Since its inception in 1988, SummerSlam has been one of the great WWE traditions and biggest pay-per-views in professional wrestling. Ah yes, the 80s, when Hulkamania ran wild and Vince McMahon needed another big event outside of Wrestlemania to cash in on Hulk’s popularity.
Billed by the WWE as “The Biggest Party of the Summer,” SummerSlam has had its fair share of earth-shattering moments over the years. Remember the inaugural event when The Ultimate Warrior came running down to the ring at Madison Square Garden to answer the call of the Honky Tonk Man’s open challenge for his Intercontinental Title? Or the time when CM Punk and Brock Lesnar threw down in a violent affair in 2013? And let’s not forget about the great Bret Hart, who competed in two of the best matches in SummerSlam history, one against Davey Boy Smith in 1992 and the other against his brother, Owen, in 1994.
But that was then and this is now, and more great memories can be made at this year’s big summer pay-per-view. Like Wrestlemania, this is a card that is going to be massive and will probably go four hours; if you’re really hardcore, you can make it six hours in length by watching the two-hour kickoff show.
SummerSlam 2017 (August 20th, Brooklyn, New York) has a lot of intriguing matchups that utilize both the RAW and SmackDown Live brands. The main event sees Universal Champion Brock Lesnar defending his belt, not just against one man, but three very large dudes in a four-way match. Can Brock survive?
Jinder Mahal will be defending the WWE Championship against surprise opponent Shinsuke Nakamura, but we know in a match like this it’s really Nakamura vs. Mahal and the Singh Brothers. It will be interesting to see if Shinsuke can survive the onslaught and win his first WWE title.
Speaking of titles, let’s not forget about Money in the Bank-winners Carmella and Baron Corbin. They are now waiting in the wings, ready to capitalize on their title shots, any place, any time. Could we see a cash-in at this year’s SummerSlam?
There are many questions that will need answering and you’re reading the right preview to get some early edification. With 13 or 14 matches on the card, we need to jump in and start picking winners.
SUMMERSLAM 2017: ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
NB: one or two more matches may be added over the next week as the card is subject to change.
[The card has changed slightly and so updates are in bold and in brackets]
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman (WWE Universal Championship)
Is Brock Lesnar’s time as champ ending? There have been some rumors that he is looking to return to the UFC Octagon to face Jon Jones. IF that fight actually happens, it’s a year away so don’t expect Lesnar to go anywhere anytime soon. That said if there was any legitimate reason to take the belt off the Beast Incarnate it could be because of his wonky, part-time schedule that has led to some fan frustration.
The best way to take the title off of Lesnar is in a fatal-four-way where he doesn’t actually have to be pinned to lose his championship. It’s best to keep your top monster strong!
Speaking of monsters, these are four large man beasts who each have a compelling argument on why they should be champ.
This is a pretty hard match to call but I’m predicting a title change. The current odds on favorite is Samoa Joe and in my eyes, he deserves it more than all the guys competing in this match. Sure, some can say Braun Strowman has done enough in his young career, but Joe has been around the block a few times and it would be nice to see him finally get that one title he has never won.
In what should be a fun and violent match to watch, my hunch is on Samoa Joe becoming the new Universal Champion.
Universal Championship Odds
- Samoa Joe: 2/3
- Roman Reigns: 3/1
- Braun Strohmann: 9/1
- Brock Lesnar: 19/1
Predicted winner: Samoa Joe
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)
[UPDATE, AUG. 16: Corbin attempted to cash-in at SmackDown Live on Tuesday, August 15th and failed.]
This is a surprising matchup. Most of us pro-wrestling scribes were predicting John Cena vs. Jinder Mahal in another America vs. foreigner heel matchup. Instead, Nakamura beat Cena clean on SmackDown Live and became the #1 contender.
So here we go, India vs. Japan? “The Modern Day Maharaja” vs. “The Artist.” It will be interesting to see if Nakamura can get the best out of Mahal. I’m not holding my breath, but at least it should be better than any of the matches Mahal has had with Randy Orton.
The WWE really likes to have the belt around Mahal’s waist because they are trying so hard to make money off their popularity in India, yet they haven’t had an event there since Mahal has been champ.
I would be pleasantly surprised if Nakamura picks up the win but there is a good chance he does.
This match feels like it’s being set up as a swerve. Remember Baron Corbin has the Money in the Bank Briefcase and this could be an opportunity to cash-in. Nakamura and Corbin have been involved in a feud that currently sits as unfinished business. If Nakamura picks up the hard fought win, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a cash-in with Corbin leaving SummerSlam as the WWE Champion along with a ton of fan heat!
In what I hope is actually an entertaining bout, I predict Nakamura to win but it could be a short lived celebration.
Predicted winner (and odds): Nakamura (9/10)
Odds on Baron Corbin uses his Money-in-the-Bank cash-in: 2/1 [UPDATE, AUG. 16: Corbin attempted to cash-in at SmackDown Live on Tuesday, August 15th and failed.]
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens w/ Shane McMahon as referee (WWE United States Championship)
It’s been nice to see some love shown towards the US Championship and to have two of the best in the business battling it out to get their hands on it has been amaze-balls. That’s a technical term.
This has been a fun rivalry to watch and although the title has changed hands between the two three times, it doesn’t lose any of its luster because both these men deserve it. (Cue “you deserve it” chant).
It has been a pretty competitive battle but someone is going to lose at SummerSlam and something tells me it’s going to be Kevin Owens. Having the SmackDown GM Shane McMahon as the special guest referee makes this seem like we will see something crazy go down. There could be some sort of shenanigans involved where Owens loses and blames Shane O’Mac. Let’s just hope that no matter how this ends we get an entertaining match.
Predicted winner (and odds): AJ Styles (7/13)
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Rusev is still doing that evil foreigner guy gimmick. Remember that short lived “Handsome” Rusev angle? That was far better than this pissed off Bulgarian who hates America schtick. First off, nobody in Bulgaria hates America. They are a peaceful nation who just want to eat their Shkembe. Secondly, Rusev is far too talented to continue to be used in this manner. Wake up WWE!
Rusev asked to have some stiff competition at this year’s SummerSlam and Orton answered the call. That’s right, captain personality who just lost to Jinder Mahal three times in a row is now going to face another “foreign terrorist” in Rusev. This is what happens when you have no creative ideas.
It’s hard to believe Orton will keep jobbing, but the same can be said for Rusev. I have no idea what happens here, but my hunch is that Rusev picks up the win. Maybe it’s done in a way where Orton still remains strong.
Predicted winner (and odds): Rusev (5/6)
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley (Raw Women’s Championship) [UPDATED – AUG. 10: BAYLEY WAS FORCED TO WITHDRAW WITH A SHOULDER INJURY]
Not sure if this match is still going to happen now that Bayley has suffered a shoulder injury. [UPDATE, AUG. 10: BAYLEY HAS OFFICIALLY WITHDRAWN.]
Predicted winner (and odds): Alexa Bliss (1/1)
Odds Alex Bliss faces Sascha Banks instead of Bayley: 3/2
Odds Alexa Bliss faces Nia Jax instead of Bayley: 2/1 Odds of a three-way fight between Bliss, Banks, and Jax: 3/1
UPDATE: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sascha Banks
As we predicted above, this match has been changed due to Bailey’s shoulder injury. Now we have Sascha Banks who will be facing Bliss and this match continues to be a hard one to call. That said, I’m going to stick with my Bliss retaining prediction.
Naomi (c) vs. Natalya (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
This is the grab the beverage from the fridge match. Maybe throw something on the BBQ? Honestly, let me know when Naomi is no longer the champ and they actually start booking the SD Live Women’s Division better. When Natalya became the #1 contender at Battleground my reaction was probably like many others, “crickets.”
Naomi has been lackluster, to say the least, but she glows! Let’s hope the veteran Natalya, who’s actually a solid in-ring worker, can give us fans an entertaining match. This has all the makings of a Money in the Bank cash in by Carmella.
In a short but grueling match, Naomi will win, but Carmella will cash in and become the new SD Live Women’s Champ. That’s money you can take to the bank. See what I did there?
Predicted winner (and odds): Naomi (2/3)
Carmella Money in the Bank Cash-In Odds: 3/7
Neville (c) vs. Akira Tozawa (Cruiserweight Championship)
[AUG. 16: Tozawa wins the Cruiserweight Championship at SmackDown Aug.15]
If given enough time, this looks like it could be a fun match to watch.
[UPDATE – AUG. 16: Tozawa wins the Cruiserweight Championship at SmackDown Aug.15]
UPDATED: Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville (Cruiserweight Championship)
As mentioned above, in a surprising twist, Tozawa won the cruiserweight title on free TV at SmackDown Live. The WWE has tried to remain as unpredictable as possible over the last few months. That said, this new development doesn’t change our prediction nor the odds. I still have Tozawa with the win and retaining his title but the WWE could throw another swerve here like they’ve been doing with the US Title between Styles and Owens. For now, I’m sticking with Tozawa coming out of SummerSlam as the champ.
Predicted winner (and odds): Akira Tozawa (1/4)
The New Day (c) vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles
What a great feud this has been. Honestly, I could see these two teams battle it out for another few months. But all good things must come to an end and I feel SummerSlam will be the blow off. The New Day surprisingly took the titles from The Usos at Battleground and now The Usos have a chance to get them back.
If I had a hunch, and I do, I’m leaning towards The New Day retaining in this one. Why? Because they just won the titles and although it wouldn’t be strange to see The Usos win them back, my gut feels like The New Day is going to get a longer reign than just a few weeks.
Predicted winner (and odds): The New Day (1/1)
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
This is a feud that was on, then it was off, and now it’s on again. Bray Wyatt has been calling Balor out over the last few months and finally, it looks like we are going to see these two talented men compete in the ring.
It’s crazy to think that Wyatt was the WWE Champions just a few months ago and now he is relegated to the mid card with no real direction. Since Balor returned from being on the shelf with an injury he hasn’t really been utilized that much. Now he gets his chance to get back on the hype train and ride it all the way back to the main event spot.
I have no idea what the WWE is going to do with Wyatt but he is going to lose again because there is just too much invested in Balor. Could this be an ongoing feud? Maybe. But for now, I’m taking Balor. The question is, will he appear at SummerSlam as The Demon?
Predicted winner (and odds): Finn Balor (3/17)
Odds Balor comes to SummerSlam as The Demon: 1/1
Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (WWE Raw Tag Team Championships)
I really like seeing Rollins and Ambrose together again even if it means it may not lead to a full fledged Shield reunion with Roman Reigns. For now, Ambrose is hesitant about his tag-team partner and rightly so, it was Rollins who turned on both Ambrose and Reigns and broke up The Shield. All these years later, can Ambrose forgive and forget?
He better because they are up against the tag-team champs in Sheamus and Cesaro who are working as a dangerous and cohesive unit. This has all the makings of a fantastic match that I really hope it gets the time it needs to tell a good story and bring a ton of physicality to the match.
I’m not buying this Rollins and Ambrose tease. In my mind, this is being set up as a way to turn Ambrose into a heel. His gimmick has grown stale and he is too talented to continue to be the dopey guy. Hey, maybe I’m wrong and this is the beginning of a new team and a slow build to a Shield reunion.
Keep in mind, the WWE loves to tease and deep down inside we like it.
I’m taking Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the titles and a feud starting between Rollins and Ambrose. However, that is just purely a hunch and so the odds remain close.
Predicted winner (and odds): Sheamus and Cesaro (9/11)
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
It appears we are headed for a match between Cena and Corbin and this could actually be quite interesting. “Big Match John” can always be relied on for great matches on the big stage. It will be interesting to see how this is booked.
My guess is Cena wins via disqualification or maybe he pins Corbin clean but in a very physical match, I’m leaning towards John Cena.
Predicted winner (and odds): John Cena (2/3)
Big Cass vs. Big Show (Enzo Amore above the ring in a Shark Cage)
A BIG who cares? Not even sure if this match will happen but it looks to be heading in that direction. Their most recent match was slow and terrible and if this one goes ahead (and I could see it being on the kick-off show), I’m taking Big Cass all day long. He is someone the WWE wants to build into a BIG star. Big Show will lay down and Big Cass will get the BIG win.
Predicted winner (and odds): Big Cass (1/19)