Tonight is the "biggest event of the summer." World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is hitting us full force with its SummerSlam event tonight (Sun., Aug. 19, 2012) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, at 8 p.m. ET, live on pay-per-view (PPV).
SummerSlam has historically been one of the WWE's big four - along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series. There is something different about SummerSlam, though. The fall is all about battling the NFL and major networks for eyeballs. The winter and spring are all about the lead up to WrestleMania.
The summer months, on the other hand, are a time for a new direction. Storylines that don't usually get a chance to make the air are allowed to shine. It's not a coincidence that CM Punk's infamous pipe bomb, Nexus' invasion, or ECW's rebirth occurred during the summer. It's also the time of year when Vince McMahon's limo blew up with him inside (they can't all be winners).
This summer we've seen the return of Brock Lesnar, we've witnessed Punk, WWE Champion for over nine months, finally demand the respect he deserves. We've also been a spectator to Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee stealing the show week in and week out and we were a part of Raw 1000, a historical moment in professional wrestling history. While there have been plenty of hits and misses over the past few months, it sure has been a fun ride.
So tonight marks the unofficial end of summer as the days are getting shorter and shorter, school is starting for the younger audience and football season is finally starting. This means the WWE will go back to tried and true storylines in order to retain as much of its audience as it can. We get to start looking forward to The Rock returning at the Royal Rumble in late January, and the run up to WrestleMania 29 in early April.
Tonight though, we shall have one last party - an evening of levity and enjoyment. So let's kick back and enjoy the night. Maybe we as fans won't get everything we ask for tonight, but there's plenty for everyone to enjoy, so let's see if we can end the summer with a big bang.
The complete card after the jump.
With that out of the way, let's go bottoms up.
Santino! Cesaro! Pre Show! United States Championship!
I like Santino Marella. I bet you like Santino Marella. The WWE universe loves Santino Marella. And why wouldn't they? He's a funny dude with a devastatingly quick finisher and a great run with the United States Championship. However, it's time for a new era, a more European era - an era of Antonio Cesaro.
Cesaro has been completely dominating in his short time with the WWE. The guy is just a freak of nature, tons of power without sacrificing an ounce of quickness. It is time for the United States Championship to be in the hands of a real champion, and not in the hands of a real chump. Expect a quick 5-8 minute match that ends with the strap changing hands.
Kofi! Truth! Primetime Players! Tag Team Championship!
The tag team division has been an absolute mess of late, but at least a mess is better than completely non-existent. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth have had the Tag Team Championship for two and a half months, yet they haven't really done anything with them. The Primetime Players have gotten some traction as a heel team, but A.W'.s verbal missteps may cause Titus O'Neil and Darren Young to pay a price for their former manager. The talent is certainly there for the division to be revived. It's just a matter of the WWE being committed to the story. This is actually the second time the Primetime Players have been given a title shot. If they lose again, everything will remain at the status quo. This is not a good thing. A win, though, could change the entire equation.
The Miz! Mysterio! Intercontinental Championship!
Similar to the United States and Tag Team Championships, the Intercontinental Championship has seen better days. However, its stock has been rising recently. Cody Rhodes ‘re-debuted' the white leather on the strap in an attempt to revoke the title's old glory Christian's reign was short but he held it with the same respect as the World Heavyweight Championship. Now The Miz has it around his waist, and he has really made it feel like the title means something to him. It would be a shame if they hotshot the title to Rey Mysterio, who has just recently returned from his second wellness violation. It should be a good match, though, and if there is a halfway decent crowd they will be into it.
Ziggler! Jericho! Mr. Money in the Bank! Y2J's Last Show!
This is the end of Chris Jericho's most recent run, and it has been a crazy seven months. He's going to end it on a strong note though, with him and Dolph Ziggler putting on the match of the night. Their back and forth the past few weeks have been spot on. Jericho continues to prove that he is one of the best to ever put on tights, and the WWE has finally allowed The Show Off a chance to show off and shine.
With everyone so focused on Jericho's losing streak, I normally would be worried that he will actually get the win tonight. For some reason this just screams swerve. However, I have enough faith in Y2J to do the right thing.
Bryan! Kane! AJ!
AJ Lee has been fun in her position as Raw General Manager, Daniel Bryan has been money in any role they put him in, and Kane has actually been pretty good (mostly because he's said a single sentence in a month. AJ needs a henchman and Kane needs someone to tell him what to do. It's a match made in
heaven hell. That leaves poor little Bryan out in the cold.
The WWE is all about teaching the kids life lessons and this angle is no different. You should never be mean to someone who loves and cherishes you because one day a eccentric millionaire may decide to put them in charge of where you work - even though they lack any experience and didn't even apply for the job - it was just sort of given to them on a whim. But even now they are still your boss and they are sending henchmen who used to hang out with the devil or something (that part of his background was never further explained). But anyway he's beating the crap out of you when all you can do is yell negative replies and well, drugs are bad for you, okay?
At least I think that's the lesson.
Kane has actually been having some solid matches of late and if there's anyone that can carry him to a good one it's Daniel Bryan. This has potential to get overbooked but it should be fun.
Sheamus! Del Rio! World Heavyweight Championship!
The Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio feud is about as easy a storyline as you can have. Sheamus is the good guy that loves to fight and defend his title. Del Rio is the rich bad guy who uses cheap tactics to get what he wants. "The Great White" is not content to have the SmackDown General Manager try to protect him. Instead, he demanded that their World Heavyweight Championship match be reinstated. Yeah, it's a simple angle, but sometimes simple works.
What you need to be on the lookout for comes after the match; Dolph Ziggler holds the Money in the Bank briefcase so he can use it at any moment. Be prepared for him to come running out from the back, if the opportunity presents itself.
Trips! Lesnar! Heyman! Michaels? Pain! Game! Con! Fron! Tation!
Last Monday's (August 13) Raw finally did something to help sell this feud. Brock Lesnar warned us that he would be attacking Shawn Michaels and he delivered in spades by breaking "The Heartbreak Kid's" arm. That's Triple H's best friend, only HE gets to brutally attack HBK! Add in Paul Heyman acting like Lesnar was an unleashed beast and it was a brilliantly done segment all around.
While, save for last week, the buildup had been less than stellar, I don't doubt for a second that this will be a great match. Lesnar was shockingly good against John Cena at Extreme Rules (April 29). Triple H, while he has certainly lost a step, still knows how to tell a story in the ring. With no gimmicks to protect either of them, don't be surprised if they over book the hell out of this.
Punk! Cena! Show! WWE Championship!
CM Punk has had a great run as WWE Champion, but you wouldn't know that by watching only the main events. John Cena continues to headline every show while the title gets pushed down the card. Now though, is the time for change (completely disregard this if Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar goes on last). Punk has the opportunity to finally defend his title against Cena himself, a matchup that we last saw at Raw 1000, but this time Big Show cannot run in to interfere.
Because he's in the match, you see.
Honestly, the only reason I can think of why Show is in this is to eat the pin. I know I've been harping on it, but a Cena vs. Punk matchup at Night of Champions in Boston, MA is way too big to pass up. It's like printing money --and who doesn't like money?
So expect a solid match, plenty of lying around, and Punk or Cena (most likely Cena) emerging victorious. Then we'll get our real main event next month.