DON “THE PREDICTOR” MURPHY — SUMMERSLAM PREVIEW ‘N’ PICKS

Posted August 18th, 2018 by 1Wrestling News Team

“THE PREDICTOR” PREDICTS: SUMMERSLAM 2018

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

Before we preview SummerSlam, I wanted to take a moment and remember three notable WWE performers who passed away well before their time during the past month.  First, I was fortunate enough to meet Nikolai Volkoff several years ago at an autograph signing in Queens and he was one of the nicest guys I had ever met – a stark contrast to his on-screen persona.  For my money, one of the best foreign heel acts of all time, and a staple of mid-80’s WWF.  I remember watching the first WrestleMania from Madison Square Garden and the pure hatred from the crowd, as he sang the Soviet National Anthem.  He and the Iron Sheik has the crowd in that moment and it makes you appreciate it now more than ever, when a good heel is so hard to come by. Second, Brian Christopher’s death is truly tragic, and I’ll remember him for giving me a very entertaining spot during the 2000 Royal Rumble, dancing with Too Cool.  I will say that I enjoyed his light heavyweight title run a bit more in the late 90’s, but you can’t deny how over the Too Cool act was. Finally, this past week, we lost Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.  Younger fans only know him as Natalya’s father on “Total Divas.” But, for those north of 35 or 40, he’s one half of one of the greatest tag teams of all times during the golden age of 80’tag team wrestling. I’ll remember him as the powerhouse, with the interesting-looking beard and the maniacal laugh, having classic battles with the British Bulldogs, the Killer Bees, Demolition and the Rougeau Brothers.  So, truly a sad time in wrestling and we remember the impact all three have left on the business.

SummerSlam holds a special place in my heart, as I attended the first one in Madison Square Garden back in 1988.  Thirty years later, I’ll be there once again, as the 30th anniversary of the second biggest show of the year takes place on Sunday night, emanating from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  Now, I will say that the WWE has made attending these shows a labor of love, as I think this one will run approximately six-seven hours.  There are some fans who will never get enough, and I am sure that this show will deliver on many levels.  But, burn out is a natural reaction, so it will be interesting to see how they pace this card to prevent that from happening.  Plus, let’s face it.  Vince is giving Brooklyn Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar…again – whether we like it or not.  And, while Roman will likely be booed out of the building…again – I will say that they’ve done enough here from a storyline standpoint, to add some intrigue to the match.  Thirteen matches round out this supercard – let’s take a rundown and see what’s in store!

WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar defends the WWE Universal Championship against Roman Reigns

Topline Thoughts: Well – they’re doing it.  Hopefully, this is the final chapter, because frankly, I’m not sure how you get back to this match in a way that builds excitement.  I do think that Paul Heyman deserves an Emmy for everything he’s done to build anticipation for this match.  Truthfully, I don’t know how this is going to play out, but I can say with confidence that Brock Lesnar drops the title here.  What I don’t know is if Roman Reigns will walk out of the Barclays Center with the title, of if we will have a Money in the Bank cash-in?  There’s the chance that Paul Heyman turns on Brock and joins Reigns, but I think they told us that wasn’t happening this past Monday on Raw. There’s also a scenario where Seth Rollins and/or Dean Ambrose help Reigns win, and the Shield re-emerges as heels.  But, for the purposes of this pick, I’m going with Roman getting his win over Brock, losing immediately via a Money in the Bank cash-in, and Heyman disappearing for a bit, before re-emerging with a new talent several months down the road.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Roman Reigns wins the WWE Universal Championship, loses immediately due to a Money in the Bank cash-in

WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe

Topline Thoughts: If you’ve watched their matches in TNA, enough time has passed where you want to see them in the ring again.  If you haven’t, I suppose this storyline, where AJ’s wife is apparently rooting for Joe, may be appealing to you.  The story doesn’t really do much for me here, as I’m more honed-in on what they both bring to this match from an in-ring standpoint.  I think this is only the first chapter in a much larger program. I think Joe wins here, with AJ saying that Joe got in his head, setting up the rematch at the next event.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Samoa Joe wins the WWE Championship

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey

Topline Thoughts: It’s clear that this is the showcase moment for Ronda to win the title here, but I’ve liked how they’ve built this match.  Alexa has shown concern and fear when dealing with Rousey, but the fact that Ronda is a rookie and Bliss is an experience multi-time champion has been featured nicely.  And while Bliss will have her fans in Brooklyn, Rousey has managed to win the crowd, so I expect that her win will be met with one of the night’s louder ovations.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Ronda Rousey wins the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match/Triple Threat: Carmella defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair

Topline Thoughts: I’m looking forward to this one, as it’s evident we’re getting a heel turn here either at the end of the match or in the coming months, leading to the WWE Evolution pay-per-view.  I think you’ll see Becky and Charlotte getting in each other’s way, leading to Carmella sneaking in the pinfall.  They have to be careful with how they run this finish.  Becky Lynch is a crowd favorite, so if the plan is to turn her heel with Charlotte as the babyface, you’ll have to do this in a way that doesn’t get Charlotte booed instead.  Honestly, Charlotte is a much better heel, so I’m hoping that this is the path we’re on.  Becky would probably be a fine heel, but both are much more comfortable with Charlotte as the “bad guy,” with Becky as the protagonist.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Carmella retains the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre) defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins (w/Dean Ambrose)

Topline Thoughts: There are many times when a program can be beat into the ground.  This isn’t one of those times, as both Ziggler and Rollins match up so well together.  I was concerned when they back to this match after doing the 30-minute Iron Man match last month, but they’ve managed to re-capture our interest with the return of Dean Ambrose. I’m pretty sure the stage is set for an Ambrose heel turn.  The question is whether we get the actual turn during this match or some subtle foreshadowing.  In any case, I think Ambrose somehow costs Rollins the match, with Ziggler retaining.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Dolph Ziggler retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE United States Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura defends the WWE United States Championship against Jeff Hardy

Topline Thoughts: It’s curious that they went to this match, when they’ve been building the Hardy-Randy Orton program.  The argument could be made that Hardy never really received his automatic rematch and don’t get me wrong, this will be a fine match.  My hunch is that Hardy is still dealing with some injuries, so this will be fairly brief, with Nakamura retaining, due to Orton’s interference. This will give Hardy another month to recover before we get the inevitable showdown with Orton, or perhaps a triple threat title match, if you want to keep Nakamura in the mix.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Shinsuke Nakamura retains the WWE United States Championship

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods)

Topline Thoughts: I’m surprised they put the New Day in the title slot here, as I thought for sure we’d see the Bar winning the Smackdown Tag Team Tournament.  That would have been a fresher match, but with the New Day being popular in New York, I guess it made sense to give them a spotlight match on the card.  This will be fun with the Bludgeons retaining.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Bludgeon Brothers retain the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Singles Match: Daniel Bryan meets the Miz

Topline Thoughts: If you’re a wrestler or on a creative team, this is how you tell a compelling story.  The three-part video series, which aired this past week on Smackdown was pure magic and really built the excitement for this match. And, frankly, I think there is legitimate heat between these two, making this even more compelling.  I think this is just the beginning, and I think we’re getting the shock of the night, with a Miz win, further fueling Daniel Bryan contract rumors.  But, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.  I just think we’ll have to wait a bit to see Bryan finally get his redemption.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Miz defeats Daniel Bryan

Singles Match: Braun Strowman meets Kevin Owens

*If Braun Strowman loses in any way, he loses his Money in the Bank contract*

Topline Thoughts: This was another instance where I wondered why they went back to this after the cage match last month but putting the Money in the Bank contract on the line was a nice touch.  I think it’s just a smoke screen, as Strowman will win, but there’s always the chance that at the end of the night our new champion is Kevin Owens, which would be pure gold.  I really don’t think that’s where we are headed, so I don’t want to get my hopes up.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Braun Strowman defeats Kevin Owens

Singles Match: Finn Balor meets Baron Corbin

Topline Thoughts: I’m not a fan of the story they are telling here, where Corbin can beat Balor because he’s smaller.  I don’t think they know what to do with Balor at this point, hence they’re putting them in these clunky angles.  Based on last week, this could be a way we get the Demon on the show, but I think they should save that for when it truly matters.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Finn Balor defeats Baron Corbin

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match/Pre-Show: Cedric Alexander defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Drew Gulak

Topline Thoughts: They’ve done a great job building Gulak into a credible challenger and while I don’t see a title change here, I do hope they find a way to keep him strong.  His ground-based character is a nice contrast to the high-flying style of the division, so I hope they find a way to keep him relevant.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Cedric Alexander retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match/Pre-Show: The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson)

Topline Thoughts: I love that they’re finally doing something with the Revival and selfishly, I want to see them win the titles here, hence my pick.  Unfortunately, I don’t know where they would go from here, as the division is sorely depleted.  Plus, if the goal is to immediately put the titles on the Authors of Pain, I’d rather them keep the titles where they are for now.  Nevertheless, I’ll go with a title change and hope for the best.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Revival wins the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

Mixed Tag Team Match/Pre-Show: Rusev and Lana meet Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

Topline Thoughts: Both teams deserve a better story, though this will be mildly entertaining, despite Lana being “challenged” in the ring.  I do respect her willingness to keep trying to get better. Almas has a great upside and I think Vega’s strength is as a mouthpiece for now.  She can and will be a great performer, but really think she stands out as Almas’ advocate, so I’d love to see a greater focus on that.  I expect Aiden English to accidentally cost Rusev and Lana the match to further the story.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega defeat Rusev and Lana

Follow me on Twitter: @DonThePredictor    

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