by Brandon Richard
Illustrations by Oli Holmes
Tonight, the superstars of the WWE will take over Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the 28th annual SummerSlam. The 4-hour spectacle, which will air live on the subscription-based WWE network, is the company's second-biggest show behind Wrestlemania. However, this year, they're advertising a main event "too big for Wrestlemania." It'll be the returning Undertaker going one-on-one with Brock Lesnar in a rematch of their Wrestlemania 30 encounter, which resulted in the Deadman's first ever loss at the event.
As we've pointed out before, the worlds of wrestling and sneakers aren't too far apart. Many of the WWE's best also happen to be sneakerheads, as seen in the SneakerMania features. But imagine if they all competed wearing their favorite pairs — better yet, if they wrestled in sneakers that embody the traits of their characters. For the actual visuals, look no further than this illustrated look at WWE superstars and their sneaker counterparts.
Air Jordan 2
SummerSlam Opponent: Kevin Owens
Why the Air Jordan 2: Cesaro is one of the best wrestlers the WWE has to offer, but he's often overlooked and underappreciated. He's a premium talent in today's environment, with a classic look and moveset. Like the Air Jordan 2, the "Swiss Superman" is European rooted, and built with otherworldly strength.
Under Armour Curry One
SummerSlam Opponent: Cesaro
Why the Curry One: Owens is the new kid on the block, but his success didn't happen overnight. Like Steph Curry made a name for himself as a standout at relatively unknown Davidson College, Owens honed his craft by becoming a star on the independent scene. And after finally working his way up to the WWE's main roster, Owens defeated John Cena, the company's top guy, in his first match. Similarly, Curry got the best of LeBron James in his first ever NBA Finals. Neither guy looks the part — Curry is a little short and Owens doesn't possess the typical wrestling physique, but they both dominate with supreme skill sets.
Nike Kobe 6
SummerSlam Opponent: Sheamus
Why the Kobe 6: While Kobe Bryant is the "Black Mamba," Orton is known as "The Viper." Both fan favorites ruled their respective organizations throughout the 2000s, but are suddenly (and shockingly) on the back end of their careers. But just like Kobe can still light you up for 30, Orton can hit his RKO outta nowhere.
Air Jordan Future
SummerSlam Opponent: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose (with Luke Harper)
Why the Air Jordan Future: Keeping the paranormal element alive in the WWE, the demented Bray Wyatt is often described as the present-day Undertaker. A fresh take on a classic, if you will. The Air Jordan Future will probably never live up to the mystique of the sneaker it got its style from, but it's done a hell of a job filling the void.
adidas Crazylight Boost 2015
SummerSlam Opponent: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper (with Roman Reigns)
Why the Crazylight Boost 2015: Dean Ambrose is a little off his rocker, which explains his "Lunatic Fringe" nickname. That makes the CRAZYlight 2015 an obvious choice here. He may not be the guy immediately pegged as a superstar, but he has the tools to go toe-to-toe with anybody who dares to step in the ring with him.
Nike LeBron 12
SummerSlam Opponent: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper (with Dean Ambrose)
Why the LeBron 12: Reigns is one of the more polarizing characters in WWE. He has plenty of supporters, but his detractors are loud. The reason for his mixed crowd reactions is the perception that he's the company's "Chosen One," much like LeBron James. Also like the 4-time NBA MVP, Reigns is a powerhouse that steamrolls his opponents and is poised for championship glory. And in reuniting with Ambrose for another go-round with the Wyatts, he's proving to still be the ultimate team player.
Nike Air Foamposite One
SummerSlam Opponent: Seth Rollins
Why the Foamposite: There's a love him or hate him dynamic between WWE fans and John Cena, with no in-between. The face of the company since 2005, Cena is overexposed, better suited for kids than adults, and is often ridiculed for wearing ridiculous looking clothing. His staleness can only be compared to the Foamposite, a shoe that should have been shelved three years ago, but isn't going anywhere as long as it's still generating big bucks from the part of the crowd that still finds it amusing.
adidas Yeezy 350 Boost
SummerSlam Opponent: John Cena
Why the Yeezy 350 Boost: Rollins is often described as an egomaniac, but his methods won him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31. He has a Kanye-like way of embracing being the game's top villain and he's talented enough to back up his boastful claims. Rollins parted ways with his original group (The Shield) for a better business opportunity with The Authority — similar to how the controversial rapper spurned Nike for adidas.
Nike Air Force 1
SummerSlam Opponent: The Undertaker
Why the Air Force 1: When Brock Lesnar is in the building, he means business. There's no frills, no fancy gimmicks — he's just there to Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. Embodying the Air Force 1's best qualities, he's built like a tank and has been around for a while, but the current generation of fans still thinks he's cool.
Air Jordan 11
SummerSlam Opponent: Brock Lesnar
Why the Air Jordan 11: Determined to avenge his Wrestlemania XXX loss, the Deadman will lock up with Lesnar in a rare non-Wrestlemania appearance. The Undertaker is a legend from the '90s who only returns for special occasions and is still as popular as ever — just like the Jordan 11. Because the demand for the 11 is so high, the brand added low-top releases to the summer calendar. And because the WWE Universe is eager to see his rematch with Lesnar, Taker is back for his first SummerSlam since 2008.