Summerslam 2018: Preview & Predictions

As was the case with Wrestlemania 34 this show is going to be a number of things: dramatic, eventful, thrilling at times, dull at times, terrible at times, and one thing for certain (so feel for us poor souls having to watch this show live)… this show is going to be LONGGGGGGGGGG!!! And whilst there are a few dull matches on the card some of them have a fair bit riding on them; The Money in the Bank briefcase is on the line, the WWE Championship will be contested on a major WWE PPV by two former TNA Impact World Champions, the biggest mainstream star in the company (and I don’t mean Cena) is in a huge title match she’s probably going to win and you’ll be seeing it replayed for years to come, and then there’s the small case of some guy against a cage-fighter for a belt… that is all… So with that said let me try and tell you what I think will go down at the biggest party of the summer (other than my birthday party… there’s no party btw… *cries*… but hey I’m spending the weekend travelling and watching pro-wrestling so I am legit living the dream this weekend). Also I should note that Elias has been advertised for a big performance at some point during the show. And whilst we will all dream of someone like The Rock to interrupt, lets be honest it’ll be Lashley that is the one to come out and end the filler segment of the show by brutalizing (again) Elias. Although Elias’ segment at Wrestlemania where he promised a similar performance ended up teeing up a match between a couple of jobbers called John Cena and The Undertaker, so who knows what Elias will do, and who knows what on earth this 12042934890 hour long show will present us with?

KICK OFF SHOW: Cruserweight Championship: Drew Gulak v Cedric Alexander (C)

Hmm… What will happen in this one? Well I will presume most of you reading this don’t regularly watch or know much about 205 Live, but I’ll explain; Gulak has for a LONG time deserved to be in a big spot like this, his character used to be one that wanted 205 Live to be ‘different’ for the better in his mind and he was in that role terrifically entertaining. Back then some little doofus ran the show so he was held down, but with that little runt gone it’s open season. And now the more vicious grappler Gulak is the challenger on the big stage to the long time star of 205 Live Cedric Alexander. Cedric won the title at Mania from Mustafa Ali, and he’s deserved to be the main man on this show for some time now. But his title reign has seen him coincide with the cruserweights no longer being on Raw or even since Wrestlemania their hasn’t been a cruserweight match on any PPV bar the GRR, which in my mind does not count. Cedric has beaten Buddy Murphy who looked to be the biggest threat to his title, he beat Ali at Mania to win it in the first place, and whilst Lio Rush and Hideo Itami are potential future challengers I think their stories still have more to go before they’re right to fill that spot. So with that in mind, as much as I’d like Gulak to have his moment I can’t see who Gulak faces for the title going forward. With Ali having been beaten recently (although long term I see him as a future champion for sure, I’d argue he’s more of a sympathetic babyface than Cedric even is) and Itami on the rise as a sort-of heel I’ll go for Cedric to retain (a change from what I originally thought). But just.

Prediction: Cedric Alexander retains

KICK OFF SHOW: Lana & Rusev v Zelina Vega & Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

I’ll just quote you a conversation between me and my friend Stefan as I messaged him after this match was announced…

ME: Rusev & Lana vs Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega on Summerslam kick off show

STEFAN: Cant say im buzzing for it haha

ME: They should’ve just had the women fight 3 weeks in a row and done Rusev v almas at Summerslam 1st time ever

STEFAN: spot on

I think that sums this one up. I don’t think WWE are going to give this much attention. So (as much as I adore Rusev, Almas and Vega and like Lana in doses, not when she wrestles though) why should I? I’m sure Aiden English will get involved somehow and maybe they’ll do the big turn here? But other than that side-note the more this is Rusev v Almas and less Lana v Zelina the better it’ll be.

Prediction: Zelina Vega & Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

KICK OFF SHOW: Raw Tag Team Championship: ‘The Revival’ (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) v ‘The B Team’ (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (C)

At long last the most underutilized and so-far wasted tag team in WWE history The Revival get (potentially) their crowning moment. The B Team are a fun act for sure, but tag team champions… really? As an NXT fan I witnessed Dash and Dawson become 2 time NXT Tag Team Champions (the first and one of only 2 teams to achieve that feat) and they came to the main roster off the back of an incredible run of high quality matches against the likes of D.I.Y (whatever happened to them?…), The Authors of Pain and American Alpha (No really, what did happen to them?). On night one (on the Raw after Wrestlemania no less) they arrived as a surprise to a huge pop and beat The New Day (one of the most over acts in the company at that time). Then a series of injuries to both men has de-railed any potential push, but now perhaps they will get the spotlight they deserve… I hope…

Prediction: The Revival are the new Raw Tag Team Champions (PLEASE?!)

‘Constable’ Baron Corbin v Finn Balor

WHY DO I HAVE TO SEE THIS MATCH AGAIN???????? WHY?!?!?! This whole feud sucks, it’s big man picks on small man and it’s being done so terribly. Finn Balor being the ‘small’ guy of the two yet is way more experienced and successful than Corbin, so from that point of view the whole concept of the booking of this rivalry is silly (to put it lightly). And whilst I am enjoying Corbin in this role I find him wrestling in wannabee Corporate-Kane shirts and trousers just awful to look at. Let’s just say if there is a match on this card I’ll be eyeing up the drinks menu, deciding if I want more food and if I need a toilet stop… as much as I love Finn and like Corbin, this match is an average Raw match, and doesn’t need to be on Summerslam. I see it as an excuse to get Finn Balor (one of the most popular stars) on the big show, why they can’t give him a better creative going into it I have no idea.

Prediction: Finn Balor

Money in the Bank Contract: Kevin Owens v Braun Strowman (H)

So they’ve been doing the thing on Raw recently where Braun has matches with Jinder Mahal (who Owens has employed as his ‘guru’, because Kevin Owens is tremendous) but loses. Not by pin or submission but so far a DQ and a count out loss. The idea being that if Braun were to lose by the same circumstances at Summerslam he would lose the MITB briefcase. So with how much they’ve put this idea out there one would presume that means he is in fact NOT losing the briefcase. And he shouldn’t. As good as Owens is Braun deserves this spot, and if there is one thing worse than losing your cash in, it’s losing the contract and never getting the chance. It’s a match between two awesome talents, it’s a big match that warrants a spot on the show, I trust both guys and the creative to make it fun. But with the fact that there may be another appearance later on in the show by the winner of this one I would not be shocked if either this match is short, or the winner is jumped or attacked in some way after the match, seemingly putting them OOA… we’ll see…

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: ‘The New Day’ v ‘The Bludgeon Brothers’ (Harper & Rowan) (C)

I love The New Day. We all love The New Day. But other than they are really liked I don’t see why they are in this spot. Maybe it’s as simple as that, the most popular tag team on the show are The New Day hence they’re challenging the monster-heel champions at a big 4 ppv. But creatively I just don’t get it. I’m a Sanity guy so I’d rather have them in, The Bar would be different as it’d be heel v heel, Gallows & Anderson would be tricky having lost clean to The Bludgeon Brothers at MITB, The Usos maybe? I’d be shocked if there is a title change here, but then again The New Day are tremendously entertaining as always, the match itself will surely be good as all involved are great at what they do, and there is this idea that New Day are the modern day Dudleys/Hardys in that they need to have as many tag title reigns as possible so in history they’ll be instantly looked upon as legends (I’m not saying the Dudleys or Hardys aren’t legendary by the way). With all that said though I’ll be shocked if Harper and Rowan lose here, they shouldn’t lose for a long time and not to anyone that isn’t the biggest of babyfaces. Not that New Day aren’t, but they don’t need the titles as much as Harper and Rowan do in my opinion.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers to retain

United States Championship: Jeff Hardy v Shinsuke Nakamura (C)

As sad as I am that they didn’t pull the trigger on Nakamura as WWE Champion, given how they’ve positioned AJ Styles I can accept it. But what they have done is gone ALL IN on Shinsuke as US Champion, so that’s something. He’s as awesome heel as he’s simply just a DICK (pun intended) and he’s so going over here. Jeff Hardy, as is obvious, is banged up. He needs so many surgeries and has so many niggling injuries it’s scary and surprising he can still go at the level he does. The asterisk next to this one is the involvement of Randy Orton, or lack of. He returned after a few months away and to the shock of everyone attacked Jeff Hardy, rather than Nakamura. And given his promos recently on Smackdown it is clear he has gone back heel. And as much as some people may bemoan someone who turns as often as he does, lets be honest, Randy Orton is awesome. And he is most awesome as a heel, so lets not moan! I did predict that Orton will be in this and it’ll eventually be a 3 way but so far that hasn’t materialized, but I’d still expect Nakamura to retain. How they would manufacture a potential Orton vs Nakamura US title feud (considering both are heels) would be interesting, and lets hope A. it happens and B. it’s good. Oh and after this match don’t be surprised if we don’t see Jeff on TV for a while.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura retains

Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose v Dolph Ziggler (C) w/Drew McIntyre

As with the US Title match I wouldn’t be surprised if this 1 on 1 match was changed in the go home show to include a 3rd participant. In this case it’s Dolph’s… I don’t really know what he is…. ‘heavy’ Drew McIntyre… Drew is the star of this pairing and in the future he’s going to be getting more future big spots than Dolph, I’ve no doubt about it. But for now it’s Rollins v Ziggler, 1 on 1, so lets assess that. Dolph is in the usual Ziggler role of being given ‘something’ to do for a few months before being forgotten about again. And with seemingly endless rumours about Ziggler’s contract status, and one theory being he has been given the move to Raw, the partnership with McIntyre, and now the IC title and subsequent matches with Rollins as a sort of sweetener to ensure he re-signs. Which long term as immoral as that may seem, from WWE’s point of view I get it. If Dolph Ziggler went and did the indies, or went to Impact, then he’d be a star for me. And I feel given that Rollins is the REAL guy right now (sorry Roman, and sorry to Braun who is a close 2nd) I see him moving on from the Intercontinental title soon. I don’t mean that to sound as if I’m shitting on the title, it’s been the premier title on Raw during Lesnar’s reign of terror, but presuming the title is taken from Brock soon-ish I see Seth Rollins as the clear obvious long term Universal Champion. He’s been BY FAR the best performer on Raw in 2018, the amount of sub-standard superstars he has got a good match out of it absurd, and any big stage he’s been put on this year he has shined, and shined bright. Of course we too have to factor in any potential Dean Ambrose or even Jason Jordan return that could factor in here, or what involvement (if not directly placed in the match) that Drew McIntyre will have. This will be a good match I think, I don’t get why you do a iron man match at the previous ppv then do a singles match here, I’d presume it’s to allow for one of the aforementioned stars to be involved in a likely screwy finish. This match will be fun, do not sleep on this one, I will certainly make sure I’m not at the bar or in the toilet when it is on. This match will be great.*

*UPDATE: So on the go home show of Raw Dean Ambrose returned and aligned with Seth to even the odds against Dolph and Drew. Dean looks in amazing shape, and he looks like a heel… but there was no hint of it on TV which I really like. It’s another interesting factor regarding this match, so we will wait and see if Ambrose or how big an influence he has on this match. I could see all outcomes; be it a heel turn mid match or afterwards. On balance it’d make sense for Rollins to win and Dean to get jealous and turn on him, but I see it making much more sense for the eventual Dolph v Drew feud to be for the IC title as I don’t think Rollins v Ambrose needs a title and is a big enough feud in itself.

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler retains

The Miz v Daniel Bryan

A match so many years in the making. It’s happened before sure, but these 2 have been aligned with one another ever since Miz’s now famous promo he cut on the then in-retirement Bryan on Talking Smack almost 2 years ago. It was the promo of Miz’s career, and at long last, what would’ve seemed impossible a year ago is a reality. Who would’ve thought back then that either The Miz or Daniel Bryan for various different reasons would be in a marquee match at a big PPV. Bryan is awesome, Miz is awesome, so this should be absolutely tremendous. Creatively though where they choose to go with it remains to be seen. I have an idea and it’s one I’m so impressed with I struggle to think of anything else to do with these two that would be better. My idea is Miz beats Bryan here (screwy finish or not, in fact the more screwy the better). He goes on and on about in the weeks and months after how be beat Daniel Bryan, he goes on to challenge AJ and beats him, Miz is WWE Champion. Meanwhile Bryan struggles to accept the loss and begins a redemption tale, which is made more painful for him as he witnesses Miz get the title, Bryan wins the Rumble, Miz v Bryan at Mania, career v title maybe… Sounds good right? Well I’m aware there are A LOT of ifs and buts to get to anywhere near to that, but nonetheless I see Miz winning here, based upon how I just can’t see these 2 having the one match, and in the end I see Bryan eventually coming out on top, and a good way to lead into a mini series over the next 9 months or so would be to have Miz go over here, not clean ideally. Imagine the heat from Brooklyn, Miz doing all Bryan’s moves and the YES chants… IMAGINE!?!?

Prediction: The Miz

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch v Charlotte Flair v Carmella (C)

With the Evolution PPV on the arisen both women’s titles are in a sort of state of flux, in the sense that both are sure to change hands in the not so distant future, it’s just a case of if WWE want the new champions to have their big moment here, or in October. And why there is plenty that could go array in the Raw Women’s Championship match, in this one, for me at least, it boils down to this: who will turn on which best, tea-loving friend first… Becky or Charlotte? And why some could reasonably argue that their in-fighting may mean Carmella once again escapes with her title, I see it as a time for the Irish Lasskicker to get her moment to at long last outshine The Queen. The tension, whilst it has not as of writing reached a point where the friends implode, is clearly being written to be there between Lynch and Flair and whilst it could just be a way to build up to the match, when you consider it is SUMMERSLAM and it’s for the title… and with Evolution not long away this is as important a match that Becky Lynch may have ever been in. I really do feel as if it is Becky’s time, which would of course mark the end of what has been a much-maligned yet in my personal opinion thoroughly entertaining title reign for Carmella. It’s been a gradual rise for the once manager of a tag team of douches who have both since been fired whilst Carmella has gone on to super-stardom. And whilst admittedly her matches still aren’t and haven’t been at the level of what a Women’s Champion in 2018 may be expected to have, you cannot argue that as champion Carmella as a character has gone on to new levels and most if not all her mic-segments have been fine at worst, which was NOT the case a year ago for example. Congrats on a good run Carmella, but whereas Charlotte doesn’t need the title at this stage (I’ll explain more later on in the blog) whether it be here or at Evolution it’s Becky’s time to shine.

Prediction: Becky Lynch is the new Smackdown Women’s Champion

WWE Championship: Samoa Joe v AJ Styles (C)

This match will be an absolute MADNESS!!! Believe me I absolutely adore Samoa Joe, if you like pro-wrestling how can you not? But right now AJ Styles is in the middle of one of the best WWE Championship reigns for a number of years, and I see no reason just yet for it to end. And as I’ve explained earlier I don’t see anyone but The Miz ending that, not even Joe. But maybe with all the attention seemingly on the Raw side of things perhaps it will be the Smackdown main event that steals the show? Joe and Styles have both been at their best in the build up to this one, Joe has been obliterating people in-ring left, right and centre, and verbally assaulting Styles on the mic (he may well be the best promo in the company). In response Styles has run with the classic babyface, man of the people gimmick that he really is. Expect a great, great wrestling match that’s star rating will purely be based on how much time it gets. Give them time WWE I beg you, and you will get magic.

Prediction: AJ Styles to retain

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (C) v Ronda Rousey

I think this should go on last at Summerslam. It wont of course but it should. Ronda Rousey is by a long way the biggest star in WWE, look at social media numbers, ask people on the street, it’s how it is. So simple logic should suggest you have your biggest star in the main event and they win, right? Well yes, but WWE’s biggest star in their heads is a certain Big Dog, but more on that in a little bit. Back to this one… Now, Alexa Bliss is great isn’t she? Her character is played tremendously well, her mic work is great, her in-ring work is passable, and she certainly looks like a champion. But in all those categories she just isn’t Ronda. And OG Ronda fans like myself will tell you about the dangers of simply over-looking current title holders expecting Rousey just to walk over them (Amanda Nunes… cough cough…) but that was very much a different world and time of course. Here I see it as surely obvious? I’m in fact more confident it’ll be this Womens title that they switch here and not wait til Evolution. There’s a few outside influences that may play a factor in the outcome, but the potential of Alicia Fox, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Stephanie McMahon or even Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir (Rousey’s fellow members of the ‘MMA 4 horsewomen’) aside I see this as the first of many crowning moments for WWE 2K19 pre-order bonus character (and YES that does matter, trust me to them it does) ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey. Oh and FYI the end game for EVERYTHING is Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair in the main event of Wrestlemania 35, and that story begins to be told HERE for me.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey is the new Raw Women’s Champion

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns v Brock Lesnar (C) w/Paul Heyman

I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DONE with Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion. I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DONE with this Roman Reigns chase of the Universal Championship. I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DONE with this whole story. So I’ll just say this: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PPPPPLLLLLLEEEEEAAAASSSEEEEEEEEE LET ROMAN REIGNS WIN THE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER PINNING BROCK LESNAR AT SUMMERSLAM 2018!!! I FUCKING BEG!

Prediction: Roman Reigns is the new Universal Champion

BONUS PREDICTION:

Now… this is as much a prediction as much as a dream. This seems like the obvious yet way too perfect thing to go down. Braun was THE guy about 6 months ago, but then got pinned by Roman Reigns at the Elimination Chamber and missed out on the main event of Wrestlemania. So would this not be the perfect revenge? Too perfect for WWE to book right? Just picture this; Braun vs Owens happens early in the main show, Braun wins and keeps the briefcase, 4 or 5 hours go by and we have all forgotten about him by the time Roman has kicked out of a 7th F5 and is being showered in confetti after delivering a 23rd Spear to Brock Lesnar and pinning him to win the Universal title… and then as the furiously anti-Roman crowd is on the verge of descending into a full scale riot we hear… BRAAAAAAAAUUUUUNNNNNN!!! And as the Brooklyn crowd absolutely erupts Strowman comes marching down to the ring, briefcase in hand, as a bewildered Roman Reigns looks on. Braun cashes in, crowd goes absolutely insane, an exhausted Reigns is immediately flattened by Braun charging towards him. Braun picks him up for the powerslam, Roman gets down, off the ropes, SPEAR! Braun kicks out at 2.9. Roman does the big ‘oooooooo, ahhhhhhhhh’ and goes for another Spear, Braun sidesteps him, picks him up, Running Powerslam. 1,2,3! Brooklyn and every WWE fan over the age of 14 that’s watching goes insane, and BRAUN STROWMAN leaves Summerslam as the NEW Universal Champion.

Now… as I’ve said all that it obviously wont happen. And Brock will beat Roman, and there’ll be no cash in. But now you’ve read my fantasy booking, tell me you don’t think and want all of that to happen? Believe me if Summerslam ends as anything like I’ve outlined above people will talk about it as one of the all time great PPV endings.

BRAUN STROWMAN TO CASH IN ON ROMAN REIGNS AND WIN THE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP

As I’ve mentioned I’ll be watching the show live, and I’ll be out watching it so I’ll try to take notes during the show, but I will definitely have some form of review out the day after. Can’t promise it will be a full analysis but I’ll have star ratings, general thoughts on the show and the matches, and what it all means going forward. Because believe me the way they’re building to this show, there’s going to be A LOT of fallout and consequences when this show is FINALLY said and done.

Josh.

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