John Cena vs. Cesaro and 7 Must-See Feuds for WWE's Summer Season
As exciting as the road to WrestleMania is, WWE tends to put forth their strongest storylines during their summer season from June to August. The last few summers in WWE have been nothing short of spectacular and this year's road to SummerSlam should be no different.
Since WrestleMania 30, WWE has been stuck in a holding pattern, but things have appeared to heat up with Money in the Bank right around the corner. From The Shield splitting up to Daniel Bryan being stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the stage has already been set for what should be a stellar summer season.
Some of WWE's most memorable storylines have happened during this anticipated time of year including the debut of The Nexus, CM Punk's pipebomb promo, Daniel Bryan's rise to the top and more. Additionally, Christian vs. Randy Orton, CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho are all ruthless rivalries that we've seen come to fruition on the road to SummerSlam in years past.
What feuds should we except to see from WWE's top-tier talent in coming months?
John Cena vs. Cesaro
Some may pinpoint WrestleMania 30 as the night Cesaro's rise to the top officially begun when he won the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but Cesaro was gaining momentum long before that. Fans took a liking to Cesaro during his time with The Real Americans late last year after he started using the Cesaro Swing on a regular basis.
Cesaro turned heads when he qualified for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match in February and scored singles victories over the likes of Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. It wasn't until his clash with John Cena on the February 17 Raw that he truly proved to fans and officials alike that he was ready for the big time.
The two Chamber opponents had one of the best TV matches of the year so far. While Cesaro came up short in the end, he looked strong in defeat and Cena did his fair share of making the former ROH star look like an equal.
A short time later, Cesaro parted ways with The Real Americans, had a breakout moment on the grand stage of WrestleMania 30 and aligned himself with Paul Heyman. Since then, Cesaro has been on an absolute roll with wins over Sheamus, Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger and others.
Now landing a spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match later this month, Cesaro could be holding gold before long. Regardless of whether it'd be over the belt or not, however, a feud with Cena is a must for this summer.
Cena's rivalry with The Wyatt Family has run its course and there aren't many other fresh faces at the top for him to feud with right now. A rivalry with Cesaro would not only produce great matches but could also elevate The Swiss Superman to the next level in WWE.
Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust
The rumblings of a Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust feud date back to late 2011 when Goldust petitioned for a match against his brother on Twitter. They seemed to be on a collision course for WrestleMania 28 following a brief encounter on the December 30 edition of SmackDown, but the angle was ultimately dropped for one reason or another.
Rumors of a WrestleMania match between the two started up again when they clashed in the 2013 Royal Rumble, but it ended up being nothing more than a one-off appearance for Goldust. It wasn't until late last year that a brother vs. brother bout on The Grandest Stage of Them All finally seemed plausible when Goldust returned to WWE as a full-time performer.
In one of the year's most memorable moments, Cody Rhodes and Goldust captured the WWE Tag Team Championships together on the October 14, 2013 Raw. In subsequent months, they took the tag team division to new heights and had show-stealing performances every single night.
At the 2014 Royal Rumble event, their highly enjoyable reign as champs came to an end at the hands of The New Age Outlaws. Many figured that their loss of the straps would set them up for a feud against each other going into WrestleMania 30, but it unfortunately never came to fruition.
The Rhodes brothers only just recently started teasing tension with each other. With Cody embarking on a losing streak, he has declared himself no longer worthy of teaming with Goldust, choosing a different partner for The Golden One each week.
One can only assume that this will lead to Cody splitting with Goldust in the near future after assuming that Goldust was the weak link in their team after all. However it comes about, a match between them at SummerSlam would be terrific and would be a great way for Goldust to go out before his contract reportedly expires in August.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
After an amazing 18-month run, The Shield shockingly came to an end on the June 2 edition of Raw when Seth Rollins betrayed his stablemates Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. In aligning with Triple H and The Authority, Rollins not only turned his back on his Shield brothers but also the entire WWE Universe.
Ambrose and Reigns sent a clear message to Rollins on the June 9 Raw that his actions will not go unnoticed. They attempted to exact revenge on him that same night, but their plans were thwarted by The Wyatt Family.
It remains to be seen what involvement all three former Shield will have in the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but it's far too early for them to face off in a Triple Threat match against one another. As Reigns branches off into a feud with Triple H (more on that later), it'd only be logical for Rollins and Ambrose to engage in a rivalry for the summer.
A feud between the two could show how capable they are of shining on their own. Combine Ambrose's promo ability with Rollins' in-ring skills and you have yourself a red-hot rivalry that has the potential to be great.
Bad News Barrett vs. Sheamus
Over the last three years, Sheamus and Bad News Barrett have clashed in singles competition well over a dozen times. Isn't it amazing to think that in that time, they have yet to have a one-on-one match on pay-per-view?
Barrett and Sheamus have shown in their many matches against each other that they have great chemistry in the ring, so it's pretty mind-boggling that they haven't engaged in a real feud together up to this point. However, there's a chance that could change this summer.
At Extreme Rules, Barrett defeated Big E to capture his fourth Intercontinental Championship. The next night on Raw, Sheamus emerged victorious in a 20-man Battle Royal to become the new United States champion.
Both Europeans have done a swell job of bringing back prestige to both belts, but some still feel that WWE is in need of one midcard championship. If a title unification match were to be in the cards, it wouldn't mean more than it would right now with Barrett vs. Sheamus.
Heck, you could even execute a double turn if you wanted to given how loved Barrett has become and how stale Sheamus is as a fan favorite. The matches between the two would be excellent and the two titles merging would actually mean something.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
When the rivalry between The Shield and Evolution first began, it was quite clear that the end game would be Triple H vs. Roman Reigns. Evolution always went out of their way to brutalize Reigns more than any other member of The Shield, foreshadowing a future feud between HHH and the multi-generational star.
Seth Rollins turning on his Shield brethren has provided Dean Ambrose and Reigns with the opportunity to break off on their own as well. As previously noted, it's currently unclear as to how this Shield feud will be booked in coming months, but it's still very likely that Reigns is on a collision course for a feud with Triple H at SummerSlam.
For the better part of the last year, Reigns has been looked at as the "golden boy" of the rogue trio. Having standout performances at Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and Extreme Rules, it's no secret that WWE has big plans for Reigns in the very near future.
The seeds for a HHH-Reigns feud were planted at Payback when Reigns pinned The Game in a six-man tag team match between The Shield and Evolution to win the bout for his team. Reigns may be currently occupied with Rollins, but he's merely an obstacle for Reigns to overcome before he gets to Triple H.
If WWE does indeed intend on pushing Reigns to the moon, then a feud with HHH is the way to go. Scoring a victory over the 13-time world champion at the biggest party of the summer would surely solidify him as a main event player in WWE.
Paige vs. AJ Lee
After months of anticipation, Paige finally made her WWE main roster debut on the April 7 Raw, coming out to congratulate AJ Lee on her successful Divas Championship defense at WrestleMania 30. Instead, she was met with a slap in the face and a challenge from AJ, to which Paige accepted.
In the minute-long match, Paige reversed AJ's Black Widow submission maneuver into the Paige Turner for the three count and surprising upset victory. The arena came unglued as Paige celebrated her newly won championship.
AJ hasn't appeared on WWE TV since, as she took time off to get married to her fiance CM Punk this month. Thus, fans shouldn't expect AJ to resurface on Raw until after the Money in the Bank pay-per-view at the earlier.
Although Paige winning the title in impromptu fashion made for a spectacular moment, the Divas division is no different than what it was several months ago. The division is in need of a real feud, and AJ vs. Paige can be that personal rivalry fans have be longing to see since AJ vs. Kaitlyn last summer.
Paige has shined both in the ring and on the mic in brief time on the main roster, and AJ's abilities in both areas are well documented. Their post-'Mania match was a small preview of what we should expect from the two when they finally clash inside the squared circle for the title.
Thus, if given enough time, the feud could really develop into something special for the ladies and fans alike.
Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar
Daniel Bryan's WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign wasn't what many had hoped, but not all of it is his fault. It was just a matter of terrible timing and Bryan unfortunately being the victim of it all.
After announcing that he had to undergo neck surgery on the May 12 Raw, Bryan's status as WWE World Heavyweight champion was put into question. He was finally stripped of the strap on the June 9 Raw at the hands of The Authority with it being confirmed that the Money in the Bank Ladder match on June 30 will be used to crown a new champion.
As of now, the timetable for Bryan's return is still very much unclear, but officials are reportedly hoping to have him back for August's SummerSlam pay-per-view. If he is able to make it back in time for the event, it is very likely that he will clash with the returning Brock Lesnar over the title.
At WrestleMania 30, Lesnar broke the illustrious undefeated streak of The Undertaker to the surprise of almost everyone. He appeared on Raw the next night, but utter a word, instead allowing his advocate Paul Heyman do all the talking for him.
After ending the most storied streak in all of wrestling, it's a no-brainer that Lesnar should be put in contention for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He stated his intentions to become champion on the final Raw of 2013 but has yet to receive his shot at the prestigious prize.
Granted, it may be near-impossible to believe that someone of Bryan's stature could beat a legitimate tough guy in Lesnar, but the feud itself would be highly entertaining. Bryan shines best when he's in the underdog role and being up against will make for one of the biggest mismatches in WWE history.
But that's what will draw viewers into seeing them fight at the biggest blockbuster of the summer.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.