‘Three hours just isn’t gonna cut it,’ Triple H declared as the July 27, 2015 edition of Monday Night Raw went on the air.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has announced that one of its biggest shows of the year, SummerSlam, will run for four hours (not including exclusive pre-show coverage that will air live on the WWE Network) this year. The twenty-eighth consecutive edition of SummerSlam joins Wrestlemania as the only WWE-produced events that run for four hours.
WWE already has a plethora of programming, both on network television and the WWE Network, with three hours of Raw on USA Network, two hours of Smackdown! on SyFy, and an hour-long episode of NXT on WWE Network airing every single week. To top this off, WWE also runs a three-hour pay-per-view or ‘special event’ on at least a monthly basis (12-15 air per year).
That’s a lot of programming, but no one will bat an eye with an extra hour of the summer extravaganza on the horizon.
SummerSlam truly is the biggest event of the summer for WWE and has a rich tradition of great matches and major storyline developments. Just looking at recent history, SummerSlam is the event that featured Brock Lesnar taking John Cena to ‘suplex city’, several Money in the Bank briefcase cash-ins for a major championship and the birth of ‘The Authority,’ the antagonistic corporate entity of real-life spouses and authority figures in WWE – Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
WWE books its summer blockbuster as a ‘supercard’ featuring high-profile matchups and appearances from WWE legends and celebrities. With just about a month left to continue to build to SummerSlam, one major match has already been confirmed to take place…
Brock Lesnar will face the Undertaker in a rematch from Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans that saw Lesnar end the ‘Dead Man’s’ iconic winning streak that ran for twenty-one Wrestlemanias. Despite how little interaction Undertaker and Lesnar have had since ‘the Beast Incarnate’ returned in 2012, this feud already has the gravitas to be one of the most memorable of all time. There’s a high probability that this match closes the show, despite not having the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line.
Seth Rollins will likely defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a match with United States Champion John Cena. These two wrestlers are on top of the business at the moment and have the chops to churn out an amazing match. Rollins is an incredible in-ring technician and Cena has impressively stepped his game up ever since capturing the US Championship. A ‘champion vs. champion’ match is exactly the type of high-profile match fit for SummerSlam.
SummerSlam is also rumored to feature the return of another legend in Sting. In fact, Sting has been confirmed for the official SummerSlam ‘meet & greet’ panels taking place in Brooklyn on the Friday before the event. Sting was last seen the night after Wrestlemania in March and figures to be a personality the WWE will use sparingly and primarily at major events.
It’s about time that SummerSlam got another hour of programming. WWE has done a great job of branding the event, but hasn’t totally made it feel as special as it could be. They’ve taken steps in the right direction, holding it in the major media market that is New York this year and in Los Angeles the previous six. Now that SummerSlam will run for four hours, it has the distinct opportunity to make itself feel different from any other pay-per-view that WWE produces.
It’s not exactly ‘the showcase of the immortals’, but SummerSlam will certainly feel that way and, hey, who doesn’t want two Wrestlemanias per year?
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