SummerSlam matches are stacked with heavy favorites and WWE needs a big night.
1. The WWE's second-biggest night of the year is just about here. SummerSlam takes place Sunday night in Toronto at a very pivotal time for the company.
Ratings have taken a dip, attendance has been down and there has been fan backlash. Vince McMahon recently took action by putting Paul Heyman in charge of Monday Night Raw and Eric Bischoff in charge of SmackDown Live.
Sunday is big for the compay in and out of the ring. While WWE needs to put on a good show in hopes of making fans happy, it also need some momentum going into their relationship with FOX Sports.
FOX, which will start airing SmackDown Live on Oct. 6, is all in on the WWE. FS1 will be airing a weekly WWE studio show and you are going to see heavy promotion for SmackDown during Thursday Night Football this season. In fact, the promotion has already started.
A SummerSlam dud would be a big hit for the WWE, especially coming off the much-hyped Raw Reunion show that left viewers less than satisfied. You can bet that FOX executives will be watching closely as they need the narrative around the current WWE product to improve and improve quickly.
As for the SummerSlam card, it doesn't seem as strong as you'd expect for one of the WWE's signature events. As of this writing, Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan don't even have matches. And judging by the betting odds, via 5Dimes, there aren't many surprises expected. Outside of Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins, the rest of the card is filled with significant favorites. Here are the odds for each match:
Brock Lesnar -190
Seth Rollins +150
Kofi Kingston -245
Randy Orton +175
Kevin Owens -425
Shane McMahon +305
Bray Wyatt -1500
Finn Balor +700
AJ Styles -265
Dolph Ziggler +600
Becky Lynch -320
Ember Moon +140
Trish Stratus +250
Charlotte Flair -350
Drew Gulak -290
Oney Lorcan +210
2. If you read Thursday's Traina Thoughts about Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme song, you will enjoy this follow-up item below.
3. While we're on a wrestling theme, make sure you check out this week's SI Media Podcast with the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin. We discussed giving Vince McMahon the Stone Cold Stunner for the first time at Madison Square Garden, how differently fans watch wresting today compared to when Steve was an in-ring competitor, his new interview show Straight Up Steve Austin, getting mani/pedis, his love of margaritas and more.
4. Someone let Jets coach Adam Gase know that exhibition games don't count.
5. There's no clip that sums up preseason football better than this one.
6. One of the best traditions going in the NFL
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Today would've been Whitney Houston's 56th birthday. Amazingly, it's been seven years since she passed away. If you never heard her isolated vocals on "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", be prepared to be wowed.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.
IN CLOSING: We are blessed. Truly blessed. Bill Walton will call a White Sox-Angels game for NBC Sports Chicago on Aug. 16 with play-by-play man Jason Benetti.