*Update* Apparently WordPress was having issues with hard breaks, so I manually entered them, which should make this article easier to read. Sorry for the earlier inconvenience.
It’s that time again. This Sunday, the WWE presents one of the biggest PPVs of the year, Summerslam. This has been one of the more anticipated cards in quite some time, with all eyes focused on the main event pitting fellow co-stars of Total Divas, John Cena and Daniel Bryan. We’ll go through the card match by match and book things the way that I would do them, then await WWE’s answers to the same questions tomorrow night.
Free-For-All Match: United States Title Match – Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam’s return thus far has been lackluster to say the least. After a good showing in the MITB ladder match, he’s notched wins against the likes of Chris Jericho and current World Heavyweight Champion Alberto del Rio. It was thought that this might parlay into a WHC feud with del Rio and the Number One Contender, Christian, however that was apparently not in the plans. A win in a 20 man battle royal brings us to this match. Ambrose is another interesting case as of late. To be honest, during the battle royal, I found myself thinking “who IS the US Champion?”. Without a solid program thus far into his reign, combined with some recent backstage heat on other members of The Shield, it’s easy to forget. That being said, I don’t think it’s time to take the belt off of Ambrose. You have the combustible element of The Shield and Big Show/Henry at ringside to play with. I would give each guy a chance to show his stuff, eventually ending in a double-DQ when all 6 men become involved.
Winner and STILL US Champion: Dean Ambrose
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Or as I like to call it “When Total Divas Attack!”. I’m not going to spend too much time on this match. Natty notched a win over AJ Lee in a mixed tag match this week on RAW, actually two wins really if you look at that screwy finish. Thus far her storyline on Total Divas seems to be the veteran that’s always passed over, makes sense to bring those viewers in and allow her to turn that around. Natty gets the win to push her a little bit closer to a Diva’s Title Match.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
This match represents a bit of a dilemma for me. On one hand, I hated the way that Ziggler was treated after winning the briefcase last year. On the other, Cody Rhodes is an emerging babyface who hasn’t really had a “moment” in the ring since the fantastic visual of a bleeding Rhodes perched atop the ladder at MITB. With that being said, I believe Rhodes needs the win more here. Sandow drops the handcuff key at some point during the match, Rhodes retrieves the key untying the briefcase. Sandow is distracted by Rhodes taking possession of the briefcase, takes the Cross Rhodes for the 1-2-3. Rhodes leaves again with the briefcase. (We’ll come back to this later… hint hint)
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston & AJ Lee
I know we all complain about WWE’s lack of long-term booking, but this Kaitlyn and AJ Lee feud seems to be never-ending. This feud dates back to March, although you could argue it goes back to February when the “secret admirer” storyline began. Throughout this feud, Kaitlyn seems to be on the losing side of anything that matters. Seeing how this match doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things, I’d put Kaitlyn over with the spear on AJ. Big E. comforts AJ post-match leading to more questions about their relationship. It seems like AJ is poised to lose the title to Natty sometime soon, so maybe this will be the blowoff to this program.
Winners: Kaitlyn & Dolph Ziggler
Ring of Fire Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
This match is another interesting one. On RAW it was clearly stated “the match isn’t meant to catch anyone on fire,” rather just keep outside interference from occuring. I would fully take advantage of those words “isn’t meant to”. The finish to this match is a no-brainer, with Wyatt beginning his ascent and Kane taking time off soon to do the sequel to See No Evil. Wyatt takes the victory, then takes full advantage of the fire surrounding the ring, catching Kane on fire to…. fuel… his time off? No? Ok, strike that from the record. I’d love to see them take advantage of Kane’s mask somehow, “burning his face”. I’m not sure if there’s a way to safely do that, but I also know they’re not going to set him fully ablaze. There’s some things to play around with there, but you get the idea. Also, as a side note, I really dislike the use of “Follow the Buzzards” as a catch phrase. I liked the line when it was used, but I feel it’s been run into the ground since.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
World Heavyweight Title Match: Alberto del Rio (c) vs. Christian
With del Rio’s failure of a face turn in the rear view he’s been able to pick up a little steam. I like the focus they’ve put on Christian in the last couple weeks, but I don’t see a title run from him doing much of anything. The finish sees Christian hit the spear, but unable to cover right away. As he goes to cover, del Rio is able to lock in a variation of the cross arm-breaker getting the pin. Now here comes the fun stuff.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto del Rio
Post Match: As del Rio lays on the mat recovering from the spear he just took Cody Rhodes’ music hits. Down he comes with the briefcase, giving it to the referee. The referee looks slightly confused, but calls for the bell. After a brief back and forth, Rhodes hits the Cross Rhodes and gets the pin. Rhodes celebrates with the belt, as Sandow comes marching down to ringside. He grabs the mic and demands that the referee open the briefcase, producing the key to allow him to do so. The referee opens the briefcase to reveal there’s nothing inside. Sandow explains that he has the contract in a secure place. The referee declares that without the contract it wasn’t an official title match, awarding the belt back to del Rio.
The WWE has never really delved into the specifics of the briefcase/contract. Is possession 9/10 of the law? For the first time since the MITB was introduced, the briefcase was opened and the contract was seen, so I think this opens things up for a few little things to play with. It’s a way to get Rhodes a nice pop, and put him into the title picture. Rhodes said the other day that he didn’t want Sandow to be World Champion before he was. You then start a long-term program where it’s almost a race between the two, seeing who can get the belt first.
Now, onto the fireworks…
The Best vs. The Beast: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Anytime you have CM Punk and Paul Heyman working promos on each other, you’re going to have a good build-up. They certainly have not disappointed. Brock’s contract status always leaves some interesting questions on how to book him. How many dates will he be working after this? How many PPVs is he contracted to do? He obviously needs a handful of dates saved for the ‘Mania build-up to whoever he faces there (most likely ‘Taker). That being said, I’m going to assume he has enough dates to support this finish. Brock still needs some rehabbing from the first year of his return, and a win over CM Punk would be a huge boost for him. That being said, I put Lesnar over here with interference from Heyman. I’d use this to build a match at either Night of Champions, or possibly Survivor Series. I’d add the Bobby Heenan/Jim Cornette stipulation where if Punk wins he gets 5 minutes in the ring with Paul Heyman.
Winner: The Beast Incarnate BRRRRROOOOOCCCCKKKK LESNAR
WWE Title Match: John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Now we come to the most talked about title match in quite sometime. There are so many scenarios surrounding this match, and so many finishes possible. You have the inevitable interference of Vince McMahon, Triple H assuming the guest ref duties, the looming briefcase held by Randy Orton, oh, and there’s also a WWE Title Match buried somewhere in there as well. Let’s just get the initial card off the table. Daniel Bryan wins the WWE Title tonight. He’s riding the biggest wave since the “Summer of Punk” and I think everyone realizes that. Doing anything but putting him over in this match would be the wrong decision. But, I don’t even think the drama lies there.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Daniel Bryan
Post Match: Here’s where things get interesting. After the match you see Vince come running down the aisle, motioning for someone to follow, out pops Randy Orton. Orton hits the ring, gives the briefcase to Trips who looks at an exhausted Daniel Bryan in the corner. He takes the briefcase, turning around, then blasting Orton with the briefcase followed by a Pedigree to thwart Vince’s “chosen” champion from cashing in. Bryan celebrates to end the broadcast.
Monday I would really stack the deck against Bryan. Vince employs The Shield to attack Bryan. Orton gets his chance to cash in, coming down to the ring with Brad Maddox in tow. Orton cashes in, gets the 1-2-3, Vince has his “corporate” champion and the WWE has a new number 1a heel. This puts Daniel Bryan on the chase after being screwed out of the title. This shouldn’t cost Bryan anything, in fact it should heat him up that much more with the crowd getting behind him on his mission to win back the title he was screwed out of.
Welp, there you have it. That’s how I would do things. What about you? What do you like? What do you hate? How would YOU book it? Let me know in the comments section! Also be sure to follow me on Twitter at @RebookTheFinish!