Welcome back to the latest post in the SummerSlam Chronicles. To catch new readers up to speed, I’ll be attending this year’s SummerSlam with both long time and new watchers of the sport of kings. This series of posts is intended to catch up new fans so they can enjoy the event to their own personal maximums. We last left off with the WWE as the only major promotion left in North America and Vince McMahon wept for there were no more lands to conquer.
Now, there are many major smaller promotions in the United States. Groups that perform in smaller venues and have a promotional radius of a couple states. Then there are some which are bigger, big enough to have TV shows that air nationally on some of those higher tier cable channels. Some wrestlers are more than alright staying at this level and make good money, but many are using their time in these organizations to gain experience and get noticed, hoping for a phone call from WWE.
Back to the WWE though.
With no major national challenger WWE found themselves becoming complacent. Competition breeds innovation and without it the product became stale. Same guys every week. Stories without passion. So WWE decided to create their own competition. They already had two shows, the long running and live Monday Night Raw and the show created to exploit more of their talent during the height of wrestling’s popularity during the 1990’s, Smackdown.
A split was created, and an on screen reason involving secret investors in the company was given, thus every wrestlers – male and female – was “drafted” to one of the two shows. You were either Team Red (Raw) or Team Blue (Smackdown). Over the years to make exciting story lines this has all changed. People have switched sides, the sides have combined only to split again, certain people were allowed on both shows. But the current product has people only on one of the shows and the pay per views, like SummerSlam, feature talents from both shows, but not again the other brand.
In order to give reasons for the wrestlers to fight on both of these shows, titles that existed since the dawn of WWWF/WWF/WWE are defended on these shows but new titles had to also be created with this split, or as they call it a “brand extension”. So what are the titles?
There is a World title on each show. The main title. Smackdown’s can be traced back to the original WWE World title, whereas the one on Raw is a more recent creation due to the most recent brand split. Both will be defended at SummerSlam.
Both shows also have a secondary title. The Intercontinental belt for Raw and the United States title for Smackdown.
There is a tag team title for each show, and a women’s title for each one. To throw a bit more confusion in here there is also one Cruiserweight title. A Cruiserweight is a wrestler who weighs 205 pounds or less. Due to their lighter size, many of them can execute some stunning maneuvers that you won’t find elsewhere.
Then, there’s the briefcase which can change the entire WWE on the count of three.
Come back as throughout the week, every match will be discussed with a little background on the wrestlers and why their match is happening.