The WWE has reportedly completely changed its plans for SummerSlam.
For several months now, it had been reported that the WWE’s plans for the Universal Championship going forward involved Brock Lesnar facing Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34. The implication was that Lesnar would hold on to the title all the way until April 2018, when he would be defeated by Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania. Before then, Lesnar was expected to defend the Universal Championship against Braun Strowman at SummerSlam.
Now, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports that these plans have changed. According to Meltzer, the plan is now to have Brock Lesnar face Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, not WrestleMania 34.
“It was confirmed to us that a few weeks ago, probably just before the Roman Reigns interview where he said he wanted a shot at the Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe winner, that plans for SummerSlam on 8/20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn changed from Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman as the main event to Lesnar vs. Reigns,” Meltzer reports.
This explains why on a recent episode of Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns challenged the winner of the Great Balls of Fire Universal Championship match to a battle at SummerSlam. When this segment aired, most people assumed that the Roman Reigns Universal Championship match wouldn’t end up happening, as it had been reported for months that Strowman would be getting that match. The theory was that Strowman would beat Reigns in their Ambulance Match at Great Balls of Fire, and this would set him up as the new number one contender for SummerSlam. But now it seems that this Roman Reigns Universal Championship match at SummerSlam really will happen after all.
So what about WrestleMania 34? What will the main event of that show be if Reigns vs. Lesnar is being used at SummerSlam? Well, it seems that the WWE might be building up to John Cena vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. This would explain why John Cena is returning to SmackDown Live next week as a “free agent,” which means he can perform on both Raw and SmackDown. There would be little reason to do this if the company did not plan to have Cena feud with someone from Raw, and if the WWE wants to build up a Reigns vs. Cena feud in 2017, having Cena be a free agent makes sense.
SummerSlam will air on August 20th, 2017, taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.