WWE's summer version of WrestleMania is nearly upon us as SummerSlam 2013's lit wick is ready for explosion.
Championship bouts, grudge matches and a variety of Superstars highlights this year's version of the pay-per-view. Several potential Match of the Year candidates are on the card and fans will tune into see how the high-profile feuds play out.
The following is a preview of which showdowns are set to take place and how to watch all the action.
While the entire week is filled with Superstar appearances and various events leading up to the show, SummerSlam itself begins on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 8ET/3PT.
The pay-per-view will run U.S. fans $44.95. If it's any consolation, Paul Heyman recently told Xfinity, "I humbly suggest that Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk is worth the price of admission alone."
A far cry from the days of closed-captioned TV, fans can watch the event in a myriad of different ways. WWE.com lists all the cable services that fans can order the pay-per-view from. SummerSlam is available on just about every cable company in the United States from AT&T to Xfinity.
Other options include streaming it on WWE.com or on one's smart device via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon.com and the Windows Store.
Watch SummerSlam on SMART TVs, XBox 360 or check out the list of blast areas in your town that are showing the pay-per-view. WWE.com’s "how to watch" section lists places like Buffalo Wild Wings where fans can congregate and stuff their face while the in-ring drama plays out.
In Canada, fans can save some money by watching the event at participating Empire Theaters for just over 15 bucks Canadian. Fans from the United Kingdom don't have all the smart device options available to American fans. For them, the best bet is to order from Sky Box Office.
Unless of course, a fan has the funds to fly to Los Angeles and see everything at the Staples Center firsthand.
The free pre-show begins at 7 ET/4 PT and will feature a match with the United States Championship on the line and a preview of the night's matches with Shawn Michaels, Booker T and Natalya.
Looking forward to Summer Slam Sunday Where I will be one of the host on the pre show Alone with Shawn Michaels & Natalia. @awesome— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) August 14, 2013
Fans can catch those three Superstars break down the action on a variety of formats; WWE.com, the WWE App, Yahoo!, YouTube, Facebook, Samsung SMART TVs, Sony PlayStation 3, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Pheed. Additionally, for the first time, the SummerSlam kickoff will also be available in Spanish. Just don't tell Zeb Colter.
The highlight of the SummerSlam appetizer will be Dean Ambrose defending his U.S. title against Rob Van Dam.
Ambrose has not defeated a long list of big names since winning the championship, and should he fend off Van Dam, he would come off as an increasingly credible champ.
Grudge matches/Lower Card
- Bray Wyatt vs. Kane (Ring of Fire match)
- Brie Bella vs. Natalya
- Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee and Big E. Langston
- Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes
Bray Wyatt makes his pay-per-view debut Kane in intriguing fashion. The Ring of Fire (read: Inferno match) stipulation adds to the excitement of this showdown. Wyatt has been trying to woo Kane to join his "family" for the last few weeks.
Wyatt will either get a pounding from The Big Red Machine or possibly forcibly recruit Kane to his fold.
The match between Brie Bella and Natalya is the first case of drama from the Total Divas reality show spilling into WWE's regular programming. The majority of the cast of that show will be at ringside to support their respective Diva.
Dolph Ziggler teams with Kaitlyn to take on AJ Lee and Big E. Langston in a match with bad-blood aplenty.
Ziggler and AJ's breakup, Kaitlyn and AJ's feud and Ziggler and Langston's hate for each other should make this dramatic if nothing else.
The best of this portion of the night is the grudge match between the two former members of Team Rhodes Scholars.
Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase has been the center of contention between him and Cody Rhodes. The amount of hatred that has built between the former friends over the past weeks and the fact that this is a huge opportunity for both men to impress make this a potential show-stealing match.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian (World Heavyweight Championship)
- Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk
- John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship)
Look for Alberto Del Rio's former personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez to factor in, taking revenge for a savage beating on a recent episode of Raw. He'll likely at least attempt to cause Del Rio to lose his coveted championship.
CM Punk wants revenge on Brock Lesnar and Lesnar's advocate Paul Heyman.
The size difference and clash of styles should make this stand out, but it's the emotional power of this feud that will be the core of the entertainment. Punk, Heyman and Lesnar have all played their parts well in making this a personal clash.
With Triple H serving as the special guest referee and Randy Orton lurking with his Money in the Bank briefcase in hand, uncertainty surrounds the WWE title match.
For John Cena, he faces the man he chose to challenge him, an increasingly popular, passionate Superstar with an unkempt look that juxtaposes his own. For Daniel Bryan, he enters the biggest match of his career, WWE supremacy at his fingertips.
Both Cena and Bryan have a history of working great matches so this one has major potential to be the best WWE match of the year.
Splintered friendships, championship pursuits and combustible drama awaits those who catch SummerSlam 2013. With as good as WWE's pay-per-views have been this year, the event has some stiff competition to surpass, but certainly has the potential to do just that.