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Countdown to WWE SummerSlam
By JAN MURPHY - Kingston Whig-Standard






One of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s signature pay-per-views, SummerSlam, marks its 25th instalment on Sunday in Los Angeles.

In many ways, it is bringing out the big guns, what with Triple H, Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels headlining the main event.

To counter that, the Whig brings out its big guns, Arda Ocal and yours truly, to break down the 25th anniversary of SummerSlam. In fairness, Arda is a bigger guy than myself, but hey, a guy can dream right?

But I digress ...

Without further ado:

Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino

Arda: I desperately, desperately, want to see Antonio Cesaro win the United States championship. Not because I don't like Santino, but because nothing was done with him as champion, except Alberto Del Rio beatdowns. Cesaro wins the gold, and exchanges the U.S. title for the European title ... because after all, Cesaro is "very European!"

Jan: For my money, there are too many of these filler matches. Don't get me wrong, I love Santino. I think he's underrated and a gifted talent, but that talent isn't being exposed or used properly. I'll take Cesaro, if for no other reason than it shakes things up a bit.

Prime Time Players vs. Truth/Kofi

Arda: The tag division was starting to gain momentum, then AW got fired by WWE. I really hope this doesn't derail the ascension of the PTP, who have been entertaining on TV recently. I'd like them to carry the titles and a series of babyface tag teams come out of the woodwork to challenge them on a monthly basis on pay per view, building their matches on TV weekly. Young/O-Neil are charismatic and hold my interest during tag-team matches, so I'm intrigued to see where this will go.

Jan: Agree with Arda on the PTP thing. If there were another four or five tag-teams like PTP, business would surely be about to pick up, to quote the legendary Jim Ross. Alas, there is not, so the tag-team division remains a bit player. That's really too bad. A recent Facebook post by Ben In the Pen host Ben McLean conjured up some old memories of those WWE stickers that used to come in Hostess chip bags. It got me to remembering the stickers featuring legendary tag teams like The Rockers, Islanders and Strike Force. Those were the days ... But I digress ... Take PTP.

The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (Intercontinental championship)

Arda: I like the idea of former world champions vying for the IC title consistently. Christian, Miz, now Rey Mysterio -- it builds interest and prestige to the title. At the end of the day, however, it's title defences that will make us have continued interest. If the champion doesn't defend the gold regularly, we will forget about it and complain every now and then about how good the title used to be. Miz wins this one and (hopefully) welcomes other challenges.

Jan: This is one of those can't-miss matchups, in my opinion. Either way, the fans win. Miz is slowly rebuilding his brand after a quick decline following a mistake during a match, filming a movie and basically losing his lustre. Mysterio has recently returned from a long absence following surgery and a suspension for violating the company's wellness program. He too is looking to re-establish himself among the elite. A win for either keeps them moving in the right direction. I'll take Mysterio in a minor upset.

Kane vs. Daniel Bryan

Arda: Kane losing a match at this point in his career really doesn't hurt him, no matter who it is against. He could lose to Alex Riley three weeks in a row on Raw and one chokeslam later, he's back to the Kane we all know and love. He's a WWE lifer who, in this match, can be used to elevate Daniel Bryan. I'd like to see Bryan win. Kane may not tap out to the Yes (No) Lock, but Bryan will still get the victory and move on to greener pastures.

Jan: Arda is right about one thing, Kane is perhaps the most fearsome jobber in history, at least when the situation calls for it. This would be one of those situations. Bryan is right on the cusp of becoming a bonafide superstar. His segment with the doctor a couple of weeks ago was as funny a segment as there has been in some time. And let's be honest, he's super talented in the ring and can hold his own on a mic. It makes no sense to stall his emergence as a major player. Take Bryan.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho

Arda: The fans will win in this match -- it's my sleeper pick to steal the show. Dolph Ziggler is a bumping machine always with a new trick up his sleeve. Chris Jericho is a master ring general who can have a great match with anymore. Put the two together and expect a fantastic matchup on pay-per-view. If this is Jericho's last match with WWE, I saw Dolph get's the "duke" ... maybe Jericho wins and Dolph wins the rematch on Raw before Jericho's departure to tour with Fozzy. Either way, Dolph ends up stronger out of the situation. One "what if scenario" -- what if Jericho left WWE and stole Dolph's Money in the Bank briefcase? Jericho is in possession of the case, which means Dolph can't cash in -- this creates an automatic rivalry for when Jericho returns in the new year (I'm guessing on that last fact).

Jan: No one can touch Ziggler's bumping skills. Few can touch Jericho's mic skills. Together, they will steal the show. I love how WWE drew the comparisons in the buildup to this one.?In fact, I would have played it up even more. I like Ziggler here. He's on his way up, while Jericho is on his way out ...

CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. The Big Show (WWE championship)

Arda: I still like the idea of CM Punk holding the championship for a long time -- what I look forward to most out of this scenario is a definitive answer from CM Punk in terms of "black hat" and "white hat" -- by the end of SummerSlam, I'd like to know which side of the fence he is on, or if he will continue to toe the line. Right now, he is showing traditional signs of villain and hero, despite many labelling him as a villain after Raw's 1,000th episode. Beyond good/bad affiliation, I'd like Punk to continue his ascent into true main event status, where he could main event a pay-per-view with someone other than John Cena and it not seem out of place. A loss for Show/Cena in this match doesn't hurt either of them.

Jan: CM Punk, for no other reason than I want to see where he can take his character. By far the biggest talent with WWE right now.

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight championship)

Arda: I feel that the "bump on the road" that we are seeing in the Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus World title match was to create a social media topic -- "Should Del Rio get a title shot, Tout us your response!" in the end, Del Rio got his title match back. I feel now he beats Sheamus and captures the World title -- hopefully to a long, healthy title reign. Del Rio's attention to detail in his matches is terrific and out of any WWE superstar, I enjoy his work the most right now.

Jan: The time for Del Rio to shine is now or never. It is no secret that WWE has been less than impressed by his commitment in recent months and a series of injuries have sidetracked him. There is something about Del Rio that makes you feel he has what it takes to be very special. Special like a Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Hulk Hogan kind of way. The question is whether he can put it all together and run with the ball. It's now or never. I say yes. Del Rio wins.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H

Arda: I don't see any other outcome other than an emphatic victory for Brock Lesnar here. If he does in fact have more appearances left and he will be around until WrestleMania 29, I don't see the benefit in a loss to Triple H, who likely will have less of an on-air role after SummerSlam than will Brock. Unlike with John Cena, who is the face of WWE and a case could be made as to why he should have defeated Lesnar at Extreme Rules, I see no logical reason why Triple H should win other than personal preference -- Lesnar wins convincingly.

Jan: If you or your children watch WWE now because of its PG era mantra, this might not be the match for you. While I would have loved to have seen this match when Triple H was 10 years younger, I predict it will still be violent. No one, and I mean no one, has ever displayed the kind of aggressiveness Lesnar has since returning to WWE following a successful stint in UFC. Perhaps the only pro wrestler who ever approached the kind of violent toughness Lesnar possesses is The Game, but those days are behind him, for the most part. Expect violence. The only way I see Triple H winning here is with a Shawn Michaels assist. I'll play the safe card with Lesnar.

Follow Arda Ocal on Twitter at @arda_ocal and watch Aftermath on The Score on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 10 p.m. Listen to Aftermath Radio following Monday Night Raw.

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