Posted August 23rd, 2020 by Bill Apter


By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Over the past several months, as we’ve become accustomed to “pandemic” wrestling, I haven’t always looked forward to writing these articles. No, I’m not giving up on the business. Yes, it’s still been a distraction to everything that’s going on in the world. But, as much as these companies are trying to find creative ways to give us some kind of “fan” experience, it’s just been lackluster. And with that, we’ve also had to deal with some outlandish cinematic matches and over-the-top booking decisions that’s really changed the way we’ve thought about and watched professional wrestling. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is up to the individual viewer, but for me, it’s been harder for me to find solid storylines that have caused me to anticipate the pay-per-views. All that being said, I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed the build to the 33rd SummerSlam, and there are a number of matches that I am looking forward to. In addition, the debut of WWE Thunderdome on the last episode of Smackdown brings us as close to what we’re used to as we can hope at this stage. There are still some kinks to work out, but overall, I was impressed by what I saw. Now then – let’s run down the card!

Drew McIntyre retains the WWE Championship over Randy Orton: Randy Orton has been producing some of the best work of his career, beginning with Edge’s return in January and extending through this latest program with McIntyre. I could actually defend a scenario where Orton wins the title and that would be fine. But Orton is part of a group of a small handful of talent where they don’t need the title to be a main event player. The same can’t be said for Drew and I don’t think it’s time to take the title off of him. Expect a great match to back up the solid promos and storyline that built it. And expect some kind of interference or non-finish to set up a return match at WWE Payback next weekend.

“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt wins the WWE Universal Championship over Braun Strowman: I’m ready to move on from this feud and frankly, the story has been a bit of a mess. Am I supposed to boo Strowman? Is the “Fiend” actually the hero? What roles do Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross play in this? Has this been built in a way that makes me care? However, this plays out, I see Wyatt regain the title. I can also see a teased Bliss heel turn being a swerve, with Nikki Cross revealed to be aligned with Wyatt.

Asuka wins the WWE Raw Women’s Championship over Sasha Banks and fails to defeat Bayley for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: I decided to cover this all in one section, rather than going match-by-match in order to outline my thinking in one thought. I do like that they’ve built this story by focusing on the fact that whoever faces Asuka second has a distinct advantage. In this case, that’s Banks, so one would think that Bayley would drop her belt. However, if I look at Raw’s and Smackdown’s women’s divisions, I think it makes more sense to keep Asuka primarily on Raw with the Women’s title, than it would be to move her over to Smackdown. On Raw, they’ve already established potential stories for Asuka with Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and eventually Charlotte Flair, whereas Smackdown’s more limited division needs Bayley and Banks as the drivers. For these two matches, I see Banks helping Bayley to retain, while a miscue by Bayley will likely cost Banks her title, further advancing the story where the pair eventually split.

Andrade and Angel Garza win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship over The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins/Montez Ford): There was a time where I’d be excited for this match, but the Montez Ford poisoning story has done nothing for me. Plus, WWE seems to be following its classic formula of having the challengers lose regularly in the weeks leading up to the title change to establish them as vulnerable during their eventual title run.

MVP wins the WWE United States Championship over Apollo Crews: This is another classic WWE swerve. MVP’s “Hurt Business” colleagues, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin are banned from ringside, leading one to believe that it’s smooth sailing for Crews. Let’s not forget Cedric Alexander who was jilted by Crews on Monday night. I’m thinking that Alexander costs Crews the title and the “Hurt Business” gets a new member.

Dominik Mysterio defeats Seth Rollins in a Street Fight: The “street fight” stipulation was put in place to protect the loser. This will be a weapon-filled brawl that will likely see Rollins get distracted by Rey Mysterio, causing Dominik to get the win. This will also set up a return tag team match at WWE Payback next weekend between Seth Rollins/Murphy and Rey/Dominik. I’m curious to see Dominik’s training prowess; however, between the street fight and an eventual tag team match, it looks like they’re protecting him a bit more before he’s put in a traditional one-on-one match.

Mandy Rose defeats Sonya Deville in a No-DQ/Loser Leaves WWE Match: It’s nice to see a decent women’s match that doesn’t have a championship at stake. I liked the “hair vs. hair” situation and I’m not sure how to feel about the “Loser Leaves WWE” stipulation. Since this is wrestling, it won’t be long term, but given recent events involving Deville, I’m guessing that she’s taking time away to deal with them. She’s really been delivering and I think she has tremendous upside, so I wish her the best and look forward to her return, if this is the case. For Rose, I think, slowly but surely, she’s beginning the climb to the title picture and I’d like to start seeing her in there in more serious matches with higher-caliber opponents.

Category: Wrestling.

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