WWE: 10 Possible Match-Ups We Missed Seeing at SummerSlam
SummerSlam took place more than a week ago, so I know what you’re thinking: Why am I still talking about it?
Well, we wrestling fans love to live in the past, and that’s exactly what I’m doing here.
Although SummerSlam certainly had its high points, it’s safe to say that the pay-per-view was rather disappointing overall.
That’s not a knock on the performers. Just an observation about what was one of the more lackluster SummerSlam shows in recent memory.
I think that part of the problem with the PPV was that matches that should have gotten on the card, for whatever reason, didn’t.
Even though some of the matches we missed wouldn’t have exactly been instant classics, the WWE might very well have been better off in both the long and short terms had they happened.
Here are 10 possible match-ups we missed seeing at SummerSlam.
10. Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal
Remember that really bad Kevin Rudolf performance that no one cared about whatsoever?
Why not replace it with Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback?
The WWE is obviously trying to build up Ryback as one of its top babyfaces, and apparently, the company is trying to elevate Mahal to the top of the heel hierarchy.
Thus, it would have made sense for these two to get the second-to-last match on the card to get a chance to perform in front of a sellout crowd and a worldwide pay-per-view audience while also not expecting to deliver a five-star classic.
Instead, the payoff match to the Mahal and Ryback feud came on last week’s taped edition of SmackDown.
Doesn’t make sense to me.
I know the crowd might not have been totally into this match, but the feud between these two would have seemed like it meant more had this bout taken place at a “Big Four” PPV like SummerSlam.
9. WWE Tag Team Championship: Kofi/Truth vs. PTPers vs. Epico/Primo
I’m still not sure why this match didn’t happen at SummerSlam.
Heading into the pay-per-view, the real beef in the tag team division seemed to be between Epico and Primo and the Prime Time Players more so than the PTPers and the WWE Tag Team Champions, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston.
Although I’m not crazy about Triple Threat matches (especially with the WWE we’ve gotten Triple Threat overkill lately), this is a scenario in which it would have been logical to add Epico and Primo to this match.
They had legitimate issues with Darren Young, Titus O’Neil, Truth and Kingston, so throwing them into the bout could have perhaps furthered this tag team storyline.
Not only that, but the quality of the match likely would have been considerably better.
Young and O’Neil still don’t do much to stand out in the ring (especially O’Neil), but Epico and Primo have fantastic chemistry and could have easily improved the in-ring action here.
Oh well. After what transpired on SmackDown, at least it looks like this could still happen down the road.
8. Damien Sandow vs. Brodus Clay
According to F4WOnline.com (via WrestleZone.com), Damien Sandow vs. Brodus Clay was supposed to take place at SummerSlam, but was replaced in favor of—you guessed it—that awful Kevin Rudolf performance.
Instead, Sandow faced Clay the next night on Raw in a match that was dominated by Clay but won by Sandow.
The WWE is in a tricky situation with these guys because they’re both relatively new to the main roster and—because the front office appears to be high up on both of them—are generally protected and booked very strongly.
But like with the case of Jinder Mahal and Ryback, it would have been wise to get Sandow and Clay out there on a major PPV audience so that the fans can get accustomed to consistently seeing them on PPVs.
It’s obvious that big things are in store for Sandow, and giving him a victory on SummerSlam rather than Raw would have made him seem more important.
Yeah, this match wasn’t very good on Raw. But booking Sandow to pick up a win against a very over face like Clay does more good than harm.
7. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara
It seems pretty clear that Cody Rhodes did something to upset WWE management because he hasn’t been pushed very much lately and seems to just be kind of lost in the shuffle.
But he does appear to be getting back on track, developing a rivalry with Sin Cara with his desire to expose Sin Cara’s “ugly face” as the basis of this feud.
Rhodes kind of seems like a cross between his “Dashing” and demented characters lately, as he thinks Sin Cara is hiding his hideous face and wants to expose the masked superstar.
It’s not a very complicated feud, but it’s one that makes sense and one that’s happening between two quality mid-carders.
Rhodes is a future main eventer, and despite Sin Cara’s struggles, it’s obvious that the WWE hasn’t given up on him yet.
I don’t see why the feud between these two should be relegated to TV.
They’ve got some solid chemistry, and they’re two pretty big names. They should have been on the SummerSlam card.
6. World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Randy Orton’s 60-day Wellness suspension undoubtedly threw a wrench into the WWE’s SummerSlam plans.
What those plans were, no one can know for sure. But I’d be willing to be that the initial plan was this: Orton vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Extending back to even before Over the Limit in May, the WWE had built up a lot of animosity between SmackDown’s top two babyfaces, and it appeared—at least to me—that their rivalry would culminate with a match for the World title at SummerSlam.
That obviously didn’t happen, but I would have loved to see it, especially after Orton and Sheamus faced off in a nearly 30-minute TV classic on SmackDown earlier this year in what was arguably the best TV match of 2012 so far.
These two have amazing chemistry, and of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re also two of the most popular stars in the WWE at the moment.
Orton vs. Sheamus with the World Heavyweight title on the line would have been a great addition to the SummerSlam card.
Much better than the bore-fest that is Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio, at least.
5. Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio
When Rey Mysterio returned last month, he instantly targeted the man who caused him to miss almost a year of action: Alberto Del Rio.
It looked like we’d see those two involved in some type of match at SummerSlam (perhaps even a Triple Threat for the World title), but just like that, the beef between Mysterio and ADR was dropped seemingly out of nowhere.
I get that Mysterio’s return and attack on Del Rio didn’t necessarily mean that they were going to feud, but how much more sense would that have made?
Mysterio should have wanted to go after the guy who almost ended his career, and by go after him, I don’t mean that he should have attacked him once and then forgotten about him.
Rather, the WWE should have ended the Sheamus/ADR snooze-fest, and instead, let Mysterio and ADR go at it in what could have been (and still be) a very personal feud.
Yes, I know we’ve seen Mysterio vs. Del Rio more times than I care to count. But I’m not going to complain about it when the logical thing is for it to happen again.
4. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena
Barring something unforeseen happening, the main event of Night of Champions is likely going to be CM Punk defending the WWE Championship against John Cena.
But it should have happened at SummerSlam.
I’m 100 percent convinced that the only reason we got a Triple Threat instead of just Punk vs. Cena at SummerSlam is because Big Show needed to be in the match to take the pin and protect both guys in the process.
There’s nothing overtly wrong with that. The problem, though, is that Big Show destroyed the quality of the Triple Threat match for the WWE title.
The first five minutes or so where Big Show dominated both guys was ridiculously boring. It’s overplayed and overdone.
Instead of seeing a slow and prodding Triple Threat match, we should have just gotten Punk vs. Cena one-on-one: A battle between the WWE’s two most popular stars for its most prestigious title.
It was awesome at Money in the Bank last year. It was awesome at SummerSlam 2011.
It would have been awesome at SummerSlam in 2012, too.
3. WWE Championship: Wade Barrett vs. CM Punk
Wade Barrett’s untimely injury before WrestleMania undoubtedly had a domino effect that has affected the WWE’s creative plans throughout all of 2012.
Thus, there’s really no telling where Barrett would have been on the SummerSlam card had he returned before then.
But one major rumor that floated around earlier this year was that Barrett would win the Money in the Bank match at that pay-per-view and then go on to challenge Punk for the WWE Championship, possibly at SummerSlam.
Of course, plans could have (and did) change. But a Barrett/Punk feud would have been something fresh between two of the best overall performers in the WWE.
Barrett was really in a zone as a heel prior to his injury, and a potential SummerSlam match and feud with Punk could have been great.
And if not Punk, I certainly could have seen a returning Barrett target Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship.
That would have been fun to watch, too.
2. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Call me a Randy Orton mark if you want, but I really missed him on the SummerSlam card.
One big reason: His rumored feud with Dolph Ziggler.
According to F4WOnline.com (via WrestleNewz.com), the plan at one point (after Chris Jericho’s suspension) was for Orton to feud with Ziggler.
That would have been phenomenal.
Although I’m honestly not sure the WWE could have held off on this match until SummerSlam, it would have been fantastic no matter when or where it happened.
Ziggler and Orton have faced off a few times on TV before, and as you might expect from two of the WWE’s best in-ring workers, they had some great chemistry and delivered some very impressive matches.
Yet, they’ve still never feuded, although that could be changing as we speak.
After Orton hit Ziggler with an RKO at the conclusion of SmackDown and prevented “The Showoff” from cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, it looks like we could have the makings of an Orton/Ziggler feud.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Right around the same time that Daniel Bryan’s feud with CM Punk concluded, Randy Orton returned from his suspension.
Coincidence? I was hoping not.
With Bryan seemingly left without a feud and Orton obviously needing one as well, it was my hope that the WWE would have ignited a rivalry between these two.
Orton vs. Bryan was the World Heavyweight Championship match I wanted to see at WrestleMania 28, so when I thought it could happen at SummerSlam, I was wishing for a nice consolation prize.
Instead, Bryan rehashed his feud with Kane, and Orton was left off the pay-per-view altogether.
I understand why the WWE did both of those things, but that doesn’t change the fact that I would have loved to see Orton take on Bryan instead.
It’s pretty safe to say these two would have put on a show at SummerSlam.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!