Photo by jorgebueno CC BY-SA 2.0
Having appeared on the WWE calendar every year since 1988, it seems that nothing can stop one of the biggest wrestling events of the year from taking place. Summerslam, known as one of the “Big Four” alongside Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble, and Wrestlemania, typically features the conclusions of big rivalries that have been festering throughout the year. Who could forget the Kurt Angle v Brock Lesnar match that settled a 5-month feud between the pair back in 2003? Likewise, the event also gave us the birth of the Dudleys vs the Hardyz vs Edge & Christian TLC classic (2000), and the triumphant return of Shawn Michaels after more than 4 years in the wilderness (2002).
The WWE also has an additional reason to raise the bar this year as it has a new rival in the form of AEW. The new professional wrestling promoter may have only existed for 18 months but, with the signings of top stars Chris Jericho and “Hangman” Chris Page alongside former WWE referees and legendary commentator Jim Ross, the outfit poses a credible challenge to the WWE’s supremacy. Without a doubt, the WWE will be pulling out all the stops to put on a huge show for all those watching from the comfort of their homes.
Drew McIntyre v Randy Orton
The main event is expected to feature defending champion Drew McIntyre against Randy Orton. Orton fans looking to place a wager will be investigating all the free bets available as Randy Orton has been the standout performer this year. It is fair to say tempers have been on edge ever since Randy Orton challenged Drew to a championship match. Since then, the would-be challenger has also attacked the WWE champion during his hard-fought Extreme Rules rematch against Dolph Ziggler. So, for Drew McIntyre, it will be all about revenge, whereas Randy Orton clearly has his mindset on proving to everyone in the WWE that he is the best in the business.
That said, the defending champion has had a strong year too, fending off challenges from Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, as well as the Big Show and Bobby Lashley. He also teased Randy Orton on Raw, begging him to underestimate him because that’s what Brock Lesnar did before losing the championship at Wrestlemania in a staggeringly short 5 minutes. Acknowledging the threat of Randy Orton’s famous RKO, Drew also promised Orton that he would experience the Claymore kick, his finishing move before the night is over. A match between the two back in January ended in spectacular fashion as Randy Orton took advantage of an ambush on Drew McIntyre to use his RKO, but Drew McIntyre still had enough strength to reveal that later in the year he would kick Orton’s “head off”. We wait with bated breath.
Street Profits v Andrade & Angel Garza
Another match with a championship at stake is the tag team showdown where the Street Profits will meet Andrade and Angel Garza. Bizarrely, in this contest, the intrigue might well come from the inter-team rivalry between Andrade and Angel Garza, which has boiled over very publicly of late. Commentators have even observed that Zelina Vega, who manages the pair, is the only one stopping them from being at each other’s throats. Oddly, this same match also took place at the end of July with Montez Ford perfectly executing the frog splash from the top rope to pin Andrade. All this would normally be enough to place the Street Profits as clear favorites for the next match, but it is worth mentioning that the pair quickly disposed of the feared Viking Brothers and Ricochet & Cedric Alexander to earn their shot at Summerslam. It was one of the most confident victories we’ve ever seen from the pair as, when Angel Garza utilized the ring clipper, he shouted the word “Champions!” – a clear message to the Street Profits. This message was already well understood as the Garzas attacked the Street Profits after their victory over the Viking Brothers, leaving both on the floor after a barrage of punches and kicks. The Street Profits will enter the contest as favorites, but if Andrade and Angel can stay on the same page, they could well cause an upset and leave the arena with the belts around their waists.
Aside from these two title matches, many other battles are expected to rage. Braun Strowman, in one form or another, will almost certainly face “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in what will be the latest in their long-running feud. After Wyatt dragged Strowman into the swamp, the Universal Champion must prove that he can defeat all of the Wyatt family to truly put this rivalry to bed. To do so he must defeat the man who claimed prior to their swamp match to have “created” Braun Strowman. Whilst it is unclear precisely what “The Fiend” is referring to here, this story has had multiple inconclusive twists which have all the hallmarks of a Summerslam classic. The last time the pair fought and a clear winner emerged was back at Money in the Bank; in this instance, Strowman came out on top and Wyatt had a complete nervous breakdown whilst looking at Strowman with his mask on.
Many are predicting that Sasha Banks will defend her Women’s Championship against the wrestler who she defeated for the title, as Asuka actually lost the title in remarkable circumstances. In a break from tradition, their original showdown on Raw back in July saw the rules adjusted so that count-outs or disqualifications would result in the title changing hands. This is precisely what happened with Asuka fleeing to save her friend Kairi Sane who was being attacked backstage. Therefore, Asuka was counted out and the title went to Sasha Banks.
Lacey Evans is another female wrestler making a lot of noise at the moment. Her heated Twitter battle with AEW star Brian Cage over perfecting the springboard moonsault got lots of fans involved in the debate, so it would be almost rude for Summerslam not to feature Lacey executing the top rope finisher. Elsewhere, it is difficult to imagine a Summerslam without the Big Show. The 500 lb heavyweight recently took apart both Andrade and Angel Garza single-handedly and is in great form this year. No doubt whoever faces the largest wrestler in the WWE will be keeping their eye out for his knock-out punches and choke-slam. With millions watching online, there’s no doubt that Summerslam will raise the roof and prove that the WWE is the undisputed promoter of professional wrestling.