The 29th edition of SummerSlam is finally here as World Wrestling Entertainment presents this year’s event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the second year in a row. It should be a hot crowd even though the PPV is running four hours and there’s a two-hour Kickoff Show. One prediction I know for sure is that it's going to be a long night!
Two Kickoff Show matches were added late Friday afternoon after I finished writing about the show.
Sami Zayn & Neville vs. The Dudley Boyz
American Alpha, The Hype Bros & The Usos vs. Breezango, The Ascension & The Vaudevillains.
They did that second match on SD. I think the face teams will win both matches although if the heels won the 12 man tag that would be smarter.
Best of 7 Series (Match 1): Sheamus vs. Cesaro (Kickoff Match according to WWE.com)
Sheamus has lost the four matches he’s been in since the brand split including two to Cesaro, so he has to win this match, right? I mean if he doesn’t the guy is going to continue his Barry Horowitz-like streak and it’s not going to look good. Plus, isn’t Heath Slater the designated orange haired guy that loses matches in this company? Don’t confuse us, WWE.
I like the idea of the Best of 7 and I think Cesaro will win it 4-3, but I hope there’s a prize for the winner like a shot at the US Title or even the Universal Title. It shouldn’t just be seven matches to see who the better man is. Give them something to fight for in the storyline.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
I mentioned on this week’s TJRWrestling podcast (cheap plug) that as long as Enzo & Cass are on a PPV they should be the opening match just because they do such a great job of hyping up the crowd. It’s going to be awesome to see the reaction they get in front of the New York crowd.
As a Canadian, I want to stand up with hand on my chest and sing the anthem when I see Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens teaming up. They are wonderful together, but they are not a regular tag team the way Enzo & Cass. The role of Jericho and Owens in this match is to beat up Enzo for much of it, take the Kevin Nash-like offense of Big Cass and get beat. It’s all about elevating the full time tag team to get them ready for a tag team title feud in the near future.
Winners: Enzo & Cass
Naomi, Becky Lynch & Carmella vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss & ???
I’m going with the faces to win because that was my pick when the match was set up before Eva Marie’s Wellness Policy violation took her out of the match. It feels like the perfect chance to give some Naomi some momentum now that she’s got that glow in the dark ring gear (how long did it take to make that?) and the funky new entrance she has as well.
I know Nikki Bella is cleared, but I’m not sure if it makes sense to put her on the heel team because she’ll probably be cheered. They could do it where she is on that team, somebody else gets pinned and Natalya feuds with Nikki after the match. Perhaps they could change it to Naomi & Becky with Carmella not officially in the match to make it fair. Anyway, the face team wins.
Winners: Naomi, Becky Lynch & Carmella
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Apollo Crews
It’s the second straight month where The Miz has an Intercontinental Title match against a new opponent (last month was Darren Young) that wasn’t built up that well. Sure, Crews won a triple threat match to earn the title shot. The problem is in the two weeks that followed, they barely did anything with these guys to make me think I should root for Crews or that he is going to beat Miz. Make us care, WWE. Please! A 30 second clip that happened “during commercial” this week on Smackdown is not an encouraging sign.
I think Miz will retain using some cheap tactic (perhaps a distraction from Maryse?) with Crews possibly winning the title in September or October unless they give up on him, which would be a shame.
Winner: The Miz
WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
I’ve enjoyed the New Day act for the past year and a half (since they were let loose), but they’re going to lose the titles here and it’s probably going to lead to the end of the group. The thought of that happening has me really sad. It’s just something we have grown accustomed to in wrestling. As good of a group as they are, we know that groups don’t last forever in WWE.
The story going in is that Big E is out because Gallows & Anderson crushed his balls against the ring post. It’s probably going to mean a loss for Woods & Kingston leading to Big E coming back saying he didn’t lose the titles, they did. One or two of them turn heel and that’s a big angle for the rest of they ar. I think the G&A team is really good, plus they have a ready made feud with Enzo & Cass, so the title change makes sense.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Gallows & Anderson
WWE Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
It’s pretty rare for challengers to win title rematches, so that’s why most people are going to pick Sasha Banks to retain and I am too. However, it’s interesting to note that on various WWE betting websites (such as Bovada), the odds changed in a major way on Friday with Charlotte becoming the favorite. That could mean nothing, but could also mean that people that know the results bet that way and it changed things. That’s what tends to happen with the betting odds.
Anyway, I’m hoping they get 15 minutes of in-ring time like their Raw title match from last month because if they do it should be great. It may be tough for them to stand out as the best match with so many other great bouts at SummerSlam, but it will likely be outstanding. There may not be as much drama without a title change, though. I’m still going to enjoy it.
Winner: Sasha Banks
WWE United States Championship: Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
After they were on Raw for nearly an hour if you include the segments before the really long main event, I’ve had enough of this rivalry already. I feel bad for saying that because going into this match I was mildly excited. I just think it was a mistake to do such a long, non-title match on Raw that Reigns won clean. I also think they did that match so they can have Rusev retain here. Clean win? Probably not. It may be a DQ finish too, but Rusev finds a way to leave with the title.
Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns (Rusev retains the title)
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
I’ve been torn on this prediction for a month now. Styles should win so that he can be lined up as the next WWE Title contender, but do I really think he’s going to beat Cena twice in PPV matches? No. Styles won at Money in the Bank in singles in what was a cheap victory and then Cena pinned him in the six-man tag at Battleground. A six-man tag doesn’t mean things are even, though. Then there’s Cena leaving for a couple of months to film American Grit like he did last fall. No specific date has been announced for that, which makes me think they have another match at Backlash with a stipulation that sees Styles as the winner.
I’m pretty excited about this in terms of match quality. They have worked together a lot in the last couple of months, so the chemistry should be there. I think it’s going to be one of the longest matches of the show and should be one of the best matches of the year. In the end, I’ll go with Cena although I’d really like to be wrong about that.
Winner: John Cena
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
The build for this match has been really good. I think it’s been better than the major title on Raw too. I’m still going to pick Ambrose to retain the title because I feel like he’s going to have a few more months with the gold, but I like the way Ziggler has been built up as a credible threat. For most of the year, Ziggler was booked poorly. In the last month they figured out how to use him the right way and I hope that continues for him.
I’m very interested in seeing what happens with Ziggler after the loss. They could easily turn him heel and continue the feud that way. The Smackdown roster is need of some heels anyway, so having this rivalry move forward with Ziggler in a heel role could benefit both guys. I’m not sure if he will turn heel, but I think it would be the best thing for him long term.
This will probably go 15-20 minutes, lots of nearfalls for both guys and maybe kicking out of finishing moves too. In the end, I expect Ambrose to retain the gold.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
I’m in the camp of those that think if you have Balor debut the “Demon King” look in a main roster match for the first time and he loses then you are hurting his character right off the bat. On the other hand, it does seem smarter to put new title on the more established guy in terms of main roster credibility. That’s why it’s a tough match to predict and that’s what we like to see too. Easy matches to predict can be boring. This one will be very interesting.
As for the match, I’m really excited about it. They match up very well in terms of size, style in the ring, the moves that they do and the amount of credible moves they have. There are going to be a lot of believable nearfalls in this match. Rollins is supposed to be a heel, but it’s not like he acts like a heel that much and I think the Brooklyn crowd is going to cheer both guys for much of this match. It may be the longest match of the night at 20+ minutes too.
I’m going with Balor because I think WWE knows that Rollins will be fine whether he wins or loses. This is one of the biggest shows of the year, so it makes sense to put Balor over huge. I think Rollins will get the title soon, but not yet. Balor wins.
Winner and the first WWE Universal Champion: Finn Balor
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
I’m pretty excited for this match because it’s fresh. I think I’ve said that a few times in this preview, which is a good thing. We don’t know what kind of match they are going to have. To change it up a bit, here are some questions with some quick answers.
Is Lesnar going to sell much? I hope so because when he gave Ambrose very little at WrestleMania it was a boring match, but when he has competitive matches he’s very good.
Will Orton take 10+ German suplexes like John Cena did two years ago? I have my doubts that it will be that many, but you never know.
Will they kick out of finishing moves? I expect that to happen a few times.
Will the crowd side with one guy over another? It will probably be split because the crowd loves chanting “Suplex City” for Lesnar and also “RKO” for Orton.
Is it going to be the last match? I feel like it should be just based on the importance of the match, but it wouldn’t shock me if Rollins/Balor goes last to establish the new Universal Title or if Ambrose/Ziggler went last since it’s for the WWE Title.
In terms of the match result, I’ve leaned both ways in the last couple of weeks. After Brock Lesnar was announced as using PED’s leading up to his UFC 200 fight, I feel like WWE is embarrassed a bit. They’re not going to suspend him because they said they are against drug testing part timers, but they can send a message by having Orton win this match. It’s Orton that is a full time performer and he’s a big enough name that fans would believe it if he beat Lesnar.
I’m going with Lesnar for the win because I think WWE wants to keep building him up as a big deal. He’s the biggest draw they have at this point, so booking him to lose could be damaging. I think it’s going to be a very competitive match that is going to be great, but in the end it’s Lesanr that gets the win with a third F5.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
For more of my in-depth thoughts on Lesnar vs. Orton and the rest of the show, check out my exclusive SummerSlam article on TheComeback.com as well.
You can also listen to the TJRWrestling Podcast for this week with myself and my co-host Rey that includes talking about all WWE topics including a SummerSlam preview.
For iTunes search “TJRWrestling” or go here for other ways of listening.
I think it’s going to be an awesome show. As I’ve said in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, the television shows haven’t been that great, but the matches are going to be outstanding. We don’t have to deal with poorly written dialogue or stupid skits during matches. It’s a chance for this talented roster to show what they can do in the ring. I’m most excited about Rollins/Balor, Lesnar/Orton and Cena/Styles in that order, but there are really six or seven matches that I would say have a chance to be outstanding.
I’ll end it by saying that if SummerSlam isn’t the best WWE PPV this year (so far) I’ll be very surprised.
Check out my SummerSlam review live on Sunday night on TJRWrestling.net or check it out on a site like this one after the show is over.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks for reading.