WWE presents SummerSlam 2013 is behind us, as memorable matches transpired and storylines reached new heights. At the heart of the action were three champions, who all look to continue their momentum after walking away with gold at SummerSlam.
The question is, what's next for every participating champion?
At SummerSlam, Alberto Del Rio retained the World Heavyweight Championship, Dean Ambrose held onto the United States title and Randy Orton won the WWE Championship strap. All three men have a target on their respective backs and each is without a moment to breathe.
Here's what they should look forward to.
Alberto Del Rio, World Heavyweight Champion: Cody Rhodes
Alberto Del Rio defeated Christian in one of the best matches of the night at SummerSlam, using the cross armbreaker to get the job done. The fans were more behind Del Rio than we've seen in quite some time, and the international star retained the World Heavyweight Championship.
Up next should be a feud with Cody Rhodes.
Forgive me if this is less than ideal, but virtually all of WWE's top-face superstars are involved in storylines. Rob Van Dam, Big Show and Mark Henry are all facing The Shield, while Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler have feuds of their own.
Christian just lost to Del Rio, John Cena and Sheamus are facing injuries and Kofi Kingston just returned, to top it all off.
Rhodes just defeated Damien Sandow at SummerSlam, which makes him the only viable and available option. Furthermore, Sandow holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, which suggests that a potential Rhodes victory could call his rival out.
This isn't the dream match, but it's the most rational next step.
Dean Ambrose, United States Champion: Rob Van Dam
During the SummerSlam pre-show, Dean Ambrose retained his victory over Rob Van Dam after a disqualification finish. The Shield interfered, Mark Henry and The Big Show came out to even the odds and Roman Reigns' spear allowed Ambrose to walk out with his title in tow.
For that reason, the next best feud for Ambrose is to remain in his current one.
When a title match is decided by disqualification, it generally means that there is more to the feud than what we've already seen. With this in mind, it's all but certain that Van Dam and Ambrose will meet again.
And rightfully so.
Van Dam is one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the industry, which makes him the perfect opponent for the up-and-comer. Not only can RVD help put Ambrose over with a loss, thus entering him into the main event scene, but should the ECW legend prevail, it would be far from damaging.
One way or another, we'd be seeing The Shield involved in a high-profile storyline.
The most logical step at this point would be to schedule a six-man tag team match, pitting The Shield against RVD, Big Show and Henry. With the U.S. and Tag Team Titles on the line, the feud would progress to the next level and both Ambrose and his stablemates would be given the opportunity to shine against active legends.
For Ambrose, the best new feud is the same one he's engulfed in.
Randy Orton, WWE Champion: Daniel Bryan
In what was easily the most shocking moment at SummerSlam, Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated Bryan to win the WWE Championship. Many expected Orton to take advantage of the opportunity, but few expected him to win with Triple H's assistance.
That makes a feud between Orton and Bryan all but certain.
Whether or not Orton and Triple H are aligned with one another is unclear, despite the conclusions many have jumped to. There's just as strong of a possibility that HHH was acting out against Bryan and Orton to simply take advantage of it due to his possession of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
With that being said, Orton and Triple H are famed former members of Evolution.
With Bryan serving as the next big thing in WWE, there aren't many ways to get him more over than by having him feud with Orton and Triple H. Keep in mind that Chris Benoit—another technical wrestler—made their leap to the world title by defeating Evolution.
Bryan could do the very same.
Even if an Evolution reunion is not on the horizon, Orton is the WWE Champion and Bryan is the rightful No. 1 contender. It would also give Bryan the opportunity to go from feuding with the top face, Cena, to the top heel, Orton.
There's nothing bigger than this for either superstar, so why avoid making it happen?