John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Summerslam Preview. There are eight announced matches including the pre-show, which is more than the usual four or five announced matches that WWE usually has at PPVs. This could also be the first WWE PPV of the year where the WWE Title match may go on last. I thought that would happen at Money in the Bank, but it didn't end up happening.
Joining me for the preview as always are TJRWrestling's resident Smackdown reviewer Andrew Johnson and our former Smackdown writer who is now a retro PPV reviewing kind of guy, Christian Michael. Let's roll.
United States Championship: Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro (Pre-show)
Andrew: Here's what should happen:
Antonio Cesaro becomes new U.S. Champion in a 5 minute Santino-style spot fest where he hits everything but still loses to the challenger due to shenanigans. Then I do fist pumps for several hours.
Here's what will happen:
See above, but Santino overcomes shenanigans to retain, I throw my remote through my TV and hate everything for the rest of the night.
Christian: Cesaro has owned Santino in non-title matches on SmackDown. That means logic would dictate that he'd walk out the new champion. Right? Wrong. It's one of WWE's Favorite things to do, having champions lose non-title matches. The sad part is that they could put the title on Cesaro, push him and make the title matter but they won't. Santino is a comedy character that shouldn't be carrying a title.
Prediction- Santino Marella retains
John: I think they need to book a title switch at one of these pre-show matches, so why not here? Santino does nothing for the title. He would be popular with the fans whether he had it or not. The US Title is booked so poorly that it's basically useless these days. Get the title on Cesaro here. Perhaps it would freshen up the US Title a bit.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
WWE Tag Team Championships: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil)
Andrew: The fact that R-Boom have been tag champions this long tells me two things:
1) Creative has nothing better for either of them to do, and probably never will again.
2) Creative have no real plans for the tag belts other than "Let the black guys wear them," and when someone asks "Which black team?" and another guy says "I dunno, flip for it."
I love The Prime Time Players, and I don't really care that A.W. is gone because Young and O'Neil made me laugh before he was in the picture. I really don't think they need him as much as everyone else thinks. Besides, it's time for new blood to carry those belts.
Winners: The Prime Time Players
Christian: AW or no AW it doesn't matter to me. The Prime Time Players seem like the more permanent team so they should win. Hopefully that's the case and we finally get a good tag division again.
Prediction- The Prime Time Players become the new champions
John: It's a shame that AW's firing garnered so much attention because it has taken away from the fact that the tag team division in WWE has improved greatly in recent months. I think there's been a push to make it better since WrestleMania. Over four months later here we are. The PTPers have done a good job of developing their gimmick as cocky heels who think they're on their way to something great and at Summerslam they have a chance to prove how good they are. I think the Kingston/Truth team was put together to give some credibility to the division because they feature two long term babyfaces, but long term I doubt they will team together that much. I think it's time for the titles to change hands.
Winners: The Prime Time Players
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
Andrew: John has a standard rule that I don't always think is correct but in this case I think is right on the money; lose on TV, win at the PPV. Mysterio doesn't need the IC title like Miz does, because he doesn't really need to re-establish his credibility. As unfortunate as it is to say, Miz needs a crutch until he can stand on his own two feet again, and the IC title is that crutch right now. Mysterio is a good foil for Miz right now, and it's a good feud that'll give these guys something to do. It has legs. Three legs mind you, but an Intercontinental title feud is never a bad crutch to have.
Winner: The Miz
Christian: Good booking by WWE getting two guys and a title on PPV that should be on PPV. If former WWE Champions are going to hold and contend for the Intercontinental Championship then it should be treated like a big deal and this is a good start. If given 15 minutes this could be great but Miz should retain. Rey could walk away champ but Miz really needs a long winning streak to build back his credibility after losing basically from WrestleMania XXVIII up until he won the Intercontinental Championship.
Prediction- The Miz retains
John: There's not much heat in this feud. It's happening because Miz needs a credible opponent that most fans will think has a chance to win even though in reality that person (Mysterio) is very unlikely to win. Putting the IC Title on Miz is about building him back up after booking him so poorly since his run as a main event level guy over a year ago. Mysterio will give him a good matchup, but Miz will get the win after about ten minutes of action.
Winner: The Miz
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Andrew: Readers of the Smacking Of Smackdown will know I'm no fan of this feud, but I love Bryan and I like Kane enough to where I think this match will be fine to watch. There's no such thing as a bad Daniel Bryan match, there just isn't. Don't argue with me on this, because you're wrong. No, stop it. Stop it. No, no, listen to me, just listen:
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Christian: We've seen this match 100 times over the summer. It can be good but it's not fresh. I don't know what, if any role Charlie Sheen will play in the match so it's hard to figure a winner. If he's there he'll likely cost D-Bry the match. If he's not there, Kane will still win since they like having Bryan lose all the time now.
John: What happened with the Charlie Sheen involvement? Are they so scared that he may not show up if they advertised him that they just dropped the whole thing together or will he actually be there? I'm not sure. They've made it a point to say "anger management" on Raw every week as a way to plug Sheen's TV show, but there's been no mention of him being at Summerslam since they teased it at Raw 1000 on July 23.
I really hope Daniel Bryan wins this. Kane is in his mid-40s. He has turned heel and babyface about a dozen times in his career. He doesn't need wins. Bryan's out of the World and WWE Title picture right now. He should be at that level. If they do a post match angle with Sheen at ringside that's fine, but don't let it affect the match.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
Andrew: I'm not going to go on about how much potential this match has to be the show-stealer because I'm sure Christian and John both have plenty of hyperbolic statements already lined up. Also, John also wrote a whole column about it, so there's very little I can say here that wouldn't be just a rehash of what he's already written. I'll just say this; if Santino retaining doesn't make me throw my remote through my TV, a disappointing Ziggler/Jericho match will. Which I don't think is possible, but good news is if Santino wins, I won't have to find out.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Christian: What a simple yet effective story. The young, hungry upstart questioning what the old veteran lion has left in the tank. Both men have something to prove in this match. Jericho wants to show he can still hang at an elite level and Ziggler wants to prove he belongs at an elite. This has match of the night written all over it and I'm very excited to see it. This should be a passing of the torch moment and that's what I expect.
Prediction- Dolph Ziggler
John: I already wrote a fantasy booking style column as it pertains to what I want to see in this match. Will it happen? Probably not. In short, here's what I wrote there. Sheamus beats Del Rio early in the show. Barrett comes out, he destroys Sheamus. Ziggler cashes in Money in the Bank. He becomes World Champion. Ziggler vs. Jericho then becomes a World Title match later in the show. Ziggler retains.
I threw it out there as a possibility because the obvious result of this match is too easy to call. That's a Ziggler win. I want something more to remember this feud by because Jericho's reportedly gone from WWE again as of Tuesday, so I want them to give us a memorable moment we will never forget.
You won't get complaints from me, though. The only way I would complain about this is if they got less than ten minute because it needs to be between 10-20 minutes in order to give us the kind of exciting action we expect to see from guys like this. They're two of the best workers in the company, so I think this is likely the match of the night as long as they get a chance to have a special match based on how much time they are given.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Andrew: I wasn't on board for Del Rio/Sheamus revisited at first, but I think the build for this has been much stronger than it was for Money In The Bank. This is the best thing to come out of a car theft since Josh and S.A.M. For the first time these two have a legitimate beef with each other that is more than just about the championship. As lame as it sounds, this whole feud is about respect. Sheamus feels disrespected by Del Rio because he mentioned he isn't rich and Sheamus has feelings too and oh my God guys they hurt so bad right now, so he stole Del Rio's car as penance. And Del Rio's mad because...well his car was stolen. I think that's reason enough.
It's a better feud than they had a month ago, and the match will be solid. It's going to be fun.
Christian: Yawn. That's my reaction to the match. Honestly, it bored me at Money in the Bank and without adding a stipulation to it, I don't know what they can do differently this time. It's not like they're not trying on TV but it's just not working for me. Booker T took away ADR's title shot and a week later gave it back to him at Sheamus' demand. It shows how badly the Champion wants to get his hands on the challenger. Remember at MITB Sheamus beat him rather easily. You don't think that'll happen again now that Del Rio has got the Celtic Warrior's blood boiling? For a major PPV like SummerSlam I just wish they would have done something different.
Prediction- Sheamus retains
John: You know what's a shameful thing? That the creative team lost their head and decided to book this match after they already did it at last month's Money in the Bank PPV. Then in the buildup to the match they chose to completely ignore that they had a match at the last PPV. On top of that, they also decided to cancel the match last week only to put it back on this week. For what? All of it seems like filler to me.
Do fans think of Del Rio as a threat to Sheamus? No. He's a guy that Sheamus is going to beat. Again. It's frustrating that they gave this feud another month because it really didn't need it or deserve it. I think it's a sign of how thin the roster is in terms of people you can put in a main event level match. The only positive of the feud is that Sheamus is gaining steam as a babyface although that might just be because people are so tired of this feud that they want him to kick Del Rio so hard that he doesn't get back up. Brogue Kick. Sheamus wins. Feud over for good. We hope.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Andrew: I have no interest in this match whatsoever.
Winner: I don't care
*Poked in the ribs with a stick by John*
I have about a zillion problems with this match because I can see where it's heading and I hate it. For some reason the WWE is paying Brock Lesnar a billion dollars (or whatever, I'm not good with math) to come in and fake-break a bunch of arms and then lose for the next 12 months or whenever the hell he shows up. I don't see this match ending any way other than Triple H gaming up all over Brock and taking this guy who is a legitimate MMA fighter who is trained to break arms and ankles and wreck shop and using his powers of COO'ing and winning.
In a real MMA fight if Brock had Triple H in an arm bar Hunter would tap in 5 seconds because arm bars hurt and you want to use it to wipe boogers from your giant nose. But, since this pro-wrestling where everyone's arms are like f**king steel bars, Triple H will use his willpower and his determination to stay in the hold for 20 minutes and then reverse it or something and find a way to pedigree everyone in the building.
I dunno. I just think if you're going to pay this asshole to be a legitimate arm-breaking monster, you should just let him be a legitimate arm-breaking monster.
Winner: Triple H
Christian: The song "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" was the theme song for the 2001 edition of SummerSlam and it would be a fitting description of what this match figures to be. There's no stipulation attached but one would figure this is more likely to resemble a bar fight than Angle/Michaels from WrestleMania 21. HHH's family and best friend have been involved so he's out to avenge their honor. While Brock is just looking to destroy one of wrestling's last active legends. I want this to be a competitive fight for about 15 minutes and then Brock just destroys Hunter in the end making him look like the unstoppable bad ass that he's supposed to be.
Prediction- Brock Lesnar
John: I'm a big time Brock Lesnar fan. I saw him wrestle in a dark match before his WWE TV debut in 2002 and I was in awe of him then. His original two year run in WWE was a lot of fun with one of my most famous moments being when he absolutely destroyed Hulk Hogan in a match on Smackdown. I cheered so loudly for a taped wrestling match. What I like the most about Lesnar is what WWE advertised him when he came back: legitimacy. Sure, he lost his last UFC fight and it seemed like he quit during it, but it's not easy to be a NCAA Champion, UFC Heavyweight Champion and WWE Champion. Lesnar's the only one to do it. That legitimacy puts him on another level from everybody else.
Why did I share all that? It's pretty simple. Because I feel that Brock Lesnar has to win on Sunday night or else bringing him back was a complete waste of time. I still think it was wrong to have John Cena beat him at Extreme Rules, but I understood it because Cena's a full timer while Lesnar is not. In the case of Triple H he's a part timer. If he loses it's the right call because it's not like he's going to be wrestling every week.
As for the match, I would expect some kind of brawling stipulation to be added. Hunter called him out for a fight, so a fight is what we'll get. I find it peculiar that they didn't make it a point to add a stipulation and to remind us about it during the 473 video packages we've seen about this match in the last couple of months. I don't think Shawn Michaels will be there. The "broken arm" was done as a way to put over Lesnar as a monster heel that shows no remorse for his actions.
Lesnar is getting paid a lot of money to be a part-timer in WWE. If he loses again he won't be the "baddest man on the planet" that he should be booked as. He'll be just another guy. Hopefully WWE knows this and gives him a strong win over the part-time performer whose future is in the office more than it is in the ring.
Triple H is there to put Lesnar over. If the finish is anything other than a Lesnar win I'll be very surprised.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Andrew: I genuinely have no opinion on this match, because I don't think a three way is necessary. I was really hoping for Cena/Punk again, but this is the hand we're dealt because Big Show is still Mark Henry for now, and Mark Henry is a smiling Touter who is going to come back and not be Mr. Hall Of Pain anymore because WWE needs at least two smiling fat guys for one mean one.
I don't know how I got to talking about Mark Henry here, but whatever, that's what you're going to get.
Winner: CM Punk
Christian: It's amazing how adding one man to the match can kill any excitement you had for it. We all know the classics Cena and Punk are capable of but with Big Show there that's not likely to happen. I'd really like to know what it takes to earn a WWE Championship match these days. When's the last time Big Show won a match? 1999? Cena became the first person ever to unsuccessfully cash in MITB but you never hear anyone mention it. MITB is supposed to be used to get a guy over the hump and into the main event. RAW's match was such a waste this year. They used it as an excuse to get Cena back in the title hunt but that wasn't necessary. He's John Cena. All he has to do is ask for a title shot. He doesn't need a briefcase to be a top contender. Things like that annoy me to no end.
Punk's been on the heelish side since RAW 1000 because he feels despite being WWE Champion the spotlight isn't on him, and he's right. Punk's been champ since November so you have to figure any day could be the day for him to lose it. Add in the fact that Cena is in the match and Punk doesn't have to be pinned to lose the title, it almost seems likely. It would fit in with the new direction of Punk's character where he can moan and groan about losing the belt without losing the match. The only thing throwing a curveball in the equation is that The Rock is lurking at Royal Rumble. Do they want to do Rock/Cena II knowing Rock would go over again? Or do they want Rock to face the by then 14 month reigning champion? I know they could switch the title again before the Rumble but why would you have Punk hold the title this long just to start switching it like a dirty pair of underwear again? But, like I always say, when in doubt pick Cena.
Prediction- John Cena becomes the new champion
John: I've been torn on this match prediction for a few weeks now. This is the part of the preview where I complain about how much I dislike triple threat matches. They happen far too often. Two PPVs ago at No Way Out we saw Punk defend the title against Kane and Daniel Bryan. I really don't want to see triple threat matches every other month. They are repetitive. Even if the workers are good, they can be boring. I predicted Bryan would win the title there. Did not happen. My thinking was that Punk was going to drop the title at some point because he's had a nine month title reign, which is very rare in today's WWE. Now he has two new opponents in a triple threat although they are much bigger in terms of name value.
Let's eliminate Big Show from the equation immediately. I think it would be foolish to put the WWE Title on him because he's not that interesting of a character to put the title on when there's the lingering shadow of The Rock returning at the Royal Rumble in five months. As I've written many times in recent weeks Show didn't win at No Way Out against Cena, he didn't win the Money in the Bank match he was in and he didn't even beat Cena when they had a singles match yet Show is still in this WWE Title match. In no other "sport" would you be rewarded with a championship match after failing to win three big matches. That's why pro wrestling is not a sport. It's entertainment. Isn't that right, Vince?
I would have preferred if this match was just Punk vs. Cena for the title because it would have been a rematch of last year's Summerslam main event, which was a fantastic match. Now that Big Show's a part of it, I would assume that Show is the one that gets pinned. It's likely that WWE felt they didn't need to do Punk vs. Cena in singles because Lesnar vs. Triple H is also a big draw of a match, so they could save the Punk/Cena singles match perhaps next month in Boston (John Cena's home town, or at least very close to it) for Night of Champions where a strong main event match would be needed. After figuring all of that out, the question is who gets to be the one that gets to pin Big Show to leave as WWE Champion?
Originally my prediction was a John Cena win here. As we all know, going with Cena is usually a safe bet because he obviously wins way more than he loses. However, the happenings on Raw changed my mind. Not only did Cena get a clean win on Raw, which plays into my "win on TV, lose on PPV" theory, but Punk also had some words for Cena that caught my attention. He said that at Summerslam he wouldn't be disrespected by Cena anymore.
The "lack of respect" comment leads me to believe something big will happen where Punk's heel turn will be accelerated even further. Perhaps some kind of stable will be formed that will be led by Punk or maybe it will be a common finish we've seen before. Cena could hit Show with the Attitude Adjustment (as the announcers act like we haven't seen it before) and Punk could take out Cena to claim the pin for himself. Remember there are no disqualifications in triple threat matches, so he could even use a chair to the back of Cena in that situation. This gives them the out that Punk didn't beat Cena and there's your WWE title match next week.
I'll admit that I'm not that totally sold on this prediction, but I will go with CM Punk to retain his WWE Title at Summerslam.
Winner: CM Punk
John: I am definitely interested in Summerslam. I'm most interested in the Jericho/Ziggler and Lesnar/Triple H matches while the finish of the main event (assuming WWE Title goes on last) has my interest as well. While I don't know if it will top Extreme Rules as my PPV of the year, it could be very close to that. We'll find out on Sunday night.
I'll be watching Summerslam live and will be covering the event for TJRWrestling.com Sunday night starting at 8pmET.
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Andrew - @TheAEJohnson
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Thanks for reading. Enjoy Summerslam.