As we enter the summer season for 2011, WWE begins lining up their summer blockbusters. Sometimes the matches lined up are ones we have seen countless times, while others are experimental, or even fresh and innovative. Last year saw the formation of Wade Barrett’s Nexus to take on John Cena and chase the champ for several months. They year before that fans were treated to a series of matches between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk. Last year was very different as the company had just seen the departures of Batista and Shawn Michaels, as well as the absence of Undertaker and Triple H. This year things are picking up with the stars the company has created over the past year. No longer is there the need for a huge shakeup at the top because we have it, and there looks to be some very intriguing matches coming our way this summer.
Alex Riley vs. The Miz
All alliances come to an end at some point in time in the wrestling world. Even Ric Flair and Arn Anderson had a brief split. I really do not see the Miz-Riley feud going past the next pay per view, but it will make for an interesting match. Now that Miz has been knocked off his championship pedestal, he will be tested in the waters of making a new star. Not all performers can pull this off successfully. A great example of that would be the 2009 feud between Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston. Miz and Riley have been booked so well together and really seem to have a natural chemistry, that I would be surprised if they didn’t have a good match. I especially like that they fight in their suits. A part of me wants to see this end in a Tuxedo Match. Once this is over, Riley will most likely transition smoothly into a program with a Jacks Swagger or Dolph Ziggler while Miz moves onto my next match.
The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
Miz will stay in the foreground of WWE television for the rest of the year. There is just no way around it with how good he is. If John Cena is preoccupied, then the next best thing would be a match with Raw’s next top baby face, Rey Mysterio. At that point, both will need a change. Mysterio has faced Punk, R-Truth, and Del Rio already. If Miz is to remain in a prominent position on the Raw brand, then a program with Rey Mysterio will be perfect.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
Cena-Del Rio looks to be where WWE is headed for the big summer program. Cena will have CM Punk and R-Truth to keep him busy while Del Rio is prepped by Big Show. I would say we will start to see the framework laid out in a few weeks, with the all-out feud kicking off in late July to culminate at SummerSlam. Cena has a fresh line at his doorstep this season with R-Truth already on his tail, and Del Rio as his impending challenger.
Ezekiel Jackson vs. Sheamus
You may not be a huge fan of this one, but I do like Jackson, and Sheamus has become such a good wrestler over the past couple of years. With Christian’s character possibly undergoing a drastic change, Smackdown will need a number two baby face. Sin Cara isn’t quite there. Daniel Bryan may get there, but I see WWE really getting behind Jackson. Watching these two wrestle would be like watching a bull fight. Each has their advantages over the other. With as far as Sheamus has come in the ring, he would make a great opponent to help push Jackson to the upper echelon of the Smackdown roster.
Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
You may have thought that the rundown of Show by a car was cheesy. It was, but we will be getting a very entertaining program out of it. Expect to see Del Rio try to fend off Kane until Show returns. Once Big Show is back, Del Rio will have a great opponent to prep him for John Cena for an impending SummerSlam showdown. Most years a Royal Rumble winner has someone to go up against leading up to WrestleMania to help get them ready for the big stage. The opponent is there to keep the challenger hot while they await their chance to shine. Del Rio didn’t really get that this year as he spent his time split between Kofi Kingston and Christian. There wasn’t a defining opponent for him. He now has that essential counterpart in Big Show that will help keep him hot and ready for John Cena come August.
Christian vs. Randy Orton
I know we have already seen this match a couple of times, but the Christian character is currently undergoing some major changes. Something is brewing slowly beneath the surface. I don’t know if this evolves into a heel turn for Christian, or if it is only a teaser. Either way we have not seen the last championship clash between Orton and Captain Charisma. They will fight again. They have already out on two very good matches, and I anticipate they will only get better in summer series. For those of you hoping for another Christian title reign, you may get your wish should Christian do a heel turn and chase Orton over the next couple of months. Being that they have such a good story going, it would be nice to see WWE culminate this feud at SummerSlam if they can get that kind of mileage out of it.
Granted these are only a few of the matches that will occupy our summer. There is a chance these will not happen, but most of these are safe bets. There is also the question of where things will go with individual stars such as the rejuvenated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, the Divas, and Sin Cara. What I like so much about this year’s lineup is how different it is. It’s not as out-of-the-box as last year’s Nexus angle, but there is a whole new line of challengers for John Cena and the Smackdown roster has undergone a fantastic makeover since losing Edge. Like most wrestling shows, all we need to do is sit back and enjoy.