Your Average #WWESummerslam Preview & Predictions
Last week I previewed WWE Summerslam 10 days before the pay per view. Now that we’re through the final Raw & Smackdown, it’s time for our official preview & predictions post. Between the pre-show and main card Summerslam is slated for 6 hours, so if you were looking to watch a whole lot of wrestling this weekend, you’re in luck. Let’s get to the preview!
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Randy Orton vs. Rusev
I’m not as well versed on Smackdown feuds as I am with Raw, but WWE aren’t exactly the Coen Brothers when it comes to telling stories so I’m pretty sure I can figure things out. 2017 has been a frustrating year for Rusev. He missed WrestleMania due to a shoulder injury, got separated from Lana and when he finally debuted on Smackdown, he got thrown into a USA themed feud with John Cena that he obviously lost.
You’d think that’d be enough awfulness for one year, but now he’s slotted against Randy Orton, the man with less momentum than a nailed down piece of wood. Orton started the year off strong with a Royal Rumble win and a World title win at WrestleMania, but everything post Mania has been awful. He was in the House of Horrors match & has lost to Jinder Mahal three pay per views in a row. Even though he inexplicably got a clean non title win over Mahal on Tuesday, he’s still tanking.
Ryan – In a perfect world, this would be a spot to give Rusev a win at a major pay per view over someone with name value, but we do not live in a perfect world. RKO out of somewhere will win it for Orton.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
If you’ve been following the story of Bray Wyatt, you know all his storylines have three acts. Act 1. Start a feud by teleporting in and costing someone a match. Act 2. build up that feud with teleportation/spooky dark room promos. Act 3. Lose the match at a pay per view. We’re all the way though act 1 and almost through act 2, so the only thing left for Wyatt to do is lose to Balor at Summerslam. I really hope I’m wrong, but Balor hasn’t done much since returning from injury, and he wasn’t even on the GBOF card. Wyatt beat Rollins at that show, which was nice, but his track record causes me to believe he’s going to lose to Balor at the more important PPV.
Balor and Wyatt fought on Monday with Wyatt picking up a clean win. After the match Wyatt dumped a bucket of ‘blood’ on Balor, which caused Balor to announce that he’s summoning The Demon for Summerslam. I guess a bucket of blood is The Demon’s version of a bat signal? As hyped as I am to see a Demon entrance at a major pay per view, I wish they hadn’t wasted this match on Raw. Also, Wyatt already winning clean almost guarantees a win for Balor here.
Ryan – The Demon
Big Cass vs. Big Show (Enzo Amore will be suspended in a shark cage above the ring)
This has been the never ending feud, but I will give credit where credit is due: I loved the segment from Monday featuring these three plus Gallows/Anderson. At this point Enzo shouldn’t be garnering any sympathy, and he once again talked too much and hung his 7 foot friend out to dry. Cass cut a great promo about how after Summerslam, he’s going to be the best big man in the business. Enzo interrupted, brought out the Big Show, and the Big Show got his hand destroyed by Cass, Gallows & Anderson for once again trying to help out Enzo. I hope the Cass, Gallows & Anderson pairing is more than a one off since Gallows & Anderson aren’t doing anything else, and I’m once again going to suggest putting actual sharks into the shark cage with Enzo.
Ryan – Big Cass
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
My original stance on this match was that Corbin needed the win much more than Cena. Corbin had the MITB briefcase, and assuming Nakamura beats Jinder for the title, giving Corbin a win over Cena would make him that much more dangerous as he chases Nak.
It didn’t even need to be a clean win. He could kick Cena in the dick, set him on fire, whatever. WWE baby faces will never be as popular as they want them to be unless they have a legitimate heel to oppose them. If Corbin beats Cena at Summerslam, he’ll be on his way to being a true threat to whoever is holding the title.
WELP, so much for rooting for fun outcomes in pro wrestling. After John Cena beat Mahal via DQ on Tuesday, Corbin decided to cash in on Mahal. Cena distracted him, Mahal rolled up Corbin for the win and Corbin lost his briefcase. I can’t comprehend who thought this was a good idea 5 days before Summerslam, but whoever it was should be exiled. This decision takes a lot of suspense out of the title match now that there’s no MITB briefcase holder, and while Corbin might be more aggressive now that Cena cost him his briefcase, I’d rather have Corbin lurking in the shadows than fighting angry.
Ryan – John Cena, because we can’t have nice things
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville vs. Akira Tozawa (C)
Neville has consistently been the best part of the Cruiserweight division for the entirety of 2017, so obviously he lost the title to Tozawa six days before Summerslam. I have no idea why they had a title match on Raw, and I’m even more flabbergasted that Neville would lose clean. Is anyone even interested in the rematch when we’ve already seen a clean outcome? The only silver lining is that Neville & Tozawa work really well together, so the match should be top notch. I just wish they didn’t already face other, with a title change, 4 days ago.
Ryan – Tozawa has to retain, right? I honestly have no idea what to expect, but I’m going with Tozawa
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (C) vs. The Uso’s
New Day & The Uso’s have been having a very under the radar feud on Smackdown, and this is one of the matches I’m most excited for. As solid as Xavier Woods was at Battleground, the best wrestling version of New Day is always Big E & Kofi, so I’m glad to see they’ll be defending the straps. The Uso’s picked up a decisive win two weeks ago over Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger, and New Day also showed some much needed aggression in their post match attack. You get the sense that these two teams really dislike each other, which is an element that’s missing from a lot of modern day feuds. If they’re given as much time as they were at Battleground, this could turn into a classic.
Ryan – This is a toss up for me, but if I HAD to choose, I’m going Uso’s.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match – Cesaro & Sheamus (C) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
This is my pick for match of the night. It’s also a story of two similarly formed teams, as Cesaro & Sheamus were also enemies who joined forces when they realized they were stronger as a unit. Rollins & Ambrose reluctantly rejoined forces after Cesaro & Sheamus continually beat them down, and we already know how effective they can be when they’re on the same page. I’ve enjoyed Cesaro & Sheamus’s tag title run, and even though there hasn’t been a lot of competition, adding Rollins & Ambrose into the mix is a big plus.
Ryan – I don’t think reuniting Rollins & Ambrose and having them immediately win the tag titles is the right move, so I’d expect some growing pains. Cesaro & Sheamus retain.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks
While you never want to see anyone get injured, Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss had all the making of another major letdown match. Bayley & Bliss have never clicked in the ring, and thrusting Bayley into another title match was not the right move. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa is a much better match up, and these two have already proved they have better chemistry with their match at GBOF. The thing to remember here is that Nia Jax is still guaranteed a title match as long as Bliss remains champion, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get involved in this match.
Ryan – Alexa retains, potentially with some help from Nia Jax
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (C) vs. Natalya
It’s refreshing to see the Smackdown Women’s title defended in a one on one match at a major pay per view. I understand the mindset of wanting to get as much people on the card as possible, but the title feels more important when there’s a standout challenger. It’s also nice to see Natalya given a title match at a major pay per view, and as the senior member of the Women’s division I think she and Naomi are going to put on a hell of a match. Summerslam is slated for 4 hours (plus a 2 hour pre show) so there’s no reason to not give each match the time it needs to tell a story. The result of this match may not matter as Carmella should be lurking in the background with her MITB briefcase.
Ryan – Naomi retains after a hard fought match, and Carmella capitalizes and cashes in.
WWE United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens (Shane McMahon as special guest referee)
Whenever you put AJ Styles and Kevin Owens together they have a chance to do something special, so my only request for this match is to let them do what they do best, which is wrestle and tell a story. I know that’s a lot to ask when Shane McMahon is the special guest referee, but this is a different Shane O Mac than the one we saw ref matches in the late 90’s & early 2000’s.
The general consensus is that this will lead to KO vs. Shane somewhere down the line (since we’ve already seen Shane vs. AJ) but again, all I want is for these two to wrestle their asses off. Leave the shenanigans for another day. This match doesn’t need AJ getting his foot stuck in the announce table or a confusing ending based on shoulder placement. You have two of the best wrestlers in the world in a title match at your second biggest pay per view. Let them work their magic.
Unfortunately we’ve gotten the exact opposite over the last two Smackdown’s. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the US title at a major pay per view should not be centered around which guy is going to accidentally hit 47 year old special guest referee Shane McMahon, but that’s what WWE has chosen to focus on. It’s almost a certainty we’ll get some type of ref knockdown, but hopefully it doesn’t overshadow the match.
Ryan – I’m very into workhorse mid card champion AJ Styles, so I’m going with AJ.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This is the match I’m most nervous about. While it’s great to see a fresh face as champion, Jinder Mahal’s title reign hasn’t been great. While a lot of that has to do with him only fighting Randy Orton, you also have to remember who Jinder Mahal was before this run. He was the third best member in 3MB during his former run and his most noteworthy moment during his last run on Raw was hitting Finn Balor too hard in the head. Just because he’s champion doesn’t mean he’s magically going to turn into AJ Styles in the ring.
Nakamura has also had some growing pains since debuting on the main roster. He’s had sub par matches with Ziggler, KO & Corbin, all of whom are capable of much more, especially against Nak. If Nakamura can’t have good to great matches with those three, is he capable of doing it with Jinder Mahal? Are we in for another bad match with Singh Brother interference? I always skew positive when it comes to pro wrestling, but this match doesn’t have a lot going for it.
Nakamura should win this match. Even if you have the Singh Brothers interfere, Nakamura is clearly the star of this match, and he should be able to overcome the odds and Kinshasa Jinder to win the belt. Corbin losing his MITB briefcase takes away all of the post match drama, but regardless, Nak should leave as the World Champion
Ryan – Shinsuke Nakamura
Fatal 4 Way Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe
The biggest compliment I can give this match is that no result would surprise me. If Lesnar wins and retains the title somehow, it would make sense because he’s Brock Lesnar. If Samoa Joe or Strowman win, you’re giving them their first major title win at your second biggest pay per view. If Rollins & Ambrose win the tag titles earlier in the night and help Reigns win the Universal title in the main event I’ll probably lose consciousness.
The biggest stipulation is the announcement that if Lesnar loses, he’ll leave WWE. It’s no secret that he wants back in the UFC, and it’s tough to train for that and appear for WWE at the same time. As awesome as Brock is, he’s always better in small doses, and he doesn’t need the title. He can show up and murder everyone every 6 months or so until he’s 60. If his heart is set on returning to the UFC, let him do it and then welcome him back with open arms if he wants to return.
Ryan – My heart is set on Samoa Joe winning here, so that’s who I’m going with. Lesnar leaves temporarily, Strowman & Reigns become de facto number one contenders and Joe gets a title he over deserves.
The match card currently sits at 12, but there’s always room for more. Look for a Miz/Jason Jordan or Miz, Miz-Tourage vs. JJ & The Hardy’s to be added, as well as whatever Goldust has planned.