The four hour spectacular of the summer is finally upon us. Truth be told, I love SummerSlam. It's always one of the best shows of the year and usually delivers some sort of payoff. If WrestleMania is the show for the mainstream, SummerSlam is the show for the fans. And this year? It's a big biggie. WWE is running three nights in the same building, Barclay's in Brooklyn NYC, and will have to pull out the big guns as it were to keep the famed NYC crowd engaged. Looking at the card, I think they've got a good chance of making this weekend one of the finest wrestling weekends in recent history. As for who wins, once again let's gaze into that ol' crystal ring bell and let the speculation run wild... on you.
Randy Orton vs Sheamus
The only real clunker on the card in my opinion is Orton and Sheamus. This feud is nothing more than the classic two names with nothing to do feud. Both guys are very good and the match will be entertaining if not wrote. I don't expect anything mind blowing here as Orton is directionless and Sheamus needs to be protected as long as he has that Money in the Bank briefcase guaranteeing him a shot at the WWE title. I'd be surprised if the cash-in comes at SummerSlam but there is a precedent. I don't know that this will be the match that kicks off the show but it should be. Four hours is a long time and this is fluff. Get it out of the way as people are finishing dinner.
Prediction - Randy Orton
Ryback (c) vs The Miz vs The Big Show
As I sit and type these words, I am astounded at what they are about to say... I am into this match. If you've read previous prediction posts you'll know that I am not a big fan of The Big Show, can tolerate The Miz, and cannot stand Ryback. And yet, even with my three least favorite wrestlers together, I find myself waiting for this one. And the more surprising thing is that it is because of The Big Show that I care. A few weeks ago on RAW, the crowd chanted, "Please retire" or something of the like at Show. Now, like so many nasty words/thoughts you have in traffic, (we've all done it, in private) here was an entire crowd telling the man to just go away. As one might imagine, Show did not take kindly to this. He ripped on the crowd and hyped up this match. It was a good move in a shitty situation. Then there's The Miz. As much as his in-ring work leaves me flat, the guy is gold on the mic. He has done a tremendous job building this feud with his mouth alone. I still cannot care about Ryback though so it breaks my heart to know he is walking out of SummerSlam still the champ. The WWE has had Daniel Bryan on TV only briefly during his injury, maybe three or four times. On two of those occasions, it has been to put Ryback over. So he wins. Boo.
Prediction - Ryback
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
Two thirds of the Wyatt family vs two thirds of the SHIELD. This feud has been a lot of fun over the last few months. All four of these guys are big time stars and even the worst of the bunch, Roman, can go with just about anyone out there. This should be a pretty hard hitting match. There is a ton of (storyline) heat between these four and that usually means lots of punches to the bracket. The big questions going into this match are based mostly on rumors and scuttlebutt. Spoilers (maybe) ahead based on internet sleuthing... one, Dean Ambrose will turn on Reigns and join the Wyatt's, or two, Sting will arrive to save Roman and Dean. Of the two, I see Dean turning on Roman the more likely scenario. Sting showing up to fight the Wyatt family makes some sense but he is also rumored to be making an appearance later in the evening. Now, do I want to see Dean with the Wyatt's? I don't know. It could be cool if handled well but could also be Daniel Bryan joining for like a minute. If either of the rumors comes true, or if neither one does, we should be left with a really good match with some big spots. I expect lots of outside work and a broken table or two. Looking at this like a booker, it makes the most sense to have Bray and Luke go over. They need the win to really establish their dominance again and Dean and Roman would lose next to nothing by taking the loss.
Prediction - Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Stephen Amell and Neville vs Stardust and King Barrett
Normally, celebrity matches are the absolute shits. The name recognition of a movie star or athlete is usually all they bring to the table leaving the actual wrestlers involved in the unenviable position of making someone like David Arquette look like a credible performer. (don't even laugh, he was WCW champ at one time, that happened) This particular celeb though, the Green Arrow, will not need that assistance. Stephen Amell is a fantastic athlete in fantastic shape. Plus, he is a life long fan with a healthy respect for the business. He would not be doing this if it was going to come off as a joke. Now, it will still sort of be a joke. Stardust has had an unhealthy obsession with Amell for months now and this match is the culmination of their "feud". (Most of it took place on twitter) Neville and Barrett are there because Amell needed a partner and therefore Stardust did as well. It should be a fun match with some "I can't believe an actor did that" moments. Hopefully this continues to build the feud between Neville and Stardust going forward as they have great chemistry and could become an on again off again feud the WWE returns to over the years. I'd be a okay with that.
Prediction - Amell and Neville
Rusev w/Summer Rae vs Ziggler w/Lana
The most recent addition to the card sees the returning Dolph Ziggler taking on Rusev because Rusev continues to be a dick to his former lady and Ziggy is having none of it. I'm expecting a pretty quick match as Ziggler was off TV for awhile and they wouldn't want to end this feud so quickly. There is money to be made here if WWE can convince Lana to wrestle. And it looks like that is the way they are going if the jumping roundhouse she delivered this past Monday is any indication. This will be a good back and forth match with Rusev hitting a few big power moves and Ziggler getting in some flashy offense. Then the ladies will get involved to start a build to Survivor Series.
Prediction - No Contest due to cat fight
Kevin Owens vs Cesaro
Here it is kids, your match of the night. Without question, the best wrestling match on this card is this one right here. These two have faced each other before, in tiny gyms all over the world, and each time they have been in the ring together it has been special. At SummerSlam make no mistake, these two could have the match of their careers and take that next step to main event status. Hell, you could argue they are both already there. The interesting wrinkle in this match though is that Owens will have wrestled the night before at Takeover against Finn Balor in a ladder match. What kind of toll that will take on Owens and how it will be worked into this match remains to be seen. Regardless though, expect a pure classic full of great technical wrestling, psychology, and some breath-taking spots. It's a hard one to predict. An argument for either one could be made. Ultimately, I think this is the start of a career spanning rivalry in WWE and I am excited.
Prediction - Cesaro
Team PCB vs Team Bella vs BAD
This is one crowded match. The Divas Revolution is in full swing on WWE TV and this match should only serve to further that angle. I expect this to be a decent match that gets some time to breathe but one that ultimately comes off a bit sloppy. Nine people in one match is a lot, especially when it will be contested under normal tag team rules (two people at a time). All nine women can go however and the new girls, Sasha/Becky/Charlotte, should get plenty of time to shine. This one will be hectic but have some really great spots. There should also be a decent amount of technical wrestling involved. I have no idea where they are going with this match though so the prediction is pure guess work.
Prediction - BAD (Sasha/Tamina/Naomi)
Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker
The match that was too big for WrestleMania (or how about we forget that Taker had a match against Bray Wyatt at Mania and pretend that he has been at home plotting) Look, if you are a fan of professional wrestling, you know what you are going to get with this match. To quote good ol' JR, it will be in a word, a slobberkbocker. This will be hard hitting strikes, big power moves, and maybe a crazy table spot. It all comes down to Taker at this point. What has he got left? Enough for a standard match sure. A big spot fest? Probably not. The build up has been nothing short of epic for this fight. Brock screaming, "I'll kill you" and Taker replying, "You're gonna have to" was pure gold. They have done an excellent job selling this as the most important match in the storied career of the Undertaker, revenge for the streak. I cannot wait to see these two go again and I fully expect Taker to get his win back here. Except, for that other thing I mentioned earlier. (you know, up in the Wyatt stuff, take a peak, I'll wait) Sting. The rumor making the rounds has been that Sting may show up and cost Taker this match to set up a feud leading to WrestleMania. It makes some sense really. The better course of action in my opinion would be to have Taker go over, do his post match ritual thing, and instead of the lights going purple, they go black. Sting's music hits, he walks out, points his bat, and walks away. If that happened, I don't know if my mark heart could take it.
Prediction - Undertaker
John Cena (c) vs Seth Rollins (c) - WWE Heavyweight Championship/US title
So, look, John (can I call you John?) the US open challenge has been great. You've entertained me more in the last few months than you have in years. I like where we are in our relationship now. It's a good, dare I say, healthy place. And I thought we both felt the same. I thought, and this is important, we were a team. I need you to go with me on this John. I need you to hear the words. You tying or maybe one day breaking Ric Flair's record of sixteen world championship title reigns is not something that needs to happen. You have your legacy as one of the greats. You have never been my favorite but I will always be indebted to you for keeping wrestling alive during some dark times. (looking at you Heidenreich) I know it wasn't just you. It was the WWE marketing team pushing you down the throat of the universe for so long. And that's okay. I've made my peace with that mostly based on your run as US champ. It's been swell. But, and I mean this, stop. Just, stop. No more main events. No more title reigns. You don't need it. We don't want it. It's not best for business. New blood must always replace the old and while you still have a lot left in the tank, it's time to switch to the slow lane. This match against Seth is so important for him and quite honestly, the business as a whole. We need Seth at the top John. He needs to go on to have matches against Owens and Cesaro and Reigns and Balor and Samoa Joe and whomever else is in the new guard. You, well you need to be the gatekeeper. The guy who puts people over and into the main event scene. It's not a bad gig really. You get to have awesome matches with up and comers. What more could you ask for? So on Sunday, go and have a great match with Seth. Have those big spots, impressive displays of power, top-rope AA's and weak ass STF's. Be super Cena and kick out of Seth's finisher multiple times. But lose and lose clean. That way Seth can vacate the US title and we can have an old fashioned tournament. It's the right thing.
Prediction - Seth Rollins
So there you have it. A stellar line up of matches following an stellar line up from the night before. It really is a golden age of wrestling and I'm glad to be here riding the wave. Make sure to follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you thought of Takeover, SummerSlam, my predictions, or whatever else is on your mind.