Powell's WWE SummerSlam preview and predictions: A breakdown of Powell's ideal finishes to John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship, and C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
By Jason Powell
Check back tonight for Jason Powell and Chris Shore's live coverage reviews of the 2013 WWE SummerSlam beginning with the free preview show at 6:00 p.m. CT. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive audio review from Jason and Chris later tonight. Join them on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
I can't say with great certainty that I know how WWE will play their creative cards tonight, but I do have some strong opinions on how I would book the show. So I'll give you my official prediction along with my thoughts on the direction I would choose. In some cases, my wishful thinking will be strong enough that the two will mesh.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship with Triple H as the special guest referee: Cena has mentioned that he's nursing an elbow injury and there are reports that he will need surgery to repair the damage. It doesn't mean he has to drop the title here, but I suspect that he will. However, I believe Randy Orton cashes in the Money in the Bank contract and ends the show as WWE Champion. In fact, I wouldn't even have Bryan win the championship before Orton cashes in.
Calm down, Bryan fans. I have your boy's best interest in mind. After 20-plus minutes of great back and forth action, I would have Bryan put Cena in the Yes! Lock in the middle of the ring. Just when it appears Cena has passed out, that's when I would have Orton hit the ring, dispose of Bryan, drill Cena with a punt kick, and then cash in successfully. So how does this benefit Bryan?
There's something special about winning the WWE Championship for the first time. Rather than have Orton rain on Bryan's title winning parade, I'd save Bryan winning the title until I was serious about going there with him. Orton punt kicking Cena sends Cena off to get surgery, and sets up Bryan as the now angry and more determined challenger to the new champion. Plus, it sets up the demand for a rematch between Cena and Bryan at some point since no one actually won their match. My fantasy booking doesn't give Triple H or his in-laws anything to do, so it won't happen, but a man can dream.
Prediction: John Cena and Daniel Bryan fight to a non-finish, then Randy Orton cashes in MITB and wins the WWE Championship.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar: I have been surprised by the number of fans who feel like WWE painted themselves into a corner by booking this match. Some fans just can't imagine how either man could lose this match without being damaged. I don't know what WWE has planned, but I think the smart finish is for Punk to do just what he's been doing in the angles that led up to the show. Punk takes a beating, yet just won't die. Punk looks strong and comes oh so close to pinning Lesnar, but The Beast survives. I'd love to see Luke Gallows return to cost his old Straight Edge mentor the match and become the newest Paul Heyman Guy. Either way, Punk can look strong in defeat and absorb the loss in a way that sets up the need for rematches and an eventual Punk win.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats C.M. Punk.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship: I'm having a hard time coming up with anything that isn't too straight forward here. Perhaps Ricardo Rodriguez returns as his masked persona, but I'd save that for Raw. I expect a good match, but I do no expect a title change or a Money in the Bank cash-in.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio retains the World Heavyweight Championship.
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire Match: Everyone has Wyatt going over. Really, so do I, but I think it would be pretty cool if Wyatt offered a special display of his craziness by setting his own (heavily protected) arm on fire and laughing about it until EMTs ran in and put out the fire. I would go with that finish, but I don't even know what the rules of the Johnny Cash match are. Is it a Bunsen burner, er, Inferno match where the object is to set the opponent on fire? Is it just a setup for next month's Conway Twitty inspired "Hello Darlin'" match? Dear God, let's hope so!
Prediction: Bray Wyatt wins.
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee: Kaitlyn has her smile back after being catfished and Mean Girl'd. My guess is that either Kaitlyn pins A.J. to set up their 8,432nd match or this match was done to give Langston a chance to beat Dolph in a tag match only to lose later in a singles match. I have too many heels going over already, so I'm going with the Divas.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeat Big E Langston and AJ. Lee
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow: Cody is angry at Sandow for doing something he just admitted on Raw he would have done if the roles were reversed. In other words, Cody's character is being a hypocritical bitch. That would be fine if he were the heel, but he's actually playing the babyface in this poorly constructed feud. Despite the lousy booking and counterproductive commentary from Cody, I expect this feud to get much better once the bell rings.
Prediction: Damien Sandow over Cody Rhodes.
Natalya (w/Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella, Eva Marie): The cast of Total Divas are showcased in a match between the ugly ducking and Daniel Bryan's girlfriend. The ducking will eventually get her feel good win, but it seems too soon for that to happen. Keep the heat on the Mean Girls now with the idea of Natty going over strong in the future.
Prediction: Brie Bella over Natalya.
Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam for the United States Championship: WWE is delivering its best match yet on the one-hour special Kickoff show. They could deliver the crowd pleasing babyface win like they do seemingly every other month, but I suspect they will get Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Show, and Mark Henry involved. All hell breaks loose with those four for a cheap finish to this match, but it sets up either another six-man tag match or a WWE Tag Championship match for later in the free preview or the pay-per-view. Either way, Ambrose keeps his precious.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose retains the United States Championship.
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