Tonight is, as the awfully obnoxious WWE Raw theme music repeats in an endless loop, the night, but with that night being their annual SummerSlam event. SummerSlam is one of those events that over the years has delivered in a big way and held some of the WWE’s most iconic matches. SummerSlam is one of the “big four” PPVs, which means one of the originals which will be going nowhere, including the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series. So with this being the big, pivotal Summer PPV and all, there are a few matches that have been masterfully built to, and a lot of stuff just tacked on here at the end.
It is actually surprising how much of this event was just tacked on when you stop and think about it. We knew that Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena was gonna happen, and the initial build just started a few weeks ago, although they’ve done an admirable job of selling it as a big deal. On the other hand, CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar has been building for a while now and should really be a great match in a lot of ways. The rest, well, just kind of feels tacked on there, but I won’t complain about Bray Wyatt on PPV just yet.
So let Gary LaPlante and myself run down the card and who we think will be walking away victorious, if anyone!
WWE United States Championship Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
I had a feeling that Rob Van Dam would impress in his return to the WWE, he didn’t really care about his work in Impact Wrestling and it showed, but man, he has been on fire in the WWE. He hasn’t had a bad match yet, it’s been surreal to watch him as of late. Speaking of people who haven’t had a bad match, Dean Ambrose since coming onto the scene with The Shield has been one of the best stables in recent memory. Even with rumors of them having heat backstage and getting a depush. I’m going with Ambrose here. BELIEVE IN THE SHIELD!
Dean Ambrose Gary
It’s really pretty crazy how the Shield went from this tour de force to feuding with the Usos in the blink of an eye. Apparently they upset someone backstage enough to get this epic de-push, which all started by them winning two of the most worthless titles in the WWE by the way of the Tag titles and US Championship. Ambrose really seems to be the focus of The Shield and I’m okay with that, I’m really not sure that the US Championship is needed for RVD to be over right now, the dude is already over. Ambrose probably wins via shenanigans and maybe we get a rematch, maybe not.
Natalya (with The Funkadactyls [Cameron and Naomi]) vs. Brie Bella (with Eva Marie and Nikki Bella)
Ugh, do I have to pick? I guess I’ll go with Brie Bella because of that TV show she’s on.
Brie Bella Gary
I guess that the crux of this is that Natalya can wrestle and Brie Bella can kind of wrestle, but Natalya is better? This is all to promote a reality show? I guess Natalya wins because she can wrestle and they need to create drama?
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
No offense to either Kaitlyn or AJ Lee but I’m kind of tired of them dragging down Ziggler and Big E. Ziggler was booked awful with AJ having him barely win matches even with AJ Lee interfering in nearly every match. Now that it looks like Ziggy is hooked up with Kaitlyn, who just isn’t that interesting in the least bit. It feels like the E is waiting for the moment to have Big E make his inevitable face turn. In NXT he was so over as a face, he was perfect for that role, him as a heel just doesn’t feel right. I’ll go with Ziggler and Kaitlyn and crossing my fingers for a Big E face turn.
Ziggler and Kaitlyn Gary
This is like Dolph Ziggler’s eternal punishment for being over with fans and talking bad about John Cena to the media; being stuck in mixed-gender tag matches. This helps no one and is really just a way to keep all four of them on TV without having to actually give time to each little feud. Ziggler is in a holding pattern, again, until they can figure out what to do with him.
Dolph and KaitlynDave
Ring of Fire: Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
Man, between The Shield and The Wyatt family, there hasn’t been two heel stables this hot in ages. Bray Wyatt on the mic is molten lava, he can do no wrong. It’s such a breath of fresh air for him to be more ambiguous on the mic and allude to things instead of spelling it out for everyone. I’m excited that it’s taking place in a “Ring of Fire” match, it’ll end up making Bray Wyatt look that much stronger when he wins the match by himself and without the help of his family.
Bray Wyatt Gary
This gimmick match is so ridiculously stupid and will probably hinder them from being able to have an actually decent match. Kane is really at the point where I’m not sure that he is capable of doing much more than going through the motions, so this will have to be a lot of Bray taking Kane’s signature bumps for 10 minutes before Kane catches on fire. Apparently Kane is going away to film another bad horror movie, so the consensus seems to be that Bray gets a win and keeps his heat, which is a good thing. I fully expect Kane to do some form of stretcher job or disappear into an abyss or something here.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
How damn snazzy is Sandow’s new MiTB briefcase
? I love it so much that I hope he never cashes it in. This program has been pretty fun up to date, I’ve always thought Cody was a great worker who never got a push he deserved same with Sandow. Sandow is a throwback heel, talking down to the audience and he does it so well. I expect Rhodes to win this setting up a match that will put the briefcase on the line maybe during a RAW or the next PPV. Cody Rhodes Gary
Poor Cody. People seem to be lining up to say that Cody’s face turn is a bit of a flop, but honestly, what do you expect when the guy that betrayed him wasn’t over in the first place? It’s hard not to like both of these guys for their ring work, but character-wise, they are both just not over with live crowds like they should be. This should be a fun match, but it really is a thing where if the briefcase is gonna be on the line eventually, why not just do it now or drop the concept entirely? I don’t even know. I could see Cody winning here, unless they want to drag it out and have Cody win the briefcase in a stipulation match in the future, but I feel like they try not to do that with the MiTB briefcases, right?
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Christian
I just... I just don’t care, both of these guys are decent enough workers. Although that doesn’t matter much when they are both so boring. The build up to this has been so confusing and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves about wrestling. Christian has beat Alberto Del Rio in I believe two straight matches, but they were non title matches so he doesn’t have the title. If you were offered a fight vs. Cain Velasquez but it was a non title fight and then you won, then you fought him again in a non title fight then won, THEN you fought him again for the title, how propitious would that be? Exactly. Alberto Del Rio cause someone has to win.
Alberto Del Rio Gary
I’ve never cared much for Christian, whom I know has been involved in some fun gimmicked tag matches over the years before he left for TNA where he had his post-glass-ceiling~ title run of doom. Christian is the perennial mid-carder that got a push up the card a bit due to there being literally no one else and now they are stuck trying to justify him being in the position that he is by randomly throwing him into a title match with Del Rio because it is the company’s #2 title. Del Rio wins this one because it has zero build and Christian has done nothing of note. We’ll at least get to see Del Rio’s nifty reverse superplex spot, right?
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
This is a bittersweet match for me, it’s sad to see CM Punk turn face because honestly as much as I adore CM Punk, him as a face just doesn’t do it for me. Him and Heyman breaking is sad as well, partially because they in my humble opinion had more chemistry as a team than any other wrestler manager duo. Every little detail, from Heyman saying things such as “That’s two and a half, you only need a half a second more!” From Heyman’s reactions during the match, to him gripping the WWE Championship belt for dear life whenever Punk was doing a promo. They were perfect together. On the same token this match is going to be bananas. I always enjoy a Brock Lesnar match, his sheer strength is just a joy to watch and with a guy such as CM Punk who’s small, will be easier for him to throw around and Punk sells like a champ. Mannnnnnnnnnn, this is gonna be good. I’ll go with CM Punk.
CM Punk Gary
This match should actually be kind of cool as Punk loves the idea of doing stuff that is shoot style and Lesnar is, well, you know, a former UFC Champion and all. Punk being a face is fine, really. Sure, he was an awesome heel, but I feel like the WWE is mostly heels at any given time with one or two faces aligned with helping Cena be superman, so I guess Punk is kind of the top level face that we need, but not deserve? Brock Lesnar has been pretty generous with his shoulders being on the mat for three-counts since his return, which leads me to believe that if the rumors are true about him having a bigger match at Wrestlemania and him inevitably losing, as he is a part-timer, to another part-timer, he needs to keep his heat and get a win. I don’t think that a loss hurts Punk here, which says a lot for him, and a win would really do next to nothing for him, either. The title scene seems set for the next few months and seems to be excluding Punk, but who knows right now?
WWE Championship: John Cena (C) vs. Daniel Bryan
Oh man, this is the big one, from day one, I’ve been marking out hard for nearly every single thing Bryan has done in this feud. This culminated with Bryan cutting one of his best promos to date. Bryan calling Cena a parody of wrestling, talking about how he’s in it for everything but the wrestling, YES! YES! YES! I know CM Punk cut similar promos on Cena in the past, but man Bryan really did extremely we... OH MY GOD HE JUST MENTIONED INOKI STRONG STYLE SLAP, I AM MARKING OUT SO HARD RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T CONTAIN MYSELF. I have to give credit where credit is due, Cena did have a damn good promo as well. In saying that, is it bad that it makes me hate him that be brought up the work he does for the Make A Wish Foundation? I mean he’s a great person for doing that, but him bringing that up basically out of the blue just seemed, wrong. My prediction though is a swerve of sorts. Bryan wins and defeats John Cena, then Orton Cashes in after a long grueling match, they proceed to have a match that lasts around 10-15 minutes with Bryan defeating Orton. In the process making Bryan into an even bigger start.
Bryan defeats Cena and Orton Gary
What’s ridiculous about this match is that initially it was a match that was set up because the WWE wanted Cena’s run to feel special and for him to not only have the usual overcoming-the-odds kind of spiel that no one is buying anymore, but they wanted him to have the “classic” wrestling match, one for the history books. They felt that Daniel Bryan was that guy to drag him into that classic match, which led to this. The thing is, crowds are super hot on DBry right now, more than they could have even planned for, and Cena is going to take some time off to have elbow surgery. Chances are that Cena doesn’t walk away with the Championship, but the x-factor here is Randy Orton and his briefcase. As much as I’d love to see Orton fail at cashing in his briefcase, that would make him the first person to do so and I’m not sure that they dislike him that much. I don’t see Bryan turning heel here and winning through some form of interference, as the crowds just aren’t ready to turn on him just yet, so this really is a weird situation. Triple H the special guest ref points to some sort of BS finish, though, and really, I could see DBry getting his big moment because of Vince trying to sabotage it and Triple H lending a helping hand in a big way, only for Orton to cash in and take the title. At least then you have a built-in feud from before, although it doesn’t scream “main event” at all.
This is going to be interesting and possibly end up sucking!
Daniel Bryan, then Randy OrtonDave