By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
This is the first time in several years where the Summerslam card really feels worthy of the event’s legacy. certain special attraction matches (i.e. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar) notwithstanding. I think that’s because the upper card has a lot of meat to it this year, with John Cena facing Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk facing off against Brock Lesnar. There’s a lot of great drama to be had in both matches, and they both feature performers who’ve been part of some solid storytelling this year. So the odds for a good payoff are pretty strong. If we’re really lucky, one of those matches will give us something worthy of Bret Hart vs. Davey Both Smith at Wembley Stadium, or Bret vs. Mr. Perfect in ’91, or Bret vs. Owen Hart in the cage…noticing a pattern, here?
PRE-SHOW MATCH FOR WWE UNITED STATES TITLE:
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
How the hell did RVD and Dean Ambrose wind up on the pre-show, whilea one-on-one divas match we could have seen on any given episode of Superstars is on the pay per view? Eh, maybe it’s a bonus for us, as we get to see this one for free. I see The Shield getting involved here and costing Van Dam the match. RVD doesn’t need the United States title. He doesn’t need ANY title, really. Though a run with a Heavyweight title would indeed be appreciated. And after that promo Ambrose cut on Raw this past week, he deserves a win. It can definitely be argued that Ambrose hasn’t been able to do as much with the US Title because they’ve had to use him with The Shield. Hopefully, as time goes on we’ll get to see him use his many talents to make that title a little more important.
Rob’s Prediction: Dean Ambrose
WINNER: Rob Van Dam (by disqualification)
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
That Superstars match I mentioned? This is it. *sigh* Okay, bright side: Natalya is getting a pay per view match for the first time in quite awhile. What’s more, she might even win! The fact that Nattie made AJ tap out on Raw leads me to believe she’s got a pay per view title match in her future. And as it would likely behoove WWE to have the Divas Champion be a part of Total Divas, her winning the belt isn’t entirely out of the question, is it? I can only assume Maria Menounos’ schedule conflicted with Summerslam, as at the Fan Axxess event this weekend they have her tagging with Natalya against Brie and Eva Marie. That certainly would have made for a better pay per view match.
Rob’s Prediction: Natalya
MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH:
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston & AJ Lee
As an on-screen personality, I’d say Big E. Langston is coming along quite nicely. Slowly but surely, he seems to be developing a quiet sort of charisma, not unlike Batista did in the early 2000s. That’s a pretty lofty comparison, though. At the very least, we can be grateful he’s not just another soulless bodyguard type. I see AJ and Langston weaseling their way into a win here, most likely with AJ getting one over on Kaitlyn. Depending on how Night of Champions shakes out, this might lead us to a Ziggler vs. Langston pay per view match. This could also segway into Ziggler somehow costing AJ the championship, if that is indeed the direction they want to go.
Rob’s Prediction: Big E. Langston & AJ Lee
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
I’m ecstatic that this match made it on pay per view. Rhodes is a great foil for Sandow. The “Rhodes Scholars” tag team was always a bit frustrating to me, as it was always clear that both those guys were capable of breaking out as singles stars. Heck, I give Cody partial credit for making the Intercontinental Championship mean something again during his run with it. So in that sense, this match feels like vindication. I see Cody getting the victory here, so that we can hopefully keep these two working together a little while longer. As he has a Money in the Bank briefcase, obviously Sandow is being groomed for bigger things. With luck, Cody can use this program to gather a little bit of that magic for himself. He certainly deserves it.
Rob’s Prediction: Cody Rhodes
WINNER: Cody Rhodes
RING OF FIRE MATCH:
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
Ugh…I just want everybody to come out of this match okay. These fire matches are the only ones that make me nervous when I watch. At least the object isn’t to actually set anyone ablaze. So I presume the story here will be about how Luke Harper and Erick Rowan somehow help Bray Wyatt, despite the fire being in their way. So obviously, our victor here is Wyatt. Though in truth, I think he could lose this one and still be okay. The creepy and eerie vibe the Wyatt Family brings to the table likely wouldn’t be effected one way or another. Though I do think Bray needs to cut down on the laughing while he’s out there. We get it, he’s evil. Move along…
Rob’s Prediction: Bray Wyatt
WINNER: Bray Wyatt
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Christian
So are we heading toward a Christian retirement angle, here? They’re doing the whole one more match/one more shot at glory type thing, and we’re showing career retrospectives. If they’re looking for a way to put some extra heat on Del Rio, retiring Christian would certainly do it. But even then, I still don’t imagine I’d be a fan of heel Alberto. For my money, he was doing just fine as a babyface. Now that he’s back to his old one-dimensional bad guy character, I’ve lost interest quickly. As such, I’m not exactly invested here. So let’s let Del Rio win, and move on to the next chapter…
Rob’s Prediction: Alberto Del Rio
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
As expected, the mic work in this program has been stellar. Though I certainly didn’t expect the best of it to come from Lesnar. That video package where he talks about how it’s person between he and Punk was amazing. All the stuff between Punk and Heyman was good too, but Lesnar’s ice cold delivery was positively frightening. He’s not an actor by any means, but with the WWE production elements helping him, he made me believe. So mad props to him for that. I’m expecting something pretty physical here, with Punk coming out on top in the end. It pains me to say that, as I think Brock has lost too many times since his return. But I see Punk just barely scraping by with a win, and then missing his chance to get his hands on Heyman. Or if he does, just having a brief physical interaction with him. I’m hoping we get another match out of these two, the hopefully not as lengthy a program as Brock worked with Triple H. I’d love to see the ante upped to a no-DQ match, or possibly even a submission match.
Rob’s Predicton: CM Punk
WINNER: CM Punk
WWE HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Guest Referee: Triple H
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a WWE Championship match with so many explosive elements in it. On paper, this might actually be the most emotional pay per view match since Cena faced CM Punk at Money in the Bank in 2011. Fittingly, in this match he’s up against yet another indy darling in Daniel Bryan, and the WWE Title is once again on the line.
I maintain that there’s no pressing need for Triple H to be in this match. We had enough drama happening between Cena and Bryan to carry a Summerslam main event. I suspect he’s in there so Vince McMahon has a good reason to come down and argue with him about something, leading to a screwjob of some kind. As Daniel Bryan will likely be picking up a win here, I’m hoping he at least gets a moment to shine as the fairly unlikely WWE Champion that he is, before things go south…
Randy Orton isn’t booked on this card, and they’ve been teasing a Money in the Bank cash-in for weeks now. So it’s a virtual certainty something is going to go down with him. I can only assume that something is a post-match cash-in, where he finally turns heel and takes Bryan’s triumph away from him. Mind you, that’s something we’re all expecting, so maybe WWE will pull the rug out from under us and take it in a different direction. But for better or worse, I’d say it’s a solid bet Randy Orton walks out with the WWE Championship.
Rob’s Prediction: Daniel Bryan, followed by Randy Orton
WINNER: Daniel Bryan, followed by Randy Orton
All images courtesy of WWE.com.
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