By Haydn Gleed
I continue to sit on a throne of smugness. As I write this, the mighty Cardiff City beat Wolves yesterday to cement our place on top of the league. Come on, you Bluebirds!! But of course you didn’t come here to read about the mighty blues, you are here to read my predictions for SummerSlam 2017.
If you read my Across the Pond blog from Friday, you know that I wasn’t particularly high on the card. I’m still not quite there in terms of excitement for the second biggest night for WWE but I’ve gone from a 2 to a 4 (out of 10) now that the day is here. By the way, if you read my preview and predictions below and start to feel negative about that show, join Jason Powell and John Moore on Prowrestling.net Live at PWAudio.net today at 2CT/3ET. John is always upbeat about everything in life because he’s a good person so he’s the perfect yin to my yang.
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman in a four-way for the WWE Universal Championship: WWE deserve a lot of credit as all four men go into this match at the peak of fan anticipation. I literally could make a case of why each one man should win and good storylines coming out the match. If Joe wins, Raw will have a champion who can appear on the show week after week. If Braun wins, we could have many months of destruction and eventually build someone up to try and stop him. Roman Reigns? Well, he’s Roman Reigns and Vince’s pet project, but coming out of this show he potentially could be part of The Shield where all three men hold championship gold. Of course, if Brock won he will likely hold the belt up to WrestleMania and whoever takes the crown will be stronger for beating a long standing champion.
For me, though, Joe taking the belt feels the more exciting and fresh option as it will provide a new and fresh landscape for WWE to explore going into football season in the States, a time when television viewership goes down. With Joe positioned as somewhat of a vulnerable champion, I can see the rationale being that people will tune in to see if his latest challenger can come out on top. This is the match I’m looking forward to the most and it shows that WWE can still build main event matches that people really care about.
Another prediction, Joe continues his beatdown of Roman after the match while Brock and Braun have a ding dong, and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose come out to save their former Shield buddy and we go into Raw wondering if they are back together.
Samoa Joe wins the WWE Universal Champion.
Naomi vs. Natalya for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: The Glow vs The Hart. Snatch her bald vs. I love my cats. Meh, not feeling this one at all as it feels that the focus has been purely on whether Carmella will come out and catch in her Money In The Bank. I’m struggling to even muster enough interest to pad out this prediction, so lets just say Natalya beats Naomi for the Women’s championship, Carmella comes out takes the belt via her Money in the Bank contract, and then Natalya turns into a sympathetic babyface. Why not?
Natalya becomes Smackdown Women’s Champion but loses to Carmella afterwards.
Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out more than I am the actual match if I’m being honest. We’ve seen these four guys in multiple combinations and the matches haven’t really blown me away, but the great slow build storyline arc between Ambrose and Rollins has really carried this forward.
I’ve talked about this all possibly leading to Ambrose turning on Rollins leading into a hot feud during the winter months with the characters reversed and giving the fans a new perspective on both guys, but I also believe that will lead to a Shield reunion never happening as it wouldn’t make logical sense even five years down the line. I think with business down and the Roman experiment continuing to stall, it makes far too much sense to put the band back together. With that being said, to start off the new Shield with a bang, I see Ambrose and Rollins taking the belts here and then getting involved after the main event.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Above all else, I still feel that Sasha Banks is mis-cast as a babyface. I feel the fans would care about her a lot more if they pulled the trigger and made her a heel. However, that is not going to happen here. For me, with the Bayley injury in the background, if WWE wants to play off the story from the night that Bayley won the championship with the help of Sasha, the huggable one can come out to try and repay Sasha by doing the same but somehow it backfires. Bayley reinjures herself, Sasha checks on her and that allows Alexa to win thus sowing the seeds of a feud between Bayley and Sasha for when Bayley is healthy enough.
Alexa Bliss to retain her WWE Raw Women’s Championship.
Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship: A match that has just been thrown together based on Shinsuke winning one match against Cena. I believe with Smackdown becoming stale and WWE possibly feeling that the Jinder experiment is the reason for that, I think their logic might be put it on Nakamura to freshen things up. I don’t like it, as I would like Nakamura to be over with the casual fan more before he becomes the champion for the first time and take the fans on a journey with him, but at the same time I’m not buying the Mahal championship reign and I feel that a lot of Smackdown viewers feel the same way.
Shinsuke Nakamura win’s the WWE Championship
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship with Shane McMahon as special guest referee: This will be match of the night from an in-ring perspective in my opinion. That’s not a shocking prediction I know. Rather than insult your intelligence by giving you a couple of paragraphs of predictions that I think everyone can see coming, I believe at some point Owens will have a visual pinfall over Styles, but Shane will be out of position. Owens will go to confront Shane and that’s when Styles will get the win thus leading to a Owens vs. Shane program.
AJ Styles retains the US Championship.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev: The foreign hater vs. the I’m sometimes from Bulgaria, I’m sometimes from Russia man. Nope, I don’t understand why this is happening. Aside from the basic I want to prove I’m better than you, I can’t even remember if there’s a storyline heading into this, which shows the level of apathy I have towards it. However, who else do either of these two have to feud with on the Smackdown brand if it’s a one and done? Let’s follow the usual WWE/Randy Orton formula and go with Rusev winning in some despicable way leading to a five-year long feud between the two.
Big Cass vs. Big Show with Enzo in a shark cage: I don’t get the logic of the babyface being in a shark cage. The whole point of the concept is to put a heel manager or tag partner in it to stop them from interfering (which usually leads to them dropping a weapon into the ring but I digress). There’s either one of two things happening here, either WWE have a cage that they paid a lot of money for and they want to get more justification of the expense and use out of it than just putting Chris Jericho and Paul Ellering in there the last 12 months, or they want to put sympathy on Enzo as he’s hanging over the ring watching the Big Show being beaten to a pulp by Cass along with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows after the match. As fun as it would be to think that Vince McMahon has instructed his writing team to get in at least one cage above the ring match per quarter (I want to see someone in a cage, dammit!), I think it’s the later scenario. With Big Show’s hand being “broken” on Raw, it gives him an out for losing but the real point of this match is to get sympathy behind Enzo to continue his feud with Big Cass.
Big Cass wins.
Finn Balor/The Demon vs. Bray Wyatt: Let’s put this simply, if Balor loses here as the Demon, then WWE would have left so much money on the table. They need to establish the Demon as a monster so that his appearances in the future mean a lot more. If he loses, the Demon character and it’s potential is dead. I personally would have liked more of a build to the Demon’s appearance, a true reason for him coming out of Finn, but I also understand they are trying to fast track a lot of character development towards Finn in a short amount of time following his return from injury (possibly for a Universal title feud with Joe?). For me, it should be a Finn Balor victory here for the good of both Balor and his potential in WWE moving forward.
Finn Balor wins.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin: I want to address something and get on my Welsh high horse. Since Baron tried and failed to cash in his Money In The Bank, rumor has been rampant that he is being punished for some behind the scenes issues. I’ve seen current and former wrestlers send derogatory vibes towards the media by questioning how someone can be punished when they are being showcased in front out millions. My argument is that, yes, he is being showcased in front of millions as an idiot, and that is good for him and his character how? Anyway, with that out of the way, I find myself intrigued by this match only from a behind the scenes perspective. The build to the match has been strange and confusing. It started with Corbin attacking Cena after his match with Shinsuke but that wasn’t shown on the live broadcast. Then Cena got revenge by distracting Corbin during his cash in. That’s the babyface getting his revenge, so what is exactly is the point of the match?
My hunch for the reason for this match was for Baron to beat down Cena, and put him out of WWE storyline wise with an injury angle. The point is that Cena is doing what he said he would never do by leaving WWE for Hollywood for extended periods of time (yes, I know it’s a cheap shot but I said at the time it was a stupid thing to proclaim and I like totally love it on the rare occasions that I’m right). If Baron has a lot of heat backstage, I don’t know if that will still play out, especially with Cena advertised for Raw shows, but at the same time I don’t know how else you would explain in a storyline perspective where Cena is. With the Bella’s at ringside, could we see a Mick Foley original Royal Rumble 1999 style idea where they show Nikki begging Corbin to stop hurting “her John”? This match could be interesting for many reasons, but I think Corbin still comes out on top.
Baron Corbin to win.
The New Day vs. The Usos for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: It’s such a shame this match has been treated like an afterthought, as this match had quite a bit of steam going until the last couple of weeks. I really enjoyed The New Day got serious and looked fired up instead of clowning around for a week or two, but they’ve just gone back to the silliness which is over with the crowd, but still limits them. All reports seem to indicate that this is a pre-show match and titles don’t normally change hands on the pre-show.
The New Day retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
The Hardy Boys and Jason Jordon vs. The Miz, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas: Can someone please make The Hardy Boys woken already? I’m liking the little wink-wink, nudge-nudge moments on Raw as they are DELIGHTFUL, but I hope it leads somewhere. This is slated to be another Pre-Show match so what do I predict? Silliness, a babyface victory, and Jason Jordon smiling…….a lot. The Miz is being dragged down by his stable, which is a shame and I fear coming out of this he will be dragged down by the Jordon storyline, which is also a shame. With the negatives said, it should at least be entertaining, but I really hope for all six men coming out of this that better times are ahead, for some more than others.
The Hardy Boys and Jason Jordon win.
Akira Tozawa vs. Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: I’m still reeling that they would end Neville’s long reign as champion with a throwaway segment on Raw, but I guess it’s a representation of how WWE feel about 205 Live talent and the cruiserweight division in general. The issue I have here is that either way I can’t see what’s next for either, so let’s just say Tozawa retains and Neville gets another shot down the line. The problem is, and it’s sad to say this especially for me about Neville, either way I really don’t care.
Tozawa retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Random Flashback Moment
For those who have got this far in my predictions here’s something a bit fun for you. I randomly had a look at my preview and prediction piece from SummerSlam 2014 and here’s what I said about Roman Reigns at time:
”Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fall into the Roman Reigns is the chosen one so I hate him camp, but at the same time I can sympathize with the people who don’t see the potential that others in the wrestling industry do. He has all the tools, but he hasn’t had that one standout moment either in the ring or on the mic that would justify his push to a lot of people.”
Three years on and we are still waiting. And WWE officials are wondering why their quarterlies are going down? #justsaying.
As always, feel free to let me know if you think I’m close to the mark or way off it on twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...