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Mike Pankow

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The Shield traveling divergent paths as SummerSlam weekend arrives

The Shield traveling divergent paths as SummerSlam weekend arrives

By Mike Pankow

August 9, 2019

Dean Ambrose. Seth Rollins. Roman Reigns.

As we head into the heat of August, the paths of the three former Shield members are traveling diverging paths. Heck, “Dean Ambrose” is no more and he has transformed back into Jon Moxley after departing WWE at the end of April. We’ll get more into Moxley in a moment.

First of all, Rollins and Reigns are entering SummerSlam weekend in Toronto entrenched in intriguing stories.

Former Shield members Dean Ambrose, from left, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins stood united back in September 2013, but now are traveling different paths.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Former Shield members Dean Ambrose, from left, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins stood united back in September 2013, but now are traveling different paths. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Rollins is facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship this Sunday after he lost the title via Money-in-the-Bank cash-in at last month’s Extreme Rules.

Rollins has been beaten down mercilessly by Lesnar over the last two Raws, including being ripped out of an ambulance last week while strapped to a gurney. A broken-down Rollins meekly said he beat Lesnar. “I guarantee it.”

Now, remember this was the same Rollins who low-blowed Lesnar and hit several curb stomps in ending Lesnar’s reign of terror in the opening match of WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey back in April. Rollins was on fire and he was “burning it down.”

Since then, WWE has made public his relationship with fellow superstar Becky Lynch and has seemingly emasculated him in the storylines since Extreme Rules. What is the endgame with this Rollins story? Will he somehow muster up the strength to regain the title and get back on track?

As for Reigns, arguably WWE’s biggest superstar with John Cena off making movies, he doesn’t even have a spot among the announced 10-match card. However, the cliffhangers of the last two weeks of WWE TV have Reigns on a collision with Rowan, formerly of the Wyatt Family and associate of Daniel Bryan.

Samoa Joe has called out Reigns and challenged him to a fight and even jumped him backstage on the July 29 Raw.

After being blamed for lighting grids being pushed onto Reigns on last week’s SmackDown Live, Joe demanded an apology and met Reigns in the parking on lot on this week’s Raw only to see a car ram into Reigns’ car. Joe then became sympathetic and called for “a medic” as Reigns lay in his car following impact.

I’m thinking this could be one, big elaborate plan to beat down the “Big Dog.” Maybe Reigns storms the ring and demands Rowan to come out. Rowan and Bryan come out and beat up Reigns and just as Reigns starts to turn the tide, Rowan’s old partner, Harper, who hasn’t been seen in months, attacks Reigns, creating a 3-on-1 situation.

Then cue up Samoa Joe’s music as Joe runs out to the ring in what appears to be a rescue. Then Joe jumps in and makes it a 4-on-1 beating and a new faction is born. Pipedream? Maybe? But we can all dream, can’t we?

And then there’s Moxley, who signed with All Elite Wrestling and is positioned to be a top star in that company. Moxley’s match with Kenny Omega could very well be the main event of AEW’s All Out at the Sears Centre in suburban Chicago on August 31.

Back to SummerSlam, which has the distinction of 10 singles matches out of 10 matches scheduled (as of Friday night).

Dolph Ziggler  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Dolph Ziggler (Photo by Mike Pankow)

One of the more buzzworthy bouts is Dolph Ziggler, who has been calling out legends over the last few weeks, facing WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg. Ziggler superkicked Shawn Michaels on a recent episode of Miz TV and has mentioned Goldberg by name several times.

There have been numerous rumors about Goldberg this year, though people may have thought his career was over after his loss to Undertaker at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia in a match most remembered for the apparent concussion suffered by Goldberg and awkward finish.

Here is a quick rundown of Sunday’s SummerSlam card:

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins … Lesnar retains and the Rollins spiral continues unfortunately

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton … Kingston retains the title in a solid match against a polished veteran

Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler … Not a total squash, but Goldberg still wins rather handily and removes the bad taste of his Crown Jewel match with Undertaker

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon … Bayley is on the best roll of her career and retains the title in an entertaining affair

Raw Women’s Championship (Submission Match): Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya … Lynch’s momentum has slowed the last few weeks and the fire Natalya has showed has been great, but for some reason, Lynch will retain via submission

Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus … The hometown legend will do the honors for Charlotte, who arguably is the best female performer of her time (would love to see her face Tessa Blanchard at some point!)

Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon (if Owens loses, he must quit WWE) … Shane pulls out all the stops, but Owens eventually hits the stunner and continues his upward momentum

Finn Balor vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt … No way “The Fiend” loses his return/debut. Interesting to see where both these guys go after this match

United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet … Styles retains in a solid match after a distraction from Styles’ buddies from the O.C.

Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan … The 205 Live superstars always seem to find a way to be one of the best-worked matches on the card. This is a tough one, but Gulak retains by a hair

Here is a quick rundown of Saturday’s NXT TakeOver Toronto card:

NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Johnny Gargano (2 out of 3 falls; first fall is a classic match, second fall is a street fight, third fall stipulation will be decided by William Regal if necessary) … Cole retains the title. Cole wins the first fall, Gargano the second. Cole retrieves the title in the third fall in a ladder match

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Mia Yim … Yim wins the championship from her behind-the-scenes training partner as Baszler seems ticketed for elevation to the main roster at some point

NXT Tag Team Championship: Street Profits (c) vs. Undisputed Era … Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish regain the titles in what should be an exciting match. The Profits seemed destined for a permanent promotion to Raw

NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Pete Dunne vs. Roderick Strong … Love the Dream, but somehow Strong figures out a way to win the title and all four members of the Era will hold up the titles at the end of TakeOver

Candice LeRae vs. Io Shirai: Shirai continues her ascension as a heel and puts down LeRae and perhaps puts herself in line for another shot at the NXT Women’s Championship

One year later: Making progress after PROGRESS

One year later: Making progress after PROGRESS

IMPACT Wrestling’s “Bound For Glory” on its way to Chicago

IMPACT Wrestling’s “Bound For Glory” on its way to Chicago