SummerSlam 2016 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by WWE. It took place on August 21, 2016, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It was the twenty-ninth event under the SummerSlam chronology, the second consecutive SummerSlam to be hosted in the Barclays Center, and the first event under the new WWE Brand Extension. The event also crowned the first WWE Universal Champion.
SummerSlam featured professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on WWE's primary television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they follow a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
On June 5, WWE confirmed that they had granted Brock Lesnar "a one-off opportunity" to return to mixed martial arts competition at UFC 200, while also announcing that Lesnar would then return to the company and compete at SummerSlam. On the July 7 episode of SmackDown, Lesnar's opponent was announced as the returning Randy Orton. On July 15, WWE verified the match would still be taking place August 21, despite an USADA notification made to Lesnar stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on June 28, which tested positive for a banned substance. On July 19, the UFC announced that a second sample taken in-competition on July 9 tested positive for the same banned substance, believed to be hydroxy-clomifene, discovered in the previous sample.
After SmackDown draftee Dean Ambrose retained the WWE Championship at Battleground against Raw draftees Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match, the title became exclusive to SmackDown. Subsequently, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley created a new championship, the WWE Universal Championship, the following night on Raw to serve as a world championship for the brand. Since Ambrose pinned Reigns at Battleground, McMahon and Foley automatically added Rollins to a match at SummerSlam to crown the inaugural champion, with his opponent being the winner of a singles match between the winners of two Fatal 4-Way matches that night. Finn Bálor won the first Fatal 4-Way by defeating Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Rusev, and Reigns won the second by defeating Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, and Sheamus. Bálor then defeated Reigns to earn the title shot against Rollins.
With the WWE Championship renamed to the WWE World Championship, Dolph Ziggler defeated AJ Styles, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt and John Cena in a Six-Pack Challenge on the July 26 episode of SmackDown to earn a WWE World Championship match against Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam.
At Battleground, Sasha Banks recruited Bayley from NXT as a mystery partner and the two defeated WWE Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke in a Tag team match when Sasha made Charlotte submit. This earned Sasha a title match against Charlotte on the following night on Raw, in which Sasha Banks again made Charlotte submit and became the second WWE Women's Champion. Charlotte invoked her rematch clause five days later to face Banks for the title in a rematch at SummerSlam.
After AJ Styles's victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank, Cena teamed up with Enzo Amore and Big Cass to defeat Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows (The Club) at Battleground. On the August 2 episode of SmackDown, Styles challenged Cena to another match at SummerSlam, which Cena accepted.
On the July 25 episode of Raw, the WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day were celebrating in the ring on becoming the longest reigning tag team champions of all time. Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods then asked the fans in Pittsburgh for someone to join them and celebrate. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson then attacked all three members of New Day while the fan did escape. The following week on Raw, Big E and Kofi Kingston were in a tag team match against Gallows and Anderson, where Big E rolled up Gallows for the pinfall victory. Gallows and Anderson then attacked all three members of New Day, finishing with Gallows and Anderson sending Big E groin-first into the steel ring post, causing a contusion in Big E's groin. On August 8, it was announced on WWE.com that Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston will defend the WWE Tag Team Championships against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson at SummerSlam.
After losing to Cesaro on the August 1 episode of Raw, Sheamus attacked Cesaro. On the August 8 episode of Raw, Cesaro defeated Sheamus again but lost a match for the United States Championship against Rusev after interference from Sheamus. On the August 15 episode of Raw, Cesaro distracted Sheamus, costing him a match against Sami Zayn. During an ensuing argument, Raw general manager Mick Foley scheduled a Best of Seven Series between the two, with the first match to take place at SummerSlam.
On the same show, Jon Stewart, who had been SummerSlam's guest host the previous year, was announced to be returning to the event as a special guest.
Eva Marie was drafted to SmackDown but during several episodes, circumstances including pulling her hamstring and a wardrobe malfunction prevented her from making her in-ring debut. On the August 16 episode, Eva Marie no-showed for her match against Naomi. Later that night, Becky Lynch and Carmella took on Natalya and Alexa Bliss, when Eva Marie appeared on the entrance ramp. Naomi then started to then chase Marie, passing the ring at one point. During the confusion, Becky Lynch applied her Dis-Arm-Her on Natalya, who submitted. Later on, a six-woman tag team match was scheduled for SummerSlam. On August 18, Eva Marie was suspended for 30 days in violation of WWE's talent wellness policy, effectively taking her out of the match.
On the August 16 episode of SmackDown, American Alpha, The Hype Bros, and The Usos defeated Breezango, The Ascension, and The Vaudevillains. On August 19, a rematch was scheduled for the SummerSlam kickoff show.
Upon introduction of the WWE Universal Championship belt, the crowd was negative on its design.
Following the event, Randy Orton received 10 staples to close a laceration on his forehead that caused the technical knockout finish.
|12-Man Tag Team Match||Preview|
|Sami Zayn & Neville vs. The Dudley Boyz||Preview|
|Cesaro vs. Sheamus||Preview|
|Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens vs. Realest Guys||Preview|
|Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte||Preview|
|The Miz vs. Apollo Crews||Preview|
|John Cena vs. AJ Styles||Preview|
|New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson||Preview|
|Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler||Preview|
|Six-woman tag team match||Preview|
|Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins||Preview|
|Rusev vs. Roman Reigns||Preview|
|Randy Orton v Brock Lesnar||Preview|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Pre-Show: American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley), & The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze), The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor), & The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) in a 12-man tag team match (14:32)
- The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (5:45)
- Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (c) (w/ Jon Stewart) by DQ in a WWE Tag Team Championship Match (9:09)
Other on-screen talent
- List of WWE pay-per-view events
- World Wrestling Entertainment/Event history
- Event gallery
- SummerSlam 2016 Official website
- SummerSlam 2016 on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2016 kickoff show on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2016 Pre-Show at CAGEMATCH.net
- SummerSlam 2016 at CAGEMATCH.net
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