Let's Book Summer Slam
WWE Programming, Particularly Raw, Needs a Shot in the Arm. Here's how to do it.
Summer Slam has traditionally been the fan’s show. It’s been the show that’s had well booked matches with fan favorites, the polar opposite of Wrestlemania’s star-driven, eyeball attracting formula.
Right now, Summer Slam is a little more than two months away, and will be the first “Big Four” pay-per-view event after the company returns to touring. The problem right now is that the two main shows, Smackdown and RAW, are heading in two different directions.
Smackdown, clearly the A-show now that is on FOX, has been a well oiled-machine for months now. It’s amazing to think that Roman Reigns has been the featured attraction for nine months now and it just hasn’t gotten old. Every program that he has been booked in has been good. He’s elevated guys like Jey Uso and Cesaro. Had a major program with Edge and Daniel Bryan. He has been the literal Head of the Table for the entire brand. The undercard, with serious title programs, has been well booked for the most part too.
RAW however is a total wasteland. Bobby Lashley’s first run as WWE Champion is being wasted on this show that is poorly booked, poorly executed, and is seeing declining interest from even the most hardcore fans. This problem is partially, but not fully, due to RAW being a three-hour show. But everything about this show is annoying at best, stupid at worst.
Part of the problem with RAW is lazy booking. The same finish (a distraction leading to a quick roll-up) was used in three matches in the first half of RAW this past Monday. The same finish (the champion being incapable of defeating Nikki Cross within two minutes) was used for the second straight week. John Morrison, maybe the best pure athlete in professional wearing, was wearing a garlic necklace.
It’s hard to imagine that the two shows come from the same company.
Part of the problem for me has been having two sets of champions. There has never been a need to have two world champions, two women’s champions, and two tag team champions (especially true of the tag team titles since neither set of titles are currently held by a real tag team). Having Roman Reigns on both shows, for example, would make both shows better right now (assuming that whoever is writing RAW doesn’t screw the whole thing up).
With that in mind, here’s a card for Summer Slam that would do three things:
Merge the top three titles on each brand;
Help RAW get more interesting;
Provide an entertaining show.
Without further ado, here we go:
Title Unification Match- WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns def. WWE Champion Bobby Lashley: This match should be a hoss fight for certain. The WWE Title, being the older title, would be the surviving title here despite the fact that the Universal Champion would be the winner. Lashley would be Reigns most physical test as champion to date, and one would assume that he would defeat Lashley through some sort of chicanery involving Jey Uso, though in a heel-vs-heel match there could be all sorts of gaga at the end of the match. Plus, a bruised and battered Reigns as unified champion would be ripe for whoever is holding the Money in the Bank briefcase holder.
Title Unification Match- WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair def. WWE RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair: This will take a little imagination, and would require Flair to take the RAW title off of Rhea Ripley between now and then. Probably for the best, as Rhea Ripley has been terribly booked as champion and will need a bit of a reset away from the titles so she can be rebooked as a monster. Giving Belair the win here will reaffirm here as the future top star of the women’s division and give Flair another opportunity to chase the title in an effort to pass her father in total championships won.
Title Unification Match- WWE RAW Tag Team Champions Randy Orton and Matt Riddle def. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions Rey and Dominik Mysterio: Getting the titles onto Orton and Riddle shouldn’t be hard because they’re clicking as a unit and because the A.J. Styles and Omos tag team is practically useless. In addition to getting the titles unified, this will serve as the time where Dominik turns on his father. This could, theoretically, start the build to two Wrestlemania 38 matches, with both teams breaking up and facing each other on the biggest stage.
Intercontinental Title Fatal 4-Way- Adam Cole def. WWE Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamrua: The Intercontinental Title is the “worker’s” title. There is nobody who deserves that title more than Adam Cole, who has deserved a permanent call-up to the main roster for a long, LONG time. Crews would eat the pin in this match to keep Cesaro and Nakamrua strong.
United States Title Match- Keith Lee def. Sheamus: Where is Keith Lee? I don’t know, but get the man on television, give him the U.S. title, and see what happens.
Interbrand Match- Rhea Ripley def. Bayley: This match is meant to do two things: first, get the highly entertaining Bayley on the card. Second, to start building up Rhea Ripley as a credible contender again. Bayley would make Rhea look like a million bucks.
Interbrand Match- Seth Rollins def. AJ Styles: Seth Rollins is bound to be in the world title picture again, eventually. This match will help reestablish Rollins as a top guy and, again, would be a fantastic match for the card.
Tag Team #1 Contender Gauntlet Match- The Street Profits def. The New Day, The Dirty Dogs, Lucha House Party, and Alpha Academy: Well, somebody needs to be the #1 contender. Orton, Riddle, and The Street Profits would be great character work and in-ring work for the tag titles after the title unification.
Non-title Champion vs. Champion Match- NXT Champion Karrion Kross and NXT UK Champion WALTER go to a no-contest: There is no reason for this match to happen other than it would be entertaining and I want to see it. The match should go to a full Broadway so neither guy does the job and both can go their separate ways.
Damian Priest def. Drew McIntyre
Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn:
Both of those last two matches are about building up contenders to Roman Reigns at the unified title. On RAW, giving Damian Priest a shot to see what he can do on top. On Smackdown, well, you can never get enough of a Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens feud.
This card would produce a lot of things:
A top heel champion, atop the company for a year;
The best worker in the company as the top upper-midcard guy on Smackdown;
Two feuds on their way toward a Wrestlemania Match;
Getting Bianca Belair over as the top women’s act;
The beginning of the Rhea Ripley rebuilt project;
Setting up a main-event level tag team title feud.
Building two babyfaces as potential top contenders to Roman Reigns
Ultimately, none of these things will happen. The company seems hellbent on keeping two sets of titles and keeping a guy like Adam Cole down at NXT. But it’s something that the brains up in Titan Tower should consider in order to reinvigorate their somewhat moribund product.