John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE SummerSlam preview. This year’s Saturday is making history simply because it’s taking place on a Saturday instead of on a Sunday. The main reason for that is because the event is in Las Vegas, which is a city where they are used to have big events on Saturday, so they let WWE know that and WWE said sure, let’s do it on Saturday this year. It was a simple business decision that will see over 40,000 fans in attendance at Allegiant Stadium (home of the Las Vegas Raiders), which means it will be the biggest WWE crowd so far this year. The next Saudi Arabia show in October might top it.
I like the lineup for the most part. I wouldn’t call it perfect or anything like that because there are a lot of talented people sitting this show out, but I like Reigns/Cena, Edge/Rollins and Belair/Banks as three of the top matches. I have no interest in another Goldberg match although the fans do seem to like the guy. Ten advertised matches is interesting. As I write this on Friday morning I assume some of them are going to be on the Kickoff Show. There’s a big Manny Pacquaio boxing fight in Las Vegas on Saturday too, so the assumption is WWE is going to run SummerSlam for three hours and then fans would be able to catch Manny’s fight after. If that’s the case then it might be the traditional 8-11pm ET length of time we are used to. I’m all for that. Three hours is is just right.
Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Lance Augustine, Matthew Fowler, Joel McIntyre, Alex Podgorski and Kelly Dishnow. Here are some thoughts from Alex and then we’ll get to the preview.
Alex: This is supposed to be the second-biggest WWE show of the year. It has long been promoted as ‘the biggest party of the summer’. Alas, this year, it just doesn’t feel that way. Despite WWE’s best promotional attempts, I’m just not as excited for SummerSlam as I was in the past. One reason for that is WWE just isn’t that exciting at the moment. Despite featuring guys like Cena and Goldberg, I don’t expect anything genuinely shocking from this show. I’ve been following this company on and off for about 22 years and their lackadaisical approach to booking it really showing now. Do I think this’ll be a good show? Maybe. But that depends on whether WWE makes the smartest decisions in the matches below.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
United States Championship: Sheamus (c) vs. Damian Priest
Lance: It’s nice to see these two guys featured on a big show, but this feud doesn’t have a lot of heat. Both men have been off TV periodically throughout this year so it’s almost impossible to build anything of substance. I think it’ll be a good match with some good stuff and after getting a little bit of time, I think a passing of the torch is in order.
Winner and NEW United States Champion: Damian Priest
Matthew: After a fast start on the main roster which included a marquee WrestleMania win with tag partner Bad Bunny, Damian Priest momentum has slowed down over the last few months. Hopefully WWE does not squander this opportunity, and Priest captures his first title on the main roster this Sunday.
Winner and New United States Champion: Damian Priest
Joel: This is a dark horse match for me. On one hand, Sheamus hasn’t had a good run with the United States Title. I know he’s had some prior engagements and whatnot but the fact remains. Ever since Damian Priest returned to Raw, he’s been booked pretty solidly outside of the constant rematches with The Miz and John Morrison. I appreciate that they’ve built this feud without constantly putting them against each other every week which is more than I can say for a lot of matches. I expect this match to be a pretty good 10-15 minute match with Priest getting the victory. I’ve enjoyed Sheamus the last 16 months, but I feel it’s time to see what Priest can do as US Champion.
Winner (NEW United States Champion): Damian Priest
Alex: Priest should win this one. He’s still relatively new on the roster and has more to gain from winning than does Sheamus. As solid as Sheamus has been as champion lately, he’s very much on the downside of his career. But despite that logical direction, I don’t see Sheamus going down easy. This’ll be the biggest challenge of Priest’s career thus far and he’ll definitely have to fight hard. But in the end, Priest will stand victorious after about twelve minutes.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Damian Priest
Kelly: Sheamus only got the title because Riddle wasn’t supposed to have it. He was to keep it warm for Keith Lee until Priest stepped up to the plate. Sheamus has not done anything with the title outside of maybe a couple of title defenses. That could have just been because of the unplanned broken nose. The time has arrived for a title change though. Priest can take the title to new heights that The Fella can’t.
Winner:Damian Priest (new champ)
John: Damian Priest is obviously the popular choice here because it’s a case of a former main event guy in WWE in Sheamus holding the US Title and feuding with a guy that’s “new” on Raw this year. Sheamus doesn’t really need the US Title at this point in his career, so when they put it on him months ago, the logical thing to do would be to use Sheamus to help make somebody else a champion. I think they’ll have a hard-hitting match with a lot of strikes. I think Priest will avoid the Brogue Kick by Sheamus and get the win shortly after that.
Winner AND NEW United States Champion: Damian Priest
Summary: That means all six of us are going with Damian Priest.
Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie
Lance: Eva Marie’s comeback has been something. I don’t think anyone was clamoring for it, but this is WWE, and they do what they want. She was teasing matches for a while but the whole thing was kind of weird. Alexa Bliss using the gimmick feels weird now because of the Wyatt release, but I am not in the camp that totally hates it. Most of it is awful, but I still like Bliss and the things she brings to the table. I don’t know how this is going to turn out, but I assume that either Eva picks up the win clean, or that Doudrop gets involved and gives her an assist.
Winner: Eva Marie
Matthew: In the many, many years that John Canton has been reviewing professional wrestling matches, he has never given a match more than 5 stars. That streak is in danger of ending this Saturday however, when Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss go one-on-one. Trying to pick a winner between these two mat technicians is next to impossible, as the only guaranteed winner will be every fan who gets to witness this legendary matchup. For the sake of being a professional journalist however, I will go with Eva picking up the win in what surely be a match we will be talking about for years to come.
Winner: Eva Marie
Joel: If this doesn’t end with Alexa forcing Eva to lie down with her magic then what are we even doing? Seriously though, I like Alexa. I think Eva has been unfairly criticized but I could care less here. Now that Bray Wyatt is gone, I don’t think you should continue with the Alexa character because it is just going to remind people of Bray and then the “We Want Wyatt” chants will start.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Alex: I will not watch this. I will put it on mute, change the channel, or watch some better wrestling on YouTube or New Japan World while this is going on. No amount of makeovers can compel me to watch an Eva Marie match and Alexa Bliss is downright dreadful, whether she’s herself or her twisted, doll-carrying alter-ego. I’ll be happy if this goes five minutes including entrances. But knowing my luck, it’ll probably drag on much longer and get progressively worse with each passing minute.
Winner: Who the hell cares…Eva Marie, why not
Kelly: Let’s take two limited and sloppy wrestlers and put them in a match together. What could go wrong? Let’s just hope Doudrop does not have to sell for or put over Lilly. Free Doudrop.
Winner:Don’t care, certainly not the fans
John: This should be silly and likely a very short match. Eva Marie hasn’t done much in the ring since her comeback, so maybe she’ll have Doudrop wrestle in her place. I don’t enjoy the Bliss “voodoo” gimmick that much because I think she was better as a cocky heel character earlier in her career, but I guess it’s a way to appeal to children (or scare them). Anyway, Eva Marie put me over on Twitter recently, so she has my support forever, but I’ll go with Bliss. It doesn’t really matter. Just keep it short, please.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Summary: It’s three for Eva Marie, two for Bliss and one don’t care. I don’t think any of us really care, to be honest.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Lance: The Usos won the Smackdown Tag Titles last month and they have been on a nice little run with their cousin Roman Reigns over the better part of the last year. Would I have put the titles on these guys right after Jimmy got in trouble? No, but I don’t have the book either. Rey and Dominik are solid as a team, but eventually, we are going to have to see what Dominik can do on his own. I think The Usos retain, and keep the bloodline storyline going stronger than ever.
Winners and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Matthew: This match is one of the easier to predict on the card for me. The Usos just defeated Rey and Dominik for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships last month at Money In the Bank. WWE went with this title change despite Jimmy Uso getting arrested for another DUI less than two weeks before. Due to this, as long as both Uso’s successfully drive to the arena, I can not see any reason for WWE to suddenly switch the titles back to the Mysterios. I predict that it will be an entertaining tag match with the champions retaining, and then possibly both Rey and Dominik getting moved to Raw at the upcoming draft to try to regain some momentum.
Winner: The Usos
Joel: This will be a show stealing candidate I believe. The Usos and The Mysterios put on a hell of a match at the Money in the Bank kick off show when The Usos won the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. They’ve since traded wins in singles competition but I feel this, just like the other feuds on the Smackdown side, has been built pretty well. That said, you can see the little teases of Dominik turning on his father. They’re subtle but they’re there. I can’t see The Usos dropping the belts so soon after winning them as I expect a mistake to happen, likely by Dominik that will allow The Usos to get the victory. The Bloodline continues to dominate.
Winners (STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): The Usos
Alex: The Usos won these titles a month ago at Money in the Bank and the Mysterios are getting their obligatory rematch at SummerSlam. Riveting creativity at play here.
All jokes aside, I don’t expect much from this match. It’s a repeat of something we’ve already seen before, but with the roles mixed up a bit. The Usos are not going to lose the titles on their first defense, especially since it’s taking place less than a month into their reign. And since all the action in this match will likewise be a repeat of what all of us have seen before, there won’t be anything really new here. That’s why it might be the Kickoff Show again; no one’s expecting a classic or any major surprises. All this’ll do is provide some background action for people while they find their seats and get their drinks.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Kelly: Their Money in the Bank kickoff match was simply fantastic, so I have high expectations going into the rematch. The two teams gel together well and Dominik is progressing well in his young career. They should not disappoint, but with the Street Profits looming next in line, I expect an Uso win.
John: I was a bit disappointed that their match at Money in the Bank was on the Kickoff Show instead of the main show. I know it’s all the same on WWE Network/Peacock, but I just think a match feels less important when it’s on the Kickoff Show even though it was a very good match. Anyway, I get the feeling that The Usos are going to have a really long run with the titles, so I’d be surprised if there was a title change. The Mysterios are fun as a team and I’m glad that there is no split between them. I just think The Usos keep the gold here and probably feud with The Street Profits after that since it would be a fresh rivalry for both teams. This should a very good tag team match in the 10-15 minute range.
Winners: The Usos
Summary: Clean sweep for The Usos. All six of us are picking them.
Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal
(Note: WWE says that Veer & Shanky are barred from ringside, but it’s WWE so there could still be interference.)
Lance: This is the feud they have been pushing that no one really has been asking for. Both of these guys were floundering in 3MB at the start of the 2010s and it took releases and strong independent work for them to find success at the top level. Both have been WWE champions in recent memory, and while McIntyre definitely had the better run of the two, Mahal had his moments. This should be a hard-hitting battle and if given ample time, I think should be solid. McIntyre seems like he is getting more of a push so I will give him the win here, although, I am torn.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Matthew: From urns to leather jackets is their anything more “wrestling” then fighting over immaterial objects. Lately Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre have been continuing this tradition, with Mahal trying to steal McIntyre’s sword. The former 3MB teammates will now face off at SummerSlam, with Mahal’s lackeys Veer and Shanky barred from ringside. This feud was created in my belief with the sole purpose of trying to get McIntyre some heat back after continuously losing to Bobby Lashley. I predict that is exactly what will happen, with McIntyre winning clean.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Joel: Anybody who knows me knows I’m a Drew McIntyre guy. I’m disappointed his entire main event run came with no fans to cheer him. I was glad that his overexposure didn’t cause fans to turn on him when crowds came back. This feud with Jinder felt like it should’ve happened a year ago when Jinder returned and Drew was WWE Champion. Of course, Jinder’s injury changed that. Normally I’d be all in on a McIntyre victory but it feels like they’ve done everything these last several weeks to tell you Jinder doesn’t stand a chance which makes me think he does. I’m gonna stick with my gut on this one but I’m not sold on it. I think Drew needs to change brands in the draft. He’s done all he can do on Raw.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Alex: I have low expectations for this match. Sure, the story’s fine with the references to 3MB. But I just don’t expect much from either man. McIntyre has become a bit boring of late and Mahal is about as average as they get in WWE. And while they’ve tried to make this story compelling, it’s just not that interesting to me.
This will be a very by-the-numbers match with little in the way of intensity or uniqueness. Mahal’s cronies will definitely interfere (this is WWE after all), and Mahal will try to steal a win by capitalizing on that interference. It won’t work and McIntyre will look super strong in victory, presumably to setup another WWE Title match later in the year.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Kelly: Is there really any doubt here? The only thing missing is Heath Slater as the guest referee. McIntyre gets the win to carry momentum to his likely drafting to Smackdown in October.
John: The story here has been pretty basic since Jinder Mahal was mad that he wasn’t in a Money in the Bank qualifying match, then he started a few with his former 3MB buddy Drew and then Jinder (along with friends) cost Drew the Money in the Bank match. Since then, Drew has got the upper hand a few times to make me think that maybe he’ll lose, but I think it makes more sense for Drew to win. If Jinder does win then it’s probably leading to another match with a stipulation to end the feud. I just think Drew winning in dominant fashion makes the most sense here.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Summary: Another clean sweep with everybody picking Drew McIntyre.
Raw Tag Team Championships: AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle
Lance: Orton has been off TV for a while and when he comes back, he hits Riddle with an RKO and now they are back together. This booking is… Interesting. Styles and Omos have almost been non-existent since winning the titles, which is a shame because I like the team. If I had to guess, I would think that Orton is going to turn on Riddle again and cause them to lose the match. That will set up a few singles matches down the road. You don’t need to take the titles off Styles and Omos yet. There is still a lot of meat on the bone.
Winners and STILL RAW Tag Team Champions: AJ Styles & Omos
Matthew: This match showcases two legends who have both done a textbook job of helping to get over a new talent. In the case of Styles, he has done his best Shawn Michaels impression by making the modern day “Diesel” Omos look like a star. As for Orton, team RK-Bro has been one of the few consistently entertaining things on Raw over the last few weeks and is helping to get Riddle to next level. As for which team comes out on top of this matchup, I feel that the RK-Bro storyline and Riddle is too hot to slow down right now. Giving Orton and Riddle a title run before the inevitable breakup could make for some fun on a Raw show that is truly lacking it.
Winner and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Riddle and Randy Orton
Joel: RK-Bro has reunited and all is right with the world. Seriously, Randy Orton has been a breath of fresh air these last two weeks. I get a “Team Hell No” vibe from Randy Orton and Riddle. We know the turn is coming. Eventually Orton is going to drop Riddle with an RKO and beat the hell out of him to cement his heel turn but for now let’s enjoy what we have. I have never been a Riddle fan but ever since they paired him with Orton, he pops me every single week. That’s how you use established talent to get somebody over. AJ and Omos have been Champions since Wrestlemania 37 and I’ve enjoyed their run. Omos is improving each week but I think it’s time for AJ Styles to be back in the main event picture. I see RK-Bro helping him in that equation and we finally get that RK-Bro pose they’ve teased us.
Winners (NEW Raw Tag Team Champions): R-K-Bro
Alex: I like the Styles/Omos combo and don’t see the need for them to lose right now. I know this will seem cliché, but they really do give Shawn Michaels/Diesel vibes. Styles flies around doing what he does best and Omos wrecks anyone that survives. It’s an effective combination and I see no reason for them to lose. Especially since their opponents act like they’re at each other’s’ throats.
Orton and Riddle look like they’re about to implode, especially following Orton’s recent promo and RKO out of nowhere. I don’t think it makes sense for such an unconvincing oddball pairing to beat such a well-oiled machine like Styles and Omos. Because of that, I think that the champions should keep their gold for a bit longer.
Winners and STILL RAW Tag Team Champions: AJ Styles & Omos
Kelly: The build up for this match has been terrific. It’s been a slow and steady build over the past couple of months. The RK-Bro team has slowly grown on me and there really isn’t anything else Styles and Omos can do with the titles. I originally thought The Viking Raiders would have won the titles once the fans returned, but I’ll take these two as champs. The only question is, will Orton drop Omos with the RKO? It would be a really cool visual and a good pop from the live crowd.
Winners:RK-Bro (new champs)
John: I think it has been obvious for the past three or four months that this match would happen at SummerSlam. It took a while to get there since Orton was off Raw for over a month, but then he came back and here we are. I’ve enjoyed the Styles/Omos team although the weird about their matches is they work like a face team with Styles getting beat up for most of the match, then Omos gets the tag and cleans house to get the win. Since they won the titles at WrestleMania, Omos has been doing a bit more and progressing at least. I think it’s a smart move to have the popular RK-Bro team win here in front of a huge crowd. Yes, it’s their first title match. It’s a feel-good moment. I’m predicting RK-Bro wins with Riddle hitting an RKO on Styles while Orton will keep Omos away from breaking up the pin.
Winners AND NEW Raw Tag Team Champions: RK-Bro – Randy Orton & Riddle
Summary: Four of us are picking RK-Bro to win while two guys are picking the Styles/Omos team to retain the titles.
Raw Women’s Championship: Nikki A.S.H. (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley
Lance: I think we can all say that what they are doing with Nikki A.S.H is fun and she deserves to be on the card, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of Charlotte and Rhea. Those two are at the top of the card and they should be. Again, I like Nikki and what she brings to the table. I don’t like this sudden thrust into the main event scene though, and I feel like this match would have a big-time feel if it was Flair vs. Ripley one on one. I’ll take it for what it is though and say that this one should be good if they are given the time. I don’t think Nikki walks out with the title, but I am happy she got a chance to have a title reign. Ripley is the winner I am going with after quite the contest.
Winner and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Rhea Ripley
Matthew: Just last month WWE ping ponged the Raw Women’s Championship from Rhea Ripley to Charlotte to Nikki A.S.H in 24 hours. Due to this, it would be logical that WWE would not do another title switch this Saturday at SummerSlam. As we all know however, WWE and logic do not always go together, and they also seem to be determined to have Charlotte break her father’s World Title reign record before her career is over. Therefore, I am going to go with Charlotte to capture her 14th World Championship and unfortunately kill any momentum that Ripley and A.S.H had in the process.
Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Joel: I would love to tell you how interested I am in this match but I’m just not. I understand Nikki’s character is not geared for my age group and I appreciate WWE for letting her run with her creation. It’s just not working for me. These three or a combination thereof have faced each other way too many times. It may be an unpopular opinion but it might be time to put the belt on Charlotte. Nikki is doing well in her role but I don’t think she’s connecting like they hoped she would. Give Charlotte the title and let her run with it until the draft and have fresh women over there to challenge her.
Winner (NEW Raw Women’s Champion): Charlotte Flair
Winner and STILL RAW Women’s Champion: Nikki A.S.H.
Kelly: There’s two ways this can go. Super Charlotte can steamroll over her opponents so the fans can riot in the streets or Nikki gets saddled with the Rey Mysterio 2006 title run gimmick and pulls off the upset win. I’m going to go with the latter since Rhea Ripley was added to likely take the fall instead of Charlotte and the fact that Nikki’s title run has shades of Mysterio’s in 2006. I just hope Nikki can move on to new opponents from here.
John: I’m a bit torn on this prediction. On the one hand, Nikki A.S.H. just won the Women’s Title for the first time in her career one month ago on Raw and it feels too soon to take the title off her. On the other hand, I don’t think the crowd response for Nikki’s babyface run has been that great. That’s why it’s possible that Nikki might lose and if that happens then I’d expect Charlotte to win to give her another title run. Ripley winning is unlikely she just had the title for a few months. Anyway, what I think will happen is Nikki will “steal the pin” after Charlotte hits Ripley with a Natural Selection neckbreaker and then Nikki will get the pin on Ripley to keep the title.
Winner: Nikki A.S.H.
Summary: Three of us are going with Nikki, two with Charlotte and one with Ripley.
Edge vs. Seth Rollins
Lance: This one is going to be really good. I believe both of these guys can go and this feud has picked up some steam, at least for me, over the last couple of weeks. I think Rollins is great in what he does and I really like the chip on his shoulder he seems to have as of late. Edge came back into the mix recently and has shown that he hasn’t lost a step at all. I feel like this one is going to be one of the matches that get a lot of time, and I wouldn’t be stunned if it opened to the show to get the crowd into the night. As for a winner, I think it’s going to be back and forth and this is a tough one to call. I am going with an Edge victory because I feel like they can string this along for a few months and Rollins can get his win back.
Matthew: This show has a few matches on it that have the possibility of being 4+ stars, and this without a doubt is one of them. In a match that a year and a half ago, no one thought would be possible, Seth Rollins and Edge if given enough time should put on a clinic at SummerSlam. If I thought this match was going to be a one off, I would pick Edge to get the win. Since we know how much WWE loves rematches, I will go with Rollins cheating to win with Edge getting his revenge at a later PPV.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Joel: This is the match I’m dying to see. I appreciate the fact that they’re calling back to their encounter in 2014 to sell this feud. It gives it way more heat. I think the promos back and forth here have been great, but the physical altercations have been just as good. I was on the fence here, but Seth Rollins has been winning a lot lately outside of Money in the Bank. Edge won the Royal Rumble and hasn’t gotten a meaningful win since. He lost at Wrestlemania and he lost at Money in the Bank because of Rollins. Eventually, you have to give him a big win. I would love to see Seth win so the feud can continue, but my gut tells me you have to give Edge the win here so he at least remains credible. I also think the feud continues after this.
Alex: I genuinely like the story behind this one. Rollins hates the part-timers that come back whenever they want and steal the spotlight. Everything he has said to justify his actions has made perfect sense. The problem is, nobody’s really listening. At least, no one important anyway.
Rollins should win this match, but he won’t. WWE still has faith in Edge as a wrestler and thinks his nostalgia pop is more important than giving credit to the regular wrestlers. And since Edge’s WrestleMania fairytale didn’t happen, WWE will try again here. Edge will get a big win on a big stage while Rollins eats another big loss. They will definitely have a good match that’ll go between fifteen and twenty minutes. I just hope that Rollins doesn’t have any more delusions of grandeur and decides to bust out the Bucklebomb again.
Kelly: Another fantastically built feud. This is a first-time ever dream match for a lot of people and it is hard to disagree. Edge has looked good since his return and the match should deliver. Who will win? That’s a tough call. Both deserve the win and this likely will not be their only match in this feud. I think I’ll give Edge his revenge here to open the feud up.
John: This is one of my favorite matches on the card. I’ve been writing that all month in my Smackdown reviews. I have enjoyed the promos a lot and I think they’ll have an excellent match on Sunday. Edge is so great at building up a big match while Rollins is right there with him as the cheap heel that has no remorse for his actions…just like Edge used to be for the majority of his career. Edge is the older guy that has lost multiple PPV matches this year (WrestleMania and Money in the Bank), so he should probably get the win here since Rollins cost him the Universal Title at MITB. I really don’t think either guy would be hurt that much with a loss. This will probably go around 20 minutes and I think Edge wins clean.
Summary: That’s five for Edge with Matthew as the lone man going with Rollins.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Lance: These two have had an interesting week being pulled off of shows recently and not being able to get in the ring and work. I assume it’s covid related, but I could be dead wrong. This match should be good either way because both of these women can work their asses off. Belair, along with Ripley, has been tearing up the main roster Women’s division and has proven that NXT talent can work if creative has the right stuff for them. What can I say about Sasha that hasn’t already been said. She is great and can hold her own in the ring. I don’t think a title change is coming, but it also wouldn’t shock me if it did. For now, I look for Belair to retain.
Winner and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair
Matthew: After rumors all week that this match may end up being cancelled, I am just happy that this match is happening. Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks stole the show at WrestleMania 36, and if wasn’t for Edge and Rollins being on the card, I think they would probably do it again. Belair has been on a roll all year and I don’t see that slowing down here, with her beating Banks once again in what should be another incredible match.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Joel: It was a little touch and go last weekend but I am glad this a\match is going ahead. They had a hell of a match at Wrestlemania and Bianca has done a good job as Champion since then. She is clearly one of the new stars of the women’s division but I feel like Sasha Banks is going to get her win back here. I feel both shows need Heel Women’s Champions because I feel like Becky Lynch is coming back to feud with one of them. I’m going to go with Sasha here and Becky returns after and I feel like Bianca may be off to Raw to feud with Charlotte.
Winner (NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion): Sasha Banks
Alex: I see no reason for Bianca to win here. WWE needs new and bigger stars desperately, and a great way to build stars is to go against the status quo. If Sasha were to win here, it would be an unexpected twist, but that’s all. Sasha wouldn’t gain anything from winning as she’s an established star in the division. Bianca, on the other hand, is still on the rise and needs a dominant reign to show that she isn’t like everyone else. If she were to lose here, she’d fall back down the pecking order and would no longer feel special. Going in that creative direction just doesn’t make sense long term, no matter how tempting a sudden swerve might be.
Winner and STILL SmackDown Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair
Kelly: This is another tough match to call. I’m really into the Bianca Belair character and I would love for her to have a nice long title reign. The Smackdown Women’s Division is a bit light on the face side right now, so a Belair win would make sense. A short title run by Banks is also possible before dropping it back to Belair. As with Edge/Rollins, this won’t be their last match. I’m going to have to go with my gut on this one.
John: When Sasha Banks missed the last few months I figured it was done to set up this WrestleMania rematch. I wasn’t sure if Banks would turn heel before the match because I think if they had Belair win and then Banks turn after, they could have got more mileage out of it. Banks turning before the match does it make it feel different compared to WrestleMania because now we want to see Belair get her revenge on her former friend. They had a match that was around the four star level at WrestleMania, so I expect something similar this time. No matter the result, I like both women a lot.
I can see them being put on different shows in October when the next draft happens. I think heel Banks would feud against a returning Becky Lynch and a face Belair against heel Charlotte Flair as rivalries later in the year or heading into next year. For this match, I’ll go with Belair to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Banks got the win.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Summary: Five of us are going with Bianca Belair while Joel is alone in picking Sasha Banks to regain the Smackdown Women’s Title.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Bill Goldberg
Lance: Bobby Lashley, aside from Reigns, has had the best year out of anyone on the roster. He won the title from Drew McIntyre and ever since has been on a great tear with MVP by his side. A lot of people hated The Hurt Business breaking up and thought it would hurt Lashley, but it hasn’t at all. Goldberg is coming back for one of his two title matches per year, and when he beat The Fiend and just about killed the gimmick, that’s the day Goldberg jumped the shark for me. I love WCW and cover it on the site, but I am completely over this novelty. I want to see a Lashley squash, but this will be competitive.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Bobby Lashley
Matthew: Remember when it was rumored that Bobby Lashley would be facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, and we were all excited? Unfortunately, that did not come to fruition and we are now getting the Wish version of Lesnar in Goldberg. Goldberg will now once again try to impress his teenage son in a title match he in no way deserves. If there is anything positive about this match, is it should be quick, and Lashley should be victorious and send old man Goldberg away until at least the Saudi show in October.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Joel: This match has heightened the intensity in recent weeks, but I just can’t get in to it. I’ve always been a Goldberg guy since being in the arena when he beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW Title way back in 1998. However, in 2021, it’s just not working for me. I think this match will last 8 minutes and that’s with entrances. I was sold on Bobby Lashley winning this match but my opinion has wavered. They keep talking about how the WWE Title is the one title that’s eluded Goldberg in his career so I feel like this is set up for Goldberg to win. Let’s be honest, Bill isn’t tapping out to the Hurt Lock and I don’t see Lashley beating him with his version of the Spear. I think Goldberg wins this match and the WWE Title, but I don’t see him leaving with the WWE Title.
After the match, I see Big E coming down the ramp and challenging Goldberg. Goldberg accepts. They go another five minutes or so, Big E defeats Goldberg with the Big Ending. The crowd will go nuts.
Winner (NEW WWE Champion): Goldberg
Winner (NEW WWE Champion via Cash In): Big E
Alex: It’s a sad state of affairs when WWE’s idea for a big draw is to bring out a 54-year old Goldberg whose peak was over twenty years ago. But apparently he’s still a draw, somehow. I guess a lot of people really believe he’s the Clint Eastwood of wrestling, back to have (yet) one more showdown.
Personally, I would prefer that Lashley retain here. Goldberg winning does nothing, especially since he rarely appears anyway. If he were to win, he would have to lose it to someone else quickly. After all, does anyone expect Goldberg to do weekly appearances and/or matches in 2021?
Besides, there’s a much better story to tell here. If Lashley retains in a hard-fought war against Goldberg, that can setup a babyface Big E to cash-in his MITB briefcase. The heel Lashley wouldn’t be able to overcome both Goldberg and Big E in one night and would thus fall to Big E at the end. With that, Big E can get his big title win and can move on to have a feud with his New Day brethren.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Winner: Big E cashes in to become new WWE Champion
Kelly: Goldberg can take solace in the fact that Alexa/Eva will be the bigger trainwreck. Goldberg is simply here to put Lashley over because the Brinks truck couldn’t get across the border to Brock. It should be another dominant win for Lashley in a short match.
John: I think we are right to assume this will be a short match because that’s what Goldberg matches are. Lashley will probably take some punishment, perhaps Lashley even kicks out of a Jackhammer, and I expect Lashley to get the win.
My buddy Joel above has been predicting the Money in the Bank cash-in from Big E for a while. As the Money in the Bank contract holder, Big E can cash in on any championship – it doesn’t have to be Smackdown’s Universal Title since he’s a Smackdown guy. I like it a lot because of Lashley’s past issues with the New Day guys. It makes sense for Big E to cash in and then he can go on Raw to reunite with New Day. I like Lashley as the WWE Champion, but I think Raw could use a change. I’m going with the Lashley win, then when he’s exhausted after the match, Big E’s music will hit and he’ll cash in to become WWE Champion. Big pop for that. That way Big E moves over to Raw as the WWE Champion and maybe it’ll help the sagging Raw ratings to have somebody new holding that title.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Winner via Money in the Bank cash-in AND NEW WWE Champion: Big E
Summary: Five of us are picking Lashley to beat Goldberg while Joel is going with Goldberg. In addition to that, three of us are going with Big E to leave SummerSlam as WWE Champion.
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. John Cena
Lance: This has been one of the best buildups for the main event match in quite some time. Cena came back last month and the pops he has been getting some the crowds have been Attitude Era worthy. Cena is the kind of guy we got spoiled with during the mid-2000s a and as the old saying goes “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. Reigns had been on a legendary tear throughout the year and has cemented himself as the best heel in the business. Period. If you would have told me I would be saying that 5 years ago I would have called you nuts. This match is going to have a ton of heat and the crowd will be invested. John Canton wrote a column outlining reasons why Cena winning makes sense, and I agree with him. If anyone is going to beat Reigns, it should be someone who is over, and right now, Cena is at the top of the hill. 17-time World Champion.
Winner and NEW Universal Champion: John Cena
Matthew: WWE is planning on main eventing SummerSlam with the second biggest match that they could possibly put on right now. Cena has been incredible since returning, and has proven over and over again why is one of the greatest ever. As for Reigns he has been the most consistently great things in all of wrestling this year, and is without question the biggest full-time star that WWE has at the moment. I think these two are going to put on a surprisingly good match with a crowd that is going to be on fire for everything they do. At the end however, I think WWE has plans for an even bigger title match with Reigns against The Rock at WrestleMania next year. Due to that, I think Reigns will retain, and Cena will go off to continue his blossoming movie career.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Joel: This will probably close the show as it should. I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of John Cena but I do think he will give Roman Reigns a hell of a match. Their promos against one another sold me on the match. I know WWE will be tempted to put the title on Cena so he can have his 17th World Title, but I don’t think it ends up happening. Roman Reigns is doing the best work of his career right now. Of course, Cena could win and drop it back a few weeks later, but I don’t see that happening. I think Roman Reigns wins with the help of the Usos to continue his run.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Alex: Some people might be tempted to pick Cena because of the whole Ric Flair record thing. Personally, I don’t like the idea. Cena may be popular, but does that justify undoing all of Reigns’ hard work over the past year? No.
If there were ever a must-win situation for Reigns, it’s here. He must win if he is to escape from Cena’s shadow and surpass him. People have been making “Reigns = Cena 2.0” comments for years, and up until 2020 those comments were proven true. Then Reigns returned and became the most interesting he has ever been. Both his matches and his character have been interesting and worth watching. He has steamrolled through challengers left, right and center. He’s well on his way to having one of the longest WWE Title reigns in history, and I see no reason to cut it short for a silly nostalgia pop. Cena winning would hamstring Reigns and do more long-term harm while creating short-term gains. For those reasons, Reigns needs to beat Cena cleanly and decisively. No interference from the Usos, no shenanigans from Paul Heyman, and no senseless weapons use. Reigns needs to beat Cena fair and square if he is to prove that WWE doesn’t need Cena to be interesting.
Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Kelly: This is the most intriguing match of the night. The promos have been amazing to sell the match. There are a lot of factors coming into play here. A two-year title run for Roman to get to The Rock at WrestleMania will be extremely awful. That long title run by Brock was awful and he didn’t show up every week. Fox would likely want to load up the MSG Smackdown in a couple of weeks, so a quick title change would make sense here for the rematch at that show and Cena can drop the title back and Roman can go on another long reign. Also playing into things, Ric Flair is AEW bound so why not have Cena break the record he’s tied with Flair so Flair isn’t mentioned on WWE TV? Cena dropping the title quickly back to Roman will not hurt him.
Winner: John Cena (new champ)
John: I wrote an in-depth column about this earlier in the week called Five Reasons Why John Cena Should Beat Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. It got a lot of attention, led to plenty of discussion and even some people questioning my sanity for picking the part-timer to beat the full-timer. I understand the argument against what I wrote. I even mentioned it in the column. We are so used to the part-time wrestler being brought in to put over the full-time guy and maybe shaking their hand after the match is over (like Goldberg with Drew McIntyre at the Royal Rumble this year). In this case, I just think Cena should win and will win. The reasons are in that column. I think they want to send the fans home happy after a tough year and a half in a world where we’ve been dealing with a deadly virus. Cena toppling the bad guy holding the Universal Title is a way for WWE to do just that with Cena getting his record 17th World Title reign. I know that 16 is the recognized number for Ric Flair too, but the actual number is closer to 21 to be fair. Anyway, as I mentioned in that column, Cena is booked for a Madison Square Garden Smackdown show in three weeks. If it was up to me, I would heavily promote a Cena vs. Reigns rematch for the title on that night, maybe put a stipulation on the match and have Reigns win the title.
If Reigns wins, then what? He probably defends against Finn Balor next. Maybe Drew McIntyre gets moved to Smackdown in October. Reigns can beat everybody until he potentially faces The Rock at WrestleMania next year and then we’re supposed to think that Rock might win the title, but would he beat Reigns? Probably not. That’s the match where the guy loses and shakes the hand after. Not this match. To me, not only is Cena winning the right move for a number of reasons, but I also think it will help Roman as a character. If Reigns can become an even more aggressive heel without the title then that would benefit him even if it’s only for a few weeks.
I expect there to be a hot crowd for this match, I think they will make a lot of noise for most of it, some of them might chant for Reigns and after 20 minutes or so, I think Cena is going to win the Universal Title.
Winner AND NEW WWE Universal Champion: John Cena
Summary: That’s three for Reigns and three for Cena. It’s close!
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Lance: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena.
Matthew: Seth Rollins vs. Edge.
Joel: Seth Rollins vs Edge.
Alex: Reigns vs. Cena or Rollins vs. Edge.
John: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena.
The Match I Care About The Least
Lance: Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie.
Matthew: Eva Marie vs. Alexa Bliss.
Joel: Alexa Bliss vs Eva Marie.
Alex: Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie.
John: Eva Marie vs. Alexa Bliss.
Summary: Clean sweep for Bliss vs. Eva Marie! Not a shock.
Lance: Reigns vs. Cena.
Matthew: Rollins vs. Edge.
Joel: Roman Reigns vs John Cena.
Alex: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena (25-30 mins)
John: Seth Rollins vs. Edge.
Lance: Raw Tag Team Title Match.
Matthew: Eva Marie vs. Alexa Bliss.
Joel: Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg.
Alex: Bliss vs. Eva or Lashley vs. Goldberg (Under five minutes each).
Kelly: Either Lashley/Goldberg or Bliss/Eva.
John: Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Lance: I am going with a 7 on this one. It’ll be cool to see the building sold out, and I think Cena vs Reigns is going to be awesome.
Matthew: 7 – With several matches that have the potential to be 4+ stars this should be a good to great show overall. Unfortunately for WWE the show is sandwiched between possibly the biggest debut in years with CM Punk in AEW and an NXT Takeover show on Sunday that could have multiple match of the year contenders, which is why my excitement level isn’t higher.
Joel: 7.5 – I’m pretty excited about the card as a whole. I think what might be missing is special moments. The matches seem pretty good but It needs that major moment to let people keep talking about the show the next day and I think Big E cashing in his contract would make for a special moment. I do think there will be some surprises. It’ll be an interesting show that I’m looking forward to.
Alex: 4. I just don’t get that genuine rush of excitement from WWE matches these days. Their booking is so predictable and any real shocks that generate real excitement almost never happen. That’s why I’m not particularly excited about this show. I’d rather save my excitement for my 5-Star and Almost 5-Star Match Reviews since those matches are way better than most of what WWE has to offer.
Kelly: 8. I’m really looking forward to SummerSlam. Several of the stories have been built up well (Roman/Cena, Edge/Rollins, and both tag title matches) so the card will not disappoint.
John: I’m going with a 7.5 here. While I like some things on the card and I think there could be three or four matches in that four-star rating range, I think a lot of talented wrestlers are sitting this out. For example, I’d rather see guys like Big E, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Apollo Crews, Finn Balor, Ricochet, John Morrison or somebody good like that instead of the Bliss/Eva match or having Jinder Mahal on the card. With that said, the big matches intrigue me for the most part and I think if they do something cool like Big E cashing in Money in the Bank then that would provide us with a memorable moment that makes people happy. The Reigns/Cena match interests me a lot. I also expect a hot crowd, so that will help. I’m definitely looking forward to SummerSlam this year.
Summary: That’s an average of 6.83 for the group. That’s pretty solid, but not overwhelming positivity either. We’ll find out on Saturday how WWE does.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE SummerSlam on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night. It will be live, so check that out during the show or after it’s over.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at email@example.com as well. Thanks for reading.