Wednesday, August 2, 2023

WWE SummerSlam 2023 Preview & Predictions

This Saturday is the 2023 edition of WWE SummerSlam, and for the first time in several years the lineup actually looks befitting the company's second-biggest show of the year.  Mostly anyway.  Once again there are a couple important matches being left off the card, and even stranger they've added a battle royal with no real prize at stake, but hey, at least Shinsuke Nakamura's on a WWE PPV again....

There are actually more than a few bouts that could steal this show, something that hasn't been true of a WWE PPV in quite some time.  I know which match I think will earn Match of the Night honors, but on a given day I could see five of these matches do so.  The big stories going in are of course the neverending Bloodline soap opera, the Cody-Brock rubber match (to cap off a feud the company never came up with an adequate storyline reason for), Finn Balor going for perhaps his last chance at a top title while his stablemate waits in the wings with a briefcase, and two MMA fighters finally colliding in a wrestling ring.  Let's get into the lineup....

SummerSlam Battle Royal

So yeah, why are we doing this?  Just to get LA Knight on the card?  What does he get if he wins?  Nothing?  Anyway like I said, at least Nakamura's on a PPV for the first time in like a year and a half.  Remember when they made a big deal out of his return after 'Mania?  And then nothing really happened with him after that?  When's his contract up again?  And hey, what happened to Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez??

Pick: LA Knight

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

Well this is pretty amazing.  Ricochet actually gets a one-on-one match at a major WWE event?  I never thought I'd see the day again.  There's zero chance he wins here, this is just a showcase for Logan against a guy who can more than keep up with him in the highspot department.  But it should be a helluva fun match and the first possible show stealer.

Pick: Logan Paul

MMA Rules: Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler

Wow, only took 'em five years to give us this match (granted Ronda wasn't around for three of them).  From the sounds of it this could be Ronda's WWE swan song, as her contract is up very soon and I don't think she's extended it.  Her second WWE run didn't feel nearly as big as her first, nor did her heart seem to be in it this time around.  I'm hoping since she'll be in there with her longtime friend in an MMA-style match that the two of them can make this last hurrah count.  If Ronda is leaving it makes sense for Shayna to get the win here.  Pity we never got the proper Ronda vs. Becky singles match we should've gotten in 2019.

Pick: Shayna

Intercontinental Championship: Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre

Now this is what I'm talkin' about.  Gunther is straight-up awesome, Drew is great, these two will beat the absolute piss out of each other and once again the I-C Title will steal the show.  Gunther needs to retain here so he can beat the longevity record, because if any champion deserves to do so it's Gunther, and if any longevity record deserves to be broken it's the Honky Tonk Man's.  I could see Drew getting a DQ or countout win to necessitate a rematch after Gunther's reached day 455.  Either way this should be super.

Pick: Gunther retains

WWE Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair

This should be really good if they get enough time.  All three are superb.  Let 'em fly.  I see no reason for Asuka to lose the title yet.  Also why'd she stop wearing the badass facepaint?

Pick: Asuka retains

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

It's the rubber match in the feud that happened for no reason.  It'll be a series of suplexes and F5s, with a spear-through-barricade spot (unless that's being saved for the main event), and Cody will end up eking out a win with not one but multiple CrossRhodeses.

Pick: Cody

World Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

It's a rematch from SummerSlam 2016, once again for an ugly-looking title belt.  Finn's stable is pretty hot right now, mostly because of Rhea and Dom, but that's a good enough reason to finally give Finn the title run he should've had seven years ago.  Sadly he's probably getting cashed in on by Damien Priest, either on this show or sometime in the next few months.  Side note: If Finn was getting this push, why the FUCK didn't he beat Edge at 'Mania??

Pick: Finn for the winn

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso

Man am I ready for the Bloodline stuff to be finished.  Like I've said before, Cody should be defending this title against Brock on this show, while Roman and Jey resolve their personal shit.  But it's time to wrap this whole saga up, it's been going on, I say again, THREE YEARS.  I don't doubt this match will be very well-worked and drama-filled, but almost certainly way too long and slow.  Roman ain't losing here, by the way.

Pick: Roman retains

So yeah, on paper one of the best SummerSlam lineups in a long time, and this show ought to be able to top Night 2 of 'Mania 39.  The only match I could see being bad is the battle royal, but even that could be solid.  Let's hope WWE doesn't make a series of bad booking decisions and ruin it all.      

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