WWE’s second-biggest event of the year is upon us! This year’s event will see most of the championships defended, a couple of returning legends, and plenty of exciting matches. Frankly, with the recent changes to WWE’s weekly programming, most notably on Monday Night Raw, this SummerSlam is pretty hard to predict. It’s hard to ignore WWE’s usual booking strategies, but a few surprises on Sunday should be expected.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
WWE Universal Championship
This is one of the harder matches to call. It makes a lot of sense to put the belt on Rollins, especially if the rumors of Brock moving to SmackDown are true. However, it also makes sense to keep Brock as the ultimate heel and retaining the belt. Convention says since Brock has demolished Rollins the last two weeks on Raw, he will lose come Sunday. But that notion was thrown out the window a couple of years ago when Lesnar introduced the world to “Suplex City” and squashed John Cena with 16 German Suplexes. My money is on Brock to retain. He’s facing a wounded Rollins, and it just wouldn’t make sense for Rollins to come out on top when he isn’t even at 100%.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar Retains
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Randy is excellent at what he does, and what he does is legitimize a champion. Orton can hit all of the moves we want to see, the draping DDT, the power slam, an RKO outta-nowhere, and still take the fall. Kofi has been an excellent champion, and this should be a really good match, but it does feel like a placeholder for a bigger feud between Kofi and a future challenger.
Prediction: Kofi Retains
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
Raw Women's Championship, Submission Match
Another tricky one to call. Natalya has the home-field advantage, which would lead you to think she might get the win. On the other hand, ‘The Man’ was just revealed as the first female to be on the cover of a WWE video game, which isn’t surprising considering the year she has had. Becky is still a great champion and is representing the brand well so it seems unlikely she will drop the title to Natty. With all of the buildup about how the Sharpshooter is the superior hold, and the match being a Submission Match, it seems likely that Lynch will use it to make Natalya tap out.
Prediction: Becky Lynch Wins
AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet
United States Championship Match
Likely to be the match of the night, Styles vs Ricochet is a dream match no matter how many times they give it to us. Like a lot of Styles’ feuds, every match seems to be a little better than the last. It seems likely that the OC (Anderson and Gallows) will get involved in some way, and the winner will be determined by whether Ricochet can overcome their involvement. It makes the most sense to leave the title where it is for now, but maybe have Ricochet pin Styles, while the OC distract the ref making him miss the count, then Styles can capitalize on the distraction for the win.
Prediction: AJ Styles Wins
Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
SmackDown Women's Championship
This entire feud seems sort of thrown together and random, and it’s possible the match on Sunday feels the same way, which will do neither of these women any favors. These two can put on a great match when given the proper amount of time, but it seems like this may be a quick one. Bayley has not had the title for long, and they haven’t done much with her since she won the belt. It makes the most sense to leave the belt on her, and have her old friend Sasha come out to celebrate the win with her, before attacking her and claiming her shot at the title.
Prediction: Bayley Wins
Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus
Another hometown wrestler makes this match a tough one to call. But, with Charlotte only recently returning to action, you have to expect her to win this one and garner a ton of heat from the Canadian crowd in the process.
Predictions: Charlotte Flair Wins
Finn Balor vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
The match we were promised 2 years ago is finally happening. With this being the in-ring debut of “the Fiend”, there is no way he loses. Combine that with the rumors that Balor has requested some time off, and it makes perfect since for Wyatt to pick up the win and put him on the shelf for a bit. The absolute worst thing that could happen in this match would be for Finn to come out as “The Demon” and lose. Let Balor lose, go away for a bit and give us “The Demon” vs. “The Fiend” at next year’s Wrestlemania.
Prediction:Bray Wyatt Wins
Dolph Ziggler vs. Goldberg
It seems that Goldberg wants to redeem himself after the awful match he had with Undertaker at Super Showdown. Undertaker did the same thing at Extreme Rules, and now it’s Goldberg’s turn. Ziggler is an excellent worker and will be able to make the legend look good, but still picking up the victory. It does no one any good for Goldberg to win, unless he is planning on staying around for a little, which seems unlikely. Ziggler will be the one back on TV Monday, and a loss to Goldberg would make him a complete joke.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
If Owens loses he has to quit WWE
Like Kevin Owens, a lot of us are tired of Shane McMahon taking up TV time and a spot on the card that could be going to new talent. With the stipulation that KO has to leave WWE if he loses, it seems unlikely that it will happen. We’ve seen this feud and this match before, and hopefully, this will be the end of Shane McMahon, at least for a little while.
Prediction: Kevin Owens Wins
Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan Cruiserweight Championship
Like all of the Cruiserweight Championship matches recently, this match will be excellent, both men will put 110% into it, it will be on the Pre-Show, so no one will see it, and Gulak will retain.
Prediction: Drew Gulak Wins
There are a couple of other matches that could potentially get added to Sunday’s card.
Roman Reigns vs. His Attacker?
A huge storyline for the past couple of weeks has been someone trying to seemingly murder Roman Reigns. It was revealed this past Tuesday that Rowan was driving the forklift that knocked the scaffolding on top of him, leading many to think Daniel Bryan is behind the attacks. Buddy Murphy was...interrogated? By Reigns this week and spilled the beans on Rowan. It seems weird that “The Big Dog” doesn't have a match on WWE’s second biggest event of the year, and the door is now open for him to face Murphy, Rowan, or Bryan. Most likely, if a match is added, Roman will face either Murphy or Rowan, and save Daniel Bryan for a bigger build and higher profile match. My money would be n Reigns vs Murphy this Sunday.
Shinsuke vs Ali This has been a really interesting feud between two excellent wrestlers. It deserves some payoff, and if we don’t get a match on Sunday, expect this build to continue to the next PPV Event. If we do get the match, Shinsuke will retain, possibly with a low blow, allowing Ali to justify a claim for a rematch.
Tag Matches? As of writing, none of the Tag Team Championships are being defended at SummerSlam. It seems a bit odd, although none of the champions are really involved with a storyline at the moment. The closest might be the new Women’s Tag champs, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, which could face Asuka and Kairi Sane. However it seems most likely that all of the tag team gold will stay off of the show, and hopefully get a good build heading into September’s Clash of Champions.