Thursday, August 16, 2018

WWE SummerSlam 2018 Preview & Predictions

We're back with everyone's (EEEVERYYYYONNNNE'SSSS!) favorite wrestling predictions column, talkin' about WWE's latest bloated six-hour show, SummerSlam!

That's right, this goddamn show is gonna run six hours, two for the pre-show and four for the actual PPV.  Thirteen matches, two of which I'm actually excited about!  To be fair, this show is pretty heavily stacked, I just don't care much about any of it.  The product is so flat and devoid of urgency it's all the energy I have to even register a reaction to it.  But maybe that means I'll actually like the show.  Who knows?  All I know is, coming off four incredible weeks of NJPW shows and going straight to a WWE PPV oughta require a decompression chamber.

So let's get to the picks.  But first, the standings...

***Dan Moore with a miraculous comeback, has taken the lead with 64% (34/53), Landon's in second with 60% (32/53), and Dave and I are tied for last place with 58% (31/53).  Those last two PPVs really killed us.***

Pre-Show Mixed Tag Team Match: Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega

Almas is great and apparently the company is pretty high on him, so that bodes well for his initial push.  Rusev went from challenging for the WWE Title at Extreme Rules to jerking the pre-show curtain.  Is there some reason they can't find a middle ground for this guy?

Justin: Almas & Vega obviously win this
Dan: Team Rusev
Landon: Almas & Vega
Dave: Almas & Vega

Pre-Show RAW Tag Team Championship: The B-Team vs. The Revival

What a joke this division is now.  The Revival are the only legit team on RAW and they're presented as glorified jobbers.  The B-Team are a comedy duo, yet they're the tag team champions.  This match and the belts are so unimportant they're on the pre-show.  It's just sad.

Justin: B-Team retains
Dan: The Revival
Landon: B-Team
Dave: B-Team

Pre-Show Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

Another CW match I don't care about.  I actually had to look up who was in this.  I'm sure the match will be fine but this division needs a central figure desperately so we have a reason to give a shit.

Justin: Cedric retains
Dan: Cedric
Landon: Drew Gulak, so that my main Cruiserwieght Danny Garcia can get a rematch for that belt
Dave: The Champ retains (I have no idea who these guys are)

Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin

I can't believe we have to sit through this again.  Two years ago Finn Balor became the first-ever Universal Champion at SummerSlam.  Now he's stuck trying to carry Corbin, deep in the undercard.  Dude, Corbin is straight-up awful.  Why in the world was he ever called up, except for "tall?"  Finn should be way further up the card than this.

Justin: Give Finn the win and do something good with him.
Dan: Balor
Landon: Finn
Dave: Finn but I could see Baron winning too.

US Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy

I figured Randy Orton would be added to this since the feud is apparently Hardy vs. Orton, but oddly RKO is nowhere to be found on this show.  I guess he'll probably interfere somehow?  This match should be fine if it actually gets time.  I'm just kinda running out the clock hoping Nakamura goes back to New Japan when his contract is up next spring.

Justin: Nak retains
Dan: Nakamura
Landon: Nakamura
Dave: Nak

Smackdown Women's Championship: Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

Please for the love of fuck, can we get the goddamn belt off Carmella?  I don't for the life of me understand why, during this Women's Evolution movement, Vince put the title on someone who'd have trouble standing out even in 2011 when the division sucked.  You have Charlotte, Becky, Asuka, Naomi, etc on Smackdown and Carmella's your centerpiece for four months?  Christ.  Anyway heading into the all-women's PPV in October these belts need to be on your top stars.  I love Becky but Charlotte should really be the one to represent this division for the Evolution show.

Justin: Give Charlotte the belt so she can rehab this division
Dan: Becky
Landon: Carmella
Dave: Charlotte I guess

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day

I'm disappointed we didn't get BB vs. The Bar here.  That would've been a sick, smash-mouth contest.  New Day is great but we've seen them fight Harper & Rowan plenty.  Cesaro & Sheamus should really be the guys to bring down the unstoppable monsters.   But this'll be okay.

Justin: I guess New Day regain the straps?
Dan: BB
Landon: Bludgeon Brothers
Dave: BB

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Soo they had a cage match last month and they're following it up with....a match.  Remember when WWE booking made sense?  Anyway, if Owens wins here he gets the MITB briefcase.  Considering how the briefcase is always used that would actually be a good move.  But I don't think they'll do that.  But seriously, why didn't Strowman come out the night after Money in the Bank and say "I get Brock at SummerSlam?"  Wouldn't that have been in line with Braun's character?  He's not a guy who needs to sneak in after the champ's beaten up and pin him suddenly.  He could always do something like that on Sunday and add himself to the main event, but that's still kind of a cheap move since Brock and Roman aren't preparing for a triple threat.  Why doesn't Vince know how to book a babyface?

Justin: Braun keeps the briefcase
Dan: Braun
Landon: Kevin Owens
Dave: Strowman

Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

Soo they had an Iron Man match last month and they're following it up with....a match.  Jeezus H. Christ.  At least they'll both have seconds at ringside.  Dolph has Drew and Seth has the returning Dean Ambrose.  With Ambrose's involvement that at least makes this match interesting.  God I hope Ambrose turns heel.  What they should do is have Seth win the belt, then have Ambrose attack him, setting up a three-month feud for the belt.  How awesome would that be?  And how much would it raise the profile of the I-C Title?  But you know if Ambrose turns it'll be to screw Seth out of winning the title, thus screwing himself out of challenging Seth for it.  And then we'll have this high-profile feud for no belt while Dolph defends against someone else and the belt goes back to being a prop.  God they're idiots.

Justin: Dolph retains thanks to Dean doing something screwy.
Dan: Seth
Landon: Dolph
Dave: The Zig-Zag Man retains

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

Well it took them four-and-a-half months, but they're finally doing something meaningful with the most popular guy they've had since the Rock administration.  After three months feuding with Cass and a pointless Team Hell No reunion, Daniel Bryan finally gets to fight his natural enemy, The Miz.  And it's one of the two matches I'm actually interested in.  I'd be even more interested if I actually wanted Bryan to stay with WWE when his contract is up in two weeks.  But I don't.  I hope against all hope that Bryan goes to NJPW, showing WWE exactly what they've been wasting since WrestleMania.  I mean how incredible would it be for Bryan to be part of the G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden (How fuckin' cool is it by the way that NJPW/ROH SOLD OUT Vince's home arena)?  All that said, the smart money I guess is on Bryan re-signing.  But it really feels like it would only be for the money.  He's made it pretty clear from his tone in interviews that working for WWE isn't lighting up his world anymore.  And quite frankly I don't think they deserve him.  Anyway, since Bryan's two weeks from his contract expiring and he still hasn't signed a new one I gotta think The Miz wins here.

Justin: Miz
Dan: Miz
Landon: Bryan
Dave: Miz

RAW Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey

If this match is at all competitive, they're nuts.  Rousey should absolutely steamroll Alexa here.  I like Alexa a lot as a character, and in-ring she's fine, but realistically Ronda would murder her.  Ronda's first taste of gold should be a cakewalk.  That's how you make her first title reign stand out.  Anything less than that and she's just one of the girls.

Justin: Ronda wins
Dan: Rousey
Landon: Alexa walks away with the belt again somehow
Dave: Gotta be Ronda

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

And here's the other match I'm excited about.  These two had numerous classics in TNA and if they even come close to that here it'll be a WWE MOTY candidate.  This match by all rights should go last.  How the fuck has AJ been champ since last November and not main evented a single goddamn PPV?  Disgraceful.  Not since CM Punk has such a good champion been treated with such indifference in terms of his placement on the card.  But this will almost certainly be the best match on this show regardless.

Justin: Joe finally wins the big one
Dan: Joe
Landon: Joe
Dave: The time is now for Samoa Joe

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Oh boy, we get to see this for the thousandth time.  Yaaaaaay!  Yeah, I don't care about this.  At all.  Brock's obviously leaving.  Roman's obviously winning (or getting shafted on a Braun cash-in, which is probably an even worse scenario).  Literally the only thing that will make me care about this is if Heyman turns on Brock and goes with Roman.  Considering the NYC crowd is gonna spray yellow diarrhea all over this match, it really should be a three-minute squash.  Roman attacks Brock right at the bell, hits Superman punch-Spear-Superman punch-Spear-Superman punch-Spear, and pins him.  It won't be long enough for the crowd to turn on it, they'll pop for the surprise fast win, and Roman's big coronation will be memorable for its shocking quickness.  Then Monday they'll have to find a reason for the fans to like him.

Justin: Roman
Dan: Reigns
Landon: Owens cashes in and steals the belt by pinning Roman
Dave: Roman - God, this is boring.

Well, that's your sprawling, interminably long SummerSlam card.  Jeezus this is gonna be a slog to sit through.  I just hope they give me something, anything to get excited about.

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