7 Last-Minute WWE SummerSlam 2018 Rumors You Need To Know
This Sunday is SummerSlam, and while the event has long been seen as one of the most important on WWE’s calendar – almost a “WrestleMania.5,” if you will – this year, the show is even more special than usual.
First of all, it’s the first major show following the re-institution of the brand split. Secondly – and along those lines – it’s the first show to feature the members of the NXT roster who were recently called up (most notably, Finn Balor, who’ll be contesting for the Universal Championship). Finally, this year’s WrestleMania was such a huge disappointment that this card – which looks very strong on paper – really needs to deliver.
Needless to say, imaginations are working overtime. What could happen with all of these combustible elements in play? Who might turn? Who might return? There’s been lots of talk, to say the least. Here are 7last-minute rumors you need to know about SummerSlam, ranked from least- to most-plausible.
7. Randy Orton Wins
There’s nobody in pro wrestling more controversial these days than Brock Lesnar. Wrestling fans around the world were delighted when “The Beast” won his comeback fight at UFC 200, then subsequently let down when news broke that he failed a pre-fight drug test. When WWE acknowledged that they would not be suspending Lesnar for violating the Wellness Policy despite what looked like a confirmation of PED use, many were disgusted by the favoritism shown.
The press surrounding Lesnar’s test failure reportedly hurt his standing in the draft (he was originally supposed to have been the first overall star taken by Raw), but apart from that, he’s been fine – he’s still taking on Randy Orton at SummerSlam, and that match will still be the main event… but is there a chance that the company could punish Lesnar with his first real loss in more than three years?
No. Despite the fact that Vince McMahon may still be a little miffed at Lesnar (then again, he may not), WWE would only be spiting themselves by jobbing Lesnar now. The man who finally topples “The Beast” will get quite a rub from it, and Orton is already as established as he’s getting. Plus, Smackdown got the last laugh over Raw when Dean Ambrose retained the WWE Championship at Battleground. Now, Raw gets to go one-up on the blue brand.
6. The Club Helps Finn Balor Win The Universal Title-
During the draft last month, The Club – who had been wreaking havoc since officially joining forces at the end of May – were split up. AJ Styles was drafted to Smackdown, while Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were sent to Raw. All three men have continued to subscribe to their destructive ideology, spreading chaos across both brands.
Finn Balor was also drafted to Raw, opening up the door for the long-awaited “Balor Club” reunion (he and Anderson helped found Bullet Club in Japan, and when it was announced that Anderson and Gallows were headed to WWE, Balor repeatedly teased an alliance with his former partners on social media). Despite the fact that Balor has been a popular babyface, there have been rumors that he will capitalize on some help from his friends to become the first Universal Champion.
5. A Major NXT Debut
The two main matches at TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn both look to be potential classics. In the main event, NXT Champion Samoa Joe will defend his title against Shinsuke Nakamura. Just below that, Women’s Champion Asuka will defend her belt against the former champ, Bayley.
All four of those competitors are guaranteed to deliver the goods because all four of those competitors as experts at what they do – in fact, it’s a little illogical that they’re still in what’s technically a developmental territory at all. People like Mojo Rawley and Eva Marie have main roster slots, but Samoa Joe doesn’t.
4. Goldberg Returns
Perhaps the most persistent rumor leading up to this year’s SummerSlam is the idea that Goldberg might return and attack Brock Lesnar.
The issue between Lesnar and Goldberg started when both were announced as focal points of the upcoming WWE 2K17 video game. Though people started to speculate this could lead to a rematch between the two (they infamously faced off in one of the most hated WrestleMania bouts ever), there was nothing concrete supporting that – until Lesnar and Heyman cut a promo on Goldberg. “Da Man” responded with one of his own, either building up the video game or something more.
What has really gotten people talking is the fact that Goldberg is a special guest at the WWE 2K party on Friday… which happens to take place in New York. That would make it pretty easy for the former World Heavyweight Champion to show up at SummerSlam and get face-to-face with “The Beast.”
3. Jon Stewart Gets Physically Involved
Last year, former Daily Show host and vocal pro wrestling fan Jon Stewart was a special celebrity guest at SummerSlam. He opened up the show by interviewing Mick Foley, but that wasn’t what got him on the news – later in the broadcast, he hit John Cena with a chair, costing him a WWE World Heavyweight Championship/United States Championship match against Seth Rollins.
Monday on Raw, Foley (now General Manager of the show) mentioned that Stewart was coming back Sunday for his second straight SummerSlam. Will he get physically involved once again? He may have learned his lesson – the evening after SummerSlam 2017, Cena planted Stewart with an Attitude Adjustment in retaliation for his interference.
Then again, he may not have learned his lesson – and John Cena is once again in a pivotal match that really ought to lose. After last year, fans may even be expecting Stewart to play a bit of a spoiler role, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him take a chair to Cena – or someone else.
2. Dolph Turns Heel
Thus far, the whole Dean Ambrose-Dolph Ziggler feud has been built around Ambrose criticizing “The Showoff” for not living up to his own hype. “The Lunatic Fringe,” like the rest of us, is tired of hearing Dolph brag about being “that damn good” and “stealing the show” without anything concrete to show for it.
That bit of bullying by Ambrose has put Dolph in a position where he has to deliver more than just a great performance – he has to win. It’s also made him rant and rave and swear that this time is different, but that’s largely felt like a series of empty promises. The only time Dolph really seemed like he was turning a corner was on Tuesday’s Smackdown, where he shocked Ambrose with an out-of-nowhere Superkick.
1. Aj Styles
After three months, the AJ Styles-John Cena is about to come to an end. It’s been a great program, but in order for it to not have been a complete waste of time, Styles needs to go over in the blowoff match. Thankfully, that’s what’s going to happen.
We’ve seen John Cena’s programs end badly before – Bray Wyatt and Rusev started on a downward spiral when Cena won feuds with them, while Kevin Owens’s rise was hampered by an unnecessary loss to “Big Match John.” None of those three men are where they would be if they’d come out ahead of Cena.
Styles, though, is more talented than any of them. Despite his age, he’s athletic and talented enough to be a top star in WWE now and in the future. With the heel side on Smackdown fairly weak, WWE can’t afford to cut his legs off right now. The people in power know it better than anybody, and that’s why “The Phenomenal One” is going be the heel who finally unseats “The Face That Runs The Place.”