The 2016 edition of SummeSlam was a rather entertaining and bizarre one. On paper, it could have been the strongest card in 2016, so far. Many firsts, lasts, and memories were made in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.
John Cena vs AJ Styles dazzled, living up to its dream match expectations. Sasha Banks and Charlotte flourished during their championship bout, despite the botches that occurred. Dolph Ziggler proved he’s a main event caliber guy, giving the champ a run for his money, but Dean Ambrose proved he’s the man to beat.
And who can’t forget that rather intriguing and, for some, disturbing ending to close the show where we saw The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, burst open and demolish a bloody Randy Orton.
The match that really defined SummerSlam and two men’s careers was the bout between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor for WWE Universal Championship. The two would put on one for the ages in a fast paced match up, that would ultimately see The Demon King dethroning The Architect. A truly incredible moment for Balor, with his family ringside to enjoy this career defining moment with him.
Sadly, Balor would suffer an injury during the match that would put him on the shelf for six months, resulting in him relinquishing the title last night on Raw. With that said, the WWE plans to crown a new WWE Universal Champion next week on Raw in a Fatal-4-Way matchup featuring Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Cass and Kevin Owens.
Here’s the likely hood each man has at capturing the gold.
4. Big Cass
Weighing in at 276 pounds and standing at 7 foot tall (and you can’t teach that), Big Cass, has the opportunity of a lifetime to not only capture his first title on the main roster, but the richest prize on Monday Night Raw, the WWE Universal Championship. Adding a star like Cass to the mix is refreshing and gives the fans a chance to see what he is really made of.
However, the likelihood of seeing the red strap around his waist at the end of next week’s Raw doesn’t seem likely. Big Cass doesn’t need to win the Universal Championship yet, as it is already huge that he is getting a shot at one of the richest prizes in the business. If anything, the experience of fighting for the Universal Championship will simply be enough to build his main event credibility and position him as a potential main event star. There is a time and place for everything, but not now.
3. Kevin Owens
I think it’s fair to say that Kevin Owens has been ready to be a World Champion for a long time now. Since his debut on the main roster last year, Owens has put on some incredible matches with the likes of John Cena, Sami Zayn and many more. His mic skills are among the best in business and his wrestling IQ is up there as well. Owens, like many others that have fought on the independent scene, created a large fan base prior to his time in WWE, as well as gaining legions of new fans during his time in NXT, which is why he gets such a strong reaction from the louder portion of the audience.
Although he has everything it takes to be the next big thing, it’s unlikely that he will walk out of Monday night Raw next week as the new Universal Champion. Owens hasn’t had a proper push that would propel him into being a mega star for the company. Regardless of the reaction he gets, a star like Owens deserves to have his own build up before capturing the title, which is why it’s unlikely for him to walk out next week as Raw’s newest champ.
2. Roman Reigns
The three-time World Champion has been pushed to the moon and back over the last two years, but he’s seen that push slowly fall since his suspension back in July. Upon his return, he suffered a clean loss to Seth Rollins at Money In The Bank and Dean Ambrose at Battleground. This led to speculation that the leader of The Roman Empire has officially stepped out of the title picture.
As of late, he’s been involved in a feud with The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, where we were supposed to see a match between the two for the United States Championship at SummerSlam. However, Rusev and Reigns came to blows before the match started, thus canceling the match.
With Rusev losing his qualifying match to Cass and Roman defeating Chris Jericho to qualify, we now see the possibility that Reigns could find himself as a world champion once again. However, it’s doubtful that business between the two is finished, so expect to see Rusev cost Reigns his chance at the strap.
1. Seth Rollins
When all four men battle in next week’s Fatal-4-Way match for the WWE Universal Championship, the “man” with the best chance of walking out with the title should be Seth Rollins. An ACL/MCL tear last November forced Rollins to relinquish the WWE Heavyweight Championship, thus ending his six-month reign. Since his return in June, he’s been WWE’s hottest Superstar and has proven that no injury could hold him back from getting back to where he left off.
Rollins possesses all the attributes to be a successful champion and has what it takes to carry the company on his back. It was heartbreaking to hear that Finn Balor would have to relinquish the title only a day after he captured it, but thankfully for wrestling fans, having a superstar like Seth Rollins to take over as champ is just as sweet.
Chances of walking out champion: Very Likely
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