I’m not going to get to see either NXT Takeover Brooklyn IV or Summersam 2018 live as they happen this year because the summer of “My wife and I have plans every single minute of every single weekend” has struck again, and I’m going to be out Saturday AND Sunday night. So shh! Don’t spoil either for me; I’ll try to watch them both as soon as possible.
Saturday is night is a two-for, because not only am I missing NXT Takeover, but I’ll be missing my FIRST NIGHT EVER recording podcast goodness for you. Looks like Chad and Andy and a guest of some sort will be handling that night? Don’t worry, Stew World Order-ites; I’ll let you know what episodes those are going to be so you can skip them. Where will I be that evening? Well, it’s one of my friend’s birthday parties, so I’ll be out with him and his friends, but I will also allegedly be getting a tattoo. I think? I don’t know; it seems painful. I have had zero in my life up to this point, but now I am getting bullied into getting one. We’ll see how it goes…
Sunday night is what my wife calls our annual “Fancy Picnic” where we go to a park that does an outdoor ballet presentation, and for some god damn reason, EVERY SINGLE YEAR, they schedule it the same night as Summerslam. For one, who does these things on Sundays? For two… there are so many other days in the summer/early fall! Come on!
Ah well. Fancy Picnic it is (unless it rains! Will it rain? What’s my phone say? Oh, my phone says Lightning Bolt on Sunday! ).
ANYWAY, leading into WWE’s… second (…? third?) biggest show of the year, we’re got prognostications for you!
EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream
NXT Women’s Title Match: Champion Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane
NXT Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Undisputed Era vs. Moustache Mountain
NXT North American Title Match: Champion Adam Cole vs. Ricochet
NXT Title – Last man Standing Match: Champion Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano
Kickoff Show Match: Rusev and Lana vs. Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almas
From a world title shot at Extreme Rules to a mixed match pre-show contest at SummerSlam, I guess this isn’t one of the better Rusev Days in recent memory. I wish this was just Ru vs Almas with the ladies at ringside, but you take what you can get. Whether cleanly or through some botched Aiden English spot, Almas and Vega are sure to grab the win here. I suppose it’s possible Lana gets a pin on Vega, but that doesn’t progress anything, so nah. Not going to psych myself out.
WINNER: Andrade and Zelina
Kickoff Show Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival vs. Champions The B Team
Talk about a tease. We all want a Revival title win here, but we aren’t about to get it. Dash and Dawson are just a segue feud for the B-Team as they transition from winning the titles from the Deleters of Worlds to losing them to the Authors of Pain. Dash, Dawson, and all their proud Southern people deserve better, but they aren’t getting it on this show. The story of the B-Team putting together a hot streak before they run into the Unstoppable Force of the AoP isn’t bad (as long as the Authors are allowed a long, dominant run), but the idea of watching The Revival fall to Axel and Dallas is… I need to lie down and watch some 2017 NXT…
WINNER: The B-Team
Kickoff Show WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak vs. Champion Cedric Alexander
I’m WAY behind on my full episodes of 205 Live these days, as work Ghost matters has kept me from watching nearly as much wrestling as I would like (remember how I said during the NXT preview that I am also behind on the G1?). That said, this seems like Gulag’s time. He has turned in a great body of work for 2018 from his humorous Power Point attempts to his current turn as a more brutal grounder, and he really deserves the title for all he has done.
WINNER: Drew Gulak
Money in the Bank Contract On the Line: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
Real talk? I hate the idea of the Money In The Bank contract being something that should be defended. It takes away from the importance of the match itself if WWE is going to throw out the occasional mulligan. To my memory, only Mr. Kennedy ever lost a briefcase, and that was due to real life injury, so there’s no issue to be had there historically. I’m happy WWE hasn’t (to my memory) had MitB change hands since then, and I hope that trend continues here. I didn’t think Braun needed the briefcase, but he won it, so let’s see where this can go. Hopefully it goes all the way to, oh let’s say, the main event of this very show. Owens hasn’t proven to be a REAL threat to Braun yet, so while this could be a swerve… eh, I don’t think it will be.
WINNER: Braun Strowman
Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
Might we get a demon sighting here? I’m not sure why on Earth we would do this match yet again unless we do something different. Has anyone been clamoring for Balor/Corbin III or IV or XII or whatever this is without any new strings attached? On the other hand… WOW, what a waste of The Demon this would be! Against Corbin in a nothing match? I don’t know… I’m down on this one, sorry. I feel like WWE is actively trying to make me not care about Finn with this feud. So even if it’s a meaningless appearance, hopefully we see The Demon to remind us all that, oh right, that’s a thing he does sometimes.
WINNER: Finn Balor
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
Now we are talking. If I had my druthers, I would still have preferred they held off this encounter until Wrestlemania (AND made it for the WWE title), but the build up has been so good–and there is just so much history to play off of–I’m just happy WWE is giving us a quality set-up. Those videos they ran on Smackdown hyping this match? If you can’t get excited for this one, forget having a pulse… you might never have been born. Onto my thoughts: Miz almost has to take this one in some kind of crooked, underhanded manner. Probably Maryse gets involved so that Brie can come back and join in the action for future encounters, but this storyline has the clearest path forward with Miz stealing one from Bryan. Keep the fans anticipating Daniel’s revenge!
WINNER: The Miz
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins
Boy, I wish Rollins were in the main event and not here. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this bout; I’m just not really enamored of it, either. It feels like in the last two months or so, we have seen it and variations on it far too many times. This one has Dean Ambrose in play, though, to even the odds. I think Ambrose stays in Rollins’ corner and helps him win the title. They spend a few months working together… until the Lunatic Fringe gets tired of playing second fiddle to Rollins as a titleholder, and that’s when he attacks Seth. Play up some kind of “I came back, but all anyone cared about was YOU and your Intercontinental title!” jealousy for a simple formula and let them go to work. Not sure where that leaves Dolph and McIntyre aside from a few tag matches after SummerSlam before Dean’s villainy comes to fruition, but eh.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
WWE United States Championship Match: Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy
Randy’s not in this match? Huh. Seems weird. This build has been much more about him than it has been Nakamura. This seems like a placeholder until we get the Triple Threat match that I expected would be here. Nakamura retains, and this may well be another brief affair like their Extreme Rules match (maybe Randy RKO’s Jeff before the match or something?).
WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: Champions The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day
After Wrestlemania, I thought WWE was set on the Smackdown tag team title scene. The Bludgeons came in, destroyed everything, and almost effortlessly won the straps. All that was required–all they needed to do–was let these beast continue running roughshod over the entire roster and build a lengthy run as monster champs. Instead, they settled into the background. They appeared infrequently, and just didn’t seem like a big deal. It hasn’t been a failure of a reign, but it hasn’t been a force of nature making turn, either. Could New Day win here as some kind of reset by getting the belts back into hands the WWE trusts? It could happen. But I have to have faith that WWE can still salvage some star-making potential with the Bludgeons. I think they take this in a “safe” match on a big stage where no one who would be a fresh opponent to the BB’s has to take the L.
WINNER: The Bludgeon Brothers
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Champion Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair
WWE is writing a narrative here, but it’s not the one the fans think they are reading. This match seems like the story of Becky Lynch. The Horsewoman who is the most beloved by the crowd all these years into their careers–the one who never seemed to really get out of the gate, but never felt stale of directionless, either–feels like the protagonist of this tale, having to overcome her friend and a conniving champ to get the belt. But I guarantee you that WWE sees this as Charlotte’s story. It’s her return from injury to reclaim a belt that was stolen from her, and she even has to get by her ally to get it. Am I being pessimistic? Maybe. But it really feels to me like WWE and the fans are on far different pages here. And when in doubt, I just assume Charlotte is going to win everything.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs. Champion Alexa Bliss
There’s a possibility that Alexa retains to drag this out a bit further, but I have a feeling that WWE is champing at the bit to get the championship on Ronda. Ronda’s already had her coronation delayed once, and oddly, beating Alexa for it will mean a lot more than beating Nia. The latter is an also-ran who, until this year’s ‘Mania, always came up short in big bouts; the former is someone who’s been a champion since pretty much her call up to the main roster. Nia may be the more physically imposing, but dethroning Alexa has more prestige.
WINNER: Ronda Rousey
WWE Championship Match: Champion AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
This one should be pretty good, right? I feel like I should be more hesitant here, because Styles/Nakamura never hit the heights a lot of fans expected (though I thought the last two matches were better than a lot of others did), and Joe recently had a DUD with Roman (who is usually eminently carryable by good opponents)… but I don’t care. I think these two are going to bring a lot of intensity. I may be a sucker, but I think this is the hardest match at Summerslam to predict. Joe SHOULD win, but Styles’ run has been terrific, so why end it? And besides, Nakamura was “supposed” to beat AJ, too. I wouldn’t be surprised by almost any outcome here. It’s my mental coin flip of the night.
WINNER: Eh, Joe feels like a SAFER pick, let’s do that.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
Seriously? Who even knows? Am I going to be the idiot that says “Yeah, Roman was definitely going to win the last three times this match happened, but this time he’s DEFINITELY definitely going to win!” It feel’s like a fool’s errand to be that guy. But then… isn’t this what WWE wants us to think? Just when we think “Hey, maybe it’s safe to assume Roman WON’T win the title” is exactly when they’ll put the damn title on him. So I don’t know. All I know is that Obi-Braun Kenobi is our only chance of this match being worthwhile; whether he cashes in during (a la Seth Rollins) or in the immediate aftermath. It’s probably too obvious to pick that cash-in, too, but eh… I guess I’m a sucker.
WINNER: Don’t know, but Braun is leaving as champion.