In just under an hour, WWE returns to pay per view with their 26th installment of SummerSlam. The Staples Center in Los Angeles will erupt shortly with a night of star-studded action, including a huge WWE Championship match and an encounter featuring The Best vs. The Beast.
Just prior to SummerSlam, WWE will go live on their family of social media platforms with a special pre-show event. WWE Hall of Famer and San Antonio native "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels will be in attendance, joining an analyst panel to discuss the extravaganza.
During the pre-show, fans will see The Shield's leader Dean Ambrose defend the United States Championship against Rob Van Dam. After returning at last month's Money In The Bank event, RVD has been fighting his way back in to title contention. He won a special 20-man Battle Royal recently on "Raw" to earn a shot at the US Title. Ambrose will need to avoid the quick feet of Van Dam and keep him grounded if he wants to hang onto the gold.
Moving onto the actual pay per view event, the WWE Divas will take center stage on the fifth straight SummerSlam from Los Angeles. Natalya Neidhart and Brie Bella have been engaged in a full-blown feud since the premier of "Total Divas" on the E! Network. They've been tearing into each other recently, as Natalya and "Extra" host Maria Menounos picked up a SummerSlam Axxess victory over Brie and Eva Marie on Sunday afternoon. Natalya looks to get a second win over Brie later tonight.
At the Money In The Bank event, Damien Sandow won the namesake match for SmackDown, but at the expense of former friend and tag partner Cody Rhodes. Ever since, they've been tearing into each other at every opportunity, with Cody even throwing Sandow's MITB briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico during WWE's recent tour of Texas. At SummerSlam, Cody looks to gain a huge victory while Sandow wants to prove was indeed the superior half of what was once a dominant tag team.
One of the most bizarre situations in recent memory will culminate at SummerSlam, as former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler will team up with Houston native Kaitlyn to take on his former girlfriend AJ Lee and Big E. Langston. Dolph and AJ have been at each other's throats since the breakup, and Kaitlyn has her sights set on one day regaining the Divas Championship.
Speaking of bizarre, Kane will finally gets his hands on the demented Bray Wyatt in what is being called a "Ring of Fire" match. Since their highly-anticipated debut on July 8, the Wyatt Family has made life miserable for Kane and several other superstars. This marks Bray's WWE in-ring debut, and the 11th SummerSlam appearance for the Big Red Monster, this battle will promise plenty of fireworks...or at least fire.
Christian has been campaigning for one more shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, and will get that match at SummerSlam. On a recent "SmackDown" in Houston, Christian defeated Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam in a triple threat match to become the #1 Contender, and will face Alberto Del Rio for the title in Los Angeles. Del Rio originally was given the right to handpick his opponent for SummerSlam, but ruined that when he named his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. That set up the triple threat match that Christian won. "Captain Charisma" is one of the most respected veterans in the locker room, and has a golden opportunity against one of the more ruthless superstars to grace the ring in recent memory.
One of the biggest stories of the summer has been Paul Heyman's actions in turning his back on longtime friend CM Punk. At Money In The Bank, Heyman attacked Punk and left him a battered mess. Since then, he has put all of his support behind the guy he brought to the WWE in 2002, Brock Lesnar. This feud has gotten extremely personal in recent weeks, and will explode at SummerSlam. Can Punk continue to prove why he is the "best in the world," or will Lesnar F-5 his way to domination? We'll find out, as WWE made the announcement late Sunday afternoon that this match is now a No Disqualification match!
The WWE Championship will be defended at SummerSlam, as John Cena defends the gold against the ultra-popular Daniel Bryan. Cena has been one of the most respected WWE Champions of our generation, and Bryan has been arguably the hardest-working wrestler to grace a ring. Cena handpicked Bryan for this match because he said he respects Bryan and he felt that he deserved a shot. However two things need to be kept in mind regarding this match.
First, the special referee for this match will be Triple H. He has been involved in some of the most controversial moments in WWE history, and it's almost assured he'll be part of another one at SummerSlam. The entire McMahon family is seemingly split between who they support in this match, so who knows how Triple H will call this match.
Also, remember that Randy Orton won the Raw Money In the Bank briefcase last month. He's been waiting for the perfect opportunity to cash it in, and tonight could very well be the night. The match itself will be one of the most watched title matches of the year, but don't be surprised if Orton capitalizes on what will be a worn out and beaten WWE Champion...whoever it may be.
SummerSlam goes live at 7:00 P.M. Central on pay per view from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. WWE will air the pre-show 30 minutes prior to the event on their social media family. Check out WWE.com for more.