SummerSlam served as a major reset point in the world of WWE, with three of the four biggest titles in the company changing hands in a single night. The fallout from everything else that happened Sunday night, from Becky Lynch snapping and attacking Charlotte Flair to Finn Balor's return as the demon to open-ended finishes between Daniel Bryan and The Miz as well as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, there's plenty to work with moving forward.
Although the road to WrestleMania technically starts at the Royal Rumble, WWE's 52-weeks-a-year schedule means that even now the breadcrumbs are being laid down for some of the biggest matches being planned for MetLife Stadium on April 7.
A lot can change between now and WrestleMania 35, but given what we saw at SummerSlam, ESPN's resident WWE fanatics each took the chance to predict one match we could (or should) see on the card. Those prognostications range from the clearly foreseeable to the intensely optimistic, but only time will tell as to who is most likely to be on the money.
Roman Reigns reached the pinnacle of his WWE career at SummerSlam. The Universal championship had eluded Reigns despite numerous attempts at Brock Lesnar, but no longer. Now that he has the title, the reign is bound to be lengthy -- and rightfully so. There's a great chance that Reigns holds onto the championship until WrestleMania, but who will challenge the new face of Raw?
How about the face of the WWE?
John Cena's most recent WrestleMania memory was a forgettable one. In a match that didn't reach three minutes in length, a returning Undertaker dismantled the 16-time world champion at WrestleMania 34. That will not be the final WrestleMania moment in the great Cena's career.
Instead, surprise 2019 Royal Rumble entrant Cena will join Stone Cold Steve Austin as the only three-time Rumble winners -- giving Cena the opportunity to challenge any champion he chooses. This will set up a battle between two of the most polarizing figures in WWE history in what would be one of the most anticipated WrestleMania matches of all time. -- Sean Coyle
WWE championship: The Miz (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
After Miz's tricks to win their grudge match at SummerSlam, it seems the story isn't over between these two. While all of this is dependent on Bryan signing a new contract, his new mission is not only proving this run is not a fluke, but also that he is better than The Miz. For the next few months, expect Miz to bask in the glory of his victory all the while reneging on Bryan's challenges for a rematch. With Season 2 of "Miz and Mrs." expected in 2019, a WWE title victory would make great television for the reality show, with the victory taking place at the Royal Rumble. It won't be an A-list celebration for the Miz because after avoiding Bryan for months, Bryan wins the 2019 Royal Rumble from No. 30 and announces his intention to face The Miz to close the show.
Somewhere in the lead-up, you can intertwine Maryse and Brie Bella into the storyline, adding a personal and professional touch to Bryan's ultimate redemption story. WrestleMania 35 will be at MetLife Stadium, just a stone's throw away from Barclays Center where Miz had his ultimate glory at SummerSlam. However, the stage will be set for the underdog Bryan to once again win the WWE title, this time at the expense of his most hated rival. -- Andrew Davis
With the WWE closing out SummerSlam with an obvious impending feud between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman looming, it's clear that Finn Balor doesn't have a place to compete for the Universal title at this time, which is sad yet unsurprising. The return of the demon offers some promise, though. With a big anniversary -- both in terms of year and the number of fans who will attend -- around the corner at WrestleMania 35, it also seems hard to believe that The Undertaker won't partake in another match -- especially considering that the WWE announced he and Triple H will face off in Melbourne, Australia.
The WrestleMania match two years ago in which The Undertaker faced Roman Reigns, where The Undertaker seemingly "retired," has been proved premature; the WWE, and WrestleMania, still feel the need to rely on his gimmick. That's why it makes sense to book him against Balor in some sort of stipulation match -- I wish inferno matches were still a thing, but Hell in a Cell seems more likely. The Undertaker is WWE's longest-reigning "scary" gimmick, and Balor is one of WWE's latest. The match would be something to see, from killer entrances to a lot of hype in passing the torch, and could truly send Undertaker out on a good note. Here's to hoping. -- Jacob Wolf
The time feels right to settle one of the longest-standing rivalries of the past two decades. Though there have been brief moments where the interests of Kurt Angle and Triple H have aligned, the animosity between the current WWE Hall of Famer and future WWE Hall of Famer dates all the way back to the earliest days of Angle's career. They had some great matches along the way, most notably their Royal Rumble 2001 battle over the WWE heavyweight championship, but these two rivals haven't had a one-on-one match since 2002.
The level of animosity ramped up at Survivor Series 2017, when Triple H joined Angle's Raw team and then attacked Angle before winning the match for Team Raw. Angle got a measure of revenge alongside Ronda Rousey in a mixed tag-team match at WrestleMania 34, but continued tensions with Stephanie McMahon in the Raw power structure are sure to boil over again at some point. Enter Triple H, who outside of his appearance at the Greatest Royal Rumble has been absent from Monday Night Raw for much of 2018. The buildup for this match is as simple and organic as it gets, and makes sense among all of Triple H's recent and future opponents, like John Cena and The Undertaker. -- Tim Fiorvanti
A medley of ideas
The road to WrestleMania is ... paved pretty well right now? Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey seems like it's an inevitability. The Miz winning the WWE championship from AJ Styles at some point and defending against Daniel Bryan -- perhaps after a Royal Rumble win -- seems like an inevitability. The only thing that doesn't seem inevitable is Roman Reigns' opponent for the Universal championship. A match with The Rock has been rumored for a year, and while the domestic grosses for "Rampage" and "Skyscraper" might point to the necessity for one Dwayne Johnson to get back on WWE television, I can't see the logic behind it. One assumes Braun Strowman gets his shot based on the booking of the SummerSlam main event, unless that was just Vince's handy way to assure people (A) didn't leave during it and (B) didn't just straight-up boo the entire time. Selfishly, I'd love to see Seth Rollins vs. Reigns in some fashion, although that fashion is probably the sleeveless black T-shirt of Dean Ambrose, whose Lowercase Triple H look probably has Vince already imagining him on the poster. -- Greg Wyshynski
Although I'd love to see The New Day and The Usos square off on the Grandest Stage of Them All and given ample time to shine, The New Day, without a tag-team title shot, decide to steal the show themselves. Without signaling a true breakup, New Day decide to battle it out for all the pancakes, allowing Big E to show off his strength, Kofi Kingston his agility and Xavier Woods his technical ability. This will allow the New Day members to start branching out into more singles competition, though it would all remain friendly after the match is over. -- Andrew Davis
Universal championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Adam Cole
I mean, if we're talking about out-of-the-box predictions for show-stealing main events, why not start here? Cole is among the elite in NXT and could thrive on the main roster at this very moment. A return to Rollins and Reigns could provide great intrigue in the coming months, ultimately leading up to Rollins taking the title off of his former Shield compatriot. So then ... have Adam Cole win the Rumble and set up an amazing confrontation between two of the best in the world. Show-stealer? Check. -- Andrew Feldman
Universal championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
With Roman Reigns defeating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, WWE could possibly plant the seeds for a triple-threat match at Wrestlemania between the former Shield members. The three men fought once before, at Battleground in 2016 when Dean Ambrose retained the WWE championship over Seth Rollins and Reigns. WWE could play on the history among the three men and even have a little role reversal with Ambrose as the heel and Rollins as the face. They could set it up where Rollins wins the Royal Rumble to become the No. 1 contender and then Ambrose earns his way into the match by pinning Reigns in a non-title match. -- Leonard Ginise
If the WWE isn't going to do what most of us wanted with a full-blown Sasha Banks-Bayley rivalry, then it should make the most of their partnership by crowning them as the inaugural women's tag-team champs. In this scenario, the women's revolution in WWE continues with the introduction of women's tag-team titles sometime after the Royal Rumble. A 10- or 12-team tournament will decide the two challengers -- one from Raw and one from SmackDown Live -- and pit them in a ladder match to crown the champions at WrestleMania 35.
Even though there aren't 10-12 natural tag teams among the current roster, there are plenty of interesting combos, especially when incorporating the ladies of NXT. Imagine new NXT women's champ Kairi Sane teaming up with recent signee Io Shirai, or Shayna Baszler teaming with new Raw women's champ Ronda Rousey. Couldn't that be a way to an in-ring return for the Bella Twins as well?
These titles can really take advantage of the recent decision to co-brand each pay-per-view, allowing teams on both shows the opportunity to fight for the title on a regular basis so things wouldn't begin feeling stale. -- James Emanuele
Kurt Angle vs. Jason Jordan
After the universally lambasted announcement that Jason Jordan was Kurt Angle's long-lost son back in July 2017, many were left wondering where the storyline could possibly go. Before Jordan's untimely neck injury, we were getting hints at a possible Jordan heel turn by his generally annoying personality and nepotistic requests to his father/Raw general manager Angle.
In this optimistic scenario, Jordan is able to return to wrestling at the beginning of 2019. Always wanting to impress his father, Jordan constantly asks for high-profile matches and title opportunities, only to be denied by Angle, who is still under intense scrutiny by Constable Baron Corbin on behalf of Stephanie McMahon.
After weeks of frustration, Jordan finally snaps and brutally attacks Angle backstage. The next week on Raw, Jordan confesses that he in fact not Angle's biological son at all. He had forged a birth certificate and paid off Angle's former college fling to lie about giving birth to Jordan in order to further his career. An enraged Angle challenges Jordan to a match at WrestleMania, where the former Olympian will emerge victorious, but not before creating a new main-event heel in Jordan. -- Nick Irving
Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE made every attempt in 2018 to tell the story of Brock Lesnar versus the fans, with Roman Reigns representing the voice of the fans. WrestleMania 35 can do that story one better, by having Lesnar face the real voice of the fans, Daniel Bryan. This match represents the biggest what-if from Bryan's run before his neck injury, and the WrestleMania stage can do this dream match justice. Assuming Lesnar's UFC commitments don't get in the way, this story will likely start at the Royal Rumble, and build on both Raw and SmackDown until they finally collide. With Bryan and Lesnar as polar opposites in their roads to the big time, their relationship with the fans, and the role their sizes have played in WWE, this is the biggest match that WWE hasn't yet shown us. -- Sachin Chandan
United States championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rusev
The truth is, I have no idea who will actually be holding the title come WrestleMania, but I can't imagine Shinsuke Nakamura will still have any hardware in hand unless his character picks up credence. Both Joe and Rusev have unlimited ceilings on SmackDown, but the more time goes by, the more I believe AJ Styles is going to remain champion until at least WrestleMania, where perhaps Daniel Bryan will await him. That leaves Joe and Rusev, two guys with similar stature and an in-your-face demeanor, to take a few swings at each other next April.
In June, Rusev beat Joe in an entertaining match with The Miz as guest referee. But that was merely a warm-up bout to get everyone geeked up for Money in the Bank. If these two can leave the histrionics and the unnecessary extracurricular squabbles out of the storyline, this could very well be one of the finest matches next year at WrestleMania. -- Matt Wilansky