Biggest Gaps in the WWE SummerSlam 2020 Match Card

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Biggest Gaps in the WWE SummerSlam 2020 Match Card

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    WWE SummerSlam 2020 is almost here and the lineup is getting packed, but there are still some elements not accounted for on the card.

    Some Superstars have every reason to be on the bill but don't appear to be scheduled for a match, which is curious.

    Who stands out as some of the biggest gaps for the SummerSlam match card and how could WWE fill the void? Let's take a look.

Honorable Mentions

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    Some of the Superstars not scheduled to appear Sunday are absent for good reason, such as safety precautions, injuries, medical circumstances or travel issues. Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch would be welcome additions to the card under different scenarios.

    But there are also some Superstars who aren't technically advertised to make an appearance, yet we can assume they will show up at some point.

    For instance, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin have no matches scheduled and have been banned from ringside for MVP's match. We may see The Hurt Business backstage or in a promo, but their absence otherwise is at least excused.

    It would be odd if Alexa Bliss didn't do something in the Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt match. She's been heavily involved in recent weeks, and Nikki Cross might also help out her tag team partner.

    Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo may show up to help Dominik fight off Seth Rollins and Murphy, although the Dutchman was written off television with an injury angle to explain his absence.


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    By their very nature, Retribution cannot be advertised as a guaranteed appearance. If WWE were to book something in advance, it would go against the whole purpose of the group causing their usual chaos.

    Marketing with some official graphic that the faction will show up and wreck the place would ruin the surprise element of their appearance.

    Plus, no names of the group's members have been confirmed. We can't pinpoint specific Superstars missing from the card who are in this group since we have no idea who it is supposed to consist of.

    We should expect Retribution to appear, though. Even though they didn't do much this week on Raw, they were still a presence.

    It would be a shock if SummerSlam passed by and there wasn't a single appearance by one masked person representing the faction.

Raw Underground

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    Shane McMahon's side hustle during Monday nights, Raw Underground, has still not been fully fleshed out.

    Is this a sanctioned league under WWE's regular control? Does Shane-O-Mac just grab people and let them fight without the rules and regulations of the main roster?

    For that matter, since it's called Raw Underground, we can assume it's part of the red brand, yet it features NXT and Performance Center talent, too. That calls into question if it should be expected for a main roster event like this or better suited for TakeOver.

    Ideally, WWE would have announced some sort of special fight to take place for Raw Underground at SummerSlam. Fans who don't usually watch the flagship show might love the idea and start tuning in on Monday nights.

    Instead of it growing like that, it seems this will continue to be something featured only on Raw at random times when the feed cuts to another bumper segment of a quick fight.

    All we got in place of that was the announcement that Dolph Ziggler will fight Ivar next week on Raw, which isn't the same as being featured at SummerSlam.

Mickie James, Natalya and Lana

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    After being out of action an entire year, Mickie James finally returned to Raw this week, only to be treated like garbage.

    She and Natalya didn't receive entrances for their match, and the entire segment was overshadowed by Seth Rollins yelling at Samoa Joe just to set up for the second time in the night that Rey Mysterio would be on the show later.

    James then lost by count-out in the background while this was all going on.

    It was an awful way to welcome back a legend and future Hall of Famer who carried the division for years during a time when women's wrestling wasn't featured as heavily as it is today.

    WWE would have been better off holding this encounter off and having it on the Kickoff show for SummerSlam. At least then it would have been given its own few minutes of attention.

    Originally, this wouldn't have been important enough for The Biggest Party of the Summer, but now WWE should book them to make up for how poorly they were treated on Raw.

Kevin Owens

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    Kevin Owens feuded with Seth Rollins from Survivor Series all the way through WrestleMania 36, limping along in a stale feud that was stretched far beyond its value just to get to the biggest show of the year.

    Following that, WWE has lost any creative direction for KO.

    It's sad and unfortunate, as he's one of the best on the roster who could conceivably work with anyone—heel or face. But he's had some minor interactions with Apollo Crews, a retouch of his feud with Rollins and not much else.

    Most recently, he played moderator for a Riott Squad reunion opposite The IIconics and followed that by becoming a sacrificial lamb for Randy Orton.

    With that in mind, it's no surprise Owens won't be at SummerSlam on Sunday. It's just a shock that WWE has someone this great at its disposal and can't figure out a proper storyline for them.

The IIconics, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott

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    Over the past month or so, The IIconics have targeted Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott as the subjects of their incessant heckling. This has led to the reformation of The Riott Squad, minus Sarah Logan.

    After a series of singles matches, Morgan and Riott teamed up and beat Billie Kay and Peyton Royce on the August 3 edition of Raw, only to lose singles matches the following weeks.

    This is a big enough feud that their exclusion from the card stands out, but there's a catch. It wouldn't be worth just having another rematch for the sake of getting them on the show.

    Instead, since we know Bayley and Sasha Banks are set to defend the Women's Tag Team Championships on Payback on August 30, WWE should book a No. 1 Contender's match.

    By having Morgan and Riott beat Kay and Royce one more time to earn a title shot at Payback, that would be the most efficient way to move on from this feud and set up proper challengers for The Golden Role Models, rather than having to cram it in on Raw or SmackDown before the next pay-per-view.

Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

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    While Asuka is dealing with Sasha Banks and the Raw Women's Championship, Shayna Baszler is waiting in the wings to become the next No. 1 contender.

    She has even said she's rooting for The Empress of Tomorrow to regain the title so she can take it from her.

    That match could have easily been booked for SummerSlam, but WWE decided to stretch out the inevitable split between The Golden Role Models at least one more month with this diversion instead.

    In the meantime, Nia Jax returned this week to attack Baszler on Raw Underground.

    As The Queen of Spades has nothing else to do while waiting for a title shot, WWE could have booked her against Jax for this show.

    Here's hoping Asuka reclaims her title and faces Baszler at Clash of Champions on September 20.

The Miz, John Morrison and Heavy Machinery

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    After Sonya Deville attacked Mandy Rose and cut off some of her hair on the July 31 edition of SmackDown, The Miz and John Morrison were quick to crack jokes and drew the ire of Otis and Tucker.

    Heavy Machinery have been in a tangential feud with them ever since, although it's nowhere near the focal point. That's understandable, though, as the story is ultimately about Rose and Deville.

    What makes this a big gap on the SummerSlam card, however, is that Otis is still holding the Money in the Bank briefcase. He should be a major player right now, but it seems as if WWE has forgotten he is carrying around that title shot and hasn't had anything juicy for him to do since winning it on May 10.

    If there are no plans to make use of him as Mr. Money in the Bank, he should drop the case to someone else and remain in the tag team scene.

    As it stands, Otis, Tucker, The Miz and Morrison may make an appearance at SummerSlam, but it would just be supplemental for the Hair vs. Hair match between Deville and Rose.

King Corbin, Shorty G and Matt Riddle

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    King Corbin and Matt Riddle did not get off on the right foot when The Original Bro came to SmackDown in June.

    Immediately, they were in opposition and have been feuding ever since, with Corbin even corrupting Shorty G to join his King's Ransom incentive for Superstars to take Riddle out.

    It's astounding there hasn't been an official match made yet between Corbin and Riddle for this event, as it feels like a guarantee.

    Then again, WWE could be waiting until Friday's edition of SmackDown to make it a done deal, or it may be trying to stretch this out until Payback the following week so that card isn't left without feuds to resolve.

    Ideally, they'll fight in some sort of gimmick match, but Corbin vs. Riddle has to happen soon.

Big E and Sheamus

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    Big E and Sheamus have been bouncing around different opponents recently: The former has been at odds with The Miz and Morrison, while the latter has some lingering issues with Jeff Hardy and was thrust into the Riddle-Corbin feud.

    Those roads led to a situation on last week's SmackDown where the two found themselves in a staredown while discussing Retribution.

    This hasn't fully blown up into a feud quite yet, but it seems WWE is going in that direction. Even if that's not the case, both men are big enough names worthy of being on this list.

    Big E's singles push could use a match at SummerSlam to justify getting invested in it, while The Celtic Warrior is a multi-time champion who shouldn't be without a story or direction.

    If the tension between the two continues, there's a good chance a match will take place as a kickoff for SummerSlam or on the Payback card on August 30.

The Lucha House Party, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura

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    Since becoming SmackDown tag team champions at Extreme Rules on July 19, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura have been at odds with Lucha House Party.

    It's not been the most complex, engaging or groundbreaking feud, but it's at least something. Far too often, Lucha House Party aren't even in the mix and the tag titles are also pushed aside.

    These teams have been having random fights and singles matches to drag things out until a true title bout can take place, and that should be happening soon.

    Since Cesaro and Nakamura against Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik and Kalisto isn't likely to be a make-or-break contest for viewers to decide on watching Sunday's pay-per-view, it's best WWE holds off for the moment.

    However, this could be one of the matches to fill up the Payback card, rather than get lost in the shuffle among more important things at SummerSlam.

AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy

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    In what's likely an attempt to spread out the marquee matches and feature one on television to pop a rating, WWE has opted to put AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy on SmackDown rather than SummerSlam.

    Had Sunday's pay-per-view been in front of a live crowd, fans buying tickets for the event would likely have been upset at missing such an encounter, while the viewers of the blue brand would be ecstatic to get such a treat.

    There's also a chance WWE again abuses its recent tactic of double-booking matches.

    Big E and John Morrison were paused at the start of SmackDown due to the appearance of Retribution and had their match later in Friday's show. And Asuka's matches at Backlash and Extreme Rules had no proper finish so they could set up repeats on future episodes of Raw.

    Similarly, interference from Retribution could throw out Styles vs. Hardy this week. Then, WWE gets viewers for Friday night and tries to hook them into watching the rearranged match at SummerSlam or Payback. The company should be careful not to keep doing this, though.

    For a feud between these two, though, fans will likely forgive WWE quickly if they are granted more chances of watching Styles and Hardy against each other.


    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.