We are here at WWE’s second-biggest show of the year!
It might not be as hyped as SummerSlams of years past, but on paper, this seems to be the best card WWE has had in quite some time. Before we jump into the predictions, last month at Extreme Rules, I went 8-2 to bring my predictions up to 68.08% all time.
Also, this might be my last predictions article because I kind of hate doing them, BUT, if I go a perfect 10-0 with these picks, I’ll finish my predictions career with a record of 69.696969(recurring) accuracy.
If that’s not a nice, motivating goal, I don’t know what is. So, let’s make these picks!
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
So, right off the bat, I must say that I totally misjudged where Bray (or The Fiend) would be on this card over the past few months. I was convinced that with all of the hype and attention the Firefly Fun House was getting that Bray would return and challenge Kofi for the WWE Title. And if he had done that, I would be picking Bray to take the title in his return. But instead, we get this.
It’s not that this is a bad matchup or feud, but it doesn’t feel exactly fresh. A while back, Finn and Bray were in a feud that revolved around Finn’s Demon persona being challenged by a new persona of Bray Wyatt that seemed to be the embodiment of Sister Abigail. Bray got a case of the sickies and missed the scheduled PPV match for that feud and the whole thing was scrapped. But now, we seem to be back there, only this time Finn seems to be sans-Demon and Bray is now The Fiend.
I must say though; this feud has been somewhat lacklustre. Finn hasn’t had a ton of TV time to build things, made worse by his own bout of the sickies. Regardless, there’s no way Bray loses in his first match back. Plus, we’ve been observing some rumours that Finn will be taking time off following SummerSlam so it wouldn’t make any sense for him to beat Bray.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
Here are some useless facts going into this match. This will be Shane’s 10th PPV match in the past 10 months. Shane has competed in more PPV matches in 2019 than in any other calendar year in his life. In fact, after SummerSlam, Shane will have competed in more PPV matches in 2019 than he had since his return in 2016 through to 2018. In short, Shane has competed in a whole lot of freaking PPV matches as of late.
When KO mentioned the possibility of Shane’s career being added to the stipulation of this match on the ‘Go-Home’ episode of SmackDown this week, I thought we might see some light at the end of this tunnel. But that stipulation wasn’t added, so Owens’ career is the only one on the line this Sunday. But the fact that there was talk of it did give me some hope that perhaps Shane O’Mac’s days as an ironman of PPV might be winding down.
Perhaps that possible light at the end of the tunnel will help with this prediction. If I may put on my fantasy booker hat one last time here, I could see KO getting the win over Shane here, to set up a future career vs. career match down the line with KO finally ridding Shane of the WWE (or at least from the ring). Although, I could see the opposite happen, where Shane wins here, KO causes chaos even though he’s “not an active competitor!” in WWE. It makes no sense when you try to look at things with some semblance of legitimacy or logic, but this is WWE and that rarely matters. I mean, we were supposed to suspend belief Monday night to think that Maria’s OBGYN office looks exactly like the backstage area of an arena.
I’m going against my usual philosophy here and I’m NOT going to assume WWE will do the nonsensical thing here and instead I think they’ll give Owens the win and follow myfantasy above.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
It was weird how we got here, but here we are. I actually liked the subtle build, but there’s no way Goldberg loses so why type more than I have to? We can only hope that this paves the way for the debut of a Bro.
Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus
I could easily see this as the main event of the show. Given the historical significance of this match and the fact that it’s taking place in Trish’s real-life hometown, it would be a perfect fit atop the card. Trish is one of the most important women in the history of WWE. Even though she was a fan, Trish was hired by WWE as a model with no experience who worked harder than anyone ever thought she would become one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time. And she did it in an environment full of bra and panty, gravy bowl, playboy pillow, fulfil your fantasy, and Hot Lesbian Action matches (yes, HLA was real, you didn’t hallucinate that in a fever dream).
And then you have Charlotte Flair. She’s one of the most gifted in-ring wrestlers in the company today, regardless of gender. Her arrival and rise to prominence in NXT is what sparked the change in WWE that is now branded as the Women’s Rev/Evolution. I truly believe that without Flair, they’d still be called Divas (a word I railed against during my time at Between the Ropes). I know that’s a lot to put on one woman, and I’m not saying many others didn’t put in a heck of a lot of hard work because they certainly did. I’m just saying that Charlotte is what led WWE to actually make a change and give women a chance.
So, as for this match, it’s a tough one to pick. It would make more sense for Charlotte to win since this is, according to the woman herself, Trish’s last match. Traditionally the retiring wrestler always loses, but WWE doesn’t always do things the right way. It might be that WWE won’t be able to resist that “feel good” moment that could occur if Trish wins her last match in her hometown. But I’m going with Charlotte because I feel that a win here will do the most good and Trish can still go out a hero after the match.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Cruiserweight Championship – Drew Gulak (C) VS. Oney Lorcan
The former Biff Busick won his opportunity in a special “oh, yeah, we need a number one contender for that purple belt we made a while back so let’s just randomly throw six cruiserweights in the ring and see what happens” match just a few days ago. There’s no real story here, that I know of, outside of the realms of Twitter, and I don’t think Gulak will drop the title here. 205 Live produces some great in-ring action, but it’s less than an afterthought in WWE, so it’s hard to really care or get invested into who wins the belt.
Winner: Drew Gulak
WWE United States Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet
This feud sort of tuckered out over the past week or so. It’s as if they’re in some sort of holding pattern or something like maybe the creative didn’t have enough to get them to SummerSlam so they just spun their wheels for a bit. It’s a shame because The OC reforming was made to feel like a big moment and was the main event of Raw when it occurred. Perhaps the group could get back on track after SummerSlam, but would that require an AJ win here?
See, I really feel like Ricochet should get his revenge here and take back the US Title. But, if that happens, would that hurt The OC moving forward? There are ways for AJ to lose and The OC still look strong next week. AJ and Ricochet could (and probably will) have a very competitive match that will make both guys look good. Then, perhaps Styles could move up into a feud for the Universal title? Or maybe the WWE title since the brand split seems pretty optional these days.
Regardless of the long-term plans, I’m going with Ricochet to win the title here.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
This feud has had a nice build with both women showing they will do whatever it takes to come out on top with the title. The problem is, I don’t know where the loser goes from here. Bayley could lose and get her rematch or whatever, but then what? It seems like WWE is just now getting her back on track following her mostly disastrous run since coming up from NXT. What could WWE do with her after losing the title this soon? Besides turn her heel, I’m not sure. And the time to turn her would’ve been a couple months back during her feud with Alexa.
As for Moon, if she loses her big opportunity, where does that leave her? Again, a heel turn could give her something to do, but that turn would have to lead to an eventual title win for it to feel like it matters. Ember looks like a star and the fact that she has done next to nothing since being called up is a pure indictment on the lack of talent currently on the so-called “creative” team. She shouldn’t be in such a dire situation here, but with the damage they’ve done to her character, it is indeed a dire situation we are in.
So, how do you pick a winner for a match where neither person should lose? I always default back to the champion, but I just have this feeling that I cannot explain that Ember Moon will win the title here. Time will tell if I’m right.
Winner: Ember Moon
Raw Women’s Championship; Submission Match – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
This has been a fun feud to watch, even though we took a heck of a leap to get to Natty and Becky immediately and inexplicably trash-talking each other after Natalya won that super-boring number one contender match. But once things got rolling it got really fun. I really like the submission stipulation here as it makes the match feel a little more unique on a card that as of this writing has no other “gimmick” matches, just straight-up regular matches.
The fact that this is in Natty’s home country is interesting, as I’m unsure how the crowd response will be. Becky seems to be universally cheered, but as Jerry Lawler once famously quipped, Canada (and especially Toronto) is like bizarro world. And so that alone would make me wonder about Becky’s response, but with her going against a member of the Hart family? I’m curious to see how the crowd takes to these competitors. I fully expect them to be hot for the match regardless of whom they gravitate towards.
So, who wins? Well, WWE just revealed Becks as the cover woman for 2K20 so I fully expect her to retain here. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, I’d be torn.
Winner: Becky Lynch
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
This feud has been so good. All of the real-life stuff coming into play has been so well done. It wasn’t too real so that it caused you to lose your suspension of disbelief, but real enough for you to get truly invested in the matchup. And not only has it led to some excellent television, but it’s also led me to be truly torn as to who will win.
Kofi vanquishing Orton, 10 years after Orton (in real life) squashed Kofi’s original push, would make for a nice moment. And it would make sense in the continuing story of Kofi’s unexpected and long-awaited rise to the top of WWE. It would give Kofi an opportunity to close a chapter of his past that’s been open for far too long. And to do it at SummerSlam would make for a nice one-two combo after winning the title at Mania.
But then there’s the flip side. Kofi can’t be champ forever. And as much as I like to see lengthy title reigns, the fact is, WWE doesn’t do them often. It’s a matter of time before Kofi loses the title. So, who better to beat him and really stir up some heat than Orton? Maybe Orton takes the title, feeds off the reality of the last decade and becomes a dirty heel champion. And maybe Orton holds the title until Mania? And maybe Kofi finally wins a Royal Rumble via his crazy elimination saves? And maybe Orton defends against Kofi at Mania where he FINALLY gets his payback for what happened oh so long ago? And we get KofiMania 2?
Either one works for me, but I realize that the odds aren’t in my favour for the latter, so I guess I’ll play it safe and go with the former and say Kofi retains.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
WWE Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
I have no idea what to expect from this match and, because of that, I’m actually looking forward to it. Seth has gotten the snot beaten out of him a couple of times in the build to this match while Brock has been basically untouched since cashing in and winning the Universal Title at Stomping Grounds. So, what is WWE’s end game here? I see two scenarios with this build…
- Seth has been beaten to a pulp and destroyed in order to set him up to a big, heroic win on Sunday. From there, he’d be positioned as a guy that’s impossible to keep down which would make him a good pair for someone like AJ Styles. Styles, backed by his OC brothers, would be the perfect foil to try to take Rollins down with Michael Cole’s favourite game, “the numbers game!” Now, regardless of with whom Rollins is paired, if he wins the title back, he’d have to be “the guy” on Raw moving forward after having beat Brock Lesnar on both of the two biggest shows of the year.
- Brock Lesnar destroyed Rollins in the lead up to the show in order for him to defeat Rollins here and solidify himself once again as The Beast of WWE. It would repair any damage (not that he really had any) that he suffered from his initial Mania loss and once again set him up to be the ultimate challenge for the person that might eventually take the title from him (most likely at WrestleMania 36). He would go on to eventually make whoever the WWE has pegged to be “the guy” into a star.
So, which of these scenarios is more likely? Will the WWE go down the road to some other scenario that I haven’t even thought of? Do people even read these predictions articles? The answers to some of these questions will be answered Sunday. But I think, looking at these two scenarios that I’ve created, I find the first to be more likely. It’s not a confident pick on my part by any means, but it’s my best educated guess.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Okay, that’s it for me pals. I may be done with predictions, but I’ll be back down the road with something a little more fun than having to figure out where WWE creative and the crazy old billionaire are taking things.
So, until next time… make good decisions.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @THExWilliam. Thanks for reading!