The Teacher:  Doc Manson and I are back once again, friends, only this time, we’re actually going to discuss the art of wrestling, and not just the business of it.

Summer Slam is just a few weeks away, Doc.  Are you excited yet?

Doc Manson: Yes. Absolutely, sort of. What’s on the card again? Aside from Cena v. Lesnar?

T:  Frankly, I don’t think there’s all that much else that’s been decided, besides our main event.

In fact, WWE.com is only reporting 3 matches as of yet.  Cena and Lesnar, Jericho and Bray 2.0, and Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella.

So, I ask you again, Doc.  Are you excited yet?

DM: I had a sudden vision of Bray Wyatt as a cyborg, and I was entertained.

As for the matches set for Summer Slam, all of those look like they could be good. Well, I’m not sure of the quality of the physical work that we will see in Stephanie v. Brie Bella, but at least this is a potential conclusion to a long-term storyline.

T:  We discussed this earlier today, but it bears repeating.  Stephanie and Brie had the Main Event spot on last week’s RAW.  I like to consider myself a historian, but even I’m not willing to go back and track to see if that kind of thing has happened before.

DM: Not in a long time, for sure. And with how hot that opening segment between Cena and Heyman was, I’m surprised that this feud was given priority. Well, somewhat surprised. I do understand that Stephanie McMahon has some sort of creative power in WWE these days.

T:  I don’t want to get us too far off-course here, but I wonder if WWE considers their opening segment to be more important than the 11:00 one.  Cena and Heyman was phenomenal (which is expected for one, completely stunning for the other), and definitely started that show off on a very good note.

DM: Heyman is just so good. How does he say so much while simply repeating the same phrases over and over? And, hey, I loved to rub the interaction gave to Cesaro. This is most that Cesaro has capitalized on his relationship with Heyman, and it happened weeks after the pair broke up.

T:  7 days after Cesaro admits he’s no longer a Heyman guy and tries to join The Authority, no less.  I can’t tell if they’re having his character just be trying to gain an edge no matter who he has to suck up to, or if they’re just making it up as they go along.

Speaking of the King of Swing, Cesaro doesn’t look like he has a specific place to go for Summer Slam.  Any thoughts on where we might see him?

DM: What is Sheamus doing right now? Can he drop a title on Cesaro or something?

T:  Right now every belt but the WHC is currently unaccounted for in Summer Slam booking.  I’ve heard rumors that they want to eventually consolidate the IC and US titles.  Maybe we’ll see a Miz vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro match for a unified mid-card title?

DM: I’m just trying to think of potential feuds that mesh with Cesaro’s character. Ambrose is tied up with Rollins. Reigns is tied up with Orton. Who else is available to feud with this guy?

T:  If they had continued the Cesaro-Authority story, I could have seen him fighting Kane for the role of Corporate ‘enforcer’.  That would have made some sense.  I can’t see Cesaro not making the card, but right now, I’m not sure where he fits.

You mentioned Ambrose and Rollins.  It hasn’t been announced yet, but that match has to happen.  I also imagine it’s going to have some sort of stipulation; Falls Count Anywhere would be my guess.

DM: Absolutely. This match was removed from Battleground for the sole purpose of making us want to see the match up more. Oddly, although I’m still a huge supporter of Ambrose, I think this feud has cooled somewhat due to the lack of interaction between these two the past few weeks. They clearly wanted to try to create some distance, make the physical encounter at Summer Slam more meaningful – do you think they’ve been successful?

T:  I actually thought they gave us some distance because that feud (Ambrose specifically) was diverting the focus away from Roman Reigns, WWE’s hand-chosen future superstar.  You can’t build the Roman Empire with Emperor Ambrose dancing on the roof.

DM: Here’s an unsolicited tip. Want me to care about Roman Reigns? Don’t have him feud with Randy Orton. Bo-ring, indeed.

T:   Oh ho, Doc.  You said the secret word!  The streak may be over, but I’m still Bo-lieving!  Where’s Dallas going to be at Summer Slam?

DM: Not on the card, I hope.

Ok, that was harsh. As I said in my rant on Bo Dallas last week, where is his character without this streak? They need to evolve the character quick. Maybe he becomes obsessed with his failure? Focuses his energies on R-Truth for awhile, giving Bo his first lasting feud?

T:  I would be just fine with that, though I wonder if this was just an excuse for us to see his mean streak again.  I know it goes against how you feel that character should play, but the Bo Dallas I saw in NXT always had that duality to him.

To be honest, I’m a bit crestfallen seeing him lose on RAW like that.  I. . .I. . .I still Bo-lieve, but not as much as I did on Sunday.

We have to see the Tag Team titles defended, don’t we?  Are we really going to see the Uso’s take on the Wyatt’s again?

DM: I guess? These teams have had some good matches, but I can’t help but feel like the tag division is just spinning its wheels. The belts need to come off of the Usos so the Dust Brothers can get in on the cosmic action. Or maybe we’re looking at a three-way dance?

T:  I’m actually expecting a Fatal Four Way type match.  Uso’s, Wyatt’s, Dust Brothers (do they have a name?) and one other.  I was originally thinking RybAxel, but now I’m leaning towards Kofi and Big E, if they ever show up on RAW again.

DM: I’d be happy with the Ascension showing up and taking the titles. Let the Ascension go on to fight with the Dust brothers (I don’t think they have a real name yet), as a strong first feud.

T:  I’m all for that, but I could also see them coming up the following night on RAW and destroying whichever team won the belts, making the Summer Slam match utterly pointless.

DM: The tag division needs something new right now. It is telling that neither of us see either the Usos or the Wyatts in our long term view of the division.

T:  Personally, I don’t see the Wyatt Family in long term plans.  I can easily picture a scenario where they break up right after Summer Slam.  Wyatt’s try to help Bray win his match, fail, then Bray gets angry.  One of the two “lower” members (my money would be on Harper) pushes back, and we get chaos in the clan.

DM: So, Bray goes from feuding with Cena, to Jericho, to Harper?

T:  I didn’t say I was happy about it.

DM: Yeah. A bit of a step down for Daddy Wyatt.

T:  We could spend quite a long time discussing the steps down for the various talents on RAW we both like, my friend.  Another match that’s a given, though not official, is AJ and Paige.  Might we see a Diva’s title match with stipulations?

DM: I’d like to see it, of course, but somehow I doubt it. Stephanie v. Brie is going to need a stipulation, I suspect, for the sake of the performers in the match. I don’t see them extending that treatment to both Diva matches.

T:  So, to sum up…

Cena / Lesnar
Stephanie / Brie
Ambrose / Rollins
Reigns/Orton
Some sort of US / IC title match(es)
Tag team turmoil
AJ / Paige

Are we missing anything?  I think there’s one or two more matches we’re not seeing as of yet.  Where’s Hornswoggle going to fit in all of this?

DM: I don’t know, but we’re looking at a pretty full card already. One that, criminally, does not include Cesaro.

T:  I’m still going to say he’s showing up in the US / IC title picture.

We also haven’t considered Swagger and Rusev, though I don’t know if their feud can last a few more weeks.

DM: Flag match. Woo. What is a flag match? I don’t know, but it’s happening. Or so the internet tells me.

T:  After the Hunico debacle that ensued in our last discussion, time to redeem myself.

In each man’s corner, atop the turnbuckle, is placed their respective flag…

DM: Wait, wait, don’t tell me. It’s the Russo on a pole special?

T:  Pretty much.  Take your flag down and win.

It’d be better if the flag was placed secretly under the seat of one of the Summer Slam audience, so it’s a mad dash to find it.

DM:  Not a bad idea. I was thinking that the first man to grab his own flag could use it as a weapon.

T:  We haven’t ever seen a Siberian Gulag match.  That would be edgy.

DM: Anything like a Punjabi Prison match? If so, we don’t need to see it.

T:   We’ve entered Gimmick Match Nostalgia mode…That’s usually a sign for us to wrap it up.  Say Goodnight, Doc.

DM: Goodnight, Doc.

From the N2C Archive – August 1, 2014 – State of the WWE: A very early Summer Slam preview
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