WWE SummerSlam 2019: The 5 Most Essential Booking Decisions That Must Be Made
In the world of wrestling, certain nights matter more than others. While any show can set the stage for a major change, the biggest events promise that change. Certain stars are given the chance to determine their fate.
WWE SummerSlam 2019 on Sunday may not have the hype of past events, but it has the same potential to change the course of the brand.
From the world title showdowns of Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton right down to the singles matches with no stakes such as Dolph Ziggler vs. Goldberg and Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor, each contest has the same spotlight.
Ember Moon could defeat Bayley and write the opening to a promising new chapter in her frustrating main-roster run. Ricochet could solidify his status in WWE by defeating AJ Styles and regaining the United States Championship, even with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson watching.
Everyone has an opportunity, but certain moments will matter more than others. It is time to deliver, and the wrong booking could ruin WWE. Certain stars might never recover after a loss.
These are the five booking decisions that must happen above all others in order for WWE to take the right path forward.
New Men and Women Must Capture the 24/7 Championship
The already legendary rivalry between R-Truth and Drake Maverick has elevated the 24/7 Championship to heights no one could have expected so quickly. It's impossible to predict what the two men will do next to capture the green and gold championship.
However, this title has been too focused on just two stars. It is there to give everyone a moment to shine. Mike Kanellis recently got that short window of relevancy, but there are many wrestlers who have been after the title since day one without success.
It is time for new blood to get involved, and that shouldn't just mean more men. It has already been established that this is an intergender championship, and plenty of women could use the same spotlight to stay relevant at a time when the division's representation feels frustratingly shallow.
If nothing else, it is about time Truth shared the load and let Carmella get a run with the title she has helped him keep. The list of names that could take this opportunity and run with it is countless.
EC3, Zack Ryder, Bo Dallas, Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox are just a few veterans who feel perfectly suited for a run with the 24/7 Championship and have nothing else to do at present.
It might even be time to start getting established names involved with the title. Braun Strowman or Drew McIntyre winning the belt would instantly change the dynamic as more wrestlers may be a bit more hesitant to step up to the champion.
The possibilities are endless. It's time to deliver on that with more variety.
The Young Blood Must Defeat the Returning Veterans
Trish Stratus is making her return to WWE for one last match. One of the greatest female wrestlers of all time, the WWE Hall of Famer should be given the spotlight she deserves. However, she should not walk out with a victory over Charlotte Flair on Sunday.
Similarly, Goldberg will be attempting to make up for his embarrassing showing at WWE Super ShowDown during his match against Dolph Ziggler. Hopefully, he can put on a performance that reminds everyone what he can do at his best. He just should not take the victory.
One of these two results is likely. The Queen has been established as one of the biggest stars in the company. Even without a title around her waist, she is treated like the second-biggest attraction in the women's division behind Becky Lynch.
It is easy to see her walking out with a victory. She may have to cheat to do that, but that is to be expected of the daughter of The Dirtiest Player in the Game. Charlotte will get the rub.
The Showoff is facing a much tougher hill to climb. He has rarely won in 2019. He has been embarrassed by everyone, including losing in 17 seconds to Kevin Owens. Ziggler's mouth has continued to write checks that the rest of his body cannot cash.
Goldberg has always been portrayed as an unstoppable force, but he is 52. It's time to move on. Ziggler needs a big win to the point that a loss might just ruin his career. It can be the dirtiest win of The Showoff's career, but he must walk out the victor if there is any hope for him to remain relevant.
Kevin Owens Must End Shane McMahon's Reign of Terror
A few key storylines can be pointed to as the clear reason WWE has struggled to get fans excited about the product recently. None stand out more clearly than Shane McMahon's reign of terror. He has dominated screen time on Raw and SmackDown for several months.
His feud with The Miz fizzled out before he shifted into a rivalry with Roman Reigns, which also led nowhere. Kevin Owens is the only man the WWE Universe has left to rely on in these dark times. If he fails, Shane will sooner become WWE champion than take time off.
KO has been on one of the best runs of his career since his latest babyface turn. He may not hit a great Stunner, but he does cut a fantastic promo and continues to deliver in the ring. It's easy to get behind him, even more so working off Shane-O-Mac.
If the point of Boy Wonder's heel run was to help finally commit to Owens as a top star, it might all be worth it. Few moments at SummerSlam will get a bigger reaction than when The Prizefighter pins Shane for three.
If KO is just another challenge for The Best in the World to overcome, though, it would be the ultimate letdown. WWE would suffer through more months of Shane parading around as an overconfident heel, holding down Drew McIntyre and both major brands.
Kofi Kingston Must Prove Randy Orton Wrong with Definitive Victory
A decade of heat has built to one match with a singular message: Kofi Kingston must prove he is worthy to step up to Randy Orton. SummerSlam's WWE Championship match has mostly relied on past storytelling to deliver, but it has worked.
It is easy to root for Kofi against a man who has admitted he does not see the WWE champion as a true top star and has held him back for that reason. However, SummerSlam must deliver on the story that has been set up.
If The Apex Predator walks out as champion, it would solidify every foul word he has spewed about The New Day leader. He would have proved Kofi was never worthy of this spot because he has never been at the same level at Orton.
There are times when a heel is so far in the wrong that he cannot win. He so vehemently denounces a babyface that the rival must respond. He cannot fail because it would destroy his career.
The WWE champion has been on an incredible run since WrestleMania. His competitive matches with everyone have helped to quickly establish him as a main event act in WWE despite the fact that he only made it to this level this year.
All of that would be ruined if he lost on Sunday. Kofi can fall to any other major heel in WWE. He cannot fall to The Viper. He must prove his worth to his loudest detractor.
Brock Lesnar Must Not Walk Out of SummerSlam as Champion
It feels like a lifetime ago since Brock Lesnar was not in the title picture. The Beast Incarnate has been WWE universal champion 683 days ahead of Sunday, a total that almost doubles the title reign total of every other wrestler to hold the gold.
While he has helped to make the title memorable, he has hardly made it feel special. It could be argued that his match with Seth Rollins is the least interesting contest on the entire card. Despite this, it is almost certainly going to be the main event.
It is time to move past Lesnar. While The Beast Slayer may not be the perfect replacement for the multiple-time champion, he is the one fans have right now. He needs to slay The Beast one more time so that fans can move on to a time when world championships are defended on every pay-per-view again.
If WWE wanted to pull a swerve and have someone else sneak into this match to win, that would be fine. What matters most is that Lesnar does not walk out as champion. He shouldn't have even reclaimed the Universal Championship in July.
He has had two massively overlong reigns as champion already, and having Lesnar walk out with the gold again would remind everyone too clearly how little respect WWE has for its huge roster.