Summer is almost over, which means – aside from a slowdown of overblown, over-CGI’ed, overstuffed “blockbuster” movies – it’s SummerSlam time! Yep, WWE’s second-grandest pay-per-view spectacular after WrestleMania will be storming into living rooms everywhere on Monday morning (Malaysian time) so hold on to your tights as we preview some of the big clashes lined up.
Universal soldiers: Raw has been smarting ever since Dean Ambrose defended his World Championship at Battleground and scarpered off to Smackdown. Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and general manager Mick Foley wasted no time in announcing a new “world title” for their brand – the new Universal Championship. Golden boy and Chosen One Seth Rollins will compete in the inaugural fight for the belt against Finn Balor. The difference is that Rollins strolled right into the “final” while Balor had to fight in two punishing contests for his spot, eventually defeating Roman Reigns to qualify. Putting the belt on Balor will show WWE is really serious about boosting new blood, establishing that heart and grit can amount to something in the New Era.
Showing off at the Asylum: Speaking of Ambrose, he has been awfully dismissive of his challenger, the Showoff Dolph Ziggler – telling him right to his face that he’s just not good enough to take the title off him. That will probably hold true after the final bell on this event, but Ziggler will probably take the champ further than he’s been tested before. And no, that one-sided beatdown from Brock Lesnar doesn’t count.
Hair vs Hair: Well, that should have been the stipulation for Roman Reigns taking on the Bulgarian Brute and current United States Champion, Rusev. Look at these guys. They probably go to the same stylist, though not the same one who does AJ Styles’ hair. Both hit hard. Both get booed. One has Lana, though. Oh well. Somehow, we’re not seeing Rusev’s title reign end here. But the loser should get his head shaved so the winner can lay claim to unique lank, stringy hair, until Rollins grows out his locks long enough to lay claim to that honour too. Where’s Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake when the WWE Universe needs him?
The Boss vs the other showoff: Women’s champ Sasha Banks just took the belt off Charlotte last month, and her popularity is way up there right now, so it’s quite likely she will hold on to the title for some time to come … perhaps until a Bayley showdown at WrestleMania 33? Or Asuka maybe?
Crews-ing for a bruising: Intercontinental champion The Miz looks set to hold off the challenge from Apollo Crews (does he have a brother somewhere out there named Terry Creed?), at least until the “graduate” from NXT polishes his skills on the mic. Ability in the ring isn’t enough … sometimes a little personality does indeed go a long way.
Viperville via Suplex City: They broke into WWE around the same time – the Dwaynester and fellow rasslin’ observers noted the rise of Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, among others, in an old Grunt ‘n’ Groan instalment headlined They are rookies, hear them roar. There are no titles at stake here, but a lot of bragging rights. Orton and Lesnar started out in WWE’s previous developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and often fought alongside one another. After coming over to WWE, they only clashed once – on a Smackdown episode in 2002, when Orton challenged Lesnar for his world title. In the closing moments of that match, Lesnar caught Orton in the middle of a Flying Cross Body and turned it into a neat F5 finisher for the win. Will a similar fate await Orton now?
Other matches tentatively scheduled include another singles match between Styles and John Cena; and a tag-team match that will Enzo & Cass tangling with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. As always, some bouts may end up on the kick-off show, so tune in early! SummerSlam will be on the WWE Network (Astro Ch 820/840 HD) bright and early on Monday morning with repeats throughout the day.
Come to WrestleCon 2016!
And you don’t need to travel far to do it. Just head for Chin Woo Stadium in Jalan Hang Jebat, Kuala Lumpur, on Sept 17 from noon to 6pm.
The annual event, which has been held since 2011, is brought to us by Malaysian Wrestling Club aka Peminat Gusti Malaysia (PGM), in association with Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MYPW).
Yep, Malaysia has its own wrestling scene and the MYPW folks will be putting on a showcase at the convention later in the day.
Among the activities lined up is a cosplay competition, WWE 2K16 video game tournament, an arm wrestling contest, and of course actual wrestling matches! Merchandise will also be on display and some of it will be up for sale too.
The organisers are expecting a turnout of at least 500 – so fans, do your part to exceed expectations!
PGM, which was established in 2010, now has close to 17,000 members across the country and aims to unite wrestling fans through their shared love for the business of sports entertainment.
We’ll talk a little more about WrestleCon 2016 just before the actual event, in our next instalment of Grunt ‘n’ Groan on Sept 15. In the meantime, if you have any questions, e-mail the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org.