WWE is entering a pivotal string of pay-per-views that will have a significant impact on the growth of WWE Network, and The Authority will be at the helm of its big-money main events.
As is always the case in entertainment, WWE will need to capitalize on rivalries between a heroic babyface and a despicable heel.
The cheering of heels among hardcore fans has infiltrated live arenas. Alleged villains Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt and the injured Wade Barrett are regularly embraced by the WWE Universe.
While this is an indicator of a successful character, booking a feud between today's pseudo-heels and top babyfaces becomes quite awkward.
With the short-term success of WWE Network relying heavily on SummerSlam and Night of Champions, reports have circulated of WWE's top feuds moving forward.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc) recently reported that the top feuds for SummerSlam include Roman Reigns against Randy Orton, Stephanie McMahon against Brie Bella and a potential Daniel Bryan-Kane Buried Alive match before Bryan was shelved with a neck injury.
A separate report from F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc) noted Reigns is still also penciled in to face Triple H on a future pay-per-view. WWE has gone out of its way on several occasions to tease this monumental showdown.
The Authority presents a stable of heels whose success is determined by the animosity they draw from fans, not cute catchphrases. Randy Orton, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Kane are all despised by even the smartest fan. They represent the antithesis of the hard-luck, hard-working and eclectic underdogs who have become beacons of the reality era.
During Raw's main event this past week, announcers were sure to put an emphasis on how Reigns (accidentally) wounded Orton during the Money in the Bank main event. The two adversaries brawled into the backstage arena as part of an inconclusive end to the tag team match.
This will be one of many seeds that should be planted en route to Reigns vs. Orton. Their feud should continue to evolve as part of a subplot during the upcoming WWE Battleground main event.
A Divas match should have a main event feel should McMahon decide to make a rare in-ring appearance. With Bryan currently out of the picture, the Yes Movement can still live vicariously through Bella, especially when the universally despised McMahon is used as a foil.
The simple storyline of the hero's wife battling a power-hungry authority figure, possibly for her job, will resonate with fans if executed correctly.
This same storyline revitalized the careers of both Cody Rhodes and Goldust. Of course, this was because fans were able to fully invest in babyfaces who represented family values and were collectively battling uphill against steep odds.
This will be a theme all summer long. Because as money-drawing heels, The Authority is WWE's only hope.