SummerSlam week has finally arrived, with the WWE set to take over Brooklyn's Barclays Center for four days of festivities.
The supershow card, featuring stars from both Raw and SmackDown, features the culmination of several key rivalries and, in all likelihood, will plant the seeds for several storylines that won't play out entirely until next year's WrestleMania.
With that in mind, we're breaking down every match on the SummerSlam card, with a particular focus on the two major titles for each show -- the Universal championship, Raw women's championship, WWE championship and SmackDown women's championship.
The rest of the card is equally stacked. Take a look below and see what the superstars of Raw have in store on Sunday.
For everything else you need to know about SummerSlam, click here.
Note: (c) = champion
The WWE is often criticized for its inability to put enough time and effort into the payoff for a long-term story. I should know, I've certainly said it before. There were moments of uncertainty in the reunion between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, but the tease that wasn't to be in Toronto and the moment in the middle of the ring this past week in Boston put the finishing touches on a moment we won't soon forget.
There's little doubt that the in-ring action in this Raw tag team title match -- conveniently announced by Raw GM Kurt Angle just moments after Ambrose and Rollins' emotional reunion -- will be strong. All four guys can go, and it seems that all will be motivated to make for a great moment inside Barclays Center. The only cause for concern that I can see is that Sheamus & Cesaro have become something of an afterthought next to everything that Ambrose and Rollins have been doing.
The reunion would likely lose some steam if Ambrose and Rollins fail to win the Raw tag team titles, so unless this story is destined to make a dramatic right-hand turn on Sunday night, the current tag team champs will find themselves with a lot less weight in their carry-on bags when they leave New York City. After all the effort they've put into coming together and making their own tag team mean something, let's hope that Sheamus & Cesaro don't become an afterthought after SummerSlam as well.
In the mass of star power that is Monday Night Raw, Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt have been lost a bit in the shuffle the last couple of months. Pairing them together was a natural maneuver for any number of reasons, not the least of which is tapping into the creepy, semi-supernatural characters each has in his back pocket.
Balor seemed to be one step ahead of Wyatt through their first few confrontations, but a clean pinfall win and the Carrie-esque bucket of blood Wyatt dumped on Balor on Monday was a nice flame beneath the rivalry and a counterbalance to the momentum. Even though Balor assuming his demon alter ego seemed a given, it seems somewhat silly to guarantee the demon will appear rather than saving that surprise moment for Sunday night. But it'll be a welcome sight to see Balor going full speed at Barclays Center one year after his devastating injury in this building.
The shocking title change on Monday night makes more sense every time you think about it. Sure, it could have been a nice moment on the SummerSlam card, but with seven other title matches and all of the spectacle involved, giving Tozawa his moment on Raw, where it could make a bigger short-term impact, makes a lot of sense.
Neville is already showing signs of a dynamic character change, as an unhinged and desperate man whose existence has been shattered by losing his crown as "King of the Cruiserweights." Tozawa should likely pull off another victory here, and I'm eager to see what kind of champion he can be after the impressive reign that Neville put together. The 205 Live show and the cruiserweight division appear to be at a crossroads in general, so the next couple of months should be a key time for determining their long-term fate.
The moment Big Cass split from Enzo Amore was heartbreaking, and the fake-out reunion that followed was done well. But for the last month or so, with the Big Show getting involved, and then Gallows & Anderson, it feels like the same old thing, over and over again. There's an uncertainty about where Cass and Amore will go from here, and that might weigh heavily in the decision to keep them tied together in a rivalry for this long.
Between Big Show's "broken hand" and Amore being suspended above the ring in a shark cage, there are some new elements in play, but if this rivalry carries far beyond this weekend, it could dramatically hurt the long-term prospects of Cass, who appears to have some big things lined up for his future.
The final addition to the SummerSlam card, the second match set for the kickoff show, ultimately comes with a bit of disappointment attached. Sure, it's nice that Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and the Hardy Boyz have found a place on the card, but the centralized feud in the middle of it all, Jason Jordan vs. The Miz, would've been a nice final touch for SummerSlam if the Intercontinental title was on the line.
Alas, the build just hasn't quite gotten to that point yet. It should make for a fun match on Raw the next night in the same building, but for now, the overall stakes here for everyone involved are minimal.