The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be host to WWE SummerSlam on Sunday night in a massive four-hour pay-per-view event. This is the 28th annual SummerSlam, which has long been considered WWE's second-biggest event of the year behind WrestleMania. This year, WWE is pulling out all the stops, with a huge title vs. title match, a long-awaited main event and guest stars galore, including guest host Jon Stewart.
SummerSlam begins at 7 p.m. ET on pay-per-view and the WWE Network on Sunday night. Let's find out why we should be excited about it.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
What am I looking at here? Rusev is a Bulgarian national hero (formerly a Russian national hero). He is a beast of a man and a shockingly good wrestler. He was previously involved with Lana, whom he spurned because he felt she was weak (he also felt she was a "cold fish," but that's neither here nor there). Lana has since hooked up with Dolph Ziggler, who has shown her the wonders of America. (Dolph seems to think the wonders of America mostly involve making out, which ... I mean, he's not wrong.)
Rusev is now with Summer Rae, who is dressing like Lana used to. Lana is being a hatin'-ass ex-girlfriend, Dolph has been kind of a jerk about the whole thing and the end result is that Rusev is the biggest secret good guy in years. He's also putting himself on the Bulgarian flag, which is a true baller move.
Why you should care: Rusev is a really great talent (as is Ziggler) and the match should be a lot of fun. But more than that, it's been a long time since a feud has been so thoroughly backwards. The man we are meant to boo has done almost nothing evil, while the people we are supposed to cheer for have been consistently petty and behaving like hatin'-ass haters. (On Monday, they appeared to move all the way to triflin'-ass.)
This feud has, however, been consistently entertaining ever since Summer Rae showed up. Let's hope RaeRae and RuRu get the job done on Sunday and send hatin'-ass Lana and Ziggler packing.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
What am I looking at here? Sheamus, the current holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase, has taken to grooming himself like enraged Zoidberg and yelling "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED" during excruciatingly boring stretches of matches. Randy Orton remains Randy Orton. He is always, and so shall he remain.
Why you should care: We JUST saw this match last month (and many times before), so really the main compelling point of this match is to see how it might tease a possible Money in the Bank cash-in later in the evening, as Sheamus hilariously tried and failed to cash in his guaranteed world title shot two weeks ago. He may very well try again during the second-biggest show of the year.
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens
What am I looking at here? These are the two Internet favorites at the moment, the two men trying hard to grab Vince McMahon's vaunted "brass ring." Now they're going to get a chance to impress on a huge stage with a one-on-one grudge match. If you're confused about which is which, Cesaro is the one who looks like the objective ideal of what a human male should look like. Owens is the one in a shirt.
Why you should care: This match could well (and will likely be) the match of the night. Not to put the cart before the horse, but this could be a potential match of the year candidate. These are two of the best wrestlers in the entire world and they will be looking to make a name for themselves here against one another. If you've never seen Owens wrestle before, you're in for a treat. If you HAVE seen him wrestle before, you're still in for a treat! Hey! Everybody wins!
Stephen Amell & Neville vs. Stardust & King Barrett
What am I looking at here? Stephen Amell is the star of Arrow. Like, the television show. He's the Green Arrow on TV. He has recently run afoul of Stardust, a face-painted weirdo (and real-life son of Dusty Rhodes) who has convinced himself that he's a star-hopping galactic supervillain, so he's setting out to take down superheroes. Amell has enlisted "The Man Gravity Forgot," Neville, who is probably as close to an actual superhero as you can get in sports. To counteract Neville, Stardust has enlisted the villainous King Barrett and given him a LEVITATING SPARKLECAPE, christening him the Cosmic King.
In case you were wondering, THIS RULES.
Why you should care: What part of GALACTIC LEVITATING SPARKLECAPE don't you understand? In all honesty, this is the best celebrity build WWE has done since Floyd Mayweather fought Big Show at WrestleMania 24. Amell is an athlete AND a fan and this match has the potential to be a TON of fun.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
What am I looking at here? Roman Reigns (the one who's a handsome Dothraki prince) has run afoul of evil, creepy Bayou cult leader Bray Wyatt (the one in the hat). Wyatt has taken exception to Reigns being so adored by the WWE, so he's trying to end him once and for all. Backing Wyatt up is one of his followers, the notoriously unbathed Luke Harper. For a teammate, Reigns has enlisted his BFF and former Shield teammate Dean Ambrose (the greasy-haired fellow in the jeans).
Why you should care: Although they've been treading water lately, Wyatt, Harper and Ambrose are some of the most talented and unorthodox in-ring competitors in the company. Reigns has been improving leaps over bounds since WrestleMania. The end result should be a wild and thoroughly entertaining little tag team match. Sometimes that's all you need!
Elimination Match: Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte & Becky Lynch) vs. Team Bella (Nikki Bella, Brie Bella & Alicia Fox) vs. Team B.A.D. (Naomi, Sasha Banks & Tamina)
What am I looking at here? These nine women comprise the three teams that make up the current "Divas Revolution," a renewed focus on women in the WWE as competitors and people. The company has promoted three of the best women's wrestlers they've ever employed in Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch and has devoted a lot of time and effort to trying to make all of these women look like a big deal. On Sunday, they'll have a showcase match to prove what they're all capable of.
Why you should care: A nine-person team elimination match has the potential to be really exciting, specifically with the talent level as high as it is in this match. PCB, Nikki and Sasha will get their time to shine and Naomi, Brie, Alicia and Tamina will have opportunities to impress. I'm really looking forward to this match and you should be, too.
SB Nation presents: Paige talks 'Total Divas' and a potential mother-daughter match
Fatal 4-Way WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Prime Time Players (c) vs. The New Day vs. Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores
What am I looking at here? The Prime Time Players are the reigning champs and just a couple of best friends who are worth millions of dollars. The New Day are a gaggle of goofs trying in vain to espouse the power of positivity. They're also the best thing going in the WWE today. The Lucha Dragons are masked high-flyers propelled by the power of lucha. Los Matadores are Puerto Rican bullfighters who are accompanied to the ring by a tiny anthropomorphic bull named El Torito.
You know, just standard wrestling stuff.
Why you should care: This is another match that should be a tremendous romp with a deep talent pool. Expect a lot of bodies flying around, a lot of dives, a lot of strength moves by Titus O'Neil and Big E and a lot of smack talk from Xavier Woods on the outside. If you don't know who those people are, don't worry; you'll be buying their T-shirts by the time it's over.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Ryback (c) vs. The Miz vs. Big Show
What am I looking at here? Current Intercontinental champ and notoriously ravenous muscleman Ryback got sidelined by a staph infection last month, so this Triple Threat match that was supposed to happen at Battleground will be taking place at SummerSlam. The Miz, legitimate Hollywood movie star, is looking to prove he's not a joke, while the appearing-to-be-winding-things-down giant Big Show is trying for (perhaps) one last title run.
Why you should care: The Miz is probably the most all-around entertaining character on the main roster and almost certainly the best heel. Just keep your eyes on him and his exquisitely bespoke pre-match shroud and you should be in good shape.
Title vs. Title: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. United States Champion John Cena
What am I looking at here? Seth Rollins is the current world champion. The weasel with the Rogue blonde streak in his hair stole the title from Brock Lesnar by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania and has been surviving by the skin of his teeth ever since.
John Cena, who can only be described as the John Cena of the wrestling world, has taken exception to Rollins being a sniveling twerp and not representing the world title the correct way (i.e., the John Cena way). He'll be putting his own cherished U.S. title on the line. Whoever wins this match could walk away with both of the belts.
Why you should care: This is the last chance for Rollins to truly prove himself as a worthy world champ, or to prove that he was never up to the task in the first place. Cena is looking to become a 16-time world champion (which would tie Ric Flair's mark for world title reigns, by the way) and would like nothing more than to take Rollins down a peg. Or, more accurately, if Cena wins this match, Rollins would be taken down ALL the pegs. He would be essentially pegless.
I am expecting a non-finish in this match, which would mean both men retain their titles. I'm not sure whether that would be via draw, hijinks, double-disqualification or "other," but I'm expecting this feud to continue. There would be nothing worse for Rollins' career than losing this match and his title at SummerSlam, but let's not dwell on the negative. Let's focus on the fact that this bout pits two world-class performers against each other while they're both at the top of their game.
Nothing in wrestling is more exciting than unpredictability and truly nobody knows what's going to happen in this one. Throw in the real-life drama that Seth Rollins completely obliterated John Cena's face with a knee strike a few weeks ago and baby, you've got a stew going. This will be one of the night's must-see matches.
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
What am I looking at here? Brock Lesnar is a meat golem who was formed out of 300 pounds of pure Jimmy Johns coldcuts and brought to life to punish humanity for not having enough punching and suplexes. The Undertaker is an undead MMA biker mortician who was brought into the WWE literally 25 years ago by a rich guy with a diamond belt and managed by an evangelist in redface.
Wrestling is awesome.
Why you should care: There are only two fighters in the world where every one of their matches, real or fake, is an event: Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey. This match is no different, plus it has a longstanding grudge behind it. Last year, Lesnar ended The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania, which was the most hallowed record in all of pro wrestling. Now Undertaker is out for revenge. Will he be able to get it? We'll all find out on Sunday.
It's going to be a lot of fun.