The next WWE pay-per-view is SummerSlam. It takes place this Sunday, August 11 and since we are heading into the go-home week of SummerSlam, I figured it would be a good time to ask some questions about the card. The questions are mine and the answers are mine too. The answers will lead to some predictions of matches as well as other thoughts in my head with one more week of Raw and Smackdown before SummerSlam.
I think Raw and Smackdown were both good last week. I gave Raw a score of 7 out 10 while Smackdown was a 7.5 out of 10 for the second week in a row. Every day, I deal with people crapping on the WWE product as if it is at an all-time low point, but it’s not. There were worse years like 2009-10 that come to mind, then I can go back to the 1993-96 days that were not great aside from a few all-time great matches here and there. Some of the storylines going into SummerSlam have been built well and there are several potentially outstanding matches. I’m not here to be a WWE apologist because I get frustrated by things they do too. I’m just saying there are worse things going on in the world. Let’s not get too riled up about WWE programming.
Here’s the announced lineup so far:
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet
Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus
Finn Balor vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Raw Women’s Championship Submission Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
Here are rumored/expected matches that will be added most likely this coming week:
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Bill Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler (Replacing Miz vs. Ziggler)
Sami Zayn vs. Aleister Black – It’s not official yet, but Zayn challenged Black, so it’s likely going to happen.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) (c) vs. The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross.
Drew McIntyre vs. Cedric Alexander
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan
That’s 14 matches. They could also add Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali for the Intercontinental Title since Ali beat Nakamura on Smackdown last week. Plus, the Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Titles are currently not being featured, so they could be added too. A 17-match card would be way too much, but I wouldn’t put it past WWE to do something crazy like that.
Let’s get to the questions and answers.
1. Which of these four major champions is most likely to lose their title at SummerSlam: Brock Lesnar, Kofi Kingston, Becky Lynch and Bayley?
This is a tough one because I think if Kingston or Lynch were to lose, it’s okay because they had their titles for four months. If they lost, maybe they would be more interesting their chase to try to get back the titles. Bayley has been a champion for about three months, so that has been decent. Lesnar only won the title back last month. While I think there’s an outside chance for Seth Rollins to win back that title, I doubt it happens.
The one that sticks out the most in terms of most likely to lose is Kingston. I say that because Randy Orton is a bigger name than Kofi and WWE may want to put that title on Orton as they move Smackdown to FOX. That way, WWE can have a heel like Orton drop the title to Roman Reigns or perhaps even Kevin Owens when they get to FOX in October. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I think a WWE Championship change on the first Smackdown on FOX on October 4 is a strong possibility. Also, from a story perspective, Kofi should beat Orton to avenge the rivalry they had going back a decade, so if I had to pick right now, I think Kofi will retain.
Since Becky Lynch is on the cover of the new WWE 2K20 video game, it seems like a long shot for her to lose. She will have a good match with Natalya, but that feels like a one-month feud just to have a good match in front of a hot Toronto crowd. Ember Moon doesn’t seem likely to beat Bayley either. If I had to predict Bayley’s title loss, it would be to Charlotte Flair on Smackdown on FOX in October.
2. Is the Lesnar vs. Rollins match an interesting main event?
I am mildly interested. I thought last week’s angle on Raw was really well done, but there’s still a lot of WWE fans that are so sick of Lesnar holding the Universal Title that they are going to hate no matter what he does. As a heat building angle, Rollins sold his ass off for Brock and made Lesnar look like the top heel in WWE, which he is. It’s certainly a lot more interesting than Baron Corbin going after the Universal Title.
I want to see what kind of match they have. What they did at WrestleMania with Rollins making the big comeback to win was fine for that show, but now there’s more that has been added to the story. I am expecting more of a regular match in the 12-17 minute range like Lesnar has done with Finn Balor, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles in the past. If they can go around 15 minutes then it’s going to be an excellent match.
What I’m not sure about is what happens after SummerSlam in terms of a contender for Lesnar. Braun Strowman is probably the next man up, but he hasn’t been featured enough this year. I also feel like Lesnar being a part of Smackdown on FOX is a lock in October, so does that mean he wouldn’t be on Raw anymore? If so, Lesnar should lose the title soon. If Lesnar is only on Smackdown on FOX then that takes him away from Paul Heyman as Raw’s Executive Director. Does that seem possible to you? I don’t know. I’m not sure about any of this stuff, but it’s on my mind as I think about this match.
Lesnar is likely going to retain the Universal Title at SummerSlam, but if Rollins were to win the match it would probably elevate to that next level of superstar. I feel that way because beating Lesnar twice in one year at WWE’s two biggest shows would be pretty cool for Rollins. That could help propel Rollins to be that next level superstar that WWE needs him to be.
3. What match are you most excited about?
That’s an issue I have with the card because there isn’t one that jumps out at me right now. I think in terms of star ratings, Styles vs. Ricochet will probably be the best although I worry they might only get 12 minutes when I want them to go 20 minutes. Rollins vs. Lesnar could be outstanding if we get the good Lesnar that’s willing to sell in a longer match. I’m also intrigued by Lynch vs. Natalya because it will be great technical wrestling and then Charlotte vs. Trish interests me since it’s a first time ever matchup. I think Bryan vs. Reigns could be outstanding too. I doubt Wyatt vs. Balor will be a great match technically, but I think the crowd reaction to Wyatt as “The Fiend” will make that stand out and feel special. Kofi vs. Orton should be fun too.
If I had to pick just one, I would probably go with Styles vs. Ricochet, but there is not one match that clearly stands out among the rest. I think that’s the casual fans want and WWE has to do a better job of setting up those kinds of matches.
4. Who should win the match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan?
I think Bryan should because the backstage “forklift attack” angle was silly and there’s really no need for Reigns to win the first match to end this rivalry. This should be a long-term storyline where Bryan gets the win here (most likely in cheap fashion), then Reigns beats Rowan on Smackdown to set up another match with Bryan and they can do it at the next PPV, which is Clash of Champions on September 15. Following that match, they can build to a blowoff match on the October 4 Smackdown on FOX debut show. That way, you get two of the biggest stars in WWE in a grudge match on the FOX debut. Sounds good to me.
They will need to have a great match here because the forklift angle was cheesy last week. People laughed about it instead of reacting to it as a good storyline. I expect a fun match between them and I hope Bryan gets the win.
5. If Goldberg faces Dolph Ziggler as expected, how long should the match be?
Under three minutes. If it takes Goldberg more than that to beat Ziggler at SummerSlam then it’s too long. One of the worst booking decisions that WWE made this year was giving Goldberg and Undertaker ten minutes at Super Showdown. Goldberg didn’t have a match for over two years, yet they wanted him to go ten minutes in a main event in 100-degree heat when he’s 50 years old? Bad move. Terrible match.
I think Goldberg will win this match in about two minutes. If it’s under one minute it wouldn’t surprise me either.
6. What’s the most obvious match outcome on the card?
Bray Wyatt over Finn Balor. The last televised match that Bray Wyatt had was on August 13, 2018 when he teamed up with Matt Hardy to put over his brother Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in a Raw Tag Team Championship match. Thanks to ProFightDB for the info.
If Wyatt doesn’t beat Balor in this match, I would be very surprised. It’s not expected that Balor will be in “Demon” gear either. Perhaps they can build up a long-term story where Balor will become the “Demon” down the road for a big match with Wyatt. For this match, Wyatt is going to get the win.
Goldberg beating Ziggler seems like a lock too.
7. Shane McMahon is going to lose to Kevin Owens…right?
I sure hope so! I phrased that question that way because that’s the match I’m the most nervous about in terms of predictions. I didn’t expect Shane to beat The Miz, yet he did twice and what happened to Miz since then? He is barely visible on the shows and his babyface run has looked like a big mistake. Shane also beat Roman Reigns in cheap fashion. In the storyline, Owens has had the advantage repeatedly, which makes me nervous.
The stipulation is if Owens loses then he must quit. If he loses in very cheap fashion with somebody interfering to help Shane, then that sets up Owens on a path of redemption against whoever that person is. I can certainly see a scenario where Owens loses, then he continues to show up at shows to go after Shane. We have seen that kind of thing before with a “fired” wrestler. John Cena in 2010 comes to mind. It wasn’t a great storyline, but WWE likely sees it as a way to make Owens into more of a renegade style of babyface.
I’m leaning towards an Owens win, but it is far from a lock.
8. Who should win the women’s “Dream Match” between Charlotte Flair and Trish Stratus?
I think Flair should win and if she doesn’t, I would be very surprised. Aside from beating Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Title before WrestleMania this year (poor Asuka), Flair hasn’t been booked that well this year. Yes, she got to main event WrestleMania, she is treated like a huge star in WWE and is presented as “The Queen” yet she has missed recent PPVs even though she has been healthy.
I don’t expect Flair to lose this match because Stratus only has a few matches left as a part-timer that’s 43 years old. I think doing the match is fine because Trish will be loved in her hometown of Toronto and Flair is going to get a lot of heat because she’s great as a heel. It feels like the right time to push Flair again especially with Smackdown moving to FOX on October 4. Yes, I mention that move to FOX a lot because it’s so important to WWE. The reports are that FOX wants Smackdown to focus on more of the “sport” aspect of WWE and less on the silliness. Flair is a legit athlete that has a lot of credibility, so I expect her to be featured heavily come October and she may be holding the SD Women’s Title again too.
The promo they did on Smackdown was pretty good, but they didn’t mention the number of title reigns between them enough. Flair is a 9-time Women’s Champion on the main roster while Stratus held the record as a 7-time Women’s Champion. In presenting this match to the audience, they need to promote the fact that they have the most Women’s Championships in WWE history. After all, fans are trained to treat title wins as a big deal, so when you have the two women with the most titles in history wrestling for the first time, that’s a fact that needs to be promoted heavily.
Flair should win what should be a very competitive 10-minute match. Don’t do a post-match handshake, though. Stratus could want it, but that’s when Flair should walk away. Be a heel. That’s her job.
9. Is it a bad sign that we are less than a week away from SummerSlam with no Tag Team Title matches advertised for the show?
Yes, it’s bad. I’m disappointed by it. There are three sets of Tag Team Titles on the main roster with the Raw Tag Team Titles (held by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson), Smackdown Tag Team Titles (held by Big E and Xavier Woods – with Kofi Kingston sort of) and of course, the Women’s Tag Team Titles (held by The IIconics), which have barely been featured in the six months since they debuted.
As I noted above, the Women’s Tag Team Titles are expected to be defended at SummerSlam although it’s not official yet.
It’s very possible that the Raw Tag Team Titles and Smackdown Tag Team Titles will be defended at SummerSlam, but if they are, they would be the 15th and 16th matches on the show. I would love it if there was a hot tag team feud in WWE that led to the titles being featured in one of the top five matches of the show. Instead, every time there is a PPV, it feels like the tag team matches are simply added just to get them on the card.
There are a lot of talented tag teams in WWE. They just aren’t featured enough. That’s something WWE has to improve on because tag team wrestling can be great as long as the creative team cares enough to feature them.
10. Provide quick answers for these five questions: Shortest match? Longest match? Match that needs a stipulation? Who is not on the card that should be? Do you still call it “The Summerfest” because of Jeremy Piven’s botched line on Raw ten years ago?
Shortest match: Goldberg vs. Ziggler. I would be surprised if anything is shorter.
Longest match: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton. Tough question. That’s just a gut feeling on my part.
Match that needs a stipulation: AJ Styles vs. Ricochet. I like both guys a lot, but they have wrestled in regular matches several times now. I hope they make it a ladder match or do something to allow them a chance to stand out more.
Not on the card that should be: Braun Strowman. They gave this guy a new contract recently, which Strowman announced, but as of right now he has nothing to do at SummerSlam. He didn’t have a real match at the last two WrestleManias either. They need to utilize Strowman better. I would also like to see Samoa Joe in a match.
Do you still call it “The Summerfest” because of Jeremy Piven’s botched line on Raw ten years ago?: I do like to mention it. Much like The Chaperone, it’ll be in my WWE joke book forever.
That’s where I’ll wrap it up for now. Sorry for no 24/7 Title questions. It’s a comedy title. There’s no need to think about it that much!
I’ll have the WWE Raw Deal review live tonight, Smackdown follows that on Tuesday, then it’s 205 Live and next Friday will be our SummerSlam preview. SummerSlam is this Sunday, August 11, in nearby Toronto and I’m not going because I want to write a live review about it, so that’s what I’m going to do! Join me for all of it this week (and every day of your life) at TJRWrestling.net – thank you!
My contact info is below. Thanks for reading.