It’s billed as the biggest party of the summer, and this year, that might be true. You won’t find 170-pound men flicking water bottles across a room, but you will see 240-pound men flying through the air, through ropes and, hopefully, through tables.
Welcome to SummerSlam 2016, where this year the card might actually live up to the hype.
The WWE is at the beginning of another boom period. I can feel it. Why do I say this? Let’s look at this tremendous card and celebrate not the Attitude Era, but the Wrestler Era, because the wrestling on this show is going to be spectacular. Coupled with Saturday night’s NXT show, headlined by Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe, and we have a weekend full of professional wrestling splendor.
Here are 10 Reasons Why You Should Watch
10. Enzo and Cass
Mark my words: These two will wrestle each other for the Universal Championship at a PPV down the world. And Enzo just might be the champion. Enzo Amore is the hottest character in the WWE right now and he should be. Smacktalker Skywalker is the best talker in the business — by miles. He’s a reason why someone would buy tickets to a show. He’s a draw, and he’s only going to get bigger. This guy lights up the room. He makes children smile, men laugh and women, well, they laugh, too. Enzo and Cass, “The Realest Guys In The Room,” will wrestle Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho at SummerSlam. This could be a show-stealer.
And you can’t teach that.
9. The Beast Incarnate Returns
It’s always a treat when Brock Lesnar wrestles. He’s coming off his dominant victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 and will take on Randy Orton. Orton can work stiff so this will be a memorable match. How will the New York crowd treat Lesnar, who failed his UFC drug test? Will they turn on him? How will Lesnar respond to the crowd if they start an unfavorable chant? The WWE has tried to avoid any mention of Lesnar’s drug test failures, but the fans aren’t part of the script so it could be a bad night for Lesnar. He doesn’t do well with boos. At WrestleMania 20 he was booed out of the building because everyone knew he was leaving to go try out for the NFL. It was a hilarious scene.
8. The return of Randy Orton
“The Viper” has been out for nearly a year with a neck injury, but now he’s back to take on Lesnar, in a match that has insiders wondering, why in the heck would the WWE book Orton vs. Lesnar, when you know that Lesnar is going to take Orton to Suplex City? We’ll find out. It’s possible that Orton is in for a surprise victory here. Orton may have one last run for the championship in him, and beating Lesnar could propel him to the main event title scene. Orton is also now a good guy, which we haven’t seen much of. He has never been able to pull off the good guy character, but he seems to be embracing it now. Hopefully he survives the Lesnar match in good enough shape to continue his run.
7. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho
Owens may be the best heel in the company right now. Even though he’s a bit puffy, he’s a great athlete with incredible moves inside that ring. He’s a great talker, the master of the insult, fueled with comedy. Now he’s teaming with Jericho, a veteran of the sport who is good at just about everything he does. Together they take on Enzo and Cass. This is the PPV debut of this tag team and it’s one of those rare moments where you are seeing a future and past legend together. They may never team again, but they will make this night special. Look for Big Cass to pin Jericho and Owens to get upset, paving the way for an Owens vs. Jericho feud.
Scarfs make the man
6. AJ Styles
There’s no doubt about it. AJ Styles is the best wrestler in the WWE. This guy is pretty close to Shawn Michaels in that ring and it wouldn’t be wrong to say he may even be better than him. He’s 39 years old and has enjoyed a career in TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he’s got a lot left to prove. This guy is an athlete and artist in the ring. He has cool entrance music and he undoubtedly is headed for a run at the world title. AJ is a bad guy, but the fans respect him, because he is THAT DAMN GOOD.
All the feels
5. John Cena
Cena is the WWE’s biggest star and rightfully so. He has incredible presence, works hard in his matches, and can talk on that microphone like no one else. He’s been on top of the WWE for 12 years and he’s not going anywhere, except, oh, I don’t know, host the Espys, the Teen Choice Awards and appear on late night talk shows? There’s no limit to what this guy can do and against AJ Styles at SummerSlam, he’s going to have a show-stealing match. Styles brings out the best of Cena, who never has to win a match again and it won’t hurt his status as the top guy in the company. So please, let’s see AJ win! Here’s a little throwback to Cena as The Dr. of Thuganomics. We’d love to see this John Cena again.
Cena got bars
4. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
Charlotte, Ric Flair’s daughter, is probably the best female wrestler of all-time. She has a major presence about her and she can work in that ring. Sasha is popular with the fans, and she can wrestle, another product of NXT. Banks defeated Flair on Raw a few weeks ago so now we’re seeing the rematch. The WWE is building up Charlotte to work a match with Ronda Rousey, so expect Charlotte to win this thing and continue her reign, but the crowd will be 100 percent behind Sasha. Charlotte, however, is respected and the crowd will pop when she takes back her gold.
WCW, every day
3. Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Will the crowd finally cheer Reigns? Probably. But we’re in New York, so we don’t truly know. What we do know is that Rusev is playing a phenomenal heel and making Reigns actually look like someone who could be the future of the company (can they get him out of that all black outfit, though)? Really, all Reigns needs is to earn the respect of the fans. He needs a couple of long feuds with top guys to let the fans know that he’s not just some corporate guy being pushed by the company. The fans need to see the wrestler pay his dues. Against Rusev, he could do that. Let’s hope Ruseve kicks his ass. We don’t need Reigns to win that title yet. Let him starve for a few months, while the fans get behind his title chase. To put the title on him now, dare I say it, would kill his momentum.
2. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
There’s loss of intrigue here. Ziggler has toiled for years as a guy who can sell and work, but has never been the focal point of the company. The fans appreciate him, but there’s something about him that the WWE doesn’t really like, despite his work rate. It might be that Ziggler’s character is a combination of the worst of Shawn Michaels and Billy Gunn combined. Ziggler does not come across “manly.” He comes across as acrobatic, not legitimately tough. Maybe he’ll toughen up against Ambrose, the weird anti-champion who everyone thinks is the next Roddy Piper. Ambrose can wrestle and has good ring psychology. We have two good guys battling. Who will the fans choose? Look for the New York fans to cheer both wildly and celebrate every move. Ambrose will retain of course. No former member of The Spirit Squad is going to win the title in New York.
Ziggler gonna Ziggler
1. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
It’s the arrival of the Demon King vs. Rollins, the man who never lost the championship. We have come a long way from guys like Zeus and Hulk Hogan in the main event. Balor is 195 pounds. Rollins is about 225. They aren’t larger than life athletes. But they’re spectacular professional wrestlers and performers. There is no telling how great this match could be. Balor’s entrance as the Demon will send chills down the backs of everyone watching. Rollins is a tremendous worker, who has a bit of Shawn Michaels inside of him. Balor is a veteran, even though he’s new to the WWE. This could be match of the year, especially if Balor can win the gold.