A new era has begun in WWE, just in time for the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year. The SummerSlam 2016 card is far from being set, but it already features some unexpected matches that could result in big things for a few wrestlers.
Dean Ambrose will defend the WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler, while Seth Rollins and Finn Balor will compete for the new WWE Universal Championship. Ambrose figures to be a top babyface on “SmackDown” for the near future, but there are a lot of questions surrounding the other title contenders.
John Cena is likely to face AJ Styles at SummerSlam, and Randy Orton is set to have a match with Brock Lesnar, who makes his return after a four-month break from WWE. Despite his impending UFC suspension, it appears that Lesnar won’t receive any type of punishment from WWE.
As SummerSlam approaches, a few wrestlers could receive a big push or see significant changes in their character.
WWE has wasted no time thrusting Balor in the main event scene, and after holding the NXT title for 292 days, it’s likely where he’ll stay for the time being. But much of his future on the main roster remains up in the air. Balor is a fan favorite, and WWE could push him as a top babyface. Balor could also join forces with the The Club and become a top heel, considering his ties to Luke Gallows and Anderson from their time in Japan.
Either Rollins or Balor will leave SummerSlam as Monday Night Raw’s top champion, but the former Shield member doesn’t need the title. He enters the SummerSlam world championship match as WWE’s No.1 heel, but his role with the company could soon change. Before Rollins got injured last November, he was likely headed for a babyface turn and a WrestleMania 32 match against Triple H. WWE could very well go in that direction in the near future.
Ziggler’s title shot came out of nowhere. He hasn’t received any kind of push this year, and he didn’t even have a match at Battleground. His only feud since WrestleMania 32 was against Baron Corbin, and the recent NXT callup got the better of the established veteran. There’s a chance that Ziggler will lose to Ambrose and immediately drop down back to the mid card. Or is WWE finally giving Ziggler the push that many fans have been asking for?
After losing clean at Money in the Bank, Battleground and the first edition of Raw after the brand split, one thing is clear: Reigns won’t be pushed as WWE’s No.1 babyface for the foreseeable future. Maybe it was his recent suspension or the negative reaction of the fans, but Ambrose, Balor, Cena and Orton are all ahead of him as WWE’s top good guys. Now the question remains how far down the totem poll will Reigns fall, or will he soon become a top heel?
Arriving in WWE at the same time as the likes of Cena, Lesnar, Orton and Batista, Benjamin never had nearly the same amount of success as the other four superstars. But he did spend eight years in WWE, and after a six-year hiatus, Benjamin is back. Benjamin was advertised to return on SmackDown, where he’ll have an opportunity to be one of the biggest stars. At 41 years old, it should be interesting to see what kinds of opportunities Benjamin gets. It’s unknown if he’ll be on the SummerSlam card.