Although it can certainly be argued, the majority of WWE fans would probably contend that SummerSlam is the No. 2 event on the WWE calendar behind WrestleMania. The company's summer showcase will take place on Sunday, but I have my doubts about the SummerSlam card living up to such a lofty status.
There is no question that the top of the card is pretty intriguing, as Triple H and Brock Lesnar will do battle, CM Punk will defend his WWE Championship against John Cena and Big Show and Chris Jericho will duke it out with Dolph Ziggler in a match that may ultimately steal the show by the time the night has come to a close.
Aside from those three matches, however, there isn't a lot to write home about. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio has already been seen countless times, The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio could be good, but it lacks a story or any type of direction and Daniel Bryan vs. Kane is a match that was booked out of the blue with very little momentum behind it.
As has been the case with most WWE pay-per-views as of late, there is plenty of talent and intrigue when it comes to the top-level matches, but there has been very little effort put into the middle and bottom portions of the card. Even a show like WrestleMania was obviously fairly top heavy, but there were good matches throughout the night and some actual time put into the supplementary feuds.
The same can't be said for this year's SummerSlam, and I'm wondering if it even deserves to be called the No. 2 pay-per-view because of that. SummerSlam has always been in close contention with Royal Rumble, but when you consider the fact that The Rock will wrestle for the WWE Championship at the Rumble and the Royal Rumble match itself will also occur, perhaps the Royal Rumble has unseated SummerSlam.
I have always been partial to Royal Rumble, but SummerSlam has a rich history in its own right, and the WWE always seems to try to push it as the No. 2 event ahead of Royal Rumble. SummerSlam has been one of the WWE's marquee events for a long time, and it's actually tough to remember a SummerSlam that I wasn't entertained by.
Last year's was short on matches, but it contained real feuds with meaning, such as Mark Henry vs. Sheamus, Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton vs. Christian and CM Punk vs. Cena.
This year is different, however, because it seems like the WWE has essentially put all its eggs in the Triple H vs. Lesnar basket in hopes that it will be enough to draw in viewers.
What SummerSlam lacks in terms of card depth, it will have to make up for with other major happenings. I don't feel like SummerSlam can maintain its status as No. 2 based purely on the card that has been put in front of us, but the storyline development that occurs could save the pay-per-view if it's good enough.
By that, I mean something like Barrett attacking Sheamus after he retains the World Heavyweight Championship. Not only would this set up a great feud between the two of them, but it would allow Dolph Ziggler to run in and cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Sheamus' title reign has gotten stale, so this would definitely liven things up.
Also, I'm guessing that we will see Punk's official heel turn. I get the feeling that something huge is in the works, and my best prediction is that Punk, Big Show, Lesnar and Paul Heyman will come together by the end of the night and John Laurinaitis will eventually be revealed as the leader of a heel stable.
Punk, Show and Lesnar all have previous relationships with Laurinaitis, and the WWE has been keeping Big Johnny in its back pocket, so something has to give there.
The in-ring action won't be anywhere near as good as some of the best SummerSlams of years past, but if the writers can pull some surprises out of their hats, then SummerSlam 2012 has a chance to succeed.