MANILA, Philippines ‒ It’s the rainy season here in the country, but across the Pacific, in the US of A, it’s summer time.
And “The Biggest Party of the Summer” takes place at the Staples Center for the 6th consecutive year, as Los Angeles, California, hosts the 27th annual WWE SummerSlam on Sunday night, August 17 (Monday morning in the Philippines).
Two great powerhouses, John Cena and Brock Lesnar, face off once again in a highly-anticipated bout, but this time for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Also, Stephanie McMahon, wife of WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H, returns to in-ring action – her first match since 2003 – to face a feisty Brie Bella, wife of former WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan, whom HHH considers a “B-plus player” and a “thorn” in his side.
Plus, the “Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose meets Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack Match, while “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt battles Chris Jericho, “The Best in the World… At What He Does.”
Huge wrestling fans that both of us are, we weigh in on each of the SummerSlam matches this year.
Chris Jericho vs Bray Wyatt
Michael Bueza: Their match at the Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) last month was a classic. Happy to see Chris Jericho in “veteran mode” helping out younger talents.
With that said, I see Bray Wyatt winning this one, to set up a rubber match later. I think he can pull it off even without his brothers Erick Rowan and Luke Harper by his side… or rather, at ringside, because they’re banned there, as per match stipulations.
Speaking of that, I’m smelling some shenanigans here. Rowan and Harper are restricted from ringside, right? Well, the referee gets knocked out, lights go out, then back on, revealing the duo for a 3-on-1 attack on Jericho. Ref regains consciousness, light goes out, then back on, and the duo’s gone. #FantasyBooking
Ryan Songalia: Was anyone else completely shocked when Jericho beat Wyatt at Battleground? He had been “Y2-Job” since returning to the company a few years back. He even lost to Fandango at Wrestlemania for crying out loud.
I’m not as mesmerized by this feud as others because I think Jericho is pretty dull as a face (just as he was in WCW before his heel turn). I think Bray beats him with some subterfuge or this turns into an ugly DQ and the Wyatts pound Jericho. Either way, time to do what Jericho does best these days and make the young guys look like a million bucks.
Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton
RS: Sorry, this whole thing where they shove Roman Reigns down our throats is getting a bit annoying. Reminds me a lot of the way WWF tried to push Rocky Maivia when he first debuted, until he was regurgitated as The Rock.
We get it, WWE. You want Reigns to be your next champion and you’ll throw every main event heel at him without any real explanation to please the 8-year-olds. Reigns will win this, and I’ll tell you how: Orton beats up him up early, does some dirty stuff, Reigns comes back, interference from Kane, Reigns overcomes that, Superman punch then Spear and he beats the odds. Again. Yawn.
MB: You can see the winner here from miles away. It would be Roman Reigns. Though, to echo a fellow fan’s sentiments, the (Ro)man needs to up the ante and expand his skillset for this match (and in future matches, too). Defeating Orton is no easy task.
Flag Match: Jack Swagger vs Rusev
MB: Finally! Early on in Rusev’s path of destruction, I was looking for this match. WWE presents a USA vs Russia story and have both men (as well as Big E when Rusev fought him) wave flags, but they don’t fight in a flag match?!?
Anyways, since this is SummerSlam, a feel-good show to say the least, Jack Swagger gets the Stars and Stripes first to win the match.
RS: It’s the Cheap Heat vs the Cheap Pop angle. Rising escalations between US and Russia used as a storyline, looks like we’re dusting off the old Nikolai Volkoff angle once again. Nonetheless, I’ll go with Swagger to win and get the cheap pop. I think the WWE heads realize that there is an expiration date on Rusev’s angle and that his heel run won’t reach main event status.
I see them cashing out Rusev and putting Swagger over, whom they’ve tried on many different occasions to get something going for. Perhaps a babyface run is just what Swagger needs right now.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
RS: I love this match just as I’ve loved every one of their recent matches. These two guys were born to work together. When was the last time you heard a “This is Awesome” chant on Raw? When the Wyatts and Shield faced off? Exactly.
Ziggles should win because, well because he’s Dolph Ziggler, dammit. Am glad that these two will get the chance to “steal the show” and I expect this clash of Cleveland talents to be among the most exciting of the night. I don’t know how they’ll be able to top everything they’ve done recently, but they’ll find a way. I’m sure of it.
MB: The Miz’s “Moneymaker” gimmick is entertaining. It suits him well.
Though it’s time for Dolph Ziggler to introduce The Miz’s face to the mat thru a Fameasser. Ziggler wins the Intercontinental Title. But please, WWE, let this latest push be Dolph’s greatest moment. To borrow Jim’s prayer in American Pie, “God, let this be it.”
Divas Champion AJ Lee vs Paige
RS: Is it weird that I actually like this match? Pretty bizarre that there are two women’s matches (more on the other later) that I think will be absolutely entertaining. For one, both are exceptional ring psychologists (who are also in need of psychologists) who can work a bit. They get it, and though the storyline is pretty shallow, I still think AJ wins and makes it fun as long as it lasts.
MB: The on-and-off friendship between AJ Lee and Paige definitely shuts down in this match, after Paige injured AJ weeks ago.
AJ Lee gets revenge and retains the gold here in the craziest way (and submission hold) only she can pull off.
Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
MB: A lumberjack match? Of all the match types the madman Dean Ambrose could choose from, he picks this to contain him and a traitor?
Given the match-that-wasn’t at Battleground, it’s weird to have this stipulation. Then again, it’d be too early for a steel cage match between these two combustible former Shield comrades.
I’m gunning for Seth Rollins here to sneak in a victory. Also, notice that Kane’s nowhere in the SummerSlam card yet? Well, here’s where he’d come in.
RS: “A lumberjack match?” indeed. I can’t recall the last time I saw a lumberjack match that was remotely entertaining. I feel this undermines the brilliance of this feud, but then again, if there are two guys who can work together to make magic under any circumstance, it’s these guys.
Hell, they could turn a Vince Russo “something on a pole” match into a 5-star classic. I think Ambrose goes over simply because Rollins doesn’t need a win. He’s probably the best heel in the company walking around with a Money in the Bank briefcase, a loss doesn’t hurt him. If Ambrose loses and does so clean, might as well relegate him to Superstars.
Brie Bella vs Stephanie McMahon
MB: This has got to be the hottest feud this summer. (And not just because they’re both hot! Haha!)
Stephanie is such an impressive heel. And Brie has matched Steph’s fierce demeanor. They need to take it slow on the “b” word, though. (It’s the PG era, right?)
My problem with this feud: when Stephanie and Triple H threatened to fire Brie if her husband Daniel Bryan (who suffered a shoulder injury) would not surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Title he won at WrestleMania XXX, Brie chose to quit instead at the Payback PPV last June. She added a slap to Stephanie’s face with that decision, too.
Had Stephanie fired Brie, this feud would be more effective, in my view. (I think WWE had no choice but to run this angle, when they found out that Bryan’s recovery period after shoulder surgery would take longer than expected.)
I predict an appearance by Daniel Bryan, but I choose Stephanie McMahon to win this match – one way or another. A throwback to Bryan’s controversial loss at last year’s SummerSlam.
Also, I’d like to hear Stephanie brag on the Raw after SummerSlam that she won her first match in nearly 11 years.
RS: This is probably the best constructed angle of the entire card, and yes I do realize this is a women’s match. Steph has worked her way into becoming one of the most hated heels in the company through her elitist Authority gimmick alongside husband Triple H.
The way she slapped Brie when accepting the match was just incredible; she is so over as a heel that it makes this match, which has the potential to be an ugly brawl, still very exciting. I love how, despite not having been an active wrestler in a decade, Steph isn’t being cast as weaker than Brie. Also, how incredible of a heel move was it to trap Brie and make her watch Steph hit the Pedigree on her sister?
I see Steph finding a way to weasel into a victory after taking a serious beating, which would increase her heat and make the return of Daniel Bryan that much more anticipated.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs Brock Lesnar
MB: I’ve read somewhere that this storyline was haphazardly put together. It’s still connected with Daniel Bryan’s unexpected longer recovery time. The original plan was supposedly Bryan vs Lesnar. What a match that could have been!
Back to the predictions. Everyone expects Brock Lesnar to win. I think I have to go with the majority here. But the next question is: would Brock Lesnar appear every week on Raw after winning the WWE World Title?
Promoting this match without an actual, physical Lesnar appearance ‒ like how they hyped the Undertaker-Lesnar match at WrestleMania XXX ‒ was hard enough. (Paul Heyman did most, if not all, of the promotion work.) Having the part-timer Brock as WWE’s main man and missing live Raw appearances? That would not be best for business.
RS: I absolutely think Brock Lesnar wins this match, and I’ll tell you why: John Cena owes him. Lesnar obviously came out of their match at Extreme Rules 2012 looking great after manhandling Cena for 85% of the match before Super Cena “rose above hate” and got the three-count. But that was the end of the feud, no revenge for Lesnar, no returning of the favor.
I think Lesnar has to go over, and what better way than by getting the strap? Now, I too am concerned about Lesnar getting the belt and not showing up for a while, essentially holding the company hostage, but maybe the WWE knows something we don’t know. Why else would they let him end the most sacred streak in WWE – The Undertaker’s unbeaten run at Wrestlemania – if they didn’t plan to do anything with Lesnar?
I see Lesnar beating Cena, but probably not clean because it’s Cena and he never puts over anyone clean for some stupid reason. I hope that we get one more surprise before the curtain falls on the show, it is SummerSlam after all, and if we see the WWE logo without having something shocking to get us amped for Raw the next night, the night won’t be complete.
Maybe a return, or a debut? 🙂 ‒ Rappler.com
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