Feature Article

WWE Summerslam 2018: Is Raw Or Smackdown's Match Card Better?

We all have Reigns/Lesnar fatigue at this point.

Since WWE made every PPV a dual-branded event this past year--including superstars from both Raw and Smackdown--it's hard not to look at the match cards and compare which show was booked better. Every wrestling fan is doing it, so why not talk about it? With Summerslam fastly approaching, both Raw and Smackdown are attempting to steal the show, whether they admit it or not.

Coming to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday, August 19, Summerslam will be a stacked event, with 13 matches on the card. Both Raw and Smackdown have each booked six matches for the PPV--and one match from 205 Live--so it should be an evenly amazing card, right? Sadly, that's not the case. Here's what Raw and Smackdown have booked for Summerslam and our analysis of each card.

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Raw Match Card:

  • The B-Team vs. The Revival [KICKOFF MATCH] (For the Raw Tag Team Championship)
  • Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Seth Rollins (For the Intercontinental Championship)
  • Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
  • Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
  • Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (For the Raw Women's Championship)
  • Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns (For the Universal Championship)

Analysis: Looking at the card--as a whole--the match to keep your eye on is Ziggler vs. Rollins. They have been putting on stellar matches the past two months, and this could very well be the "match of the night" from both Raw and Smackdown's rosters.

That being said, the rest of the Raw match card feels lackluster. It's not bad, but it's not great. The Lesnar/Reigns storyline has been done to death in the realm of PPVs, and the outcome is always the same: Lesnar wins, the WWE Universe boos. While Rousey/Bliss will more than likely be a fun match, I'm just not too excited for it. That's how I feel about most of the Raw roster matches for the PPV, "I'd watch it, but the build and matches just don't feel right for Summerslam." And half of these matches--Balor/Corbin, Strowman/Owens, and Rollins/Ziggler--all happened at last month's PPV, Extreme Rules.

Smackdown Match Card:

  • Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega [KICKOFF MATCH]
  • Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Jeff Hardy (For the United States Championship)
  • Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (For the Smackdown Women's Championship)
  • Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
  • The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The New Day (For the Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
  • AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe (For the WWE Championship)

Analysis: Picking the best on this card, prior to the match actually happening, is real tough. Both AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe and Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz are "match of the night" contenders. However, Bryan/Miz gets a slight advantage because of the buildup between these two characters. To the best of my memory, we haven't seen a sanctioned match between the two since 2010, and this rivalry really kicked up during a Talking Smack episode in 2016--which Bryan discussed with GameSpot. It is one of the best rivalry builds in WWE's history, and it's all because of Bryan couldn't wrestle and kept getting taunted by Miz. It's a happy accident.

Out of all the Smackdown matches on this card, Bludgeon Brothers vs. New Day is what I'm least excited for. But that's not saying much as every Smackdown Summerslam match is one I'm dying to see, even the Kickoff Show match. Smackdown knows what it's doing headed into Summerslam. Additionally, this card is fresh, with only Nakamura/Hardy being a repeat from Extreme Rules, and that was a four-second match, so it needs a rematch.

Final Thoughts

It's clear that Smackdown has a far better card booked than Raw. The storylines leading up to its matches have been much more fun, and most importantly, Smackdown's card doesn't feel like a rehashing of Extreme Rules from last month. That being said, Raw's Rollins/Ziggler has the potential to be the best match of the night, closely followed by Miz/Bryan and Styles/Joe. However, potential doesn't mean diddly in the long run. It's all up to how these superstars perform and present their matches in the ring.

Let us know what you're looking forward to for Summerslam in the comments below and which show you think was booked better. Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, August 19 for live coverage of Summerslam, but in the meantime, check out our predictions for the event, the rumors, and our interview with Daniel Bryan about his rivalry with The Miz.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com


Mat Elfring

Mat Elfring is GameSpot's Entertainment Editor, and been with the site since 2015. With 10 years experience as an entertainment journalist, Mat covers movies, TV shows, streaming services, and more. He is also the co-host, co-producer, and editor of GameSpot's professional wrestling podcast Wrestle Buddies, which covers nostalgic moments from WWE, WCW, AEW, and more--with a comedic spin. Mat lives in Chicagoland, where he spends his days planning very weird D&D campaigns.

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