Anybody who knows me will know that one of my favourite things to talk about is wrestling, but it’s been absolutely ages since I did a professional wrestling based post. In fact this is my first one since the review of Wrestlemania 34 earlier this year. A ton has happened since then and I’ve felt compelled to write about a variety of different aspects but have never actually followed up on it. However, with one of the biggest weekends in the wrestling calendar year fast approaching and a plethora of different subjects and themes to look at, analyse and get excited about, I thought we’d stop to take a look at five of the most important things to watch over this Summerslam weekend…
NXT call ups
Now don’t get me wrong, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4 has got a stacked card and the main event alone, pitting Johnny Gargano against new NXT champion Tomasso Ciampa in the third installment of maybe the most intense and violent rivalry in history, is going to be one of the highlights of the whole weekend. But, almost ungratefully, I’m looking right past it, and anticipating any of the NXT roster being moved up to the main brands, Raw or Smackdown Live. Hopeful predictions include Aleister Black to Smackdown Live, Velveteen Dream to Raw, and of course, Nikki Cross to join her Sanity team mates on the blue brand also. Reasons being, Aleister Black against opponents like AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton just fits so well. Plus, the time may have long gone for a really decent feud, but with the dramatic entrance, the dark persona and the mysterious aura, a short program with The Undertaker is as organic as it gets. John Cena has already pointed out Velveteen Dream as an opponent he’d like to share the ring with and from that alone, an instant rivalry is ready-made. Plus something about Sanity seems to be lacking since their call up. Is it that Killian Dain is now wearing some weird one piece? Maybe, but maybe it’s because of the absence of Nikki Cross as the Scottish, female counterpart to a stable with all the potential in the world.
The Universal Championship
What is going on with the Universal title picture? I mean, I’ve been more interested, more invested and more entertained by the Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar feud in these past few weeks than I have all year. With the Oscar-winning performances by Paul Heyman, it’s not hard to see why either. BUT, we’ve all been teased by this potential Reigns and Heyman pairing, with Lesnar being double crossed and left out in the cold, title-less and on his way back to UFC while the new pairing of Reigns and Heyman stand atop the Raw landscape, possibly under a new heel persona for Reigns, and the crowd appear to be loving it. That is until this past week on Raw when it turned out that the only one being double crossed was Roman Reigns and in actual fact, nothing is different from this Sundays match, and Wrestlemania 34’s main event. What’s going to happen? I don’t know, but I HOPE that this won’t be an another ten minute match with 7 F5’s, 12 german suplexes, a couple of spears and a million completely ineffective superman punches. I also WONDER, has this story line build up all been a distraction from the fact Braun Strowman will be waiting with the Money in the bank briefcase? We’ll see.
Hell In a Cell
Again, I may be looking past the weekend at hand, but don;t these big events get you thinking ahead of time? With Hell In a Cell being the next event on September 16th in San Antonio, you’ve got to be wondering, what rivalries or stories are going to transcend Summerslam and end up in the cage. Early predictions are the WWE championship match. AJ Styles and Samoa Joe have managed to put together an extremely personal rivalry in such a short space of time. Bringing family into it, sneak attacks and scathing promos slandering the other, I’m not at all sure which way I see the match this Sunday going, but regardless of who the champion is, I think the rivalry might well end up inside Hell In a Cell. As well as that, and for completely different reasons I see Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss making their way into the Cell for the second ever women’s Hell in a cell match. There is certainly the right amount of venom behind the rivalry, but I think the biggest point to play off is that they’ll be locked inside a cage for a one on fight, giving Rousey the advantage due to her cage fighting background. The expectation to break the cage and pull crazy stunts has been high for the past 20 years and never normally lives up, but just once, I think the fans will want to see what goes down between these two in a cage. No escape. Plus how about the United States title moving into the Cell, with a triple threat match between Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy. Only reasons being, the animosity of the three-way rivalry, but also the desire Jeff has mentioned previously about diving from the top of the cell. With Matt looking like he’s on his way out of the WWE, perhaps Jeff will follow, and in typical daredevil fashion.
RAW Women’s title match
Speaking of Ronda Rousey, I’m very much looking forward to her Womens championship match against Alexa Bliss. As mentioned previously, this rivalry has been played brilliantly and has enough venom to create a great story, and as we’ve seen from Rousey previously, she can really deliver in the ring. Since this feud was sparked back at Money In The Bank, Alexa Bliss has been even hotter than normal and as one of the front-runners of the women’s division for the past two years, the match is no doubt going to be incredible. Is it too early to pass the title on to Rousey though? Is it believable that Bliss beat the former UFC Bantam weight champ? Where will this all go next?
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz
How much do I really need to say about this one? There have been areas where I feel like parts have been missed or skimmed over, but on a whole, the build up to this has been fantastic. There have been 8 years of build up to this huge showdown at Summerslam 2018, and when you look back and realise it was Summerslam 2010 when Daniel Bryan was the mystery partner on team Cena vs The Nexus, stepping on the toes of The Miz who had assumed he was the fifth member of the team. Prior to that you have the whole NXT series one drama, following this you have a United States title feud and then they seemed to go separate ways until Bryan became the general manager of Smackdown Live and the whole Talking Smack promo. Since that Promo they’ve kept these guys close, teasing a feud, teasing another match, and even since Bryan returned to the ring at Wrestlemania, they’ve done everything to kep the match relevant, but keep them apart. The pressures on, and I just hope they deliver. But a large part of me still, despite being such a fan, wants The Miz to win via some sort of foul play, never proving anything truly. I’d love to see both of these men in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 with the WWE World Heavyweight championship on the line.
So check it out, NXT Takeover on Saturday and Summerslam 2018 on Sunday, all on the WWE Network…