SummerSlam will feature professional wrestling matches that involve different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that will play out on WWE's primary television programs. Wrestlers portray villains or heroes as they follow a series of events that builds tension and culminates in a wrestling match or series of matches.
On the July 15, 2013 episode of Raw, new Raw General Manager Brad Maddox announced that he would allow WWE Champion John Cena to choose his own opponent for SummerSlam. Later in the night, after taking an informal poll of the live audience, he chose Daniel Bryan. On the August 12 episode of Raw, Maddox served as special guest referee in a match with Bryan facing Wade Barrett. After making a quick count to allow Barrett to win the match, Maddox would offer his services as the guest referee for the Cena-Bryan match at the PPV when Triple H interceded, and announced he would serve as referee instead (punctuated by a pedigree to Maddox).
Also on the same episode, Brock Lesnar made his return when he attacked CM Punk. The following week on Raw, Paul Heyman accepted Punk's challenge for a match at SummerSlam on behalf of Lesnar.3
On the July 19, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Randy Orton defeated World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match. However on the July 29 episode of Raw, Christian also defeated Del Rio in a non-title match. To determine the next challenger for Del Rio's championship, new SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero decided to make a triple threat match between Christian, Orton, and the returning Rob Van Dam. The match ended with Christian reversing Orton's attempt of an RKO into a backslide pin, winning the match and becoming the new #1 contender for the title before being attacked by Del Rio. On the August 9th edition of SmackDown, Christian would defeat Del Rio in another non-title match.
At the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 14, Damien Sandow won the Money in the Bank briefcase for a future World Heavyweight Championship shot, betraying his former tag team partner Cody Rhodes in the process. Rhodes attacked Sandow after the latter's loss to Christian the following night on Raw. On the July 26 episode on SmackDown, while Sandow was facing Randy Orton in a singles match, Rhodes would take his briefcase, causing Sandow to lose the match and search for his briefcase after. Rhodes would throw Sandow's briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico, and Sandow was unable to retrieve it because he couldn't swim. It was announced on the August 5 episode of Raw that Rhodes will face Sandow at SummerSlam. Four days later on SmackDown, Sandow would debut his new look Money in the Bank briefcase with a new World Heavyweight Championship contract. Later on, after Christian defeated Del Rio in a non-title match, Sandow would attempt to cash in his contract, but his effort was thwarted by Rhodes.
On the July 8 episode of Raw, after Kane defeated Christian in a singles match, The Wyatt Family would appear to attack Kane, removing him from competing at the Money in the Bank match for the WWE Championship contract. The Wyatt Family would attack Kane again three weeks later on Raw after Daniel Bryan defeated Kane in a singles match. A week later on Raw, after Erick Rowan and Luke Harper defeated Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) in a tag team match, Kane announced that he would face Bray Wyatt in a "Ring of Fire" match at SummerSlam.
After AJ Lee retained her Divas Championship against Kaitlyn at Money in the Bank and later on cost Dolph Ziggler at winning the World Heavyweight Championship, Ziggler would break up with Lee the next night on Raw, causing her to distract Ziggler in his non-title rematch against Del Rio and leaving Big E Langston to attack him. On the July 29 episode of Raw, Kaitlyn would defeat Lee in a non-title match to stay in contention for the Divas Championship, but four days later on SmackDown, Lee would defeat Kaitlyn to retain the championship due to Layla interfering and protecting Lee. A week later on Smackdown, The Miz - the host of SummerSlam - announced that Kaitlyn and Ziggler would face Lee and Langston in a mix tag team match at the PPV.
On the August 12 episode of Raw - as a result of their feud stemming from starring on Total Divas - Natalya challenged Brie Bella to a match at the PPV, which she accepted by slapping Natalya's face. Natalya also announced that The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) will be in her corner due the fact that Eva Marie has aligned herself with The Bella Twins. Later, on the same episode, Rob Van Dam won a 20 man battle royal (lastly eliminating Mark Henry) to win the right to challenge United States Champion Dean Ambrose for the title at the SummerSlam Kickoff Show, one hour prior to the PPV broadcast.
No. Matches Stipulations
(Pre-show) Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam Singles match for the WWE United States Championship4
1 John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan Singles match for the WWE Championship with Triple H as special guest referee5
2 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) Singles match6
3 Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Christian Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship7
4 Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow Singles match8
5 Kane vs. Bray Wyatt Ring of Fire match9
6 Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee Mixed tag team match10
7 Natalya (with The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi)) vs. Brie Bella (with Eva Marie and Nikki Bella) Singles match11
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match