the latest WWE brand extension draft. Dolph Ziggler has only been back in the main event picture for the last month, after spending the previous three years mired in mid-card mediocrity. And to the hardcore fan, Finn Balor has been deserved of his spot for a while, but the more mainstream casual fan has only gotten four weeks to get to know him, and one to discover his Demon King alter ego.
Keep in mind, the plan to close out SummerSlam with The Viper and The Beast was in place Friday evening, so things could certainly have changed in the interim, but there are plenty of other outside factors that could come into play which would make this marquee showdown even bigger than it already is.
The two names to keep an eye on during the Lesnar/Orton bout are Goldberg and Bray Wyatt. We’ve heard plenty of rumors about Goldberg returning to the WWE over the course of 2016, and those were only enhanced when he agreed to a contract with 2K Sports to appear in the WWE 2K17 video game. They’ve gained even more steam recently with the news that he is actually in New York as part of this SummerSlam weekend, appearing at the same party as Lesnar and telling WWE officials that if he were to return for a match, he’d want it to come against The Beast Incarnate.
As for Wyatt, it’s expected that despite not being advertised for SummerSlam, he’s scheduled to begin a feud with Orton in the aftermath. Whether that kicks off Sunday night in the main event, or two days later, remains to be seen, but a subtle seed was planted this past Tuesday when they briefly crossed paths on Smackdown.
For those hoping to see Goldberg compete in a WWE ring soon, don’t get your hopes up. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to wrestle at WrestleMania if he were able to agree to a deal, but recent knee surgery will likely keep any physicality to a minimum over the next few months. A Goldberg appearance at the end of the SummerSlam main event between Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar has not been ruled out, but nothing is set in stone as of yet.
[Image via WWE]