WWE SummerSlam is right around the corner and is shaping up to be quite the event for Vince McMahon's company. We will see the in-ring return of Brock Lesnar, the top two championships being defended and the debut of Bray Wyatt against Kane in a Ring of Fire match.
As of this writing, the August 18 SummerSlam card begins with a kickoff match for the United States title with Dean Ambrose defending against Rob Van Dam. This is hot off the heels of a great promo by the Shield in which Ambrose puts over the importance of the championship and why he believes it is the real WWE title.
Then we have two stars of Total Divas featured, with Brie Bella taking on Natalya. Cody Rhodes is seeking revenge against Mr. Money in the Bank Damien Sandow. The odd pairing of Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn will be facing Big E Langston and AJ Lee. Kane and Bray Wyatt battle in a ring surrounded by fire. World champion Alberto Del Rio defends against fan favorite Christian.
After that, we have the two big matches of the evening. Paul Heyman's former friend CM Punk will take on Brock Lesnar in a match dubbed the "Best versus the Beast." And of course the match that will likely be the main event is John Cena putting the WWE Championship on the line against Daniel Bryan.
Eight bouts are booked for this event and while everyone certainly has their favorites, there are three in particular that I believe are potential match of the night candidates.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
This is one of those matches that I believe could very well sneak up on us. The truth is that Christian has his supporters, fans who have rallied behind him on more than one occasion. For his "peeps," Captain Charisma is a sentimental favorite; an established star who has all the tools necessary to put on much more than just a good match.
And the man he is facing is no stranger to the main event scene in WWE. The current world heavyweight champion is enjoying his latest title run and the new heel turn that goes along with it. Del Rio is a Superstar who has constantly delivered in the ring and will surely do so again at SummerSlam against Christian.
But some fans complain quite often that Del Rio's character is boring and that without Ricardo Rodriguez by his side now he is no longer entertaining. For Alberto's critics, it does not really matter who he faces in the ring, their interest in him or his matches is usually nonexistent.
However, I happen to be a fan of Alberto's work in the ring. He is one of those guys who just keeps his head down and keeps working hard. He is willing to do everything asked of him, and that could very well include dropping the world title to Christian at SummerSlam.
I believe that Ricardo could very easily become involved in this match and actually cost Del Rio the title belt. Christian is a viable contender and a legitimate champion, WWE will lose nothing if he wins the title and in fact would gain a new set of match possibilities since Christian is a babyface.
This could open the door for Damien Sandow to cash in the contract and for he and Christian to feud heading into the latter half of the year.
Christian has proved himself as a main event star. He is a hardworking talent who is very consistent night in and night out. His time as a singles star has been very revealing, as he has shown what he can do against some of WWE's top talent. He has become so good that his tag team past seems like a distant memory at this point.
So despite whether or not Christian were to win then be upstaged by Sandow, I feel the match that's set for the world title has the potential to be one of the best of SummerSlam. Alberto Del Rio and Christian will bring everything they have and more. This is one match I'm definitely looking forward to.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
And speaking of looking forward to a match, this one definitely qualifies. This match is one of those prime examples why pro wrestling remains the storyline-driven monster that it is.
On one side we have CM Punk, a straight edge Superstar who recently held the WWE Championship for a record breaking 434 days. The smile that is on his face once again is the result of leaving behind his rule-breaking ways and the man who directed the mayhem, Paul Heyman.
On the other side, we have Heyman's longtime client and former UFC champion Brock Lesnar. Brock is one of the most dangerous Superstars that WWE has ever known and he will be out for blood against Punk, whose falling out with Heyman has been making headlines since the day their friendship began to crumble.
This one has some real drama attached to it, mostly due to the rift between Heyman and Punk. Heyman is taking credit for much of the success that Punk enjoyed while holding the WWE Championship. Heyman's belief that he made it all possible directly contradicts Punk's view that he never needed an advocate and that his hard work is the reason why he has achieved what he has in the company.
The other part of this match is the fact that this is the first time Punk and Lesnar have ever faced each other. Punk's submission-style offense seems like a good fit with Brock's MMA background, but I for one am very curious to see just how well these two guys match up in the ring.
The truth is that both men are very accustomed to being in the main event spotlight, and Punk in particular has had his fair share of big matches over the past two years. For many fans, this bout is a dream match and could very well steal the show at SummerSlam.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
What once began as just a rumor, a whisper among fans, has now become reality, as Daniel Bryan will be challenging for the WWE Championship. And of all the matches on the SummerSlam card, this one intrigues me the most.
A big reason for this is the differences in style between Cena and Bryan. Cena's move set is that of a very mechanical Superstar, a guy who literally does the same routine nearly every time he's in the ring. What some fans may refer to as the "five moves of doom," I believe just happens to be Cena's method of working a match, maneuvers that he relies on to get from point A to point B, nothing more.
However, the spotlight that shines on Cena is brighter than it is on anyone else and, because of this, everything he does is under a microscope. The question is, how will the champ look next to Bryan in the ring?
Bryan's frenzied attack happens incredibly fast. One moment he's down on the mat, and the next he's on his feet and flying off the ropes. His entire comeback is one of controlled chaos, a deliberate dissection of his opponent. And just as quickly as Bryan can keep fans guessing what side he will bounce off next, he's suddenly locked his opponent up in a submission move back down on the mat.
So will the duo's respective styles mesh? Perhaps Bryan will be forced to slow down a bit to match Cena's more methodical pace. Or maybe we could see Cena step up his game and speed up to match Bryan's pace. Even though Cena is WWE's top guy and needs to look consistently strong in every outing, the fact is that Bryan must look strong as well or he could slide down very quickly in the eyes of the fans.
And the debate over just who will come out on top in this match is still raging. Bryan has so many fans that truly believe his time is now. For them, the man once referred to as "goatface" has persevered, overcome every obstacle put in front of him and now deserves the reward for his hard work in the company.
But for those who support Cena, there is just no way they can envision Bryan being a big-money draw no matter how good he is in the ring. Cena just has so much more time on that level and so much more experience dealing with the pressures of the spot itself. Add to this the fact that Cena is still WWE's top moneymaker and the case for Daniel Bryan to be WWE champion becomes very hazy indeed.
And we can't forget about Triple H's last-minute appointment as special guest referee for the match. What impact will The Game have on the outcome in this one? Will he sway to one side or the other? Or could Vince McMahon make his presence felt to counteract his son-in-law at every turn?
The fact is that WWE could literally take this one in any direction. The match itself could very well end up being a match of the year candidate, not just match of the night. And they could put the title on Bryan, which could lead to a feud with WWE's other Mr. Money in the Bank, Randy Orton. Orton has a definite history with Bryan and a lot to draw on for a future rivalry, this time with the WWE Championship hanging in the balance.
WWE SummerSlam is considered by many to be the company's second top pay-per-view behind WrestleMania. This year could be the case as well, as the card we have right now is one that should provide entertainment from top to bottom. Who will steal the show at SummerSlam? Who will have the match of the night?
We will all have to find out together.