By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Join Jason Powell for live coverage of WWE SummerSlam tonight beginning with the Kickoff Show notes at 4CT/5ET. Jason and Jake Barnett will be by after the show with their members’ exclusive SummerSlam audio review.
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship: While I would much rather see AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe in the main event or even Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey, WWE will more than likely end SummerSlam with the latest chapter Lesnar vs. Reigns. Having seen this match and variations of it so many times already, WWE will really need to do something special in order to make this match entertaining. Like their last few singles matches, I do feel like Lesnar and Reigns will start the match with the lure of Lesnar mauling and Reigns eating a number of destructive Suplexes. I sincerely hope they do not go this route however, as the novelty of Lesnar’s squash style matches have long since worn off since his destruction of John Cena at SummerSlam 2014. I hope they go the route of Reigns actually taking it to Lesnar, maybe even having Reigns dominate him for most of the match to really shock us.
Either way, I see Reigns edging out Lesnar to get the win, however I predict that Reigns won’t walk out of SummerSlam as the WWE Universal Champion. I predict that Braun Strowman will cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase and win the title. There are a lot of possibilities here in terms of how he cashes in. It could be that Strowman cashes in like Seth Rollins and Alexa Bliss before him to make the match a Triple Threat before or during the match, or he could wait until someone wins the singles match. This match has the potential to be entertaining. With WWE’s track record, though, I have far more faith in the other title matches stealing the show.
Roman Reigns wins the match, but Braun Strowman cashes in and takes the WWE Universal Championship.
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Champonship: This is a match that at one time would have been infeasible to see on WWE television. This once upon a time TNA mainstay rivalry has finally come to WWE where it will be for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Regardless of the result, this is a big win for both of these men who absolutely deserve the spots that they are in. Joe has been phenomenal in the build up to this match, taunting and jeering AJ in a cerebral fashion, even choking him out to announce his challenge for the title.
For all intents and purposes this should be the match of the night, and AJ and Joe will undoubtedly treat it like it is. The two have gone back and forth in the previous Smackdown shows so it’s hard to tell who will come out on top. Overall, I don’t believe that Joe will win the championship just yet. Instead, I suspect that Vince McMahon and the creative team would rather stretch out this rivalry and get another big match out of it before giving Joe the title.
AJ Styles retains the WWE Championship.
Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship: Rousey has only had a few WWE matches to date, but they have all been entertaining. Bliss has been a compelling and agitating villain as always, and juxtaposing her with the dangerous desire of Rousey has made for a great story as she has slithered out of Rousey’s hands. Bliss cost Rousey the Raw Women’s Championship by cashing in her MITB contract on the same night she captured it, and she has been booked to get under the skin of the former UFC star since then. It would make for a great news headline for WWE to have Rousey win the title at a Big 4 PPV, and it would be a great blow off and piece of catharsis for Rousey. It seems unlikely that Bliss will pin Rousey, and while they could go the way of Rousey winning via DQ, I feel like they’d much rather have the buzz from Rousey winning the title. It feels like the right move and thus I see Rousey winning.
Ronda Rousey wins the Raw Women’s Championship.
Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella has been quite an effective heel champion. Using James Ellsworth to get Asuka out of her hair is a really detestable move, and her shenanigans in trying to thwart Lynch and Charlotte with the help of the Iiconics has been effective at garnering sympathy for the two faces. I believe the match would be better if it was Carmella vs. Lynch in a singles match, saving Charlotte’s title shot for a little down the road, but the Triple Threat has potential. The crowds on recent Smackdowns have been well behind Lynch, but at this point it feels like WWE officials are pushing for Charlotte to get her title back from a heel champion in Carmella. Therefore, I see the babyfaces running into trouble somehow, setting up a number one contenders match in the near future for a one on one shot, and Carmella sneaking away from SummerSlam with the title.
Carmella retains the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Seth Rollins (w/Dean Ambrose) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) for the Intercontinental Championship: This feud has been the absolute highlight of WWE programming for the past month or so. The Iron Man match at Extreme rules was solid, disregarding the crowd’s antics, and they have been putting on fantastic matches routinely on Raw. Adding Ambrose to the mix at the last minute gives Rollins no reason to have any more trouble with the numbers game he’d been losing during the presence of McIntyre. Considering that Drew and Dolph have been using the numbers game to edge out Rollins recently, it seems fitting that Ambrose has returned to even the odds for his Shield partner to win back the IC Title. The match should be amazing, and with Ambrose back, I feel that they can do a lot more with Rollins as champion than with Ziggler holding the belt.
Seth Rollins wins the Intercontinental Championship.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeons have been somewhat entertaining in recent weeks, overshadowed by The New Day and the awesome match that they put on with Cesaro and Sheamus for No. 1 contender status. However, this whole Smackdown tag team division is confusing and doesn’t seem to have any real direction. So, with that in mind, I don’t believe that the New Day will win the titles for the sole reason that it feels like the Bludgeons are being built to lose to somebody down the road. I don’t think creative even knows who will beat them yet (and I certainly don’t), but for SummerSlam I believe the Bludgeons use heel tactics to beat the New Day.
The Bludgeon Brothers retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens for the Money In The Bank contract: Will Strowman become another Mr. Kennedy by losing the MITB contract to another wrestler? While the heat on KO would be massive, it would be a real stop in the momentum for the monster that WWE has been building. The KO feud has been alright, and no doubt KO himself is a talented entertainer, but as of right now I don’t think he has a place in the championship picture. At the end of the day, I feel like the MITB briefcase being on the line is to add more tension into the match, not for KO to win it. I see Strowman keeping the contract and, as previously noted, cashing in later in the night.
Braun Strowman retains the MITB contract.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship: Hardy and Nakamura had a good match at Extreme Rules, but I don’t have sky high hopes for this match. Hardy seems to be well into a feud with Randy Orton, and this match just seems like a place for Nakamura and Orton to get heat by wailing on an outgunned Hardy. With Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt moving slowly out of the Raw Tag Title picture, and Hardy out of the U.S. Title picture, I could see Jeff moving over to Raw to start a new chapter very soon. For SummerSlam, I believe Hardy will lose due to a distraction from Orton and then get the hell beaten out of him by Orton and Nakamura.
Shinsuke Nakamura retains the United States Championship.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz: Fans have been clamoring for Miz vs. Bryan since Bryan announced that he’d been cleared to return to in-ring competition, and really even before that. With a long term history ever since old school NXT in 2010, the Miz and Bryan storyline has been going on for a very long time, even continuing while Bryan was retired. The build to this match has been slightly lackluster in the past few weeks with Miz’s new reality show getting in the way of the meat of the conflict between the two. But that doesn’t matter that much thanks to how well the two wrestlers have been building this story for the last eight years.
The desire for Bryan to beat up the Miz is massive, and I highly doubt that this is the blowoff for the feud. That said, it seems unlikely that Bryan will win if this isn’t the end. As such, I see Miz winning via shenanigans of some kind, building up to a bigger feud over the next few months, possibly going all the way through to WrestleMania. I could easily see Miz and Bryan captaining opposite teams at Survivor Series and battling at the Rumble. But for now, I believe Bryan loses.
The Miz wins.
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin: Corbin has been rather dull to watch over the last few weeks with only sophomoric insults to hurl at Balor. There isn’t an importance to this match and considering how long WWE pay-per-views have been going recently I wish this had been left on the pre-show. It is not a good sign when I wish Balor had been left off the SummerSlam main card, but it is the point WWE have brought him to by putting him in irrelevant storylines since his return from injury. I don’t see any reason for Corbin to win, and it does Balor no good to lose.
Finn Balor wins.
Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: The cruserweights have been putting on an entertaining show on 205 Live every week, and Gulak vs. Alexander could be a very entertaining match if given time. However, they will be on the Kickoff Show and will probably get far less time than they truly deserve. Alexander has been a strong champ and I don’t see him losing here.
Cedric Alexander retains the Cruiserweight Championship.
The B-Team vs. The Revival for the Raw Tag Team Championship: The B-Team has been mildly entertaining over the past few weeks on Raw. While their title victory was fun, any reign needs to have some substance eventually. The Revival getting a shot just seems to be a way for The B-Team to move away from Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy for now, and I doubt that they will lose this quickly into their title reign, especially since creative is playing up the idea that they are ‘undefeated.’
The B-Team retain the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega: I won’t lie, these four have been a rather entertaining part of Smackdown in recent weeks. Almas and Rusev are both fantastic workers, and Lana has definitely improved as a wrestler. Vega has also shown that she can work, and the four have enough chemistry to put on an entertaining show on the pre-show. Rusev is so entertaining, he and Lana can take a loss for now. I see Almas moving on to something bigger, perhaps the U.S. Title picture soon. I really like the way they have been building Almas without rushing it. I feel he and Vega need the win.
Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega win.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Frank Zarrillo discussing his film "The Wrestler: A QT Marshall Story", which includes appearances by Matt Riddle, Damian Priest, Gerald Brisco, Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and many more, the involvement of Marshall's wife and mother, and much more. Stick around after the interview for Powell's audio review of Wednesday's AEW Dynamite television show...