There is a lot going on in the WWE Universe with SummerSlam set to take place next Sunday, August 19 and the night before is a huge NXT Takeover Brooklyn event as well. In addition to that, WWE just finished two days of tapings of the Mae Young Classic that will start airing in early September, leading to the finals at the WWE Evolution all-women’s pay-per-view on October 28. The big topic is SummerSlam, of course, but I’ll get into it in depth next week, I promise.
It’s that time of the month for the WWE Mailbag column that will allow me to cover a lot of content about the current product, predictions for the future and things from the past too. I went on Twitter and asked for some questions from you, the loyal readers. I asked for SummerSlam related questions about this year’s show and SummerSlam events from the past. My Twitter handle is @johnreport, so please give me a follow on there if you’re on Twitter. I mostly tweet about WWE and sports related topics. I’ll put the reader question in quotes and my reply will be right under it. Let’s roll.
1. From @njurican861:
Is The Undertaker going to have a match at SummerSlam?
I doubt it, since there’s only one week of TV before the show. It was a rumor a few months ago because he’s in good shape at 53 years old, but it’s not likely now. As much as I like and respect Undertaker, I’m certainly fine with him not having a match at SummerSlam so the current stars can be featured. The next Undertaker match, as far as we know, is in early October against Triple H in Australia.
2. From @DavidpbFerguson:
Would you have preferred a heel Taker for Summerslam 1998?
Yeah, I think it would have helped. For those that don’t remember 20 years ago, it was Steve Austin as the face WWE Champion against Undertaker, who was still a face at the time. I think heel Taker would have made the match more interesting. Steve Austin has said that before that he wanted heel Taker. I think Vince Russo, who was working in WWE creative under Vince McMahon, wanted to turn Taker heel to make the story more interesting, but McMahon wanted to keep Taker a face. They eventually turned Taker heel a few months later. It probably would have helped the SummerSlam match, though. SummerSlam 1998 is a good show by the way.
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 8, 2018
3. From @MickieSteeler74:
About SummerSlam in your opinion which of the two big Title matches will be a better match come Aug. 19th WWE-AJ Styles/Samoa Joe or WWE Universal-Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns?
I think Styles/Joe is going to be the better match, but sadly, WWE isn’t going to present it like the bigger match. I have seen both matches many times (the Styles/Joe match happened in TNA a lot), so I don’t expect much in terms of surprises. With that said, I am excited about Styles/Joe in a WWE ring for the first time ever. Lesnar vs. Reigns will be interesting only for the result to see if WWE will finally put Reigns over. Even if that happens, will there be a cash in? I want Strowman to leave with the title at SummerSlam.
4. From @Grtyas_4000:
Do you think Kevin Owens is being underused by creative or are you expecting something to happen with his MITB briefcase match with Braun Strowman?
I’m a huge fan of Owens and while I think he’s underused in terms of being booked as too much of a whiner heel, he’s good at his job. It’s just how WWE books the heels where they don’t book them strong enough. I’d love to see Owens booked more serious, but it’s not happening. As for MITB briefcase, it has been booked where Strowman has lost by countout and DQ to Jinder Mahal, so that shows it can happen, but I expect Strowman to keep it. If WWE doesn’t go all the way with Strowman after two years of build, they are doing it wrong.
Do you expect Hulk Hogan or Dean Ambrose to show up at SummerSlam?
I think Ambrose is more likely than Hogan. I get asked about Ambrose every day with good reason because he’s a great performer, a former main eventer that has missed eight months after triceps surgery. The story is that he’s due back at any time and there’s no specific date for when that might be. SummerSlam is a good time because of the story with Seth Rollins needing help dealing with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. If Ambrose showed up, helped Rollins win the IC Title back, and celebrated with him, it would be great. Ambrose could also show up to turn on Rollins and/or Roman Reigns. There are a lot of possibilities. I think Ambrose at SummerSlam in some capacity should happen.
What I would do with Ambrose is have him reunite as a face with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as The Shield. You can probably get a PPV tag team match out of a Shield reunion like they tried last year, but Reigns had the mumps at the TLC PPV and Kurt Angle filled in. They can tell the story of Ambrose being back from injury, but maybe he is on a losing streak or he is a cause for the group losing matches. Then at the Royal Rumble, Ambrose gets eliminated by Rollins and after the elimination, Ambrose attacks Rollins with a chair. Make it a vicious attack. Ambrose turns heel, feuds with Rollins going into WrestleMania, and you get Reigns involved. The match at WrestleMania 35 would be Ambrose vs. Reigns vs. Rollins, perhaps for the Universal Title if one of them has it. They did the triple threat at Battleground 2016 and it was good, but that’s not a big deal like WrestleMania would be.
As for Hogan, he’s back in WWE’s good graces after three years and has been backstage at multiple shows. Now that he’s in his 60s, I don’t see him doing much on camera. I would hold off on it, but I’m also not much of a Hogan fan either. Let him stay in the past, I say.
6. From @MikeSanchez1878:
Does @WWE need more managers like the great @HeymanHustle ?
Sure they do. I think the Authors of Pain dropping Ellering was a big mistake for them. I think Zelina Vega has added a lot to Andrade Almas’ character and he’s hopefully going to be a top guy for years to come.
Unfortunately, the powers that be (namely Vince McMahon) don’t seem to want to put managers with wrestlers as much as they should. It’s not like it was 30 years ago. This will date me, but growing up, I remember managers like Bobby Heenan, Slick, Jimmy Hart, and Lou Albano that would manage several wrestlers or tag teams at the same time rather than just one guy. Those days are probably not coming back any time soon.
7. From @s3friedman:
Seems kind of odd that the timing of John Cena’s return is after Summer Slam. Is this a result of his schedule or WWE creative having nothing for him at the moment? Who do you think he feuds with upon his return?
I believe Cena has been in China for a few months filming some movie with Jackie Chan. I think it’s about 3-4 months for him over there. As for his return, it depends on when it is. If he’s off TV til end of the year, then it could be anybody early next year around Rumble time.
It wouldn’t shock me if WWE does Cena vs. Taker at WM next year and makes it a more competitive match. I wouldn’t do it, but they might.
Never stay in your “comfort zone” too long. New program thanks to @EyeOfJackieChan team more 🥊 more 🧘♂️ little bit of 🥋and of course🏋️♀️! Down to 236lb from 254 and really weirding out the poor SOB on the treadmill behind me! #NeverGiveUp pic.twitter.com/CwkCBn4h9D
— John Cena (@JohnCena) August 7, 2018
On another Cena note, as you can see in the tweet above, he’s down nearly 20 pounds and it looks like he’s become leaner. That’s smart at 41 years of age.
8. From @KINGSmitty:
Do you think the 2 Man Power Trip with Austin and HHH was leading to a HHH face turn and a big title match with Austin at SSlam 2001?
Yeah, that’s where it was going I think. Hunter was a heel for over two years at that point. Unfortunately, he tore his quad and that put an end to those plans. It could have been a situation where WWE realized Austin was too liked by the fans to keep him heel, so maybe he could have turned face by SummerSlam and Hunter could have stayed as the heel. I think with the WCW/ECW Invasion story in play, that affected those plans too. That Triple H torn quad injury happened at the worst possible time because WWE needed Hunter performing at a high level at that point. He was as good as anybody they had during that period.
My favorite Raw match ever is the match where Triple H tore his quad in May 2001. It was Austin and Hunter dropping the WWE Tag Team Titles to Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. The crowd absolutely loved it. It’s a great match, although it’s tougher to watch Benoit matches now.
9. From @OptimusAndyCX:
Hi John, in terms of best Summerslam matches everwhere would you rate Bret v Owen (Steel Cage) at Summerslam 94?
I think it would probably be second on my personal list. First is Bulldog vs. Bret at SummerSlam 1992. I love Bret vs. Owen at SummerSlam 1994 in the steel cage and it’s a classic. The ladder match with Shawn and Razor in 1995 is right up there too.
Some of my other favorite SummerSlam matches would be Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in 2002, Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin in 2001 (the best match I’ve ever seen with a disqualification finish), the TLC match in 2000 with Edge and Christian vs. The Hardy and Dudleys, Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk at SummerSlam 2013, and I’d throw in Bret vs. Mr. Perfect in 1991. There are so many awesome Bret Hart matches at SummerSlam.
10. From @CaptainClutch15:
Down the road, do you think a heel Ronda Rousey could end up being one of the premier female talents of all time? She’s got some work to do in most facets of her game of course. I think she could get by like Orton as a cool headed heel.
I think it’s possible, but I see WWE booking her as a Stone Cold type of killer face that’s a badass that people love. She may not have the personality to really pull off the heel thing. There are also questions about how long she wants to do this because she has publicly said she wants to be a mom and she just got married, so after this next WrestleMania she may do that and be off from WWE TV for a few years. I honestly think it’s a one year commitment from her and then she’ll have a baby, so who knows when she would be back after this next Mania.
She even talked about it in the video above.
11. From @Kingslayer32767
How would you book the Brock/Roman situation at Summerslam?
This is a very popular question. I think it should be something where Roman wins the title, celebrates while he’s exhausted, Strowman cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase to leave the show with the Universal Title, and the fans absolutely love that. It could turn Reigns heel, but WWE is also reluctant to do that. I guess we’ll see.
There are a lot of other options like Lesnar retaining the title to fool people, maybe Paul Heyman turns on Lesnar to help Reigns win, Owens could win Money in the Bank so that he leaves with the title and I could go on for a while. What I like is that there are options, it is not obvious
12. From @Derek_Ridgeo:
What are two wants and two don’t wants coming out of SummerSlam?
I want Strowman to leave SummerSlam with the Universal Title because he has been pushed harder than anybody in the last two years that can’t seem to win the big one. They need to put that title on him. The time is right. I also want Styles vs. Joe to be this classic WWE Title match that is 20+ minutes and talked about as a match of the year. I think they have the skills to do it, but I don’t know if that will happen.
I don’t want Lesnar to leave with the title again. It’s nothing against him personally. I’m just sick of this storyline and want something to change to help freshen up Raw. Whether that’s Reigns, Strowman (my choice) or Owens holding that title, I want there to be something different. Another don’t want would be the IC Title match having a shitty finish. They should be able to have a classic and I hope they do. Don’t overbook it.
That’s all for me for now. I’ll be back next week with a SummerSlam predictions column that will cover a lot since there are at least 11 matches on the show. I may write about NXT Takeover Brookly as well since I think it’s going to be an amazing show that every WWE fan needs to check out. Thanks for reading.