A polarizing match that was months in the making will finally take center stage Sunday when Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella do battle at SummerSlam.
This feud dates back to Payback, where Brie quit WWE before slapping Stephanie. The principal owner of WWE has been at odds with Brie ever since, but they will look to settle their differences in the middle of the ring.
Fans seem to be split regarding their excitement for this particular encounter, but WWE has clearly invested heavily in it when it comes to television time. It will be a vital part of the pay-per-view, and viewers will be intrigued whether they like it or not.
With SummerSlam looming, here are some bold predictions for the anticipated clash between Stephanie and Brie.
Steph vs. Brie Will Be Semi-Main Event
While SummerSlam will be headlined between the gargantuan WWE World Heavyweight Championship bout between John Cena and Brock Lesnar, Stephanie and Brie will still play a big role on this pay-per-view. Based on the rest of the card, it stands to reason that Steph and Brie will be the semi-main event as the second-to-last match of the night.
Matches such as Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton could also be put in that spot, but Steph vs. Brie seems like a logical fit. For starters, they were in the final Raw segment in the two episodes prior to Cena and Lesnar returning on television together.
Brie had Stephanie arrested for assault a few weeks ago in one of the more entertaining angles in recent memory. After that, Brie poked and prodded Stephanie on Twitter:
Stephanie eventually got some measure of revenge by having Brie arrested Monday. She claimed that Daniel Bryan was having an affair with his physical therapist, Megan Miller, which prompted Brie to slap Miller.
Whether fans like that storyline or not, the writers are obviously working overtime to make it as dramatic as possible.
It is also important to recognize the ancillary involvement of Triple H and Bryan, who happen to be two of WWE's biggest Superstars. Triple H aided Stephanie in her attack of Brie and Nikki Bella a couple of weeks ago. Bryan is now the subject of the affair angle, but he has also been vocal about the feud on Twitter:
Along with all of that, Stephanie vs. Brie won't necessarily be a high-impact encounter, which means it can serve as a buffer between Cena vs. Lesnar and one of the aforementioned matches.
Putting this match on so late in the card might lead to some complaints from the WWE Universe, but there is no doubt that it is among the top storylines in the company, so it would certainly make sense.
The Match Will Be Better Than Expected
While this contest isn't predicated on technical wrestling by any means, it has the potential to be far more entertaining than it is being given credit for. It is true that Stephanie hasn't wrestled in more than a decade, and Brie has never been considered one of the top workers among WWE's Divas, but there is reason for optimism.
Above all else, Stephanie and Brie are clearly taking this match very seriously. As seen in this video, courtesy of her Instagram account, Steph is putting in the work and appears to be in phenomenal shape:
The exact same thing can be said about Brie, as evidenced by this photo:
Brie may never go down among the all-time greats like Trish Stratus or Lita from a pure wrestling perspective, but she has improved mightily during her current stint with the company. Perhaps being with Bryan has helped her in that regard. Whatever the case, she is more than capable of wrestling a solid match.
That may be tougher for Steph, but she is the most over heel in the company and has the charisma necessary to work the crowd. She will likely tease hitting Brie with a Pedigree at some point during the match, with Brie teasing the Yes! Lock.
This match is about psychology and the storyline that surrounds it more than anything else, but both women are going to work hard, and they are going to do everything they can to entertain the fans.
Stephanie Will Have an Insurance Policy
Like her father, Vince McMahon, Stephanie is conniving and ruthless. She is going to enter Sunday's match with a plan, and there is absolutely no way that it will be a fair one-on-one encounter. Steph will have an ace up her sleeve, but it remains to be seen exactly what that is.
Getting Triple H involved is possible, but he would be somewhat limited since he can't do much physically against a Diva. If Stephanie turns to another Diva instead, then there are a few intriguing options. Some have speculated that Nikki might turn on her sister, but that wouldn't make much sense considering the fact that McMahon attacked her a couple of weeks ago.
Call it a hunch, but perhaps this is the perfect time and place to facilitate Kharma's return to WWE. Kharma took the company by storm for a few weeks in 2011, but her run was cut short when it was announced that she was pregnant. Aside from a surprise entry in the 2012 Royal Rumble, she hasn't competed for WWE since.
It should be noted that Kharma has some history with the Bella Twins. Brie and Nikki mocked her prior to her departure, and she vowed to get back at them.
During the contract signing for this match, Brie told Stephanie that "karma always comes back around." Maybe that was nothing more than a throwaway line, but it could very well have been a subtle clue.
Stephanie is a smart businesswoman who knows she will need help against a trained wrestler like Brie. Kharma is arguably the most dominant force women's wrestling has ever seen, and she is essentially a free agent.
Bringing her in as a hired gun would give Stephanie even more heat, and it would breathe new life into a Divas division that is finally starting to gain some traction.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!