SummerSlam is only two-and-a-half weeks away, but there are only two matches listed on WWE’s website. John Cena will defend the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk will look to get his revenge on Brock Lesnar.
However, there are a couple of feuds still building up for their SummerSlam payoffs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow have had a lot of airtime over the last couple of weeks. Dolph Ziggler continues to outsmart AJ Lee and Big E. Langston.
With only a couple of weeks left, let’s take a look at how WWE has built up their top feuds and if they have been successful.
John Cena and Daniel Bryan: B+
Cena defeated Mark Henry and retained his WWE title at Money in the Bank. With no potential challenger lined up next for Cena, Raw GM Brad Maddox gave Cena the opportunity to pick his own opponent for SummerSlam.
Cena took all night to make his decision, but at the end of the night, Cena chose the hottest Superstar on the roster today: Bryan.
Bryan more than deserves this title shot. He’s an excellent wrestler; it will be hard for him to have a bad match. His popularity is through the roof. As soon as his music plays, fans rise to their feet and begin chanting, “Yes!”
However, this doesn’t feel like a Cena and Bryan feud. It looks like Bryan is feuding with Vince McMahon. Week after week, McMahon belittles Bryan on all fronts—he’s too small, he looks like a troll, he’s not strong enough.
WWE must shift the spotlight off of McMahon and Bryan to focus in on Cena, Bryan and the WWE Championship. There’s no doubt that this will be a great match, but the buildup must be just as great.
CM Punk and Brock Lesnar: A
As soon as Paul Heyman accepted Chris Jericho’s challenge to Punk at Payback, we knew there would be a rift between Heyman and Punk.
After the event, Punk told Heyman he is his friend, not his client. After a match with Alberto Del Rio, Punk was attacked by Lesnar. Heyman said he had nothing to do with the attack, and the two hugged.
During the Money in the Bank All-Stars match, Heyman cost Punk the briefcase by hitting him twice with a ladder.
Heyman cut a promo saying that without him Punk is no longer the “Best in the World” and that he couldn’t defeat Lesnar. Lesnar came out, and the two battled around the ring, which ended with Lesnar hitting Punk with an F5 on the announce table.
The following week, Punk challenged Lesnar to a match, and Heyman accepted.
This feud is a basic monster heel vs. small babyface, but it’s working to perfection. Punk is trying to get revenge on his former manager, but Lesnar stands in between them. On top of that, Punk and Heyman are delivering some of the greatest promos of their careers.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow: B
Although it may not be a main event feud, Rhodes and Sandow have shined over the last few weeks.
Team Rhodes Scholars were together from Sept. 24, 2012, until July 14, 2013, at Money in the Bank. They received multiple tag team title shots but were never able to capture the belts.
Both Superstars competed in the Money in the Bank match to win a world title shot. Rhodes was heavily cheered throughout the match. He was ascending the ladder when Sandow tossed him off the ladder and pulled down the briefcase.
The next night on Raw, Rhodes attacked his former partner and turned face in the process. This past week on SmackDown, Rhodes stole Sandow’s briefcase and tossed it into the Gulf of Mexico.
While Rhodes has outsmarted the “Intellectual Savior of the Masses,” Sandow has gotten the better of Rhodes on the mic. Rhodes needs to cut a promo on either Raw or SmackDown. The fans seem to hate Sandow more than they like Rhodes.
There is still plenty of time left, and this will be a good midcard feud. Both men have main event potential, and this feud could raise both Superstars’ stocks.
What are your grades for these feuds and others? What must WWE do to raise their grades?