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How to watch WWE Summerslam 2021

WWE Summerslam John Cena
(Image credit: WWE Network)

The best of WWE will head to Las Vegas on Aug. 21 for the wrestling organization’s annual Summerslam event. Known as “the biggest party of the summer,” Summerslam is certainly trying to live up to that with a lineup of highly anticipated matchups and championship fights, not least of which is the return of John Cena.

Really only trailing WrestleMania on the professional wrestling calendar, Summerslam is a WWE Network event that pits wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown divisions. Summerslam 2021, which will take place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, is the 34th edition, but it will feature some major firsts for the event and how fans can watch it.

Play the intro music as we dish out everything you need to know about WWE Summerslam 2021.

What are the Summerslam 2021 matchups?

Summerslam matchups are built up over the year during weekly Raw and SmackDown telecasts, and while there will be plenty of juicy matchups for devoted fans, the headliner for this year is easily John Cena vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship belt.

Cena of course made his name as a pro wrestler in the WWE, but he’s been seen more on the big screen than in the ring in recent years. In 2021 alone he starred in F9: The Fast Saga and The Suicide Squad. But that didn’t stop him from coming back to WWE to throw the gauntlet down on Reigns. After Reigns’ most recent defense of the Universal Championship, Cena challenged him to a match at Summerslam and after some fun theatrics the match was confirmed.

As much as WWE fans will be looking forward to that matchup, it is just one of eight confirmed matches for Summerslam, including six championship matches. Here’s the full list of Summerslam matches ( a C denotes the reigning champ).

Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. John Cena

WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (C) vs. Goldberg

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bianca Belair (C) vs. Sasha Banks

Raw Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Nikki A.S.H. (C) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Jimmy & Jey Uso (C) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

United States Championship Match: Sheamus (C) vs. Damian Priest

Edge vs. Seth Rollins

Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal

How to watch WWE Summerslam 2021 in the U.S.

Summerslam is a marquee pay-per-view event for the WWE, but a new wrinkle for this year is that it will be available to live stream for the first time.

Following the $1 billion deal between Peacock and WWE from January 2021, the NBCUniversal-owned service now has exclusive streaming rights to all WWE events and its archive content. This means that Summerslam will be available to stream live on Peacock starting with the pre-event coverage at 7 p.m. ET. However, the event will only be available to Peacock Premium subscribers ($4.99 per month for ad-supported version, $9.99 per month for ad-free).

Another first for Summerslam is that it will be playing live on the big screen in select movie theaters. This is done through a partnership between WWE and Iconic Events. You can find out if Summerslam is playing near you and buy tickets on websites like Fandango.

Or, you can watch Summerslam the good old-fashioned way, via pay-per-view. The event can be ordered through your cable or satellite provider for a fee of $44.99.

How to watch WWE Summerslam 2021 everywhere else

It’s not just U.S. audiences that are going to be able to stream Summerslam, the rest of the world can too. While Peacock is planning an international expansion in the near future, in the meantime fans will be able to stream Summerslam 2021 via the WWE Network. It will also be available via pay-per-view globally.

There is a way for international viewers to sign up for Peacock in time for Summerslam 2021 — by using a virtual private network, or VPN. VPNs allow consumers to access a country specific server so that it appears they are located in that country and then watch content on an encrypted feed. In addition, a VPN would allow someone abroad to sign up and access Peacock just like they were in the U.S.

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

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Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.