Countdown to WWE SummerSlam
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
Summerslam is always a hotly anticipated card on the WWE PPV calendar, but perhaps this year moreso than usual. This has a lot to do with the ascension of Daniel Bryan, but there is also a mystique to other matches on the card, including the arguable co-main event with CM Punk and Brock Lesnar.
Let's get to the card and see what Jon Waldman and Matthew Asher are predicting.
WWE Championship Match - John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
Matthew - Given how soundly the fans have gotten behind Bryan, this should be a no-brainier. However, with Triple H as the guest referee and without Randy Orton being scheduled for a match, I would love nothing more than to see Bryan fulfilling his promise and make Cena tap out to end the night, However I believe that directly after the match Triple H nails Bryan with a Pedigree allowing Orton to cash in his MITB case, steal the title and FINALLY turn heel.
Jon - There's no question in my mind that D-Bry isn't going over. It's time. Will he be champ at the end of the night though? I'm guessing no. The setup is perfect with Trips as ref - one Evolution member helps out the other Evolution member (Randy Orton) by putting Bryan down with a Pedigree, leading to the cash-in. I'm also going in the thought line of two new call-ups (maybe Corey Graves and Conor O'Brien) rounding out the new troupe.
World Championship Match - Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio
Matthew - Christian has had a great run in the WWE. I'm not sure if the WWE sees him as a Hall of Famer because of his time in TNA. I really believe the result of this match will answer that question. Christian should win by hitting ADR with a spear and then expect a good 3-4 month title reign as World Champion allowing Edge to induct his best friend into the HOF.
Jon - As much a Christian fan as I was back in the day, I really haven't been impressed with him in the last couple years. He's a much, much better heel and living off the exhaust fumes of Edge's career has hurt him. Really, it should have been RVD in this spot. I don't expect both cash-ins to happen the same night, though I could see Sandow accelerating his cash-in for fear of Rhodes trying to get the briefcase...
Grudge Match - CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Matthew - With the amount of money the WWE has given Brock, there's no way he's going to fall to 2-3 since his return to the WWE. Paul Heyman will distract Punk, Lesnar will hit Punk with the F-5, setting up a possible rematch at WresteMania XXX (much like with Brock and Triple H last year).
Jon - The usual WWE booking formula would dictate Brock winning since CM... well... 'punked' Lesnar on Raw; however, with Paul Heyman escaping I don't think that's necessarily the case. Maybe we get Heyman as the sacrificial lamb to help Brock get the victory, I don't know. I do expect this to be match of the night.
Ring of Fire Match - Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
Matthew - It may be called a Ring of Fire Match but I instantly think of the Inferno Match that Kane had against 'Taker after WrestleMania XIV, except that you win via pinfall or submission. Bray hasn't competed in a 1 on 1 match yet, so I see Luke Harper and Erick Rowan getting involved somehow allowing Bray to leave victorious.
Jon - Bray Wyatt is my favourite wrestler right now, and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by just how good he is in the ring. The gimmick here obviously points to Kane losing and, yes, getting burned even in the PG era. Tomorrow on Raw, we get Bray with Kane's mask and lighting it on fire as a 'funeral' of sorts for Kane, who will be gone now likely until the new year.
Mixed Tag Match - AJ/Big E Langston vs. Kaitlyn/Dolph Ziggler
Matthew - I'm actually looking forward to this match because whenever a partner is tagged in, the strength advantage switches. With Kaitlyn and Big E as the "heavies" on their respective sides, I expect both AJ and Ziggler to provide a nice change of pace when either one is tagged in. It's a tough match to call but I expect AJ to pin Kaitlyn after Big E puts Ziggler down with the Big Ending, setting up a possible rematch at Night of Champions.
Jon - For an angle as hot as AJ/Kaitlyn was, this has been a poor build and I'm getting bored with Dolph's face turn. I feel bad for him in this whole mess. What I really want to see, though, is Big E debut the five count tonight.
Grudge Match - Cody Rhodes vs. Damian Sandow
Matthew - This rivalry hasn't had a lot of time to develop so this will probably be the first of two or three matches. Cody should pick up the win unless it's announced that Sandow's MITB case is on the line. This is also one of two potential matches I can see Randy Orton interfering in but because Cody is now the face, I don't think he'll get a tainted win. Orton may provide a momentary distraction for Cody to his Damien with Cross Rhodes, but he won't physically interfere. In any case, expect this rivalry to be settled next month with Damien's briefcase on the line at Night of Champions.
Jon - The build here has been okay but no one's buying Cody as a babyface. WWE needs to stop trying to define faces and heels and let some of these guys permanently reside as the loved bad guys. Sandow's back on track after being stunted a bit in his development, and I expect him to go over by nefarious means.
Grudge Match - Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Matthew - If anything, this match should be the Kickoff Match because I'm not expecting much. Yes, Natalya is the better wrestler but since the Bellas have more presence on Total Divas, expect Brie to win, probably with help from Nikki.
Jon - Well, at least Nattie gets a PPV paycheck. I hope to god the goof troupe of Khali and Hornswoggle are nowhere to be seen though.
US Championship Match - Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam
Matthew - It's a shame that RVD just returned to the WWE, otherwise there might be a chance that he would take the title away from Dean Ambrose. I still expect this to be a very entertaining match. If RVD wins, it will only be because The Shield interferes in the match. Otherwise, expect Ambrose to escape by the skin of his teeth using some underhanded tactic.
Jon - It's only a few weeks in to RVD's return and already I'm bored. Seriously, would it kill ya, Rob, to do something other than a kick or a splash? Ambrose retains handily.
Dolph Ziggler's SummerSlam predictions
From the SLAM! Wrestling archives:
Aug. 19, 2012: Lesnar snaps Triple H's arm at SummerSlam
Aug. 15, 2011: Punk-Cena feud comes to a head, but not without some wrinkles at SummerSlam
Aug. 15, 2010: Rumored return helps Team WWE fend off Nexus at SummerSlam
Aug. 31, 2009: TLC Match and the return of a fan favorite liven up SummerSlam
Aug. 18, 2008: SummerSlam comes close to 'blockbuster' status
Aug. 27, 2007: Returns highlight SummerSlam
Aug. 21, 2006: Flair & Hogan top average SummerSlam
Aug. 22, 2005: Hogan-HBK steal SummerSlam
Aug. 16, 2004: Orton-Benoit, Guerrero-Angle save SummerSlam
Aug. 25, 2003: Triple H retains at SummerSlam
Aug. 20, 2001: Rock wins WCW title at SummerSlam
Aug. 28, 2000: Stunts highlight SummerSlam
Aug. 23, 1999: Foley new champ at SummerSlam
Aug. 31, 1998: Ladder match dominates SummerSlam
Aug. 4, 1997: SummerSlam: Hit Man wins WWF title for a fifth time