Rebooking a Better Version of the WWE SummerSlam 2022 Match Card
WrestleVotes reported Tuesday that WWE officials "really don't like the SummerSlam card," despite being the people responsible for putting it together. It is not hard to see why, either.
As things stand, the summertime spectacular is made up of rematches, two of which occurred at WrestleMania 38 in April. While rematches aren't always a bad thing when handled the right way or taking place in a certain context, the lackluster card in place around them certainly does not help.
What would make for a better lineup, though?
Taking into consideration the current conditions in WWE, in which the injuries impacting the product (Cody Rhodes, Rhea Ripley) are still very real and other stars (John Cena, The Rock, Charlotte Flair) remain unavailable, here is a rebooked card that could exceed the one we will witness in Nashville, Tennessee on July 30.
United States Championship: Bobby Lashley vs. Veer
Veer has fallen by the wayside of late, left to wallow in creative purgatory as the writing team comes up with something better for him to do.
What better way to reintroduce him to relevancy than by having him attack Bobby Lashley and set up a battle of badasses for the United States Championship?
It sure beats another showdown between The All Mighty and Theory and gives the heel his first shot at a relatively high-profile title match against one of the most over stars in the company right now.
Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge: AJ Styles vs. Gunther
There is no chance WWE should roll through Nashville, home to Impact Wrestling, and not feature the guy who was so influential in the success of that promotion early on. The current card appears to have no place for AJ Styles, so this scenario creates one for him.
Gunther has already hinted at open challenges, so what better way to get The Phenomenal One on the card and provide fans a potential show-stealer than by pairing them up?
Gunther would go over, of course, but Styles would have the opportunity to give fans in Nashville a reminder of why he earned his nickname in the first place.
Riddle vs. Kevin Owens
Riddle vs. Kevin Owens would be the prototypical "there's nothing else better for them to do but they need to be on the card" match. It is somewhat disappointing given how integral they have been to WWE in 2022, but it happens in every promotion.
Regardless of why they are competing, the match would be very good, with both men proving to be workhorses for the company.
Riddle would likely go over to continue what has been a breakout year, but either man is over enough to weather a defeat, so either option is open.
Rey Mysterio vs. Theory
With Rey Mysterio poised to celebrate 20 years in WWE, Theory interrupts the proceedings, looking to further build his name and reputation at the future Hall of Famer's expense.
The arrogant heel would interrupt the proceedings in Madison Square Garden, taking exception to Mysterio hogging the spotlight he thinks should be his. Especially since he is Mr. Money in the Bank and preparing to leave Nashville and SummerSlam as the undisputed WWE universal champion.
That is something Mysterio could not do the last time he squared off with Roman Reigns.
Theory could even mention that he has accomplished more in six months than Mysterio's son, Dominik, has in two years and that he did not need nepotism to do it, clearly ignoring the fact that Mr. McMahon has set him up for all of the success he has achieved...as a good heel would.
Mysterio talks back, Theory catches him with a shot to the face with the briefcase and leaves him lying to a chorus of boos.
In one segment, WWE has built heat for Theory by having him beat up a legend on his big night and sets up a battle with more emotion behind it than the repetitive United States Championship match against Bobby Lashley that the company has booked instead.
Plus, it gives Theory a chance to secure a win and build momentum that he won't get at SummerSlam as The All Mighty figures to retain his title.
Edge vs. Finn Balor
This one is not so much rebooking the SummerSlam card as it is building on what WWE has already established.
Finn Balor's arrival in The Judgment Day ended Edge's reign as its leader and led to a shocking betrayal that drove the Hall of Famer away from the company for months.
A match between two of the most influential and respected in-ring performers of the last two decades is a dream match that should probably be headlining a major WWE event.
It will not quite be in that position on the card, but a contest between the two would almost certainly steal the show.
We have seen mysterious vignettes signaling the return of Edge but, with limited time left to promote such a bout, it may be relegated to an in-ring promo or segment in Nashville that sets up a future showdown.
Why? Even with one or two weeks until the big show, the story writes itself. Add it to the card and let the fans enjoy a match that, two years ago, would have seemed like a pipe dream.
Raw Women's Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch
Sometimes, a card does not need rebooking because WWE got it right in the first place.
Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch is a match that we have seen play out numerous times, and while it may not be the freshest or most exciting, it makes sense.
A year ago on the SummerSlam stage, Lynch returned and dealt Belair her most humiliating defeat. While The EST of WWE has made up for it by dethroning Big Time Becks at WrestleMania in one of that show's best matches, the dark cloud of SummerSlam still lingers overhead.
Belair rolling into Nashville and exorcising the demon that is Lynch on the same stage that proved her downfall a year ago is a story that writes itself, especially when there are no other options credible enough to warrant replacing the former champ.
Yes, Asuka is an option. Sure, a returning Bayley would have been great. With so little time between Money in the Bank and SummerSlam, though, this is the right call and will likely result in the best match, which Belair should win to put an end to any doubt that Lynch still has her number.
SmackDown Women's Championship: Liv Morgan vs. Ronda Rousey
Again, WWE got it right with this women's title match.
Liv Morgan cashed in on Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank, and the former champion gets her contractually obligated rematch. Instead, in this scenario, the former champ will finally execute the heel turn that probably should have happened shortly after she returned.
The Baddest Woman on the Planet lacks the fan support she had in her previous run, and her performance as the smiling, waving babyface has been seriously lacking. She has not been particularly interesting in that role and Morgan's cash-in has provided the opportunity for WWE to do something about it.
It almost certainly won't, but in this reimagined SummerSlam card, anything is possible.
A frustrated Rousey, beaten for the second time by the consummate underdog, snaps and brutalizes Morgan to the horror and anger of the WWE Universe.
Presto, change-o. Rousey is now a heel and SmackDown has a women's title feud it can build around instead of predictably inserting a returning Charlotte Flair to combat two babyfaces, as it's likely to do.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: Brock Lesnar and Sami Zayn vs. The Usos
Sami Zayn has spent months trying to get into the good graces of The Bloodline and while he is the ultimate weasel, one cannot help but like the bumbling heel.
Unless you are The Usos, who look generally unamused whenever the "honorary Uce" comes around.
On the other hand, plenty are amused when Zayn is around Brock Lesnar, whose on-screen chemistry with the former intercontinental champion was one of the revelations of the Road to WrestleMania this past spring.
Keeping alive the idea that The Beast Incarnate would be intertwined with The Bloodline, imagine The Usos snapping and beating down Zayn after one more failed attempt to do right by the family, only for Lesnar to send them scurrying.
Lesnar coming to the aid of Zayn not only gives fans more of the humorous interactions between the badass and the conspiracy theorist, but it also gives The Beast an opportunity to challenge for a championship he has never held: the WWE tag team belts.
It also elevates The Usos to semi-main event status, which is something Jimmy and Jey long ago earned based on their overall popularity and consistent strength of their in-ring work.
Best of all, it keeps Lesnar away from Reigns for the time being, something most agree needs to happen before any remaining specialness of that particular matchup wears off.
If none of those explanations work for you, just check out the above video.
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns conquered The Beast, won the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania and has been mostly unmatched for the better part of the last two years.
With one exception.
At Royal Rumble, Seth Rollins nearly dethroned Reigns, proving to be a master of the mind-screw. From breaking out The Shield's tactical gear, making the long walk through the crowd a la The Hounds of Justice, and laughing off The Tribal Chief's late-match punishment and drawing a disqualification win, The Visionary lived rent-free in the head of the champ.
Since then, WWE has been wise to keep them apart, recognizing there is money to be made from this particular matchup, especially since today's audience is more-than-familiar with their history.
SummerSlam is the perfect place to reignite that feud, and WWE missed out on the momentum Rollins had coming off Hell in a Cell and the program with Cody Rhodes by not going that route.
Rollins winning Money in the Bank and announcing he would challenge Reigns for the title at SummerSlam, then proceeding to remind The Head of the Table at every turn that he was the one man he cannot beat would have made for some great television.
It would have allowed The Visionary to chew the scenery, as he has while developing one of the most interesting characters in WWE, and provided a payoff to one of the more intriguing stories the company has produced this year.
The likelihood that it would be a very good match, too, would have been high.
The contest is still fresh enough that the company could have had fans clamoring for it rather than another showdown between Reigns and Lesnar.