WWE has been red-hot for the last month, heavily spurred by the rise of Daniel Bryan, the face turn of Dolph Ziggler and the bubbling feud between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar that boiled over on Raw.
Heading into SummerSlam, fans are expecting the company to deliver a third consecutive high-quality pay-per-view. Triple H explicitly called SummerSlam the second biggest show of the year. Despite this classification, the latest rumors coming out about the show's card claim that it lacks some of the biggest stars the company has showcased the last few years.
Warning: The following paragraph may contain spoilers of potential matches.
According to Wrestling Observer (h/t 411Mania), the SummerSlam card features the following matches.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston w/ AJ Lee
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow, for the Money in the Bank briefcase
Divas match for the kickoff show
They also note that The Shield is expected to face Mark Henry and The Usos in a six-man tag.
As a fan of fresh matchups, this is a great card. none of these matches have taken place before on a WWE pay-per-view. Punk, Ziggler, Langston, Wyatt, Rhodes and Sandow deserve to be highlighted on a huge show like this. The problem is, where are the big names?
Missing from this lineup: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, Money in the Bank winner Randy Orton, recently returned Rob Van Dam, recent two-time WWE title contender Ryback, The Big Show, Sheamus and The Miz.
At WrestleMania this year, there were some deserving individuals that were left off the card, but this is different. Returning stars and part-timers like Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, The Rock and Chris Jericho weren't eating up match slots.
Marketable names that WWE has invested extensive time and money into are being left off the second biggest show of the year for unproven draws like Ziggler and Rhodes and fresh faces like Wyatt and Langston.
Is this a changing of the guard for the WWE? Are we going to see more turnover in the main event scene and support for younger, fresher talent?