This is the 25th year that World Wrestling Entertainment will present SummerSlam. In terms of annual pay-per-view buys, it is generally considered to be WWE's third biggest show of the year after WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble.
In the days before the monthly PPVs started, it was the first PPV that followed WrestleMania every year, so typically the matches at the event were seen as major happenings. There's no reason for that not to be the case anymore.
In my opinion, Summerslam 2012 needs to be the night we remember for the ascension of the "Show Off" Dolph Ziggler.
How do you do it? Here's a scenario I have in mind that I believe would benefit not only Ziggler, but a returning performer as well.
I would hold off the Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho match for the second hour of SummerSlam. Meanwhile, the Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio match would occur in at the top of the second hour.
Sheamus already defeated Del Rio handily at Money in the Bank. Of course WWE doesn't mention that because they want fans to consider Del Rio a threat to win. I understand their reasoning behind it. In their SummerSlam match, I would have Sheamus defeat Del Rio in dominant fashion. The match could even run under 10 minutes to prove just how superior Sheamus is.
After the successful title defense, Sheamus would pose with his World Heavyweight Title. As he's doing that, Wade Barrett would return by coming in through the crowd, jumping the railing and attacking Sheamus from behind.
From there, he would continue his "barrage" with a series of fists to the head that would incapacitate the World Champion. For added effect, they could go the Lesnar/Cena route with a shot above the eyebrow that would draw blood on the champion. It could be "accidental," of course.
With Sheamus out of it, the music of Dolph Ziggler would hit. Sheamus would stumble to his feet while Barrett looked on at ringside. Ziggler would run down to the ring, cash in his briefcase, hit the Zig Zag, cover Sheamus and become the new World Heavyweight Champion. Meanwhile, Barrett would have a smile on his face because his return would be considered a successful one.
Later in the show, after 30 minutes of action, Chris Jericho would make his entrance for his scheduled match against Ziggler. Ziggler would follow. Jericho will say that since he was scheduled to face Ziggler (the new World Heavyweight Champion), he wants his match to be for the Championship. Ziggler would immediately refuse saying that's not fair because he just won the title less than hour earlier.
That's a flashback to his "title run" against Edge in 2011 that didn't even last a whole episode of Smackdown. All of a sudden the music of Smackdown GM Booker T would start up. He would ask the fans if they want to see another World Title match. Of course the fans would support it with Jericho as the babyface challenger. Booker T would then make the match official.
The chances are very high that if the Ziggler/Jericho match gets more than 15 minutes it's likely to be the match of the night. If it was up to me, they'd get that much time and be told to go all out to make it a special match. Jericho is the best veteran performer on the roster in terms of elevating another talent to that next level. In this instance, he could have that four-star plus match with Ziggler that truly elevates him to main-event status.
Following Summerslam, Chris Jericho may appear on Raw the next night. After that, his commitments are to his band Fozzy as they go on tour in the United States and overseas. We assume he will be back, but we don't know when that will be.
The best way for Jericho to move on would be by using him to put over Ziggler on the night when he also won the World Heavyweight Championship.
What would all of this accomplish? Three things.
1. It would elevate Dolph Ziggler to the next level where he should be. Not only would he cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase successfully, but his first title defense would be against a bona fide legend in Chris Jericho. Nobody has ever cashed in the briefcase on one wrestler and then defeated another on the same night. Ziggler would be making history just like Jericho made history when he was the first-ever Undisputed WWE Champion in 2001.
2. Wade Barrett would return in a major way against a top guy like Sheamus. While Sheamus would no longer have the World Title, his run as an upper-echelon babyface has raised his status. Barrett is a future World Champion, so to have him feuding with a long-reigning champion would insert Barrett in a main-event level position immediately upon his return.
3. WWE loves to keep their babyfaces strong, so by doing this Sheamus remains a top contender without losing his title in a legit match. He can have the feud with Barrett immediately while the matches with Ziggler could happen down the road.
Make no mistake about it, the two main events of SummerSlam are the Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H and CM Punk vs. Big Show vs. John Cena matches. However, that does not mean they have to be the matches that we most remember from the "biggest party of the summer."
A Ziggler title win at SummerSlam would mean more than doing it at any of the PPVs that follow except for the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania, but I highly doubt they would wait that long. If he cashed in on Raw it would be okay. Pay-per-views mean more. They are remembered more fondly by fans.
People that are fans of Ziggler would want to pick up the SummerSlam DVD because they would know it was the night of Ziggler's coming-out party.
In Ziggler's theme song it says that he's here "to show the world." It's about time WWE management lets him show the world as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Just like the T-shirt says: It's not showing off if you back it up. There's no better time than Sunday night at SummerSlam.
John Canton - email@example.com
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