The main event of SummerSlam should be a foregone conclusion.
Roman Reigns should finally beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship. Reigns should finally liberate that championship from the seldom seen Lesnar after a year and a half of him holding it hostage from the Raw roster. Reigns should finally receive the rub of stopping the seemingly invincible monster who ended The Undertaker's WrestleMania winning streak.
But Reigns also should have done that at WrestleMania. And at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
The third time may be the charm at SummerSlam, though. UFC is giving Lesnar a laughably undeserved shot at Daniel Cormier's Heavyweight Championship in the near future, so Lesnar will all but certainly drop his WWE belt to chase Cormier's. And Vince McMahon has recently been priming fans for a Lesnar loss by depicting him on Raw as an aloof sociopath who only comes to WWE arenas to collect a paycheck. Now more than ever, those fans want to see him dethroned and his belt back on Raw every week, and some of them are even making peace with Reigns being the guy to do that.
Still, much of the audience resents Reigns and what they feel is his forced presence atop WWE. If he wins the Universal Championship Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, there's a good chance he'll get booed out of the building regardless of him ending the long national nightmare that is Lesnar's reign. But some creative booking could keep the crowd from turning on Reigns, or at least send them home happier.
Here are five creative ways Reigns and Lesnar's SummerSlam main event could go:
1. The match goes first. One reason New Orleans was so hostile toward Reigns and Lesnar's WrestleMania match was the fact the show had been going on for six hours at that point. Surprising Brooklyn by opening SummerSlam with the rematch, or even scheduling it midway through the show, would surely stave off those "I want to go home" boos.
2. Paul Heyman turns. Lesnar's recent physicality toward his longtime advocate was probably the most drastic step McMahon has taken to get fans to boo the Beast Incarnate. But the incident could also be setting up Heyman's involvement in the SummerSlam match. He could either turn on Lesnar or, more likely, swerve Reigns by revealing he's been in cahoots with his client all along.
3. Reigns squashes Lesnar. After three matches, we've seen everything we're gonna get from Reigns and Lesnar in WWE's standard finisher-spamming epic format. Double-digit numbers of F5s, Superman punches and spears just won't do anymore. So why not have Reigns put an exclamation point on the end of Lesnar's dominance by beating him in just a few minutes?
4. Money in the Bank gets cashed in. There's a highly unlikely chance Kevin Owens beats Braun Strowman for the briefcase earlier in the show, but it's more likely Strowman cashes in his contract later in the night. He could swipe the belt from Reigns after his big moment, uttering a be-all, end-all "I'm not finished with you!" Or he could just blindside Lesnar as soon as he enters Barclays.
5. Lesnar wins. Or the nightmare could continue. McMahon could decide that Lesnar carrying WWE gold into the UFC is good for business. (Despite the gamble that Lesnar won't lose in embarrassing fashion or piss hot for steroids again.) Or McMahon could just decide that he wants to continue making Reigns' life miserable by further solidifying his reputation as a choke artist.