Predicting the Headlines to Emerge After WWE SummerSlam 2020
SummerSlam is one of the most prominent, important and popular pay-per-view events of the year, and Sunday night, it hits the WWE Network airwaves with lofty expectations thanks to a teaser tagline and flashy new digs.
The event promises "you'll never see it coming" and touts a state-of-the-art arena setup known as the ThunderDome, but will those elements provide the most attention-grabbing headlines in the wake of the show, or are they merely deflecting the audience's attention from the monotonous booking decisions that have plagued McMahonland for the past decade?
It turns out it's a little bit of both.
These are the headlines fans should expect to catch their eye following the conclusion of Sunday's summertime spectacular.
Retribution Strikes, Robs WWE Championship Match of Definitive Finish
WWE champion Drew McIntyre will defend his title against Randy Orton in one of the advertised main events at SummerSlam, but their titanic clash over the top prize on Monday Night Raw will come to an unsatisfactory conclusion, courtesy of the anarchic Retribution.
The black-clad faction will swarm the ring and attack the champion and challenger, creating chaos and robbing viewers of a definitive victor.
Not because they have a specific reason for attacking one or both of those competitors but, rather, because WWE has a pay-per-view the following Sunday that it will look to book McIntyre-Orton II for.
A clean finish of any sort eliminates the necessity for a rematch, but if Retribution gets involved and forces a double disqualification or no-contest finish, WWE has the excuse it needs to book a rematch for Payback on August 30.
That gives that event greater significance rather than just being just a last-minute sequel to The Biggest Party of the Summer.
It also puts Retribution in a high-profile, main event position on the show, further confirming their importance to the creative direction WWE has implemented.
The Fiend Regains the Universal Championship...and All Is Right with the World
Our fandom's long-standing nightmare will come to an end Sunday when "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defeats Braun Strowman to regain a Universal Championship he never should have lost.
How it happens or whether it involves Alexa Bliss is irrelevant.
After a series of creative absurdities left the masked alter ego of WWE's most compelling chameleon without gold, he will satisfy his hunger for a championship, feasting on the soul of his former black sheep in one of the event's most anticipated bouts.
The build to the match has been the best main event program the company has produced this year, providing a trip through Strowman's psyche. Wyatt has manipulated him and dragged him down to his level, and in the place of the catchphrase-spouting big man is a true monster, unfazed by his friendship with Bliss or the constraints of man.
He has been menacing, physically dominant and, on SmackDown, left Wyatt a heap after chokeslamming him from a ledge.
But in Wyatt's place emerged The Fiend, laughing at the violence he had provoked from Strowman, his plan complete.
At SummerSlam, the mind games and manipulation will culminate in The Fiend's championship triumph and SmackDown's return to darkness under his reign.
Sasha Banks' and Bayley's Long-Awaited Split Is Underway
Bayley and Sasha Banks are always on the same page.
Most of the time.
Maybe some of it.
Or so they tried to convince us Friday night on SmackDown after The Boss took exception to Bayley again offering her up to Asuka first. The momentary disagreement, called out by an alert Corey Graves, was what fans should consider foreshadowing of The Golden Role Models' inevitable split.
Earlier this year, it appeared as though they were on their way to a breakup before they refocused and reasserted their dominance over the women's division, achieving unprecedented success. In recent weeks, though, we have seen Bayley's ego get the best of her, volunteering Banks for unenviable showdowns with Asuka.
With pressure mounting and championship gold at stake, expect the tension between them to intensify, especially if Asuka relieves one (or both) of them of their gold at SummerSlam.
There is considerable money to be made in a Banks-Bayley feud, especially five years after their historic encounter at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Look for the journey to that program to kick off Sunday.
ThunderDome Concept Fails to Hide WWE Creative Downfalls
WWE can install all of the LED boards it wants, but they will not make up for creative decisions that any eight-year-old with a box of crayons, a notepad and a handful of action figures can conjure up.
The WWE ThunderDome is a bright, shiny Band-Aid on a compound fracture that is WWE's creative process,
The company's inability to recognize its greatest issues—its storytelling process and its inability to create new stars through it—will continue to rear its ugly head no matter how many arena makeovers it implements.
The result is a product that is still tone-deaf, wholly unfulfilling and unreflective of the incredibly talented roster the company has at its disposal.
Will it look good? Hell yeah! But the total lack of quality content will rob the ThunderDome of its luster fairly quickly.
Beginning Sunday night with WWE's latest, and potentially greatest, creative failure.
Which we will see coming.