Bayley had defeated Sasha Banks previously to earn a shot at RAW Women's Champ Alexa Bliss. This past Monday night, she was competing against Nia Jax when the injury happened. WWE provided updates on the injury, stating that Bayley would be re-evaluated soon and noting that her SummerSlam bout is "in jeopardy."
Some feel that the injury may be a work due to the nature of how WWE has reported on it. However, the injury does appear to be legitimate (though perhaps not as bad as they have implied?).
Nevertheless, if WWE does have to pivot on who will challenge Bliss at SummerSlam, who should it be? There's one obvious answer and a few more surprising ones.
The Boss Is Back
Sasha Banks is the most obvious substitution for SummerSlam.
Bliss and Banks had a bout at the last PPV, Great Balls Of Fire, where it looked like Banks had Bliss beat. Instead, Bliss took the count-out to retain her championship.
Alexa has even continued their storyline in the week since, bringing up Banks often during her promos. She mocked Sasha for losing to Bayley in the number one contender's match. They're obviously keeping these two close for another match down the line, so it would make sense for Banks to step in if Bayley can't go.
Outside of Bliss, Banks is quite clearly the most over female competitor on RAW, so if WWE is looking to get the crowd into it, this is the choice. Additionally, of all the options I am going to rattle off, Banks and Bliss would clearly have the best match in the ring.prevnext
Good Friends, Better Enemies?
Okay, so it might have been the name of a 1996 In Your House PPV, but "Good Friends, Better Enemies" certainly suits a possible Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax bout.
The pair have teased an on-again, off-again friendly alliance (despite being best buds in real life). Jax is one of the few other RAW female competitors that has some momentum at this point, so with limited options, she is probably the best bet outside of Sasha.
It would also be easy to justify Jax from a storyline perspective. After all, she would be the one credited with taking out Bayley prior to SummerSlam. If there is controversy with Banks thinking that she deserves the shot, they could always have a match on RAW to settle it (or settle it unofficially in a backstage brawl).prevnext
A Surprise Return
This is probably the most unlikely match, though it would probably elicit the biggest pop from the audience.
Paige has yet to be cleared from her neck injury that was suffered in 2016. She underwent surgery last fall and is working her way back to being cleared During an appearance on Busted Open Radio this week, she hinted that she is getting closer to being cleared as she awaits test results from a CT Scan.
If Paige can get cleared in time, this would be a great way to return. If you're taking bets, though, this one seems like more than a long shot.prevnext
An Old Opponent Comes Back
It's been done before, but it could also feel fresh as the division has gotten stagnant. Bring back Mickie James and make something out of her chasing her first championship in many years at the second biggest show of the year.
Now, James actually did have some momentum when she returned to the company during WrestleMania season. However, she's really lost steam as she has been all but absent for week after week on Monday nights. To do this match would take some major pivoting and some extra time to rebuild a storyline and reintroduce James as a serious contender.
Then again, they've got plenty of time to do that during a three hour Monday night show. Unlikely, yes. Impossible? Not at all.prevnext
Any Other Realistic Options?0comments
There's really no other realistic options, and honestly, Mickie James as a sub was probably grasping at straws. The only options remaining are Emma, Dana Brooke, and Alicia Fox. Summer Rae is still out injured.
Emma is a heel, and though heel vs. heel matches certainly aren't impossible, it's difficult to see them doing that here. Especially given how Emma has sparingly been used since her return. Dana and Alicia? You'd have a better chance explaining nuclear energy to a third grade class than explaining how either of them could warrant a title shot at SummerSlam.prev