WWE has another huge weekend of wrestling events scheduled this weekend, and it’s safe to say that the stakes are high in a lot of ways. Over the course of a live NXT TakeOver special and a four-plus hour SummerSlam Pay Per View, an incredible nine titles will be on the line, including a match to determine the very first WWE Universal Champion. Plus, Brock Lesnar wrestles his first match since WrestleMania, amidst accusations of drug use from the USADA and laziness from other wrestlers. Oh yeah, and it’s also the first Pay Per View to occur fully within the confines of the new Brand Extension (remember, Battleground’s matches were booked before the Draft ever happened), and will likely set the tone for WWE’s plans for the rest of 2016. We thought about predicting match results, but anyone can do that, so we decided to take a deeper look at all the important stuff we think you should pay attention to on SummerSlam weekend, things that could determine if the whole event is a smashing success, or WWE’s worst nightmare.
The final Raw before SummerSlam did well not to lose any more viewers to the Summer Olympics, but didn’t see any particularly large gains either, coming in well below the usual numbers. The show, which featured the first appearance of the Demon King persona of Finn Balor in the second hour, and a long third hour main event match between Roman Reigns and Rusev, averaged 2.92 million viewers and a 1.01 rating in the 18-49 demographic. These were minimally larger than last week’s show, but also represent the first time since Raw moved back to the USA Network that it has dipped under a 1.0 rating for two straight weeks. The show did gain viewers for the second hour, but as usual, lost them all again for the third one. On a night when most shows took another week off to avoid the Olympics, Raw was #2 among cable original programming, behind Love and Hip-Hop, which beat Raw in the demos, but had significantly fewer actual viewers.
This was the absolute last show before SummerSlam on Sunday, so everyone from the blue brand had one final chance to get their shots in before the show. Just in case you missed it, here’s all the results from this week’s Smackdown Live!
It’s that time of the week again, as another group of wrestlers has been unveiled for WWE 2K17, the latest edition of the long-running wrestling video game franchise. Among the new names announced, AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke and final member of the Four Horsewomen to be revealed, Becky Lynch, are all making their debuts, along with a long list of legends and current Superstars making their returns. 2K is expected to release one more wave of roster announcements next week, so stay tuned for the final list!
It might have gotten lost in the chaos last night, but for the second straight year, retired former host of The Daily Show and noted huge wrestling fan Jon Stewart will be appearing at the SummerSlam PPV, this time as a guest of Mick Foley. Hopefully this year he won’t show up looking like a homeless man in poorly-fitting clothing, but more importantly, what are the chances that Stewart has as big of an effect on SummerSlam as he did last year, when he singlehandedly prevented John Cena from defeating Seth Rollins and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for a record-tying 16th time?
While everything obviously went off without a hitch (give or take a fan jumping the barricade), there was a serious chance that last night’s Raw could have been delayed or even cancelled. In the hours right before the show, a huge rainstorm led to lightning struck somewhere around the arena and caused a blackout, bringing setup and production to a near-standstill. Fortunately, the power was restored in time to finish setting up, and the show went on the air as normal, but given how WWE has reacted in similarly disastrous situations in the past (such as the post-Rumble Raw that aired during a blizzard, or when that Icelandic volcanic eruption stranded the Raw crew in Europe), we would have been interested to see what kind of show we might have gotten had the power stayed off, especially given that it was the final Raw before SummerSlam.
If you were watching Seth Rollins’ in-ring promo last night when he called out the Demon King, you might have briefly noticed someone appear in front of him before disappearing just as quickly, with Rollins staring off-screen for a while (Michael Cole attempted to cover by claiming Rollins was “in a trance”). Apparently, a fan got it in his head to rush the ring, and got within feet of Rollins before being dragged away by referees and ringside security. Some footage captured by another fan’s cellphone shows what happened to him immmediately after he was subdued, in case anyone needed a reminder of why you absolutely, positively, never jump the railing and attempt to attack WWE Superstars.
It’s the go-home Raw before SummerSlam, so this was the final chance for any new matches to be made, and for any SummerSlam opponents to try and get the upper hand headed into the big show! Here’s everything that went down on the last Raw before the PPV!
Since his retirement following WrestleMania XXVI, it seems like Shawn Michaels has spent most of his time running around the various wilds of Texas, hunting, fishing and generally staying as far away from the squared circle as he can. Well, his hiatus from the world of wrestling looks like it might be over for a while, as it has been reported that HBK has taken a job at the WWE Performance Center, where he’ll be acting as a trainer for the “finishing” class of NXT recruits, taking over a job vacated by Terry Taylor, who recently had neck surgery and is not expected to return to the same position when he recovers.
It’s likely the whole world knows who Brendan Dassey is at this point, after he was one of the subjects of the critically acclaimed Netflix series Making A Murderer. During the show, Dassey, who is intellectually challenged (a fact which played into how he was convicted as an accomplice), talked about how he was upset that he was going to be in jail and unable to watch WrestleMania 22. This caught the attention of wrestling fans and several wrestlers, most notably former WWE Superstar X-Pac, who expressed a desire to visit Dassey in prison.