The biggest event of the summer is upon us, and World Wrestling Entertainment has stacked its SummerSlam card with some huge matches. Some of these battles will be fought with prestigious championships on the line, but others are simply for personal pride.
So strong is the card that any number of contests could have historical implications. As is the case with any WWE pay-per-view, though, there are those that have a much better chance of being immediately associated with the summertime spectacular.
More importantly, they are the bouts that wind up etched in history books thanks to title reigns or noticeable events that occur in them.
With only a few hours until SummerSlam hits the WWE Network airwaves (for just $9.99), here now is a look at the matches on Sunday's card with the greatest historical implications.
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line Sunday night when John Cena defends against Brock Lesnar, and the potential is high for Lesnar to win his first title in a decade.
The Beast Incarnate is riding a wave of momentum following his historic defeat of The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX and has promised to tear Cena apart in front of the WWE faithful in Los Angeles' Staples Center.
If Lesnar succeeds and wins the top prize in WWE, it will forever change the way the top of the card is booked. Lesnar winning would mean that the new champion would make rare appearances on television and pay-per-view, enhancing the importance of his occasional title defenses.
It would force WWE Creative to go back to the well and craft headline stories that do not have the crutch of the championship to lean on, which could very well make for some better and more original programming.
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
This will either be the breakout performance of Roman Reigns' career, or it will create doubts in the minds of WWE officials about his ability to lead the next generation of Superstars into the future.
Luckily, the second-generation star shares the ring with the consistently great Randy Orton, whose increased intensity and aggression in recent weeks has helped enhance the rivalry. As long as Reigns can hold up his end of the bargain, the match should be quite excellent.
Reigns already has the fans' support but is in need of that one signature performance that solidifies his status as the face of a new generation. If he delivers that performance Sunday night, there will be no stopping him on his road to the top of the business.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Reigns is not the only former Shield member who could make history at SummerSlam. Dean Ambrose has exceeded all expectations to such a degree that he has established himself as one of the most popular stars on the roster.
A completely different babyface than those populating the top of the roster, he has struck a chord with fans tired of the same old generic heroes that smile, shake hands and kiss babies.
Sunday night's match with Seth Rollins not only serves as the first major battle in their feud but also could be the night Ambrose single-handedly earns himself a bigger push than anyone could have imagined when the decision was made to turn him babyface.
The Lumberjack stipulation likely limits some of what he and Rollins can accomplish in the contest, but that should not deter the Lunatic Fringe from doing everything in his power to steal the show and leave the fans talking about his performance.
The more he does that, the more likely it is that WWE management cannot deny the connection with the audience, and he will benefit from increased exposure and an even bigger push.
Could Ambrose be the Batista to Reigns' Randy Orton, a dark-horse candidate who gets over more than the anointed "golden boy" and achieves more immediate success as a result? Only time will tell.
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