WWE’s upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view looks like it could be the show of the year.
Matches that, at one time, seemed like they’d never happen (or at least happen again) like Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor and John Cena vs. AJ Styles headline the summer’s extravaganza. Elsewhere, Dolph Ziggler has something to prove to himself, Dean Ambrose and the WWE audience and Sasha Banks wants to put a bow on her rivalry with Charlotte.
All that said, let’s take a deeper look at Sunday’s card and rank the scheduled matches based on whether or not we at Today’s Powerbomb see them meeting, exceeding or falling short of expectation.
11. Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Natalya and Alexa Bliss
There’s not much to say for this match. A women’s division with nothing to fight for will fight over, well, nothing. This is nothing more than a space-filler and a way for WWE to pat itself on the back for “showcasing” the women. Look for this to be moved to the pre-show.
10. Cesaro vs. Sheamus
This low ranking is nothing against Cesaro and Sheamus. The two heavy hitters have put on quality matches in the past – including two against each other on recent editions of Raw. But that’s what drags this matchup down. This will mark the third match between Cesaro and Sheamus in a month’s time. Add in the fact that it’s just the opener to a best-of-seven series that’ll likely go the distance and it’s hard to get excited.
9. Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Apollo Crews
There’s nothing wrong with the Miz squaring off against Crews, but, on such a stacked card, it lacks a little bit by comparison. That’s primarily because the build for this showdown’s been non-existent. In fact, the most heated things got actually came this past Tuesday during a commercial break. A commercial break! The WWE’s understandably trying to protect Crews as he hopefully hones his promo skills, but doing so to this degree makes it hard to buy him as a title threat.
8. JeriKO vs. Enzo & Big Cass
Will this match be acceptable? Sure. Jericho and Owens are two of the WWE’s better in-ring workers. But, let’s be real, most of the entertainment value will come from any promo work before and after the match. Enzo and Cass work a very formulaic style, with the smaller Amore taking a beating before Cass gets the hot tag and attempts to rally back. It’s a tried-and-true formula, but not one that’ll steal the show on this card. What is of interest is who emerges victorious. If JeriKO come out with the win, their union might have life. If they’re losers, though, it won’t take long for them to split.
7. WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. The Club
Raw’s second tag team showdown at SummerSlam ranks ahead of its counterpart predominantly due to the stakes involved. The New Day now holds the record for the longest WWE World Tag Team Championship reign. It seems any time a man, woman or team sets that sort of record their title reign goes on life support. With Big E on the shelf, now’s as good a time as any for Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to strike. And, of course, we’ll see if WWE has the gumption to take the belts off the ultra-popular New Day.
6. United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Ironically, a move down the card seems to have reinvigorated Roman Reigns. He seems, if only slightly, more comfortable on the microphone and is actually getting more cheers than boos. As for the match itself, anticipation understandably went down some after the WWE decided to give it away for free on Monday’s Raw. Nonetheless, that match served as a strong precursor for what to expect. These hard-hitting titans of the squared circle should deliver once again and the U.S. title being at stake means this bout still has a fair amount of intrigue.
5. Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
After the thrilling encounter Sasha Banks and Charlotte had on Raw a few weeks ago, it feels wrong to only slot this match fifth. But that’s more a testament to the strength of the SummerSlam card than it is a lack of anticipation heading into this showdown. Banks and Charlotte have already shown they can tear the house down together and, even if a Banks win seems like mere formality, watching them attempt to one-up their last encounter should make for a fun watch all the same.
4. WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ambrose and Ziggler is a weird match to slot. On one hand, these two have squared off numerous times on Raw and SmackDown. On the other, the stakes have never been this high. The build for this feud is what earns this showdown a solid place. Ziggler’s desperation and desire to prove himself has shone through during the lead-in to SummerSlam. In reality, Ziggler’s been frustrated with his place in the WWE in the past and will likely give his all to make the most of this opportunity.
3. John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Cena and Styles have both referred to their SummerSlam matchup as a “main event.” With two world title matches and a Brock Lesnar appearance, it’s not likely to go on last. But that doesn’t mean either Superstar’s wrong. Cena vs. Styles is a match that could headline and sell out virtually any arena and one that could steal the show on any given night. That remains the case heading into this Sunday. It’s simply the strength of this card that keeps this Money in the Bank rematch in the third spot.
2. WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor
For pure wrestling fans, this match would likely take the top spot on many lists such as these. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor have been, arguably, the best in-ring performers of their respective promotions for several years. Their first ever showdown is all but assured of emerging as a Match of the Year contender. And, while it’ll likely be the best wrestling match of the night, the fact that several rematches will likely follow is what keeps it from the top spot. That distinction is reserved for a matchup which could take place on a WWE pay-per-view for the first and last time on Sunday night.
1. Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
Lesnar and Orton won’t be the mat classic many expect of the matches just above it. That’s OK, so long as an F5 gets reversed into an RKO then this match will be worth the price of admission. On a real note, the fact that is the first important encounter between two bona fide wrestling legend is what earns it the top spot. Lesnar and Orton headlining pay-per-views against one another once seemed like mere formality, but circumstances changed that. The match grew into a dream match over the years and Sunday marks the first, and likely only, time fans get to see it.