Even with an event as long and jam-packed as SummerSlam 2016 is going to be, there’s still going to be people left out of the equation who weren’t booked on the card. As of right now, most of the lineup has been set, even though there’s a possibility another match or two will be added to fit a few more wrestlers onto the pay-per-view. This is seemingly going to be the final cross-branded event until Survivor Series, so it really shows which wrestlers are the most prioritized on their respective brands and which ones are mostly just supplemental filler to eat up time on the Raw and SmackDown specific events coming later in the pipeline.
With that being said, who are those superstars that will possibly be sitting out SummerSlam this year unless something changes very soon? Let’s take a look…
Sami Zayn was one of the talents who seemed like a great fit for the SmackDown side of things, and judging by how he’s been utilized on Raw since the draft, that might have been better for him. He doesn’t have any kind of feud going on right now and was used just as a supplemental person to help out the Sheamus and Cesaro feud. Instead of being in the midcard title hunt or keeping himself busy with an upper midcard feud, he’s just not being factored in at all, it seems.
There aren’t many options for opponents on the roster—at least, none who are really worth anything—but just speaks to the problem of a divided brand split. Hopefully, by the time Clash of Champions comes along, Zayn will have found some footing and be featured in a somewhat prominent way (or in this case, at all).
Just the same as Sami Zayn, since Neville he was drafted on the main show and brought back with a little bit of fanfare, it was safe to assume that he would be getting a somewhat decent push, or at least something of a push at the very least. Instead, he dropped off the face of the earth. What was the point in all that if he meant so little that he not only isn’t scheduled for SummerSlam, but he also wasn’t worth finding a role for on most episodes of Raw leading up to the event?
Darren Young / Titus O’Neil
It’s odd to think that these two deserve a match on the SummerSlam card, but they kind of do, all things considered. Both men have been on the low end of things for quite some time, yet somehow they’ve managed to make their oddball split feud more interesting than some of the bigger stories. For my money, even though I enjoy the particular wrestlers of The Miz and Apollo Crews better, I’ve been more interested in the Young vs. O’Neil feud than what’s happening with the Intercontinental Championship.
This would be a textbook pre-show bout, of course, and nothing more. Still, it’s something. Since no matches have been announced yet for the pre-show and it will take two hours, I’m somewhat confident that this will be added to the mix, even if WWE may not announce it until later this week.
The Extra Tag Teams
There may not be enough tag teams to justify having a set of belts for both Raw and SmackDown, but as far as the SummerSlam card goes, a ton of duos are sitting the event out. The Dudley Boyz, The Shining Stars, The Golden Truth, The Vaudevillains, The Ascension, The Hype Bros, The Usos, Breezango and American Alpha are all nowhere to be found.
For the majority of these teams, it makes sense, as nobody would be clamoring to see Konnor and Viktor wrestle or choosing not to check the event out because Primo and Epico weren’t prominently featured. However, American Alpha could have used something on the pre-show to show them off to the audience a bit more and convince the Raw crowd to check them out on SmackDown if they weren’t previously familiar with them from their work in NXT.
Alberto Del Rio
I don’t know about you guys, but with the way he’s been booked the past few months, the fact that he and Paige were split up in the draft, and the rumors that he may be leaving soon, I’m not too shocked that Alberto Del Rio has nothing going for him at SummerSlam.
At a different point in time, he would have been wrestling in a championship match at some point—likely for the World Heavyweight Championship after holding it for far too long of a time frame than what he should have. This is a different era, though, and oddly enough, he’s gone from being overrated to being underutilized. That being said, no feuds have been set up for him, no matches could have been stretched to include him, and there were bigger fish to fry, so it makes perfect sense based off the past few weeks for Del Rio to be relegated to duties outside of wrestling on the card. Go check him out at the meet and greets, the One World observatory visit, and the SummerSlam reading celebration instead. Wait, he can’t be bothered to do those, either? #SeptemberOutClause
We shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t have a match, but it’s worth noting that Jinder Mahal made his return to WWE television and has gone right back into his former role as a jobber. Everybody saw that coming, and there’s no room to incorporate jobbers into the SummerSlam card without stepping on the toes of much more important performers, but it’s still interesting that someone could come back with such little fanfare and receive not even the slightest bit of a bump on the roster. You don’t see Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Jack Swagger or Sin Cara doing anything but wrestling on Superstars and Main Event, either, so the same applies to Jinder Mahal.
The Squash Squad
On the flipside of things, both Nia Jax and Braun Strowman have been making short work of their opponents on Monday Night Raw, disposing of local jobbers like they’re nothing. Just as there isn’t room on the event for Jinder to wrestle, there isn’t much time that can be allocated to seeing Strowman or Jax destroy a no-name from the Brooklyn area. This is better suited to for filler on the Monday Night Raw that follows SummerSlam.
Speaking of jobbers, there’s an entirely different set of circumstances when it comes to Heath Slater. Ever since he wasn’t drafted to either Raw or SmackDown, he’s been given a spotlight on both shows as a loser for comedic purposes. It’s completely logical why he has no matches scheduled for SummerSlam, but I actually expect him to be a guarantee to show up, despite this.