WWE SummerSlam 2017: Biggest Unanswered Questions Going into Event

Kevin Wong@@kevinjameswongFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2017

WWE SummerSlam 2017: Biggest Unanswered Questions Going into Event

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    Credit: WWE.com

    We're finally here. Sunday night, the WWE Superstars will partake in the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year. Settle in, because this is shaping up to be long as hell—13 matches in all, including the pre-show. The main show starts at 7 p.m. ET, but the pre-show, which will have three matches on it, starts at 5 p.m. ET. Assuming it wraps up around 11 p.m. ET, that's six hours of sports entertainment to feast on.

    There are so many storylines that could end Sunday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and so many new ones that could spring up Monday on Raw. Whose career is getting made? Whose career is getting flushed? And what's the deal with the pyro?

    Here are the biggest unanswered questions heading into the biggest party of the summer.

Is Baron Corbin Getting Buried?

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Up until a week ago, it seemed all but assured that Cena would lose at SummerSlam. Why? Because losing at SummerSlam is what Cena does; he's currently on a six-match losing streak at this PPV, and he uses this rare occasion to put a deserving guy over. Baron Corbin seemed like he would be the latest recipient of Cena's annual generosity.

    But then, Corbin lost the Money in the Bank briefcase in an out-of-left field, odd way, on the SmackDown before SummerSlam. This raises all sorts of questions. Was there a last-minute change in plans? Did Corbin tick off the wrong person backstage? Because narratively, it made no sense.

    SummerSlam might not be Corbin's night after all. If he loses to part-time Cena in a lopsided contest, it'll be time to get the shovel.

Will the Pre-Show Gamble Pay Off?

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There's going to be a SmackDown tag title match on the pre-show.

    Aside from the intercontinental title defense at WrestleMania, this is one of the highest-profile pre-show matches in WWE history. And it's with The New Day, who usually excel on the main card. WWE must be putting a lot of faith in them—to get people to tune in earlier and to get people to subscribe to the WWE Network (the pre-show is a free teaser to everyone).

    With a roster this big, there had to be some match overflow, but it's unique to see such high-profile talent on the pre-show. Is this going to work? Or is WWE just squandering main event-level talent on matches that barely anyone will see? There's only one way to find out.

Will Naomi Have a Career-Defining Match?

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    Naomi has had a solid, if uneventful, run with the SmackDown women's title. She puts on solid performances; ever since she toned down the gimmick moves—less Rear Views and alternating high kicks—she's been a lot more fun and a lot less corny.

    But she has yet to put on one of those matches, with the emotional stakes that drive great storytelling.

    Her opponent at SummerSlam, Natalya, is a fantastic worker, which gives Naomi the best platform to finally deliver on her promise. If Naomi is going to be the face of SmackDown, she needs to own it. She has a great look and a great entrance, but now, the ring psychology elements need to match.

Will There Be Pyro?

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    SummerSlam needs pyro. Even a smoke machine will do. Because budget cuts aside, they add a level of visual flair, pageantry and excitement that is irreplaceable.

    What would Kane's entrance be without his flames? What would Booker T's entrance be without his fireballs? What would Kurt Angle's entrance be without his red, white and blue sparkles? How about a Finn Balor demon entrance with no smoke?

    Maybe WWE doesn't need pyro at every Raw and SmackDown. But to keep pyro off SummerSlam, the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania compromises the "larger than life" mood that WWE is aiming for.

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