WWE wrestling fans have known for some weeks that the 2018 SummerSlam will feature Brock Lesnar’s first defense of his Universal Championship belt. With Lesnar virtually invisible since winning the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 33, the SummerSlam build up has been all about who he will face at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on August 20. Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns were always tipped to challenge “The Beast Incarnate” at SummerSlam, but Samoa Joe has also earned a title shot, since making his main roster debut earlier in the year.
Despite a host of contests to settle the No. 1 contender for the Universal Championship title, the WWE network eventually decided that Lesnar would face Strowman, Reigns, and Samoa Joe in a “fatal four-way” contest to decide the destination of the Universal Championship belt. It had seemed likely that Lesnar would lose his title, largely because Lesnar has been teasing a return to UFC for a match up with fellow drugs cheat Jon Jones.
According to WrestleZone, Lesnar is under contract to appear at the 2018 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 34, and they claim that the WWE won’t allow Lesnar to compete in UFC whilst he is under contract to the WWE. Lesnar’s last foray to UFC caused the WWE network problems after Lesnar picked up a doping ban after failing USADA drug tests. Lesnar’s ban expires during December 2017, but if WrestleZone is correct then the UFC fight with Jones may not happen until the summer of 2018.
In theory, that would mean that Lesnar could fight off the challenge of Samoa Joe, Strowman, and Reigns, and retain the Universal Championship.
Lesnar’s absence from Monday Night Raw and WWE PPV events has created something of an issue for the network. How do you build a backstory for a wrestler who is not competing?
The WWE’s answer has been to make the build up to SummerSlam all about Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, and with Samoa Joe adding sauce to the dish, it looks like the WWE universe has a tasty treat to look forward to at SummerSlam 2018.
Roman Reigns Vs. Braun Strowman Sets ‘Monday Night Raw’ Alight, With Help From Samoa Joe
Few would claim that Roman Reigns is the WWE’s most popular superstar, but his 2017 feud with Braun Strowman has been pure wrestling gold. We have seen Strowman overturn an ambulance with Reigns inside. Reigns then rammed into an ambulance with Strowman inside and their matches have been brutal encounters. Last night’s Monday Night Raw saw the pair face off again in a match the official WWE website says, saw “the two superstars inflicted an unimaginable amount of damage on one another.”
As reported by the Philadelphia Enquirer, Reigns seemed to have the match won when Samoa Joe intervened. After battering each other with steps, chairs, and ringside furniture, Reigns landed a spear, and it appeared Strowman would be counted out. The referee stopped the count after Samoa Joe emerged from the crowd to put Reigns to sleep with a Coquina clutch. When the count was restarted, Strowman recovered first to win the “last man standing” contest.
Brock Lesnar did make an appearance on Monday Night Raw, he appeared on Miz TV and dished out some punishment to the “Miztourage,” but the real action was between Reigns, Strowman, and Samoa Joe. The feud between Reigns and Strowman appears to have plenty of life left in it, and you can be sure that Samoa Joe has a huge part to play.
It would take a brave pundit to predict the outcome of SummerSlam 2018’s fatal four-way clash. If Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns was the appetizer, then the Universal Championship match at SummerSlam is shaping up to be a real treat for the WWE universe.
[Featured Image by WWE]