With SummerSlam 2016 just around the corner, it’s time we get back to making real predictions; professional rasslin’ predictions.
SummerSlam goes down Sunday, August 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the WWE always likes to make this crown jewel of an event a spectacle. As I write this, the second biggest WWE pay-per-view already has about six matches finalized, and there will be more added in the coming days.
The card is stacked from top to bottom with some fantastic bouts that all have the potential to be matches of the year. I would even say that this card is far more intriguing than Wrestlemania 32 last spring. The results of SummerSlam usually help propel the WWE into specific story directions for the rest of the year and eventually into Wrestlemania 33 that’s still seven months away.
Fans or “smarks,” as some people call us, have been rather critical of the WWE’s storytelling over the last little while, but it’s hard not to be excited about this “New Era” that they’re pushing. SummerSlam should be a big launching point for a lot of young stars to showcase their talents.
Ever since the WWE Draft, there has been a lot more energy in the writing and booking, and it almost seems like the organization is starting to listen to their fans. Both RAW and Smackdown Live will be well represented, along with a line drawn in the sand for some good ol’ fashion brand warfare.
At least on paper, SummerSlam 2016 looks like it could be a classic that rivals the likes of 2002’s tremendous event, which also took place in New York.
Below are the main matches along with betting lines and predictions.
Brock Lesnar (-320) vs. Randy Orton (+240)
Thanks to the WWE Draft, both men are now wrestling for two different brands, Orton for Smackdown Live, and Lesnar for RAW, so this match is brand vs. brand; Stephanie McMahon (RAW) vs. Shane McMahon (Smackdown Live). Expect this one to have some fireworks.
This has a big time main event feel to it and I appreciated the MMA-style booking of this bout, which fits Lesnar perfectly.
“The Beast Incarnate” is coming off a win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200, but with that win came a failed drug test for estrogen blockers. Lesnar escaped any discipline from the WWE due to the fact he’s already a part-time performer, but will he be knocked down a peg or two by WWE brass at Summerslam? Let’s not pretend that the failed drug test didn’t embarrass the organization who recently suspended Roman Reigns for violating their wellness program.
Randy Orton has been on the shelf for almost a year recovering from a shoulder injury. The 12-time world champion came back and invaded RAW with an out of the blue RKO on Lesnar that was a thing of beauty. Orton is so over and it’s well overdue. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s a very bankable star that has become a huge internet sensation over the last couple of years. It’s something the WWE can build upon.
So does it make sense to have Orton come back from a long layoff only to job to Lesnar? I’m sure that was the original plan, but something smells like the WWE could be looking to send a message to the locker room and Lesnar. They might not be able to suspend him, but they can definitely briefly damage the beast’s unbeatable aura and send him packing until the fall. Especially since Brock’s voice piece Paul Heyman is currently without a WWE contract.
Will it be Suplex City or Viperville? It might be best for business to see Lesnar win, but maybe things have changed in the Lesnar, WWE relationship. Somehow, Orton picks up the victory, maybe through interference or some other unclean finish. I see Lesnar’s run coming to an end for now. Take the upset here.
Winner: Randy Orton.
Finn Balor (+160) vs. Seth Rollins (-210) – WWE Universal Championship
I am not going to get used to saying “Universal” Championship, but that’s what the new belt is being called on the re-branded Monday Night RAW. Two fantastic workers will get a chance to show off their talents to see who gets to be the first man to wear the brand spanking new title.
There is so much buzz and expectations regarding this match, will it live up to the hype? Finn Balor’s stellar days in NXT are done, and after rushing onto the WWE scene, will the organization put the strap on him this fast? Balor is definitely a megastar in the making if he isn’t one already. Yet this is a match that is really hard to call.
Rollins is already a company cornerstone that doesn’t necessarily need a title but it’s really easy for the WWE to make him the first Universal Champion to build his legacy even more. He will most likely wear gold around his waist numerous times in his budding career.
Balor, though, is world-renowned, the most successful NXT Champion of all-time, and a fantastic in-ring performer. Whether Balor remains a face or turns heel, this has all the makings of a bold WWE move. Balor wins the WWE Universal Championship and puts a stamp on his career, proving the “New Era” in the WWE is legit.
Winner: And the very first WWE Universal Champion – Finn Balor.
(C) Dean Ambrose (-490) vs. Dolph Ziggler (+330) – WWE World Championship
This is going to be a hot match full of athletic ability, big moves, and hopefully great storytelling. Babyface vs. babyface rarely works, and this one sort of feels forced upon us. But these two are extremely hard workers who could definitely steal the show.
Many have wanted to see Ziggler in the main event spot for a long time, but something tells me his time as a babyface could be nearing an end. Will we see a heel turn at SummerSlam? Some of his best work in the past was as a heel. In my mind, it would be the right move here, and after a great match, maybe it extends this feud with Ambrose. We shall see. Regardless, it’s not Ziggler’s time for a belt.
Expect Ambrose to retain his title so the WWE Smackdown Live brand can continue to push Ambrose as a big face for the company, especially with John Cena on a part-time schedule.
Winner: And still WWE World Champion – Dean Ambrose.
(C) Sasha Banks (-1050) vs. Charlotte (+550) – WWE Women’s Championship
I was a bit shocked that Sasha Banks took the women’s title off of Charlotte on Monday Night RAW back in July. Why not save that big win for Summerslam? Not sure why they needed to rush that booking because it kind of makes this pay-per-view match fairly predictable.
In what will be an ongoing feud, expect Banks to defend her title successfully and not relinquish it anytime soon. I’d be shocked if they swerve here and put it back on Charlotte, but Vince McMahon does like his legacy champions, so there is a small chance we see another title flip. But that’s just conspiracy talking.
Winner: And still the WWE Women’s Champion – Sasha Banks.
The rest of the card (Subject to change):
- Apollo Crews vs The Miz (c) for the Intercontinental Championship – Winner: The Miz
- John Cena vs AJ Styles – Winner: AJ Styles
- Roman Reigns vs Rusev (c) for the United states Championship – Winner: Roman Reigns
- The New Day (c) vs the Club for the Tag team Championship – Winner: The Club
- Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens vs Enzo and Big Cass – Winner Enzo and Big Cass
- Bailey appears: 2/1
- Nakamura appears: 9/1
- Samoa Joe appears: 19/1
Returning Legends Odds:
- HHH returns: 2/3
- Former WWE Women’s Champion Victoria returns: 3/1
- Rey Mysterio returns: 5/1
- Goldberg returns: 9/1
- Kurt Angle returns: 10/1
- Undertaker returns: 49/1
Odds on Celebrities/ UFC Fighters Participating:
- Shaquille O’Neal: 4/1
- Paige VanZant (UFC): 9/1
- Conor McGregor (UFC): 15/1
- Nate Diaz (UFC): 20/1
- Ronda Rousey (UFC): 25/1
- Donald Trump: 50/1
Photo Credit: GAVIN 21202 YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us2Lis4Eye0)