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10 Things To Look For In WWE’s ‘SummerSlam’ In Las Vegas

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Saturday evening at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, the WWE will FINALLY get a chance to strut its stuff on pay-per-view again, as the company will present its 34th version of their biggest show of the summer – SummerSlam 2021.

The last year has been a struggle for the company, especially since the WWE put its talent out in front of empty arenas and instead allowed fans to watch the action on LED TV screens in the ‘ThunderDome’ in Tampa, Florida.

Now it’s back to business though for WWE, and the card for Saturday evening starting at 7pm is stacked with both old and new company stars.

Today we give a little glimpse of ten things we think will take place on the show, so that you have something to look for going into the show.

10. ‘The Almighty Reigns Supreme’

Bobby Lashley came back to the WWE in 2018 after a hiatus that had many thinking we’d seen the last of the wrestler/MMA star.

Instead Lashley is on a roll in 2021. He’s the WWE Champ, making his first appearance in a high profile spot with the company along with former wrestler now valet/manager MVP.

Saturday Lashley goes in a ‘blast from the past’ type of match with former WCW Champ, 54-year-old Bill Goldberg, who per usual comes back for a huge high profile match.

Look for a solid power back and forth match that will go about five minutes before Lashley finally hits one spear and gets the pin on Goldberg, cementing what has been a solid five month title reign that should continue.

9. Seth Rollins and Edge Steal The Show on the Men’s Side

Moving over to the ‘Smackdown’ side of matches, one that should be a blast will feature Hall of Famer Edge against future Hall of Famer Seth Rollins in a bout that might open the card due to its star power.

Rollins has been back and forth in terms of character development ever since the company released his protégé Buddy Murphy back on June 2nd.

Since then his character has been in flux, but a great show against the always solid Edge is a way to get him back on track and in a much bigger picture than what he’s doing now.

As for Edge, he also needs a good showing for the ‘Rated-R Superstar’ as 2021 has been a blah year for him thus far.

8. Where Does Baron Corbin Fit Into SummerSlam?

The WWE has taken a more personal, lifelike storyline with Baron Corbin over the last several months, to the point that he lost his crown to now IC title holder Shinsuke Nakamura, starting a severe downward spiral in and out of the ring.

The only good news for Corbin — which could come into play big time Saturday — is that he’s currently the WWE Smackdown Money in the Bank briefcase holder, meaning that we could see a storyline at the show involving that briefcase. Corbin could have the last laugh if he can surprise Lashley after his match with Bill Goldberg, basically ‘stealing’ the WWE title.

Don’t rule that out, as no one saw Seth Rollins coming out of nowhere at WrestleMania 31 to use the briefcase and upset Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar in the main event, stunning the huge crowd in Santa Clara, California. That moment really got Rollins into the WWE’s main event picture.

7. How Will This ‘RK-Bro’ Friendship/Rivalry Play Out Against AJ & Omos?

After being home for seven weeks, Randy Orton returned to the RAW ring two weeks ago, eventually stunning his ‘friend’ Riddle and leaving him in the middle of the ring.

Last week, the pair got on the same page, hugging it out and announcing that they will take on AJ and Omos together for the RAW Tag titles at SummerSlam.

Depending on how this match is booked (you HAVE to protect Omos), it could be a huge night for Riddle, whom the WWE may want to push even more after his ‘friendship’ with Orton.

Look for RK-Bro to find a way to win the straps but for Styles to take the beating and eventually the loss, protecting 7-foot-3 Omos as his friend and bodyguard.

6. Ok, Ladies, You’re Up

I have no clue what the long term plan is for Nikki A.S.H., but this feels like a forced title reign that really could use a boost.

Having the champ in a triple-threat against Charlotte and Rhea Ripley isn’t a bad start, as these three have been back and forth on TV with each getting the better of the other in some regard for about the last month.

Ripley as a character is all over the place, one week a slimy heel who isn’t afraid to be bad, the next week high-fiving fans and hugging kids on her way to the ring.

At least with Flair you know where she stands – she’s a smug heel who doesn’t have any regard for others and will do whatever it takes to get “her” belt back.

This SHOULD be a solid match. Mind you, it is one of three ladies bouts on the card, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see this as the opening to the entire show or maybe the 2nd or 3rd match with Nikki keeping the strap.

5. Moving on to Blair-Banks Part II

It’s the match that fans have been clamoring for, a WrestleMania rematch with Sasha Banks going after the Smackdown ladies strap against her current rival Bianca Belair.

Belair beat Banks for the belt in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium.

It was the first night’s main event at Mania, and it lived up to the hype, featuring a five-star match, tons of great physical wrestling, and a solid storyline.

Don’t be stunned when you hear a LOT of positive cheers for Banks, who despite trying to do whatever she can to be a heel, fans still love and will cheer for anyway.

4. Maybe Sit the Tag Belts for a Month Off PPV

I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like PPV tag matches for the belts have been stale lately.

Saturday, both sets of belts will be up for grabs. The RAW belts, as we wrote earlier, should switch to ‘RK-Bro’ from Aj Styles and Omos for a fresh coat of paint and so that they can give Orton and Riddle’s ‘partnership’ a chance to develop with belts involved.

On the SmackDown side, the USOs are in a much more ‘real’ feud with father and son Rey and Dominik Mysterio.

It was 16 years ago (2005) that Dominik made his WWE debut at SummerSlam, but this time around, there’s a LOT more on the line as he continues to tag with his dad and show he’s got what it takes to be a star in the industry.

With that being said, these tag title matches really drag on, and I find myself just sitting back and chatting with a friend instead of watching.

The thing is, the quality of these matches from a wrestling perspective is usually fantastic. I am just not really engaged in either one of these storylines.

3. Let’s Get Everyone a Paycheck

It feels like there are a lot of ‘filler,’ blah matches on this 34th edition of SummerSlam, and while the big matches are what they are, the rest of the matches just have no feel whatsoever to them.

Here’s a little sampling of the matches announced for Saturday night that shouldn’t draw much of an audience:

Alexa Bliss vs Eva Marie

For many it’s the first time seeing Marie since her return to WWE, but for Bliss it’s the ongoing ‘evil Bliss’ storyline that will be the main draw in this match.

Sheamus vs Damian Priest – US Title Match

Time for a switch here in the US Title. Sheamus has done a nice job holding down the belt after beating Riddle, but it’s time to see what Priest can do.

Jinder Mahal vs Drew McIntyre

Expect a 7-9 minute match filled with a lot of power moves between these former members of “Three-Man Band.” The company loves McIntyre, but they need to find a new direction and a new feud for him.

Overall, SummerSlam 2021 is a 10-match card, which should allow just about everyone on the roster to have a little something extra in their next paycheck.

2. Does John Cena Stand a Chance Against “The Roman Empire”?

Once this match is over, Cena’ll be back on a jet to Hollywood ready for whatever movie role is next, so it doesn’t matter all that much.

The formulation of this match didn’t bother many fans at all, and the verbal sparring between the two was as good or better than their time in the ring four years ago at ‘No Mercy,’ when Reigns won.

Back then, Cena ‘stealing’ the contract was well done. Reigns then eventually took Finn Balor’s challenge over Cena. This feud should be copied and used by younger talent when the company wants to get a feud over in a big way.

1. Another Night for the ‘Empire’ To Reign Supreme

While it may sound like a broken record, having Roman Reigns holding his fist high at the end of a Pay-Per-View with Paul Heyman hoisting the WWE Smackdown Title is becoming the signature end to a WWE show in 2021.

What Reigns has finally done, after years of the company protecting him, is break out on his own with this smarmy heel character who mostly sits back and watches things develop. Then, when it’s time to drop the hammer in the ring, it’s easy pickings.

It will be interesting to see where Reigns and the company go next in terms of challengers when Roman finishes off Cena. Early indications make it feel like he may have another go-around with Edge, or he may finally go up against Finn Balor or Baron Corbin, even though that would be a heel vs heel program.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

3 Comments

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  1. While I appreciate your commentary for each match, at the end of it all I’m left with the same conclusion: what are ANY of these matches doing to advance the company and the stars? Zero creativity overall results in having to call up past-their-prime stars like Goldberg and Shanghai Cena. Sad what’s happened to a once great company.

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