0 of 5
Photo credit: WWE.com
This weekend, WWE will descend on the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee to host the 35th annual SummerSlam. The “Big Four” pay-per-view has become a pivot point for the company’s biggest storylines and the destination for the year’s best matches.
The Biggest Party of the Summer hosted memorable encounters like Bret and Owen Hart’s steel cage match in 1994 and the first Tables, Ladders and Chairs match in 2000. Booker T and The Rock also famously headlined the event the following year in a WCW Championship match. And who could forget Shawn Michaels and Triple H’s grueling unsanctioned match in 2002 or AJ Styles and John Cena’s incredible rematch and Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair in 2016?
SummerSlam also marked the beginning of Becky Lynch’s meteoric rise as The Man. The former WWE Raw women’s champion returned at the same event last August and controversially defeated Bianca Belair in 26 seconds. To that end, the show has boasted several high-profile returns like The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns’ shocking ThunderDome debut in 2020.
His reemergence during the pandemic era led to the most successful run of his career as The Tribal Chief. This is a testament to how impactful a major return at the event can be, but who will show up at SummerSlam this year?
1 of 5
Bray Wyatt’s status has been a bit of a mystery since WWE abruptly released him last summer. One would assume that the popular superstar would have appeared for another company by now, but he has remained off the grid for the past year.
The 35-year-old hasn’t even participated in any major interviews, but he will take to Twitter to post a cryptic tweet now and then. Recently, he changed his bio on the social media platform to a Vince McMahon quote, leading many fans to believe he could return to WWE.
Over the past few weeks, the company has also aired a series of mysterious vignettes that some viewers have linked to the enigmatic star. However, those bizarre clips seem to herald the return of another big name even though this would be in Wyatt’s wheelhouse.
It isn’t hard to believe Wyatt could return to WWE soon following the company’s recent personnel changes. Nevertheless, we don’t expect to see the demonic figure, who debuted as The Fiend in 2019, at SummerSlam this year.
2 of 5
Charlotte Flair has not appeared on WWE programming since losing the SmackDown women’s title to Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania Backlash in May. After their ‘I Quit’ match, interviewer Kayla Braxton revealed The Queen sustained an arm injury.
Flair took some time off to get married, but her husband, Andrade El Idolo, has already returned to All Elite Wrestling. This could only mean that she won’t be far behind. The WWE women’s division could use her star power, and she and Liv Morgan kind of have unfinished business.
The current champion finally secured her crowning moment at Money in the Bank when she cashed in her contract on Rousey. However, she never managed to beat Flair during her rise as a singles competitor.
SummerSlam could be the right time for The Queen to return and stake her claim for a title shot. We wouldn’t be surprised if she attacked the winner of the SmackDown women’s championship match on Saturday night.
3 of 5
Edge has been fairly middling since he turned to the dark side and founded The Judgment Day, but his stint with the stable turned out to be short-lived as Finn Balor ousted him on the June 13 episode of Raw.
The Rated-R Superstar hasn’t made an appearance since, but he is bound to return with a new persona at some point. As stated earlier, WWE has been airing eerie vignettes recently. Although some fans have predicted they’re for Bray Wyatt, most of the clues point to Edge.
Obviously, the shadowy figure in the 45-second clip looks like the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble winner. Moreover, there are references to some of his biggest rivalries throughout the ominous videos. For example, the RKO shirt and Cena’s hat appear to be nods to his feuds with Randy Orton and the star of Peacemakerrespectively.
Edge will inevitably come back to exact his revenge on The Judgment Day, and SummerSlam seems like as good a time as any.
4 of 5
This entry is a tricky one, isn’t it? Sasha Banks is undeniably one of the most in-demand stars in wrestling right now, but her current status is still unknown.
The Legit Boss and Naomi have been off television since they reportedly walked out during the May 13 episode of Raw. Their exit sparked one of the biggest stories in the industry in a year full of major headlines such as Cody Rhodes’ return to WWE.
Nevertheless, the former women’s tag team champions dominated the news cycles for weeks. The most recent update seems to suggest WWE released Banks and Naomi as they are no longer on the internal roster. However, the company has not confirmed that either of them is a free agent.
On the contrary, Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc, who initially reported: The Mandolorian: star was released, too revealed: WWE was trying to “smooth things over.” So, it’s not that far-fetched to assume she and her tag team partner could renegotiate their contracts and show up as soon as SummerSlam.
Still, this is difficult to predict because we don’t know much about the situation. We will take a stab in the dark and guess that Banks and Naomi won’t come back at SummerSlam.
Never say never, though, because they could certainly show up on WWE programming later this year.
5 out of 5
Finally, Bayley seems like a safe bet.
The Role Model suffered a torn ACL last July in the middle of a bitter rivalry with Bianca Belair, setting up one of the most anticipated returns of the year.
The severe injury meant the 33-year-old would be out of action for at least nine months. This led many fans to speculate that she could return after the WrestleMania season. Dave Meltzer of the: Wrestling Observer Newsletter: even reported that WWE expected her to return in March.
Although Bayley didn’t come back in time for The Showcase of the Immortals, she is apparently ready to compete again. The host of “Ding Dong, Hello” has teased fans hoping to see her in the ring again many times, but she won’t spill the beans.
The longest-reigning SmackDown women’s champion remains coy but she will more than likely show up at SummerSlam. The blue brand could use a new antagonist for Liv Morgan to contend with.
Even more, Bayley deserves this moment because she was so important to WWE during the pandemic but she hasn’t performed in front of a live crowd since March 2020.