Posted August 20th, 2016 by 1Wrestling News Team


By Don Murphy

The annual SummerSlam show holds a special place in my heart, as I have fond memories of attending the very first event, way back in 1988, at Madison Square Garden, with my cousins PJ and Steven. Twenty-eight years later, SummerSlam is alive and well, once again invading the New York City area. This particular event, which takes place in the middle of a busy wrestling weekend, is advertised to go for a full four hours, not including a two hour pre-show. While I unfortunately won’t be in attendance, I can only hope that my New York brethren can maintain their energy for the show’s entirety.

The show is loaded from top-to bottom. Ten matches are on the main card, including six title matches. Three matches will be featured during the pre-show, for a grand total of thirteen matches. Of note, we’ll see the crowning of the first ever Universal Heavyweight Champion, in addition to Brock Lesnar’s first in-ring action since his controversial UFC appearance last month. Let’s run down the card…

Main Event: Brock Lesnar takes on Randy Orton

Analysis: I was at last year’s SummerSlam in Brooklyn when the Undertaker met Brock Lesnar in the main event. The build-up and anticipation for that match was intense. This match, while intriguing from the standpoint that it’s Randy’s first high-profile match back since major shoulder surgery, just feels a bit flat. Paul Heyman, as usual, did a great job hyping this match, but it just doesn’t have the big match feel that it should, being on the second biggest event of the year. The match itself should be fine, with the usual display of suplexes by Lesnar, with the added suspense of a potential RKO out of nowhere to end the match. In the end, as they’ve been highlighting Randy’s weak shoulder in his initial matches back, I see him tapping out to the kimura lock to end the match. Initially, I thought that Lesnar’s UFC controversy would have had a factor in the outcome of this match, but Orton, while always a solid player, just isn’t in a place right now where a win over Lesnar would benefit anyone.

Murphy Predicts: Brock Lesnar defeats Randy Orton (likely by submission)

Inaugural WWE Universal Heavyweight Championship Match: Finn Balor (aka The Demon King) meets Seth Rollins

Analysis: Balor has been pushed straight to the top since being called up to the main roster. While this match could steal the show, I question myself as to whether or not they’re elevating Balor too quickly. He’s definitely over with the audience, but I might have saved his transformation to the Demon King, including the spectacular entrance, until they developed his character and personality a bit more, especially for the benefit of those unfamiliar with his NXT work. I see this definitely being Balor’s night to take the title, which is fine, considering that a Rollins loss will do little to nothing to impact Seth’s credibility. Early on, I thought that Balor’s past association with Gallows and Anderson might play a factor here. And it still might. But, I think that we’ll see an exciting, high-paced match, with Balor scoring the clean win.

Murphy Predicts: Finn Balor wins the Universal Heavyweight Championship

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Dean Ambrose defends against Dolph Ziggler

Analysis: I have no doubt that this will be one of the best matches on the show. Ziggler has been producing some of his best promos in a long time, and Ambrose’s words and mannerisms have been coming off as slightly heelish. I believe this to be a red herring. I don’t see Ambrose dropping the title here, but rather, defeating Ziggler in a highly competitive match, with Ziggler, out of frustration, ultimately turning heel. This would be the right move, in my opinion. While Ziggler always puts forth a great performance, he’s lost all credibility. A new attitude and character shift would go a long way on putting him back on the right track.

Murphy Predicts: Dean Ambrose retains the WWE Heavyweight Championship

Singles Match: John Cena takes on AJ Styles

Analysis: I really liked that they didn’t go with the traditional formula for John Cena feuds, where Cena loses the first match and goes on to win the next two matches. While I still see Cena getting the win here, the good thing about this match has been the buildup. AJ has become great on the mic, while Cena has stayed away from a common trap of his, where he will seemingly not take his opponent seriously. This should help AJ maintain credibility in the loss and if my above prediction holds true (Ziggler turns heel), this will give creative enough time to build AJ back up for a run at the title.

Murphy Predicts: John Cena defeats AJ Styles

WWE World Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day defends the titles against Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Analysis: Having watched Anderson and Gallows in New Japan Pro Wrestling, the WWE is wasting their potential as a no-nonsense, top-level tag team with silly, sophomoric schtick. The buildup to this match has been abysmal – from Gallows and Anderson wearing doctors coats and making testicle jokes, to the New Day basically no-selling the attack on Big E. by doing their same comedic act the very next week. Big E. has been showing up on the house shows, so I expect him to make an appearance here to cost Anderson and Gallows the match. They’ll eventually win the titles, but at this stage, with no serious buildup, putting the belts on them would be a mistake.

Murphy Predicts: The New Day retains the WWE World Tag Team Titles

WWE United States Heavyweight Championship Match: Rusev defends against Roman Reigns

Analysis: They’re trying everything they can to establish Reigns as a top babyface. The strategy two weeks ago on Raw was to put the fans through a painfully long wedding segment before Reigns interrupted, as at that stage, anyone could have come out and gotten a pop. Last week, there was more in the way of action, where we actually got a full-length match between the two, just six days before the SummerSlam match. I’m not sure if Monday’s match left me hungry to see more, but it will likely be a solid effort by both. In the end, I’m not sure that there’s anything the WWE can do to protect Reigns from being crucified by the New York crowd, no matter what they do, even if that means awarding him with the U.S. title.

Murphy Predicts: Roman Reigns defeats Rusev to win the United States Heavyweight Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz defends against Apollo Crews

Analysis: While the Intercontinental Title has been meaningless, this has been the Miz’s best heel work in years and having the title definitely helps define his character. I see them going in the direction of putting the belt on Crews, for the sake of pushing an NXT call-up. To me, it’s too soon. Behind the smile, we have no idea who Crews is or what he stands for. Without this, it will be another guy with a meaningless title. And for the Miz, the loss of an important part of what has made him more watchable in recent months.

Murphy Predicts: Apollo Crews defeats The Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship

WWE Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks defends against Charlotte

Analysis: If the women’s division is going to make a statement and move ever-so-closer to main event relevance, both women need a great showing here. They’ve set the stage nicely by banning Dana Brooke from ringside, but still making Sasha vulnerable via a storyline knee injury at the hands of Charlotte last week. This should be a fantastic match and if booked and presented correctly could be the match of the show. In the end, I see Banks holding on to the title, with Nia Jax waiting in the wings.

Murphy Predicts: Sasha Banks retains the WWE Women’s Championship

Tag Team Match: Enzo Amore and Big Cass meet Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho

Analysis: The buildup to this match has been a delightful surprise. Jericho and Owens have good chemistry, which will match nicely with Enzo and Cass’ act, which should be wildly popular in Brooklyn. Plus, this will give Enzo and Cass the chance to get over on the big stage, while hiding any in-ring limitations by working with seasoned veterans like Jericho and Owens. I’m not a fan of heels being too comedic, but Owens and Jericho have found a way to mix in the right amount of comedy, while still generating heat. This one will likely open the show and get the crowd amped for the matches to follow.

Murphy Predicts: Enzo Amore and Big Cass defeat Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho

Six-Woman Tag Team Match: Carmela, Becky Lynch and Naomi meet Natalya, Alexa Bliss and TBD

Analysis: Given Eva Marie’s suspension, I suspect this match will either change or be cancelled altogether, which would be a shame, since most of the women in this match would benefit from performing on the big stage.

Murphy Predicts: TBD, based on Eva Marie’s suspension

Match 1 in the Best of Seven Series: Cesaro takes on Sheamus (Pre-Show)

Analysis: Making this a “Best of Seven” series was a questionable move for sure. One thing that’s also for sure is that if Cesaro and Sheamus are going to ever move out of the mid-card, they’ll need to tear the house down in this series, from both a workrate and storytelling standpoint.

Murphy Predicts: Cesaro takes the first match in the “Best of Seven” series

12-Man Tag Team Match: American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) take on Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) and The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) (Pre-Show)

Analysis: Until the Smackdown brand decides on a direction for the tag team division, we will continue to get these crowded matches, with no story and no direction. It’s a shame because American Alpha has been one of the best tag teams on the NXT side of things for some time, so it’s unfortunate that they were called up without a plan in place. The babyface team should go over, with no impact either way.

Murphy Predicts: American Alpha, The Hype Bros and The Usos defeat Breezango, The Ascension and The Vaudevillains

Tag Team Match: Sami Zayn and Neville meet the Dudleys

Analysis: What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Dudleys blew the roof off the Barclays Center with their return while Sami Zayn was the NXT darling and Neville was….well, Neville. The only interesting thing about this match is the impending Dudley split, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that Zayn, who arguably had the match of the year last month against Kevin Owens, has been demoted to the pre-show. It’s nice that they found a spot for him, but he needs to be more prominently featured in the mid-card.

Murphy Predicts: Sami Zayn and Neville defeat the Dudleys

Follow me on Twitter: @don424

Category: Wrestling.

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