Summerslam is only 10 days away, and things are heating up as we inch closer towards WWE’s Biggest Party of the Summer. While the match card hasn’t been finalized yet, there are 10 bouts already on the show, so let’s take a look at the confirmed matches and speculate on what else could be added.
Make sure to check back on the site next Friday for our official preview & predictions post for both Summerslam and TakeOver Brooklyn III.
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.
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.
This one could go either way, but I’m leaning towards Balor.
Big Cass vs. Big Show (Enzo Amore will be suspended in a shark cage above the ring)
Dear lord please let this be the blow off match. The Enzo & Cass feud has been going in circles for what feels like forever, and adding Big Show into the mix hasn’t exactly been refreshing. I’ve read a few articles that think this has been a long con between Enzo & Cass and they’ll turn on the Big Show, but that’d be a hell of a lot of work for a mediocre result. I wouldn’t mind Enzo/Cass teaming back up as heels to add some depth to the tag division, but there’s no way WWE is doing that. Enzo in a shark cage means there’s a 1,000% chance he’s dropping something into the ring that’s meant for Big Show, but will end up Big Cass’s hands when the referee is knocked out or sleeping or trying to hang himself from boredom.
Big Cass by default.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
With Cena presumably fading into the Hollywood sunset this fall, this should be a spotlight win for Baron Corbin. I know this argument comes up every time Cena fights a younger guy in a big match, but John literally gains nothing with a win here, while Corbin could gain so much. He already has the MITB briefcase, and assuming Nakamura wins the title (which I’ll get to later) giving Corbin a win over Cena would make him that much more dangerous as he chases Nak.
It doesn’t even need to be a clean win. Have him 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.
Baron Corbin, NO RAGRETS
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa
In my Raw review’s I’ve said that I’d be interested in pretty much anyone else challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight title. I don’t understand the appeal of having guys like Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik & Mustafa Ali waste away on 205 Live & Main Event while Tozawa is given a title shot. At the least this should be a multi man match, but since it’s one on one, all I want is for Neville to rip Tozawa’s arm off and beat Titus O’Neil with it.
Neville should win convincingly.
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 on Tuesday 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.
This is a toss up for me, but if I HAD to choose, I’m going Uso’s.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (C) vs. Natalya
It’s refreshing to see the 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. Similar to Mahal/Nakamura, the result of this match may not matter as Carmella should be lurking in the background with her MITB briefcase.
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 90s & early 2000s.
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.
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 subpar 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. While Corbin could always cash in his MITB briefcase post match, don’t forget about John Cena. I can picture a scenario where Corbin beats Cena, and then Cena stops a possible cash in on new champion Nakamura, someone who Cena has already shown has earned his respect.
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.
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 almost over deserves.
There are already 10 confirmed matches, but that will immediately change to 12 after Monday’s Raw. Alexa Bliss will defend her Women’s title against the winner of Sasha Banks/Nia Jax & I’d expect Rollins & Ambrose vs. Cesaro & Sheamus for the Raw tag belts to be announced as well. Goldust teased ‘an unveiling’ last Monday, so he should be on the card in some capacity. Miz vs. Jason Jordan? Hardy’s vs. The Club? Fashion Files? The sky is the limit for a 6 hour wrestling show, so make sure to check back next week for our official preview post.
While this seemed like an inevitability, you never want to see someone get injured, especially before a big title match at a major pay per view. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened to Bayley last week, as she separated her shoulder in her match against Nia Jax and will not be able to compete against Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s title at Summerslam. The good news (for WWE) is that there are still two Raw’s before Summerslam, so we’ll get two triple threat matches tonight, with the winners facing each other for a shot at Bliss’s title at Summerslam. It’s going to be weird seeing six women competing on one Raw, since the only women we’ve seen lately are Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Bayley or Sasha Banks (I’m not counting that Emma/Nia squash). I have to imagine Sasha and Nia advance tonight to face each other next week, but I wouldn’t be mad if Emma squeaks out a win tonight either.
Make sure to check back on the site tomorrow morning, as we’ll have a full review of tonight’s Raw from Toronto!
During her match with Nia Jax on the July 31 edition of Raw, Bayley suffered an injury to her right shoulder.
The former Raw Women’s Champion was evaluated by medical personnel, but the official diagnosis was inconclusive due to the amount of swelling involved. Bayley has been told to rest the shoulder until next week, at which point doctors are hopeful that the swelling will have sufficiently gone down so that she may be reevaluated and a firm verdict can be reached.
“Everything just tensed up around it,” Bayley told WWE.com shortly after her match on Monday night. “I’ve never had an injury like this before, so I can’t really know what it is. I guess we’re gonna see.”
Dr. Chris Amann told WWE.com, “We’ve determined the injury is shoulder-related, and she will be going under further diagnostic testing later this week to determine the extent of the injury and also establish a timetable for recovery.” – WWE
If you scroll to the 45 second mark in the above video, you can see Nia attempt to throw Bayley out of the ring. Bayley stopped short and landed awkwardly on her shoulder, and I wrote in my Raw review that Bayley either got really good at selling or she was legitimately hurt, and that my money would be on the latter. Turns out it was the latter, although the extent of the injury is unknown. Summerslam is still two and a half weeks away, so if the injury isn’t serious she could still face Alexa Bliss for the Women’s title. If it is serious, Nia Jax or Sasha Banks would be the likely secondary options.
During the build to the pay per view and throughout last night’s 3 hour show, I’ve probably heard Great Balls Of Fire 100 times. That is too many times. In the hopes that I never hear it again, I’m sending it off as our latest Music Monday entry. Also, if you thought that the comments section would be normal for a song with ‘balls’ in it, you would be very, very wrong:
If it seems like WWE has been running a lot of pay per views lately, that’s because they are. Since April 30th (including this Sunday’s show) WWE has had five pay per views. Add that onto the 5 hours of live programming that Raw and Smackdown Live bring to the table every week, and you have a metric shit ton of wrestling.
That brings us to the latest Raw pay per view, the hilariously named Great Balls of Fire. Nothing is going to get that precious 18-35 demographic ready for a pro wrestling show like a 53 year old rock and roll song. As silly as the name of the show is, the match card is anything but silly. 5 titles will be on the line, including Brock Lesnar defending his Universal championship against Samoa Joe. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Quick note: we’re going to start featuring more wrestling content on the blog, and hopefully that will include pay per view previews/reviews plus Raw & NXT reviews and any other newsworthy items. You can click the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our homepage to find all of our wrestling related posts. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter (@averagenobodies) & Facebook (www.facebook.com/AverageNobodies) and talk to us about how much you love pro wrestling. Or literal great balls of fire.
Cruiserweight Championship Match – Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa
Ever since he returned to the WWE at Roadblock in December 2016, Neville has been the literal and figurative King of the Cruiserweights. He won the Cruiserweight title a month later at the Royal Rumble, and has been dominant ever since. After Austin Aries was unable to dethrone Neville, the newest challenger to face the King will be Akira Tozawa. Akira was a CWC standout and a veteran of the Dragon Gate promotion who is finally getting his shot on the WWE main roster.
Tozawa has been paired up with Titus O’Neil and the Titus Brand recently, which takes the pressure off of him to deliver some of the over scripted dialogue that would be written for him. Tozawa and Neville match up pretty well, and both possess an explosive style that is hopefully highlighted during this pre show match. While it’s nice to see a fresh matchup for Neville, his reign has been too impressive to end on a challenger’s first title shot. If WWE is smart, they’ll keep building Neville until a worthy challenger (Mustafa Ali?) will finally take his title.
Prediction: All hail King Neville
Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
The Enzo Amore character has been a tale of highs and lows. He doesn’t look like a professional wrestler, but thanks to his unending charisma and self proclaimed gift of gab, he’s made a name for himself both in NXT and on Raw. He and Big Cass were one of the most popular teams in NXT, and while they never did win the NXT tag titles, their overall run was a resounding success. During their early run on Raw, that success translated to the main roster, but as the weeks and months went on, it was becoming clear that seeing Enzo’s shtick every Monday night was starting to get old. Enzo & Cass lost match after match as the Raw tag team division struggled to find it’s identity, and then the mystery attacker angle started.
By the time Cass revealed he was the one attacking Enzo, I understood Cass’s vantage point more than Enzo’s, because everything Cass was saying was rooted in truth. Enzo was holding the team (and Cass) back and he continued to run his mouth with no sign of ever being able to back it up. Enzo’s performance during the initial reveal and his promo’s over the last two weeks have reminded me why I loved NXT Enzo so much, and now all I want to see is Enzo duke it out with his former best friend & partner. Enzo has always been a better character when he’s allowed to mix in the funny catchphrases with his very real passion for pro wrestling, and that’s exactly what he’s done during the build to this match. I don’t know how well these two will mesh in the ring, but the build up has been terrific. These two have to have fight again in Brooklyn where the crowd will be on fire, so I’m expecting some sort of double DQ here.
Prediction: Double DQ brawl
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt is the anti Enzo vs. Cass. There’s been no buildup outside of Rollins asking if Wyatt is a God or a coward, and the two have barely been in the same arena together. The character of Bray Wyatt is a wrestling tragedy, and the main reason for that is the monotonous build to all of his matches. He’ll sneak attack someone via spooky teleportation, cut dark room promos on them for weeks, and then lose the match at a pay per view. Rollins called Wyatt a false prophet, Wyatt attacked Rollins and has now spent the last two weeks talking about his god-like powers, including a bizarre, sweaty rant in the desert on Monday night. If you think this is going to end with anything besides Bray Wyatt losing clean to Seth Rollins, you haven’t been paying attention.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
The Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns rivalry has been one of the highlights of many 2017 Raw’s, and outside of the bizarre booking of Strowman during WrestleMania season, Braun has looked like a legitimate monster against WWE’s new top dog. Whenever I’m trying to analyze a Reigns match, I look at it the same way I would a John Cena match. Reigns isn’t your prototypical wrestler, and there’s always a chance he’s going to power up and win the match, but his odds always decrease when there’s a wacky stipulation involved.
Enter the AMBULANCE MATCH, where you can only win by stuffing your opponent in the back of an ambulance where he’s presumably driven to the hospital (or just left in there for all eternity). The stipulation definitely favors Strowman because 1. he’s consistently gotten the better of Reigns and laid him out and 2. he doesn’t have to pin Roman to win. With this being Braun’s first PPV match since his return from injury, I think he has to pickup a victory and regain his momentum heading into Summerslam.
Prediction: Braun Strowman
30 Minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro & Sheamus (C) vs. The Hardy’s
Cesaro/Sheamus & The Hardy’s have been feuding since WrestleMania, and this 30 minute iron man match can go one of two ways. 1. Cesaro/Sheamus outlast The Hardy’s, defend their titles and move onto some Top Guys or 2. the match ends in a draw and we stretch this feud out until Summerslam where we’ll hopefully get a match with a definitive ending. I think a lot of this hinges on how soon Matt Hardy gets the rights to his broken gimmick, and judging from his Twitter account, it could be very soon:
Matt is very active on social media and has been using his broken character almost exclusively since this tweet on Sunday. As good as the Hardy’s still are as a team, I think there’s more legs in singles runs for both guys, especially if Matt is given the creative freedom to be his insane alter ego. The only thing that could delay the broken transformation is the lack of depth in the Raw tag division. Enzo/Cass & Goldust/R-Truth split up, so that literally leaves Revival, Gallows/Anderson & Cesaro/Sheamus as the only teams on Raw if the Hardy’s go their separate ways. With such a severe lack of depth, my pick is for this match to end in a draw and culminate at Summerslam.
Prediction: Time limit draw
IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Dean Ambrose
Watching paint dry. Driving in traffic. Lighting all my worldly possessions on fire. Sorry, I was just listing all the things I enjoy more than watching another Miz/Dean Ambrose match. The most frustrating thing about this feud is how GREAT Miz has been since being paired back up with Maryse, which shows you how awful the Dean Ambrose character is. Miz tore Ambrose down on Raw with a great promo about how he can’t handle pressure and can never win the big match, and Ambrose responded by slouching in the announce chair and pretty much agreeing with him.
The only looney thing about his character is that people still care about him, and all I can think about his how much better a Miz/Elias Samson or Miz/Finn Balor program would be. Hopefully the plan is for whoever comes out on top of the Balor/Samson feud to pair up with Miz next, and Dean Ambrose can move onto literally anything else.
Raw Women’s Title Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks
Alexa Bliss has been the best women’s wrestler on the main roster for 2017, but unfortunately she’s been paired with the neutered versions of both Bayley and Sasha Banks for the last few months. Bayley is out of the title picture for what should be the foreseeable future, but Sasha Banks is currently the #1 contender to Bliss’s Women’s title. As much as I love Bliss, it’s tough to get into this match when there’s been negative momentum on Raw lately. The gauntlet match was pretty great, but there’s no character progression from anyone outside of Nia or Bliss, and every time you hear that Sasha is already a 3 time Women’s champ, it reminds how often the title has been switched around.
The best story in the women’s division is still Bliss/Nia Jax, so I hope she retains here and Sasha and Bayley can be paired up as something other than insufferable friends and hopefully get some of their NXT magic back in their characters.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe
When Samoa Joe became the #1 contender at Extreme Rules, it seemed like a bittersweet moment. Joe has been incredible in both NXT and on Raw, but the majority thought was that he’d be a minor speed bump for Brock Lesnar on his way to facing Reigns or Strowman at Summerslam. The booking leading up to this match has changed my mind dramatically, and Samoa Joe now looks like a valid threat to Lesnar.
The best part is that Lesnar hasn’t lost any of his shine either, because he can dismiss all of Joe’s actions as sneak attacks. And while he’s technically correct, Joe has still not backed down from Lesnar, and he still choked him out on the entrance ramp, and he still has outsmarted Brock at every turn. There’s still a chance that Lesnar destroys Joe, but it wouldn’t make sense when you look at how this feud has progressed. This is one of the most well built main events for a ‘B’ PPV in a long time, and I can’t wait to see these two destroy each other.
Prediction: As great as Joe has been, 100% healthy Brock Lesnar isn’t mortal. Lesnar retains in a brutal fight.
10 days ago, Carmella won the first ever women’s money in the bank ladder match. Not only was it a crappy match that seemed to end right when things were starting to happen, but Carmella only won when her sidekick/lackey James Ellsworth climbed the ladder for her, pulled down the briefcase and dropped it into her lap. Pro wrestling should not be the medium we gravitate towards when we’re looking for progressive storylines featuring their female wrestlers, and while times have changed, this is still the same company that had women wrestling in their underwear, or in pillow fights, or in kiddie pools full of pudding.
That still doesn’t excuse the fact that the WWE promoted this match every chance they got as a historic ‘first ever’ match for the five women involved, and that good, bad or indifferent, people would be talking about this match for a long time. When Ellsworth casually climbed the ladder and pulled down the briefcase, it was a slap in the face to every women on the roster and to all the fans. In what should’ve been a defining moment for Carmella, all anyone could talk about was how bogus it was that Ellsworth had to climb the ladder and get the briefcase for her. That wasn’t the right time to drag out a storyline; it was the time to back up all their ‘historic’ talk and let the women go out and make actual history.
WWE righted the ship a bit last night, but I’ll never understand why this wasn’t the finish booked for the first match. James Ellsworth climbed the ladder, almost had the briefcase, but Becky Lynch saved the day and pushed him off the ladder, crotch chopping himself on the top rope. That allowed Carmella enough time to knock Becky off the ladder, hit her a few times with a chair, and grab the briefcase. Storyline wise, that’s a smart heel using the match stipulations to her advantage to pickup a win. Reality wise, a woman is the one at the top of the ladder grabbing the briefcase, which is a mind boggling thing to have to be specific about in your inaugural women’s money in the bank match. I’m glad that Carmella still won, because that saves us from the ‘I’m the REAL money in the bank winner’ storyline between her and whoever else could’ve won last night, but this should’ve been the finish from the get go. Either way, congrats to Carmella, the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank.
Although there were rumors that Mauro Ranallo and WWE were going to part ways in August when his contract expires, it looks like he’ll be the voice of NXT going forward. Ranallo’s personal battles along with the bullying culture of WWE were an immediate bad fit, and coupled with the release of former ring announcer Justin Roberts’ book that put WWE on blast, it looked like Mauro and WWE weren’t meant to be. I’m extremely happy to see that they came to terms, and the NXT atmosphere might be exactly what Mauro needs. He’ll start tonight where NXT is taping at Full Sail for the next four shows or so, and his enthusiastic style is going to mix perfectly with the NXT brand. Mauro was scheduled to call the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor mega fight in August for Showtime Sports, and I have to imagine he’s still in line to do that. Another bonus of working for NXT is the much lighter schedule with it being taped, especially for announcers. Mauro’s debut will most likely be on next Wednesday’s show.
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