This year’s SummerSlam event is set to take place at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on August 21, and the card for the event is taking shape. Four matches have been announced for SummerSlam so far. At the moment, the card consists of a triple threat for the Raw women’s championship between unlikely titleholder Nikki A.S.H., and respective former champs Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair; Goldberg’s challenge for Bobby Lashley’s WWE championship, and the Usos and Mysterio’s are set to vie for the SmackDown tag team championship. Lastly, there is the unquestioned main event, John Cena’s dubiously procured Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns, who has held the title for almost one year.
August 6’s broadcast of Friday Night SmackDown confirmed some other matches that will fill out the event, making several storylines ready to be made official for ‘The Biggest Party of the Summer’.
August 6 SmackDown Fills Out SummerSlam Card
Edge vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins’s and Edge’s enmity dates back to a pivotal moment in 2013, in which Rollins maliciously threatened Edge’s most vulnerable spot, his neck which has been injured and surgically repaired many times. More recently, Rollins intervened on the behalf of his former Shield brother, Reigns, in his match defending the Universal Championship against the “Rated R Superstar” at July’s Money in the Bank. Once again, as had Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 37, a third party blocked Edge when he had a clear, one on one shot at Roman Reigns. Edge called out Rollins before the August 6 crowd at Tampa, Florida’s Amalie Arena, on the presumption that Rollins wasn’t in the house. He was partially correct-Rollins came through via satellite, and the two traded heated barbs. Edge challenged Rollins to face him at SummerSlam…but Rollins said he would have to give it a think, taunting Edge about how his own thoughts about his odds in the prospective bout will haunt him in the meantime.
Rollins’s “Drip God” persona doubles down on the grandiosity of his “Monday Night Messiah” persona, but without even the pretext of a mission statement-he is simply a sharply-dressed chaos bringer, thin-skinned, obsessive, and off the rails, obsessed with Edge on the manically flimsy pretext that he, Rollins, should be in line to be the next challenger for the Universal Championship. Bristling with vitriol and painted in vivid shades of mania, it’s a character sure to be considered one of Rollins’s most effective iterations.
For Edge’s part, his eloquence on the mic, personal struggles and triumphs, history as a WWE superstar, and sheer ebullient affection for the craft of pro wrestling and the crowds who come to see it live combine to create a palpable charisma whenever he is onscreen. The two are all but game, set, match for SummerSlam, and it will be the rare pay-per-view encounter that doesn’t need to be for a title to matter, because the performances from both Edge and Rollins have been stellar.
Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks
This one was inevitable. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair quite literally made history together, becoming the first African-Americans to headline a WrestleMania at WrestleMania 37. They won an Espy award for Best WWE moment for their game-changing match. When Banks returned to SmackDown for the first time since their history-making moment, it seemed that Belair had won her respect and friendship. They teamed up in a tag match against Carmella and Zelina Vega on July 30’s broadcast, but whilst Belair celebrated their victory, Banks attacked her. “The Boss” opened the August 6 show crowing about her attack on Bianca, but Bianca interrupted her harangue. While Bianca seemed ready to settle the score with Sasha at SummerSlam, Banks wasn’t the only challenger in the wings, as Zelina Vega also stepped up and finagled a match against Belair into the episode, but had trouble convincing WWE officials Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce to declare it for the SmackDown women’s championship.
Banks interfered by showing up unannounced as Belair took on her Monday Night Raw nemesis Vega, but to no avail as the champion ended up taking the day.
Finn Balor is no stranger to having dual personalities, after his days of conjuring the Demon King-this time, however, it is inadvertent on his part. On the one hand, he is the first Universal Champion, no stranger to the main roster, and came to WWE a venerable and seasoned performer, an NJPW vet, and the mastermind of the first incarnation of the Bullet Club. On the other hand, he is fresh off a recently completed run on NXT at a time when WWE seems to be recalibrating NXT’s place in the company culture, and how its talent is valued. Balor has been dangled as a red herring throughout the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns program. He once again called out the current Universal Champion, Reigns, on the August 6 broadcast, only to be laid waste by Reigns and the Usos. Whether Balor is to be considered ‘dealt with’, or his midcard feud with Baron Corbin is to be continued in the vein of Sami Zayn’s and Kevin Owens’ lengthy feud, either way, there is no real chance that he and Reigns will be mixing it up for his former title with Cena in the picture.
With two weeks and counting before SummerSlam, August 6’s SmackDown continued to lay the groundwork for the event.
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