Anytime WWE presents a pay-per-view as storied and prestigious as SummerSlam, there are certain expectations applied to the biggest stars and matches on the card, and understandably so.
With so much hype surrounding the show and so many fans ready to plunk down their hard-earned money to purchase the biggest event of the season, it only makes sense that people would expect the absolute best from everyone involved with the broadcast.
Some fail to live up to expectations, drawing the ire of the WWE Universe. It is inevitable. But others will rise to the occasion, exceeding any and all expectations that fans had set for them and adding their names to the long list of Superstars who either broke out or cemented their legacies at the popular event.
Those individuals will be celebrated for the quality of their performances in the immediate and long-term aftermath of SummerSlam and may even see their stock rise within the company as a result.
But who are these Superstars and Divas? Whose names will be on the lips of fans come Monday morning?
Let's take a look, shall we?
While all eyes will be on Roman Reigns Sunday night, it will be The Viper who steals the spotlight from him with one of his best performances of the year.
Orton has appeared far more motivated and energetic in recent weeks, dating back to the rediscovery of his venomous Apex Predator character during a brutal and violent beatdown of Reigns.
His promos have benefited from this increased intensity and aggression, and his match with Sheamus on the August 11 episode of Raw showcased a wrestler ready for the bright lights and big stage of SummerSlam.
There is no doubt that Reigns will beat Orton and take one giant leap toward the top of the card, but it will be Orton who reaffirms his reputation as one of the best workers in the industry thanks to an extraordinary effort to put the future of the industry over in one of the night's marquee contests.
The feud between Rusev and Jack Swagger may have lost some of the momentum it had heading into Battleground last month, but since the July pay-per-view the two athletic big men have clashed on several occasions, each match improving upon the last.
When that sort of pattern forms, there is always reason to believe that the next contest will be the best yet.
Rusev has improved exponentially thanks to his series of competitive, long matches with Swagger, and Sunday night at SummerSlam he will wrestle his best match yet when he meets the Real American in a Flag match.
As is the case, a flag match is as much about the drama of Superstars climbing the ropes to retrieve their nation's flag as it is the actual ring work. But with someone as talented as Swagger sharing the ring with him, the Bulgarian Brute will turn in a performance that not only has fans applauding the fact that he exceeded their expectations but also questioning whether it is time to move the former NXT standout to the next level of WWE competition.
The Lunatic Fringe has made the absolute most of everything he has been given to this point, excelling as a far better babyface than anyone could have imagined and becoming one of the most popular stars on the roster in the process.
So why wouldn't one assume that he would exceed expectations and deliver a quality Lumberjack match?
The rivalry between him and Seth Rollins has been outstanding to this point, and since the WWE Universe appears to be legitimately interested in the animosity and hatred between the Superstars, they are likely to be engaged in the action whether they are fond of the gimmick bout or not.
Ambrose will be the breakout star of the match, even if his opponent has the opportunity to leave Los Angeles with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, if he chooses to do so.
One of the most polarizing figures in all of professional wrestling, Stephanie has always managed to draw criticism from fans who hate her overbearing personality and her obnoxious delivery on the mic.
At SummerSlam, however, she will win those same fans over with a performance that ensures her match with Brie Bella not only exceeds expectations but stands as one of the card's most memorable.
All one has to do is look back at Stephanie's in-ring history to see a woman whose reliance on story development and effective overbooking has led to some wildly entertaining matches. Her bout with Trish Stratus at No Way Out 2001 was one of the biggest surprises in company history, while her "I Quit" match with father Vince at No Mercy 2003 was one of the finest examples of crowd manipulation ever.
With Triple H and Daniel Bryan possibly at ringside, not to mention Brie's sister Nikki, all of the ingredients will be present for another sports entertainment showcase. Stephanie will deliver, much as her father did so many times throughout his career, because of her sheer determination and will.
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