SummerSlam is quickly approaching as we get further away from WrestleMania 32. The second biggest show of the year is being treated with more excitement following the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. WWE got a bit lazy with SummerSlam in past years, but last year proved the show was once again important with the main event of Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker in their first match since Brock ended the streak at WrestleMania XXX. They will need another effort of big matches in the main event slots to continue the upward trend. Shows in New York always add an extra excitement level with the hot crowd and WWE’s respect for the market.
The current landscape of WWE is very fascinating. Roman Reigns, A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens and many others are making waves on television right now. We have big names returning, as it's likely that Seth Rollins, John Cena and Randy Orton will be healthy in time for SummerSlam. NXT is also calling up many new stars. Big Cass, Enzo Amore, Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin are all trying their luck right now with the dream of becoming fixtures on WWE television. Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe are good enough to get called up any time now. Triple H, Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon could also enter the fray with their storyline.
The stacked roster gives WWE many amazing options for SummerSlam. There is no excuse for the big summer show not to be stacked and challenge WrestleMania in terms of match quality and storytelling. Considering there can’t be fifteen matches on the card, this list will feature various options and feature some talent in multiple ideas. Using the current roster and realistic situations, these are fifteen possible scenarios that could be booked for a great SummerSlam 2016 show.
15 Triple H vs. Shane McMahon
We will get the obvious booking option out of the way first. Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon have been given equal rights to run Monday Night RAW. The two are currently on the same page, but we know it's only a matter of time before Stephanie reverts back to her old ways. Triple H has not appeared on WWE television since WrestleMania 32 by design and SummerSlam seems like the best time for him to return. A winner-take-all match for the rights to RAW would make a lot of money and add great importance to the second show of the year. While this is a great option for the storyline to culminate with, there’s a more exciting alternative we’ll get to soon.
14 John Cena vs. A.J. Styles
SummerSlam deserves a “dream match” or two happening for the first time. There are few first-time matches that fans would buy into as greatly as John Cena vs. A.J. Styles. Cena was the face of WWE during the same time Styles was the face of TNA. The two stars are beloved and possess a star quality that can’t be replicated. Styles coming to WWE this year means there’s plenty of attraction matches, but the biggest may be against Cena. The story doesn’t have to be anything more complicated than trying to find out who the better man is to create an exciting atmosphere with an appealing match.
13 Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
WWE has already tried to set the wheels in motion for a Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns story in the near future. The two “New Era” stars had a long feud last year but the dynamic appears to be different now with Wyatt portraying a face character before injury. Reigns is also getting more boos this year as the champion than he did in 2015 when he was out of the title picture. A feud and win over Reigns would cement Wyatt as a legitimate main event star. The crowd in Brooklyn will be vehemently against Reigns and Wyatt would be an absolute hero revelling in the love for dethroning “the guy.”
12 Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn – No DQ Match
The intricate rivalry between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn saw their first WWE match deliver impressive results at the Payback PPV. While it was very good, it felt like the two were saving something more for a bigger match down the road. Both men are currently in the Intercontinental Championship fatal-four way match at Extreme Rules and will likely be in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, meaning their next singles match is being saved for a bigger show. SummerSlam is the perfect stage for a "No DQ" match or anything that allows them to have a more violent battle and finally settle the score once and for all… until next time.
11 Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
Roman Reigns is more than likely going to be the WWE World Champion entering the SummerSlam event, so many of the options have to feature him here. One story that we have yet to see play out to its full potential is Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose. The former Shield members are portrayed as best friends on television, but there has been tension in the past when the WWE Title was in play. Ambrose completely turning on Reigns or vice versa is something that has to happen at some point and a big match at SummerSlam could be the perfect stage. Reigns would likely have to retain considering WWE doesn’t have Ambrose on that level yet, but the match could be a great one.
10 Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar
The match we were originally supposed to get at WrestleMania 32 between Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt is something WWE will have to pull the trigger on sooner rather than later. Lesnar’s actual match with Dean Ambrose disappointing makes us wonder how Wyatt would have fared. It would be interesting to see if these two wrestlers can find chemistry given their drastic differences. Wyatt badly needs a big win over an established star at a bigger event to erase many years of losing just about every noteworthy feud he has been in. Lesnar has not been cleanly defeated since ending “The Streak” and a star of the future topping him in at the Barclays Center is a potentially huge moment.
9 Seth Rollins vs. A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles coming to WWE is a big deal for diehard wrestling fans with hopes of seeing the star face new opponents, as we mentioned earlier. One of the top performers in WWE today that never got to have a match with Styles on the independent circuit is Seth Rollins. We have not seen Rollins in a ring since suffering an injury last November but the Superstar is scheduled to return at some point before SummerSlam. Rollins was arguably the top performer in WWE, while Styles was arguably the top performer in the entire wrestling world. The skill set of both men are very similar and there’s no doubt they would have a “Match of the Year” candidate at SummerSlam.
8 The New Day vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
The WWE tag team division has struggled to remain consistently entertaining over the past fifteen years. The trio of The New Day is the rare act in recent history to catch on as a legitimate draw in the tag division. New Day are good enough to carry anyone but they need help to get the rest of the division on the right path. Enzo Amore and Big Cass getting called up from NXT is the best help New Day could have asked for. We don’t know if Enzo will be back in time for SummerSlam following his recent concussion but the assumption is that he will be. Big Cass and Enzo getting a hometown ovation in New York would make them the right team to dethrone New Day after a great program between two humorous fan favorites.
7 Shinsuke Nakamura vs. John Cena
The arrival of Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE has generated huge excitement with Japan’s biggest star being welcomed by the WWE Universe. Fans already want him called up from NXT to engage in dream matches on the main roster. A recent rumor suggested Nakamura would be facing John Cena on WWE’s rare show in Hawaii during the summer. There’s a good chance the card will be changed before then, but the interest being shown in the match means people would buy into it as a big attraction. Cena vs. Nakamura would create one of the most special atmospheres in wrestling history if WWE pulled the trigger at SummerSlam as a way to debut Nakamura.
6 A.J. Styles vs. Finn Balor
We are still in the process of finding out what happens with A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, but the safe bet is the former Bullet Club brothers turning on Styles and bringing Finn Balor to the main roster as their leader. Balor has already been teasing “The Balor Club” for months and the situation would be big enough to warrant him getting the call-up following losing the NXT Championship to Samoa Joe. Styles is a more natural face and Balor was always the best Bullet Club leader. The story is perfect for a big stage like SummerSlam and there’s no scenario where these two absolute professionals won’t deliver a great match.
5 Kevin Owens vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar's use is going to be very interesting. Lesnar has already fought all of the legacy stars and top names. The talent who haven't fought Lesnar includes names like Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. Younger talent moving up the card to make a name against him likely isn’t what Brock wants to spend his time doing in WWE, but Owens may be the perfect opponent. Owens has a special ability to add intrigue to any of his storylines by making the crowd believe in what he says and does. A match between Owens and Lesnar would be off the charts and likely remind us just how great Brock is, in addition to KO being cemented as a star.
4 Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks
There’s one big women’s match WWE has yet to present and that’s Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte in a one-on-one setting. The triple threat match with Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 32 was excellent but we were all left wanting to see Banks win the title. That happened for a reason and the reason is likely a big match coming up at SummerSlam. Brooklyn saw Banks have one of the best matches in recent memory against Bayley last summer at NXT:TakeOver and it seems like the perfect place for her to win her first Women’s Championship. Banks is adored by the fan base and Charlotte is a fantastic heel. This match could be the co-main event or even the sole main event if presented with the right storytelling.
3 Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
The absolute best option for a WWE World Championship match at SummerSlam is Seth Rollins challenging Roman Reigns. Rollins never lost the title before suffering an injury weeks before his big Survivor Series planned defense against Reigns. The setting is absolutely perfect for this match to finally happen. Fans will love Rollins when he returns and WWE should present him as a hero rather than the heel character he portrayed when we last saw him on television. Reigns would get booed out of the building in Brooklyn against a broom. You may as well use that by positioning New York fan favorite Rollins as the face looking to reclaim his gold. The match, story and atmosphere would be second to none.
2 Kevin Owens cashes in MITB
The odds on favorite to win the Money in the Bank briefcase should be Kevin Owens at this point. Owens is stealing the show on a weekly basis and has the perfect heel character to make the briefcase compelling. The MITB title shot is also best served with a rising star entering the title picture for the first time rather than an established star. Owens being the best man for the honor means Brooklyn would be the best place to cash in. The crowd response to a cash-in is always the most memorable part of the MITB title shots and the roof would blow off the venue from that crowd if Owens pinned Reigns to capture the title in the most fulfilling way possible for a dastardly heel.
1 Triple H and The Balor Club vs. Shane McMahon, John Cena, Randy Orton and A.J. Styles – WAR GAMES
We have already touched on the McMahon family story setting the table for a big showdown between Triple H and Shane-O-Mac. Both characters are great but WWE would be better suited using the situation to get others over. The Balor Club of Finn Balor, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows forming should be used as a stable that works with Triple H given Balor’s close relationship with The Game. Shane would need a team of faces to combat them. John Cena and Randy Orton being part of a team at this stage in their careers hoping to better the future of WWE would make perfect sense. If The Balor Club exists, that means A.J. Styles is their enemy and could fit into the picture. Fans have wanted War Games in WWE for years and the story would be perfect for WWE to finally pull the trigger at SummerSlam to find out who runs Raw.
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