Reigns has earned considerable praise of late since turning heel (becoming a bad guy in pro wrestling parlance), while Cena remains one of the top babyfaces (good guys) of all time.
“As you know, your villain is only as good as your hero, and your hero is only as good as your villain,” WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan told Variety. “So with Roman being on such a tear and being such a monster heel, it only made sense for one of our greatest faces of all time to come back. We think John has had an extremely busy summer [promoting “F9” and “Suicide Squad”]. He was gracious enough to not only do all of our televised shows, including ‘SummerSlam,’ but all of our non-televised shows as well. So he’s been working his ass off to perform for our fans and to work with us and we greatly appreciate that.”
“SummerSlam” will be held tonight with fans in attendance at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. It will mark the first time “SummerSlam” has been held at an NFL venue and will be one of the first sporting events held at the stadium.
“Typically, we only do one football stadium show a year, and that’s WrestleMania,” Khan said. “Because there was a limited capacity in Tampa in April when we did it, that was a two night event. We haven’t been on the west coast in over 20 months, so it was important to us to give our fans the big stadium atmosphere at least once this year in a full setting. So with over 45,000 tickets sold…we feel like it’s going to be a fun event for everybody.”
Khan, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, said that the move to hold the event on a Saturday is meant to allow fans to have the full Vegas experience.
“Most of our pay-per-views have been on Sunday nights and then ‘Monday Night Raw’ obviously on Mondays,” he said. “So we don’t believe there’s a lot of people from out of state who say, ‘Oh my god, let’s go to Vegas. Let’s go crazy on a Sunday.’ Or ‘Let’s go to Vegas and go crazy on a Monday,’ or even Friday Smackdown, ‘Let’s go to Vegas, let’s land by 3pm local time and be in our seats by 5pm local and go crazy.’ It just doesn’t work like that there.”
In addition, the event is being broadcast into movie theaters nationwide as well as being available on pay-per-view and Peacock. The event is also unique in that it will be the first time SummerSlam has been broadcast live on a Saturday night.