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   December 22, 2014



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Countdown to WWE SummerSlam
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff





Today's the day for WWE SummerSlam, but you might not have noticed between all the plugs for the WWE Network on TV. Still, it looks like a pretty good show, coming to us live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The usual characters from SLAM! Wrestling's staff weigh in with their picks, along with a couple of special guests: Rosa Mendes, WWE Diva, offers her thoughts on a couple of bouts, and we also ran 'em through a WWE 2K14 simulation. Read on!


John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar - WWE World Heavyweight Championship


ROSA MENDES, WWE DIVA: I'm a big fan of Brock Lesnar. ... I'm not sure who's going to get the title, but I just love Brock because he's like an animal. You never know what he's going to do next. He's extremely violent. It's extremely fun to watch.
MATTHEW ASHER: Simply put, this is a match I thought I'd never see. Yes, Cena and Lesnar fought at Extreme Rules a few years ago, but that wasn't for a title. Now that there's just one world title again, it's SummerSlam 2002 all over again as Brock takes on the current "Undisputed" WWE Champion, this time the role of The Rock will be played by John Cena. People will point out that because Brock's a part-timer at best, giving him the strap won't help out the company. I seem to remember thinking the same thing regarding his match against Undertaker at 'Mania and we all know how that one turned out. I may be going out on a limb here, but I actually see Lesnar victimizing Cena and becoming a four-time WWE champion. If the WWE is smart, Cena will then revert back to his "Dr. of Thuganomics" persona, giving him some actual emotions for the first time in years. If this ends with Cena simply retaining without any character arc development, then the WWE has failed at this PPV.
MATTHEW BYER: Normally the main event makes or break the show and sometimes even the future of a company. In this case, though, you have Brock Lesnar who is a part-timer and John Cena who if rumors are to be believed is going to be taking a fair amount of time off to pursue a career in Hollywood. So what does this mean? It likely means that Lesnar will win the match, but perhaps not as dominantly as he should as WWE hedges it's bets as far as how over Roman Reigns is going to be with the WWE Universe.
DALE PLUMMER: The safe money would be on Cena here, especially in the face of the WWE financial losses, but seeing as Brock is “The One” in 21 and 1, he needs to beat Cena to legitimize his Wrestlemania win. This match won’t win any awards from the technical wrestling community; it’s going to be an all out brawl. It should even straddle WWE PG with the amount of blood that may be spilled. Lesnar takes the belt and will either abdicate it on RAW, since he doesn’t care about titles, or we won’t see him again until Night of Champion where he will drop it back to Cena.
JOHN POWELL: Falling in line with the WWE’s mandate to bring back part-time superstars and predictably job them out to the full-time roster, I expect Cena to take this one, although the more interesting route would have Lesnar winning and taking on challengers like Roman Reigns. Winner: John Cena.
CALEB SMITH: Brock Lesnar will win the championship and hold on to it until Wrestlemania. In fact, he will destroy Cena. I believe that Brock can be a part time champion. Make his appearances special like they used to do for Hulk Hogan in the 1980's. He does not need to wrestle every week when Paul Heyman can advance the story line. If Brock does lose then I have to wonder why they let him end the streak?
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: John Cena dominated most of the match and hit the AA for the win.

Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon


ROSA MENDES, WWE DIVA: She must be on Cloud 11, to have a match against your boss, the Queen Bee. All of us respect Stephanie so much. She is not only creative and smart and beautiful, but when she talks to you, she looks into your eyes. She knows everybody's name. To be in the ring with her? Of course, the pressure, she probably has a lot of pressure, but all of us are very envious and very proud of her. It's a really big deal for the Divas division. Hopefully one of us will get to wrestle her one day. That would be a dream come true.
MATTHEW ASHER: Let me put it this way: I believe that Stephanie McMahon is going to be in charge of carrying this match. She's been great on the mic and I loved seeing her use the Pedigree against the Bellas the past few weeks. I want Stephanie to win this match, and I want her to decimate Brie simply because Daniel Bryan's wife hasn't done anything good in (or out of) the ring lately. If I had my ideal ending, Stephanie telling Brie that "Kharma" would come back to haunt her would be a foreshadowing to having Awesome Kong return to the WWE, taking out all her frustrations on the Bellas after the way they treated her when she left.
MATTHEW BYER: Will Daniel Bryan make an appearance at ringside to cheer on his wife Brie Bella? Will Triple H interfere on behalf of his wife Stephanie McMahon? Those are two of the bigger questions heading into this match and it seems likely that the second one will be answered in the affirmative. As for the quality of the match word is that both Bella and McMahon have been preparing behind the scenes for this match for quite a while so it does have the potential to be pretty decent. Who will win? That depends on who shows up to interfere, but I'll go with McMahon in order to prolong the feud.
DALE PLUMMER: I was on board with this match about three weeks ago, but now with Steph having Brie arrested and having Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist” admit to having an affair with him, ugh! This match will be a cat fight, especially when compared to the AJ Lee/Paige bout early in the night. Brie should win, but I have a feeling Steph might put herself over.
JOHN POWELL: Yeah, couldn’t care less about this one. Maybe Daniel ‘Dirty Harry’ Bryan will show up and cuff some perps in attendance to make things interesting. Winner: Brie Bella.
CALEB SMITH: Brie Bella will taste defeat at the hands of McMahon. She will not enter the kiss my butt club, but she will be embarrassed. I believe that some of the other divas will conspire against the bride of Daniel Bryan.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: After a back and forth match, Brie forces Stephanie to submit.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins - Lumberjack match


MATTHEW ASHER: A lumberjack match has to be the worst type of match for these two men to compete in. This means Ambrose won't use a bunch of weapons and Rollins won't be doing any diving outside the ring. I've heard rumors that the WWE may try to keep this rivalry going through 'Mania and if that's the case, then this should end with Rollins using some underhanded tactics to come away with a cheap win. This keeps Ambrose mad and gives him more reasons to prevent Rollins from successfully cashing in his MiTB contract.
MATTHEW BYER: Why couldn't the stipulation for this match have been a steel cage, TLC, or some other condition that would have allowed both men to really show what great performers they are? Instead we have a LumberJack match which is designed to get as many of the other wrestlers who don't have their own match at SummerSlam on the show. Odds are that Rollins will pick up the win due to a distraction or interference.
DALE PLUMMER: Why a Lumberjack match? This all but eliminates any awesome spots on the floor or ramp or stage or in the crowd. If Ambrose didn’t want Rollins to run off, why not challenge him to a cage match? Or Hell is a Cell? Or make it a street fight? Or parking lot brawl? Or make it a ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase. Rollins will win after getting help from some “Authority Cronies”… I mean Lumberjacks.
JOHN POWELL: After we were so blatantly ripped off by the match-that-never-was on the last pay-per-view, let’s hope this one actually plays out but…a Lumberjack Match? I miss the days of the old fashioned and dependable Dog Collar, Chain or Barbed Wire match but I guess those aren’t PG-rated. Ambrose will have the odds stacked against him but will come out on top then…pay the price. Winner: Dean Ambrose.
CALEB SMITH: An interesting match. I know some folks feel that a lumberjack match will take some of the high flying away and that might be true, but it will provide an extra dimension to the in ring action. I certainly hope that when one of the guys gets outside of the ring the "good guys" and "bad guys" play their role and favour their guys. I think Rollins wins this with a quick roll up after taking a masive beating.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: There was no way to simulate a Lumberjack Match or those kind of stipulations, so we just let this one play out in a normal bout.

Jack Swagger vs. Rusev - Flag match


MATTHEW ASHER: I want to see Old Glory waving proud after this match, but I think Rusev will once again crush.
MATTHEW BYER: I'll say it again: Rusev crush!
DALE PLUMMER: Rusev continues to crush and picks up the win here as Jack Swagger’s face push dies a quick death.
JOHN POWELL: Jack Swagger.
CALEB SMITH: The Rusev win streak will continue. After the match Swagger will pummel the Russian with the flag pole to regain some honour for his country.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: Rusev.

AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige - WWE Divas Championship


MATTHEW ASHER: AJ has proved a better wrestler as of late and this issue between the Divas should continue at least one more PPV. Expect AJ to retain.
MATTHEW BYER: This is a match that will probably get shortened to make time for the others on the card which is a real shame...I'll pick Paige for a DQ win, but not the title.
DALE PLUMMER: AJ retains her title; hopefully they unshackle these two talents and let them have a match like the girls down in NXT are allowed to have.
JOHN POWELL: Paige.
CALEB SMITH: Paige wins after a quick and feisty bout.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: Paige.

Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns


MATTHEW ASHER: Roman needs to win if he's to advance his career as a win for Orton doesn't seem to help out the company.
MATTHEW BYER: Apparently the house show matches between these two have not been good, but the WWE really needs Reigns coming out of this bout looking strong win or lose; regardless Orton needs to put him over as strong as possible with Cena taking time off.
DALE PLUMMER: Reigns will pay Orton back for the beating that was delivered a few weeks back, but Orton will steal a win here.
JOHN POWELL: Roman Reigns.
CALEB SMITH: Reigns wins by disqualification.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: Randy Orton.

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler - WWE Intercontinental Championship


MATTHEW ASHER: Ziggler's been working his butt off as usual. Give the man a strap and let him build some momentum.
MATTHEW BYER: It feels too soon for The Miz to lose the IC Title so of course they'll have him drop it to Ziggler.
DALE PLUMMER: Ziggler is so over (see house show reaction of him pinning Orton) but Miz has just returned and is such a good heel; he retains his title.
JOHN POWELL: Dolph Ziggler.
CALEB SMITH: The Miz and Ziggler have been working on this match on house shows. I say the Miz retains by countout.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: The Miz.

Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper are banned from ringside)


MATTHEW ASHER: Wyatt has to win this or I will file the entire family as a religious version of the Bushwakers from this point on.
MATTHEW BYER: Could be the match of the night and Jericho will put Wyatt over as Cena should have done at Wrestlemania 30.
DALE PLUMMER: If any one looks at Fozzy’s schedule you would know the Jericho is leaving on tour the night after Night of Champions next month. Bray will get his win there, as for SummerSlam, this match ends in a DQ for Jericho after the rest of the family hits the ring anyway.
JOHN POWELL: Chris Jericho.
CALEB SMITH: Chris Jericho beats down Wyatt who comes back like a babyface to score the pin.
WWE 2K14 SIMULATION: Bray Wyatt.

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