The jam-packed WWE train keeps rolling right along with five more hours of main-roster programming this week after a weekend that featured the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II extravaganza and the SummerSlam mega-show that exceeded six hours on Sunday. The NXT special will be remembered for any number of things, including Bobby Roode’s arrival, Hideo Itami’s attack, Bayley’s presumed farewell, and Shinsuke Nakamura beating Samoa Joe to become the new NXT Champion.
The following night’s options may not be as bountiful, but Brock Lesnar’s bloody beatdown, Finn Balor’s historic victory, and the AJ Styles/John Cena clash surely top the list. But it’s the fallout from SummerSlam that may force the WWE’s hand in more ways than one.
Cena and Lesnar appear headed for hiatuses and may not be available until later this fall or the beginning of 2017. The company’s decision to take the WWE Women’s Championship off Sasha Banks in favor of Charlotte was apparently made last week in a move to give Sasha some time off to rest her nagging injuries. And on perhaps the biggest night of Finn Balor’s professional wrestling career, the Demon King was injured en route to becoming the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.
We’re still monitoring the Balor injury situation, but there are those within WWE that fear that surgery may be required to his right arm. So with all these question marks, what is the WWE planning to do to help weather the storm? For one, Brock was always going back home after SummerSlam, with the thought that Randy Orton would move on to a program with Bray Wyatt. How the events of last night affected any of those plans remains to be seen, but the company has been prepared for Lesnar’s departure.
Same goes for Cena, who will be taking some time off to film the second season of American Grit on FOX. After Cena’s loss to AJ Styles, he left his “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” armband in the ring as a symbolic gesture, but that symbolism remains open to interpretation. So the WWE feels like they’re covered for the most part with them, but losing Sasha Banks and Finn Balor for any extended period was not something they were anticipating, until last week for Sasha and Sunday night for Balor.
As noted, Samoa Joe relinquished the NXT Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura Saturday night and, like much of the NXT roster, was backstage at SummerSlam the following night. According to Daily Wrestling News, there were rumors floating around that Joe could have made his main-roster debut during the pay-per-view, but obviously that never materialized. As a matter of fact, with the exception of Jon Stewart (and subsequently Big E), there was no outside interference on the entire card, despite rampant speculation surrounding the likes of Joe, Goldberg and Bray Wyatt.
To no one’s surprise, Joe and Bayley remain on the WWE’s short-list of potential NXT superstars to be called up to the main roster next. They were once penciled-in for a fall promotion, but that process may have been sped up in light of recent events. Word is now that both Joe and Bayley could make their call-ups official this week. It’s not quite known what show Bayley will go to, but expectations are that Joe will head to SmackdownLive.
Bayley had also been slotted for the blue brand thanks to a WWE Women’s division that was stocked with inexperience, but Sasha’s injury certainly could change that. With The Boss back on the shelf and Paige’s suspension, there doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut contender for Charlotte, a slot Bayley could certainly slide in without hesitation. Also, Nikki Bella’s return helps Smackdown with their depth issues.
There were those in the WWE Universe who were worried that Samoa Joe was also injured during his championship match, but his dislocated jaw is part of a storyline. Whether that plays out when he gets called up remains to be seen, but if they were to continue down that path, that might indicate that his promotion will be delayed.
[Image via WWE]