What a douchenozzle
This year’s edition of the summer classic has shaped up to be a doozy. There’s a match for pretty much every type of wrestling fan out there. It’s been rumoured that Vince McMahon is trying to build SummerSlam as an equal to WrestleMania, and this card does nothing to refute that whatsoever. I mean, sure, Jinder Mahal is still in a championship match, but hey! Braun Strowman exists and is receiving a title championship opportunity, which means that all is somewhat right in the world.
A whopping 13 matches make up the card for the 2017 edition of SummerSlam, headlined by a Battle of the Beef between Strowman, Lesnar, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns. We’ll also be treated to Owens/Styles 3, Shinsuke Nakamura’s first shot at a WWE Championship, and the return of the Demon King.
Let’s skip the small talk, and get right down to business.
Cruiserweight Championship Match – Akira Tozawa© vs. Neville
The title is on the wrong guy.
I’m going to be bitter about this for a while. While I can certainly appreciate Tozawa as a wrestler, and the Titus Brand is actually growing on me, it’s absolutely nothing compared to Neville’s title reign. As someone I’ve been a fan of since his days in NXT, Neville has put in the best work of his career – and to end it all on Monday Night RAW?
Frankly, if Punk isn’t impressed, I’m usually not impressed.
Again, this isn’t to try and take away from Tozawa; I simply think it was the wrong time for a title change.
As for this match – it’ll be great, there’s no doubt about it. Now that the WWE has committed to a new champion, I don’t think you give it back to Neville (as much as I wish they would)
Prediction: Akira Tozawa retains the Cruiserweight Championship
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match – The New Day © vs. the Usos
The hottest feud going on SmackDown right now is rewarded with a spot on the preshow!
Seriously, these five men have been one of the highlights of the blue brand as of late, and it’s a bit upsetting that for all their hard work, they’re relegated to this. The Usos likely will earn my personal selection as comeback story of the year; prior to them turning heel against American Alpha, the duo was completely dead in the water. They’ve always been able to wrestle, it’s just nice that they’re interesting now, too.
Am I wrong?
The New Day, as well, looks revitalized since moving to Smackdown Live. Perhaps it was the lack of fresh feuds on RAW, or that they’d accomplished almost everything there is to accomplish on that brand. Since the move to the blue team, they’ve looked like their old, entertaining selves.
All that, and we haven’t even touched on the fact that these two teams have put on two great matches over the past two PPV events. It’s truly been a delight to watch.
Prediction: New Day retains Smackdown Tag Team Championship
U.S. Championship Match – AJ Styles © vs. Kevin Owens (Shane McMahon Guest Referee)
It’s been a tough series of matches to watch, I’ll admit it.
That’s no comment on the skill of the two guys in the ring; 2016 MVP of Wrestling AJ Styles and Kevin Owens are perhaps the two most skilled in-ring workers in WWE today. It’s a shame, then, that there still hasn’t been a single clean finish in this series of matches.
So what’s the solution when you need a non-corrupt, competent referee?
You get a McMahon!
I will not talk about the Screwjob, I will not talk about the Screwjob, I will not talk about the Screwjob…
Admittedly, Shane o’Mac is certainly the fairest of the first family of wrestling, but as KO rightly pointed out on the August 8th edition of Smackdown Live, Shane hasn’t exactly been known for calling a match down the middle.
However, this is the biggest show of the summer as far as WWE is concerned, and I highly doubt that they wouldn’t want to pay off what has been an admittedly great rivalry, save for the finishes. Besides, if they’re going to build to the rumoured McMahon/Owens match at Survivor Series, it’s gotta start somewhere!
Prediction: AJ Styles retains the U.S. Championship
RAW Women’s Championship Match – Alexa Bliss © vs. Sasha Banks
As upsetting as it is that Bayley isn’t able to compete in this match, there’s a silver lining in the fact that it got the Boss on the SummerSlam card.
Frankly, Bayley’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. It seemed as though the seeds had finally been planted for the Sasha heel turn that we’d all been waiting for; however given their history, any heel turn made by Sasha on someone NOT named Bayley wouldn’t have the same effect.
At the same time, I still feel like it’s time to switch the title. Sasha hasn’t held the championship since losing it to Charlotte at Roadblock: End of the Line, and she’s due for an extended reign. As much as I hate to say it, Alexa Bliss’ run on RAW has hit nowhere near the heights that her time on Smackdown did, and I simply think that the change could do her character well.
Prediction: Sasha Banks wins the RAW Women’s Championship
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
It’s a feud that should feel much, much bigger than it is.
Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt are two of my favourite wrestlers on the roster. However – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – this feels just like any other Bray Wyatt feud.
It’s been in the works since Wyatt moved to RAW during the Superstar Shakeup. Tensions have been boiling between Balor and Wyatt over the past few weeks, but nothing really happened until the go-home edition of Monday Night RAW.
For full effect, listen to it without Michael Cole’s commentary
If you can get over Cole describing what appears to be BBQ sauce as an “acidic, viscous liquid”, congrats! You’ve witnessed the high point for Bray Wyatt of this feud.
I say that as it’s been all but confirmed that the Demon King will be returning to WWE for the first time since last year’s edition of SummerSlam. It’s one of the most unique gimmicks in WWE – and it’s practically unbeatable in kayfabe.
Sadly, it means another loss for Bray Wyatt on a major stage, but some things never change, eh?
Prediction: Finn Balor
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match – Naomi © vs. Natalya
Won’t spend much time on this one, because there’s not really much to say. The match will be adequate, and Carmella will cash in her money in the bank contract.
Prediction: Naomi wins, Carmella cashes in and wins.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match – Shesaro © vs. The Good Parts of the Shield
It’s the reunion we’ve all been dreaming for: the reunion of the good parts of the Shield!
You all missed this.
Okay, I’m being a little harsh on Roman Reigns; it would admittedly be incredible to see him reunite with the stable that broke into WWE together. However, now isn’t the time to fully unite the Hounds of Justice. A tag team championship match simply isn’t large enough to warrant the three getting back together.
The tale of redemption that’s been told thus far may be the best written story currently going on in WWE. While I personally wish that they would have saved the climatic fist bump for the PPV, it’s still been phenomenal to watch these two interact; obviously, none of the chemistry from their Shield days has been lost.
They’re also facing the perfect team in Sheamus and Cesaro. Count me among the people who complained when then-GM Mick Foley paired them together after a best-of-7 series late last year. They’ve been outstanding, and setting the Bar for the tag-team division over the past few months.
See what I did there?
This is one of the matches I could see going either way; but this is a major WWE event, and you have to satisfy the fans at least once. It’s pretty obvious what the fans want in this case:
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose win the RAW Tag Team Championships
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
Okay – ignore, if you can, the fact that John Cena potentially cost himself at SummerSlam by distracting Baron Corbin after he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. I know, difficult to do, but hear me out: this is possibly the most interesting thing that WWE could have done to this feud.
I’ll get it out of the way early; Corbin bores me. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s SUPPOSED to be bored the whole time, but I’ve personally never thought that he’s better than average in the ring, and I don’t enjoy him on the mic. Really, he’s got two things going for him as far as I’m concerned – the End of Days is an absolutely devastating finisher, and he won Most Metal Athlete last year from Revolver, which is admittedly badass.
Still – WWE brass must be high on Corbin, seeing as they gave him a match against the Face that Runs the Place. To me, a clean win over Cena matters way more than a championship, and with the leader of the Cenation rumoured to be departing Smackdown as a free agent, the timing is perfect to give Corbin a huge win.
Prediction: Baron Corbin defeats John Cena
Rusev vs. Randy Orton
Sami Zayn is nowhere to be seen on the card, but Randy Orton inexplicably makes his way onto the SummerSlam card in what may represent the greatest injustice since Batman lost his parents.
Sadly, I don’t believe that the end results will work out nearly as well for society.
Honestly guys, I’m sure you’re as bored as I am with my hatred of Randy Orton. A quote I heard years ago in regard to the Edmonton Oilers (and I’m paraphrasing here) was “there’s only one thing worse than the fans hating you, and that’s if they don’t care about you.”
That’s where I’m at with Randall Orton. I don’t even hate the guy anymore; I simply don’t care. He’s what I like to call a surfing wrestler; when he appears, I channel surf. If I wanted to watch an enjoyable match where someone takes an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE, I’ll watch a Diamond Dallas Page match.
He must have mailed it in on “select a finisher” day, which is about par for the course.
Here’s just to hoping that Rusev goes over. The guy is a treasure.
Prediction: Rusev defeats Randy Orton
Big Show vs. Big Cass
All we need now is Big E!
This match is much, much better on paper than it has any right to be. It’s been a well-built feud so far between the Bigs, but anyone clamouring for a technical masterpiece, or even any form of technical wrestling whatsoever can definitely use this match as their bathroom break.
The real interest in this match, for me, is twofold. Firstly, I’m curious as to what will happen with Enzo Amore being suspended in a shark cage above the match. Rumour has it that it’s being done as a form of backstage punishment on the Realest Guy in the Room, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the cage plays into the match.
Secondly is the absolutely NUCLEAR heat that Big Cass has managed to draw since his heel turn just prior to Great Balls of Fire.
Still can’t believe they went with that as the name.
It’s insane to me that the guy is getting reactions on the level of Roman Reigns. Is Enzo really so popular that the fans are obligated to hate Cass this mutch?
That’s a tale for a different day, but for today?
While it’d be great to give the Big Show one final victory lap as he nears retirement, the WWE should be in the business of building new stars. Therefore –
Prediction: Big Cass
WWE Championship Match – Jinder Mahal © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Some people like to talk about what they’d do if they had a time machine. If I had a time travelling device, I’d go back in time and tell a wrestling fan that Donald Trump would be United States President, Jinder Mahal has been a WWE Champion for three months going into SummerSlam, and that he’ll be facing Shinsuke Nakamura.
Their head would explode.
Yet, here we are. Two of the greatest wrestlers on the planet had to wrestle each other in a qualifying match for the right to fight the worst member of the 3 Man Band for the WWE Championship.
Someone please make sense of this for me.
I’m absolutely thrilled that Baron Corbin fell for the oldest trick in the scroll when he fell for John Cena’s distraction to lose his MITB briefcase; it’s pretty well ensured that nothing (hopefully) can interfere with the King of Strong Style’s inauguration as WWE Champion.
*prays for Styles/Nakamura at WrestleMania 34*
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura wins the WWE Championship
Universal Championship Match – Brock Lesnar © vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Remember that lady from the Wendy’s commercial that used to ask “Where’s the Beef?”
Yeah, that one!
Well, here it is.
This quite possibly is the single largest main event in WWE’s history, and I don’t mean that in terms of historical impact. By the time the bell rings to start the main event, 1,216 pounds of sheer mass will be in the ring, which includes a former UFC Heavyweight Champion©, a man who singlehandedly has tipped an ambulance in recent history, the man known as the Samoan Submission Machine, and former Edmonton Eskimo Roman Reigns.
Six games played, nine tackles, and one forced fumble for those who were curious.
Since the beginning of the Joe/Lesnar feud that none of us knew we needed in our lives, Brock has been putting in arguably some of the best work of his career. The added match stipulation that Brock and advocate Paul Heyman will be leaving WWE should he lose (amid rumours of another UFC fight looming nonetheless), has made this a must-see PPV event regardless of the other matches on the card. It’s always difficult to bet against the Beast Incarnate; however, he does have the champions disadvantage of the opportunity to lose his championship without being pinned or submitted. Especially in a field this large – both figuratively and literally – it’s genuinely anyone’s game.
Call it what you will, call it a gut feeling, but I don’t think Lesnar leaves as champion. It just feels too bland an option for WWE to go for their main event of their 2nd biggest show of the year. I also think it would be flat out stupid of WWE to split up the Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns pairing right now; it’s been an outstanding pairing so far, and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of a feud that recently featured an office chair thrown at someone’s face.
It’s gonna be a hell of a fight, but by process of elimination
Prediction: Samoa Joe wins the Universal Championship.
And there you have it! Don’t forget to tweet me @Spennylove – I’d love to hear your thoughts!