Here Are Your WWE SummerSlam 2017 Predictions & Analysis

WWE SummerSlam 2017 — the biggest party of the summer, not counting all those festivals or any really nice birthday parties — airs this Sunday, August 20, live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, on WWE Network. The six-hour show (good lord) features matches for every main roster championship except the Intercontinental Championship, for some reason.

Here’s the complete card as we know it.

WWE SummerSlam 2017 Card:

1. Universal Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns

2. WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

3. United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens with special guest referee Shane McMahon

4. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks

5. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (c) vs. Natalya

6. Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

7. Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos

8. John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

9. Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt

10. Enzo Amore Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: Big Cass vs. Big Show

11. Randy Orton vs. Rusev

12. Cruiserweight Championship Match: Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville

The With Spandex crew will be live in the building for the event, but we’ll also be here as always with our live thread, live results and post-show coverage. We’re also hitting you a little earlier than usual with our analysis and predictions to get you hype for the event. It will take up 1/4 of your entire day!

Here’s what we think will go down at SummerSlam. Be sure to drop down into our comments section and let us know who you think’s winning what.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville

What Should Happen: The match that was supposed to inhabit this spot ended up happening on Raw, with Tozawa taking the Cruiserweight Championship from Neville six days before SummerSlam. Switching the title back on SummerSlam now would be a very WCW Road Wild thing for them to do.

While Neville on top of the division has been as good as the WWE cruiserweight division gets, the character work he’s done since the loss, both online and on 205 Live, has been brilliant. Ideally we give these guys a little bit of time, have Tozawa retain to give him some legs, and continue forward with Neville exploring new avenues for his character.

What Will Happen: That, I think. With a four-hour show plus a two-hour pre-show it’s hard for anything other than the main events to feel like they have any gravity, so I hope guys like Tozawa and Neville at least get to get in some good work if they’re loaded into the front half of the Kickoff.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – It’s 50-50 here on whether Neville gets his title back or Tozawa retains and Neville hopefully transcends the cruiserweight division and calls himself King of the Superheavyweights or something. Delusional badass Neville is something I can get behind. I’ll say Tozawa retains, but even typing that feels like a horrible jinx decision.

Scott Heisel – I’m stoked they put the title on Tozawa, though the fact that they did it a week early instead of waiting for SummerSlam sure makes it seem like Neville is gonna f*ck his day up and take it right back. Considering how purposely terrible Neville looked on 205 Live, I really hope they make him look like the goddamned Night King for SummerSlam for added intensity.

LaToya Ferguson – After seeing 205 Live this week, I need broken (not to be confused with BROKEN) Neville to last a little bit longer. The man looked absolutely destroyed by his loss, it was rough stuff (roof stoof, even), and to have him just grab the title back after that would be… very WWE. Still, Tozawa to retain.

Chris Trew – Neville doesn’t need me to say this but Neville is the best and should win every match he’s ever in and if any of you disagree then I’m willing to fight you. Have you seen the man’s Twitter feed?

Joe Starr – Tozawa defends and Titus steers him and Apollo towards the Raw tag titles. Friendship is fun to watch.

Danielle Matheson – Mad King Neville vs precious Mad Blankey baby Tozawa is a feud i need in my life, but also a thing that makes me all tense and nervous all over my body. Let’s say Tozawa, because … y’know. Tozawa <3

John Canton – There’s no reason for Tozawa to drop the title back after he won it on Monday. The only reason I see it as a mild possibility is because there aren’t a lot of heels for him to feud with after Neville. Enjoy the Kickoff Show, fellas.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

What Should Happen: Rusev should break Randy Orton in half, then spend the next several minutes lecturing him on how stupid it is to wrestle in a ring full of bugs, a haunted house or a Punjabi Prison.

What Will Happen: Randy Orton’s 2017 has been absolutely abysmal, at least since WrestleMania, so this feels like an extreme rehab job to get him a watchable match and give him a strong win. I love Rusev, but it feels like there’s no way to rationalize him winning here. The match is only happening because he said he wanted a match, and Orton showed up and said, “sure.” That’s the entire build. They worked in a couple of sneak attacks this week, sure, but there’s nothing really connecting them.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Poor Rusev. Poor, poor Rusev. He had all that time off waiting to return from injury, and his job when he came back is to lose to the two biggest stars on Smackdown on consecutive pay-per-views because they didn’t have anything else to do. As always (as ALWAYS), Rusev deserves better. It’s going to be a very sad match, because it will just be like eight minutes of waiting for that RKO we all know is going to come. I will only accept the outcome of this match if Orton delivers the RKO by dropping down off the giant Russian flag with Rusev’s face on it.

Scott Heisel – Handsome Rusev hasn’t won on PPV since Battleground 2016. No, that’s not a typo: Dude’s last PPV victory was 14 months ago, when he submitted Zack Ryder. Randy Orton’s four-month PPV losing streak ain’t nothing compared to that. RuRu goes over, please and thank you.

LaToya Ferguson – And with this, I’m still saying BOO-S-A. I remember this feud starting, as Rusev called for a challenge, but I can’t say I actually remember this feud existing. Randy Orton wins because since Rusev doesn’t have two tiny Bulgarian brothers on his payroll, Randy won’t get confused about who he’s supposed to be fighting.

Chris Trew – Here’s hoping Rusev finishes off Orton with an accolade so cocked back that at least twelve of the two thousand skulls tattooed on Randy’s arms pop off and form a stable for Rusev to order around. Also here’s hoping that Rusev gets to drive a No Limit tank into Wrestlemania New Orleans because I’m boycotting if not.

Joe Starr – I mean, Rusev should have every title in the company. He should drive out on that tank with straps on his arms like that one Ultimo Dragon pic. Randy probably wins because fdsgkfdjgfkdhfhf but Rusev always wins in my heart.

Danielle Matheson – RUSEV CRUSH.

John Canton – Poor Rusev. It would be nice if he got the win here, but Randy Orton lost three straight PPV matches to Jinder Mahal. None of them were clean, of course. Gotta keep Randall strong! I don’t see Orton losing this match even though he should. Remember three months ago when Rusev was doing promos about getting a WWE Title match? Not happening.

Enzo Amore Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: Big Cass vs. Big Show

What Should Happen: Big Cass should climb onto Big Show’s shoulders, stand up, grab the bottom of Enzo’s shark cage and pull it down. I just want to see if that’s doable.

What Will Happen: Of all the matches that should’ve happened on a weekly show and been forgotten for pay-per-view, it’s this one. The point of any “guy in a shark cage above the ring” match is that it’s supposed to keep him from interfering, but doesn’t. It’s usually done with heels, so having Enzo as a face up there is strange. Maybe give him a microphone while he’s hanging up there? But yeah, no, the only way this works is if they reveal there is a heel up there, Enzo turns on Show somehow, and we reunite the Realest Guys In The Room as (1) heels (2) with an edge (3) who are not floundering helplessly as singles guys.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Man, who even cares? The Club is probably going to get involved and officially form the Cass Club or whatever, and maybe then we can finally move on from all of this. Bonus points if Enzo at any point tumbles out of the cage in a horrifying fashion but no one gets hurt.

Scott Heisel –

LaToya Ferguson – We all lose and realize we were actually the true “BIG ASS” all along.

Chris Trew – Why isn’t this called a “Show-Cass of the Immortals”? Why is Enzo in a shark cage as opposed to a fish net? Why am I most looking forward to this match? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. (I hope Enzo doesn’t have a microphone in the shark cage)

Joe Starr – wait is this a real match still? they’re doing this?


Danielle Matheson – I really feel bad for Enzo, but honestly just because I’m short and mediocre and enjoy surrounding myself with giant pro wrestler friends. Cass will win, unless Enzo can squeeze himself through the bars like the dude in that one creepy X-Files episode that seems to be the only one that plays in syndication.

John Canton – Can we just scrap this match, move The Miz back to Smackdown where he belongs and have him wrestle Sami Zayn in an IC Title match instead? Please and thank you. Oh yeah, Cass wins because he “broke” Big Show’s hand. Thanks to WWE for booking a bathroom break match for us.

Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt

What Should Happen:

What Will Happen: It’s the Demon Bálor. Bray Wyatt shouldn’t even get a move in. Bonus points if Finn’s paint looks different from the same basic Demon Bálor design we’ve seen, or if he integrates that weird bucket of arrabiata from Raw.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Look, mommy. The demon beat the braidman. I HATE THE BRAIDMAN.

Scott Heisel – There was nothing dumber about this feud than when Finn insinuated he may bring the Demon back for this SummerSlam match, and then WWE trampled all over that subtlety and announced “THE DEMON WILL RETURN THIS SUNDAY!” as if that’s gonna garner up any more Network subs. Absolutely pointless foot-shooting right there. Finn wins, and please send Bray back to NXT to do anything other than be “Ineffective Heel No. 3” on Raw if the rumors of the SuperStar Shake-Weight returning is true.

LaToya Ferguson – Give me a a 10 minute “viscous, acidic red fluid” gun fight between two embarrassing cosplayers who never fully commit. (I mean, come on. That’s kind of what they are.)

Chris Trew – Have you heard the one about airplane food? The one about the annoying mother in law? The one about how Bray Wyatt doesn’t ever win? I’ve heard them all and I’m ready to enjoy a big Bray Wyatt victory while streaming Summerslam in the sky munching on gourmet surf and turf that someone’s sweet mother in law cooked up.

Joe Starr – Oh yay here comes the Demon. Bray Wyatt is about to lose to the high school football player who realized his last semester that he loved theatre class and had only one opportunity to show the world, so he dresses up in a costume and crawls out of the tunnel at the homecoming game and does all of the theatre things he learned all at once. Finn Balor wins and also watches some tapes of the Undertaker doing literally nothing and still being terrifying. And then I come to terms with how much I love Finn Balor while being equally frustrated with Finn Balor, the man that I love.

Danielle Matheson – It would be super cool if Bray Wyatt could fight demons and win instead of just trying to fight people for the Devil’s affection, y’know? Finn wins because, y’know, it’s Bray Wyatt.

John Canton – The dreaded 50/50 booking will strike again after Wyatt won on Raw and Balor should win here. I don’t think WWE is going to have Balor bust out the “Demon” look just to lose. Wyatt remains in midcard limbo.

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

What Should Happen: I might be pulling a Billy Joel here and going to extremes, but the only way for Baron Corbin to save face after Tuesday’s most embarrassing Money in the Bank cash-in in history is to absolutely MAUL John Cena.

Cena’s leaving again soon to shoot Transformers and such, right? Corbin needs to enter this match with true rage, not frowny-faced WWE heel rage, and like, kayfabe break Cena’s neck or something. Just brutalize him. Toss him into a meat grinder or something. Ending this dude’s existence in a misguided attempt to explain away a loss that is totally Baron Corbin’s fault is the only way Baron Corbin can be a threat again. Build him up as a guy who makes dumb decisions, then gets upset and takes it out on everybody else.

What Will Happen:

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Now they’ve got bad blood! Now we’ve got problems! I don’t think they can solve them, folks. Corbin proved his idiocy on Tuesday by unsuccessfully cashing in Money in the Bank, and he’s going to wholeheartedly blame John Cena for his failure. Cena is going to Nexus Corbin so hard at SummerSlam that Corbin will somehow end up under a pile of folding chairs. My only request before Corbin loses is that he tells Cena to go back to UPW.

Scott Heisel – John Cena’s last win at SummerSlam was in 2010, over the Nexus in a 7-on-7 match that by all accounts he should have lost after being DDTed on the exposed cement. Since then, he has been paying off his karmic debt to each member, one SummerSlam loss at a time, without even realizing it, as Wade Barrett secretly placed a hex upon him following the conclusion of the main event. This year will mark Cena’s seventh consecutive SummerSlam loss — one for each member of the Nexus — thus freeing him of the Nexus Curse. Expect his 17th world title reign to start at SummerSlam 2018. I’m only 30% kidding about any of this.

LaToya Ferguson – Is Baron Corbin the first WWE Superstar to have his decrease in social media prowess lead to a possible de-push? Like, he’s been downright terrible in Twitter feuds lately, losing to other wrestlers, army vets, and even throwing out “Your girl didn’t complain last night” type responses, which… oof. And as for his time with the Money In The Bank briefcase, it went from “oh yeah, he has that and hasn’t even gotten around to customizing it with wolves and flames” to “the most embarrassing cash-in ever.” If there were ever an argument for the return of the one true wrestling program known as Talking Smack, it would be Corbin’s descent into dumpster fire post-cancelation. Oh yeah, the match! Cena wins, making his terrible SummerSlam track record a little less terrible.

Chris Trew – Here’s hoping Baron Corbin displays enough ruthless aggression to make this competitive. I wish this was a hair vs. hair match where the loser had to adopt the hair style of the winner.

Joe Starr – John Cena, jack. unless Baron finally gets angry enough to turn into a werewolf finally.

Danielle Matheson – Haha what? Sure. John Cena, because his terrible jorts are still better than any pants situation Corbin has ever been a part of.

John Canton – Corbin should get the win because Cena played a part in distracting him in Corbin’s WWE Title match cash-in failure. However, Cena is likely moving to Raw after SummerSlam and could have a feud with a guy like Samoa Joe (for example), so I can see Cena getting the win. Corbin losing here would hurt him just like his title loss on Smackdown.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos

What Should Happen: These teams blew away the rest of the show at Battleground, so let ’em do it again. It doesn’t matter who wins if the match is great. Having said that …

What Will Happen: New Day retains, right? Long title reigns are built into their presentation, and the Usos pinned them in a non-title match on Tuesday. They couldn’t have telegraphed it any harder. I think the thing I want most from this is for the New Day to retain, decide that E and Woods are the default Tag Team Champions, and position Kofi to go for a singles title. He’s been around too long and done too much work to be Third Guy.

Also, as an unabashed Day One Ish Usos supporter, I would be extremely happy to be wrong and celebrate an Usos title win.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – If there’s any justice, the white-hot Usos will regain their tag titles and defend them against a reinvigorated Breezango on the next pay-per-view. New Day retains!

Scott Heisel – “The Usos have pinned the Smackdown tag team champions!” Pretty much says it all, right? New Day retains.

LaToya Ferguson – Supposedly the delightful Cathy Kelley mentioned on the WWE Snapchat (a thing I do not have access to and do not care for) that this match will be on the kick-off show. 1. What? 2. Didn’t we all learn not to take the whole “The kick-off show is just as much the real thing” argument seriously even on big shows after the WrestleMania Kick-Off Show/home video debacle? The matches these two teams put on are absolute tag team magic, and it’s insulting to have them on the kick-off show. (I don’t know why I’m complaining this much. I always watch and mostly enjoy the kick-off show. But perception matters!) New Day retains, probably having the match of the night while also being the first match of the night, and we suffer through the other 19 hours of this show, waiting for sweet release. And Mae Young Classic bracketology!

Joe Starr – The only way this one holds my interest is if they play Fashion Police bits in the corner. New Day wins this probably.

Danielle Matheson – NEW! DAY RETAINS!

John Canton – This needed to be a ladder match or have some kind of stipulation. Why do the same tag title match at three straight PPVs? It feels too repetitive. If New Day wins, which I think they will, who are they left to feud with? Get hyped for The New Day vs. The Ascension! It’s not exactly a riveting scenario, is it? Maybe these teams will have more PPV matches since there’s not much behind them as far as Smackdown teams. Also, this is going on the Kickoff Show. I guess I may have to watch it to see this.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

What Should Happen: Dean Ambrose finally stops being WWE’s softest wrestler and comes correct. That’s all I need from this. The guy hasn’t had legs or balls or whatever it is that makes you a serious character or serious threat since like, the Triple H feud. Reuniting 2/3 of the Shield felt like a big deal on Raw, especially since the next part of that conversation is them sauntering up to Roman Reigns and getting the band back together. So no matter what happens, please, please give me that hard-edge, violent, exciting and apparently good at pro wrestling Dean Ambrose that felt like he was gonna be the breakout star of the group. If Ambrose shines and the rest of the match blows, I’ll still count it as a victory.

What Will Happen: There’s no reason to keep the titles on Sheamus and Cesaro, right? Most of Raw’s tag teams are heels, and Rollins and Ambrose are suddenly the hottest acts on your show again. Tear it up, burn it down (or whatever), and give the Fist Pals a reason to trust each other and stick together for a while. Plus, you’ve got a built in rematch with a team that should be able to produce stellar matches every time out.

Also, Rollins and Ambrose winning sets up a great moment no matter your perspective. If you’re optimistic, they reform their team, bring Reigns back in to make him popular amongst uptight smarks again, and dominate. If you’re pessimistic, or nihilistic I guess, they reform their team, try to bring Roman back into the fold and get their asses kicked for being in his yard.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Fun fact: if Ambrose and Rollins win the titles on Sunday, Ambrose will become the first member of the Shield to capture the WWE Grand Slam. So … that’s what will happen on Sunday. BUT CAN THEY COEXIST

Scott Heisel – The Fisting That Re-Launched A Thousand Creepy Slash-Fic Tumblrs vs. Two Guys With Nothing Better Going On. Seth and Dean shouldn’t win the first time out, so I’m predicting some sort of DQ finish in which the Fist Bros win but Sheamus and Cesaro retain.

LaToya Ferguson – This match (and feud) is fan fiction (or sexy fantasy warfare, if you will) come to life, and even though it has dumb little WWE things like Sheamus and Cesaro jumping Amberos and Rollins when they’re already beating the chest hair off each other, it’s hard not to be hyped for this. Seamus and Cesaro retaining keeps them dominant — provided it wouldn’t be the dumbest win ever — but I think Ambrose and Rollins is the way to go. That would be a way to really shake up (please let’s never do another Superstar Shake-Up again — drafts exist for a reason) the RAW tag team division, and it would keep two of their stars doing something fresh while not in the main event (read: away from The Miz, bless his heart).

Chris Trew – I dislike singles competitors being mashed together for tag team matches but alas, this one makes more sense than most. But it doesn’t feel like the most important thing to any of these 4 wrestlers so it’s kind of a let down. Sheamus and Cesaro should win because…because…I guess mostly because Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins shouldn’t.

Joe Starr – I love this match. I want it to wake Dean Ambrose up because its something he maybe cares about and I want it to steal the show. Ambrose and Rollins for the win here. Cement them into the tag division. Again, heel Shield reunion. I know everyone thinks Bray is gonna fight the broken Hardys but what if Senor Benjamin was digging graves for the Shield?

Danielle Matheson – Precious muscle boys forever. Dean and Seth will probably win and people will feel okay about wearing their Shield shirts again but I love Sheamus and Cesaro too much to ever pick against them. Also Dean and Seth’s friendship is fake matching kilt friendship is real as hell.

John Canton – It’s one of my favorite matches on the card because it’s fresh. The crowd should be hot for Ambrose and Rollins on the same side because fans today love reunions even if The Shield was only broken up three years ago, which isn’t that long. I’m leaning towards a title change. Putting Seth and Dean together to have them lose doesn’t make sense to me.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (c) vs. Natalya

What Should Happen: Naomi wins with a roll-up in 10 seconds and James Ellsworth steals Carmella’s briefcase to cash it in for a United States Championship match against AJ Styles. Or just the first part.

What Will Happen: This is about as filler as it gets. With Corbin’s failed cash-in on Tuesday, you’ve got to think Carmella cashes in here and keeps Money in the Bank feeling like a relevant concept. If they’re smart, they could have Natalya take Naomi to the limit but lose, then have Tamina show up and maul Naomi trying to get a title shot, then have Carmella cash in. That way you’ve already got 2-3 viable enemies for champ Carmella, and you recreate Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss with Tamina/Carmella, because Tamina’s goal right now is to be Additional Nia Jax.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – As a reminder, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are not on this show. Naomi will retain, and Carmella will cash in. Then there will be NO Monies Within The Confines Of The Bank, and we can all move on with our lives. Such as they are.

Scott Heisel – Naomi retains, Carmella cashes in, Ellsworth interferes for good measure, and we have a new Smackdown Women’s Champion!

LaToya Ferguson – Let’s play a game and pretend Natalya is going to win. Now, once you’ve imagined that: You lose. Why on Earth would you imagine Natalya winning? It’s actually kind of frustrating — though it takes a lot to put any amount of energy into actually feeling anything about this — that WWE and SmackDown hasn’t tried even a little to pretend this is a real or captivating feud. Will they even have any material for a video package here. SummerSlam is the second biggest show of the year, the WrestleMania of summer. Every match on the card should have a big fight or even just a big exhibition feel. This is embarrassing, really. Where’s the gif of Naomi slapping Carmella? I need my happy place back.

Chris Trew – I hope Natalya wins this match but I know she won’t because she doesn’t have the same pop as Naomi. I’m so certain of my sad prediction here that this is my Venmo Challenge of the Show™. If Natalya wins the title and I’m wrong I’m Venmo’ing $1 to every person who tweets me (@christrew) a screencap of this sentence. Gulp.

Joe Starr – There was a time somewhere between making her a manager and making her fart and making her Khali’s sidepiece where the time had come to take Nattie seriously and let her lead the division. That time has passed. This is Naomi’s year. I want her to defeat Natalya so decisively that she earns a last name.

Danielle Matheson – FEEL THE GLOW OF 3.0! Sorry. Habit. Naomi retains because oh my god of course she does.

John Canton – It’s just an average feud without much in the way of a storyline. I’m happy Natalya got a title feud, but there’s not much of a story. I feel like WWE’s creative team could have done more to make people care about it. Naomi retains her title and I don’t think Carmella will cash in MITB either.

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks

What Should Happen: If I’m booking this, I play off the finish of their previous pay-per-view championship match — Bliss losing by count-out — and have Bliss (and possibly Nia) beat down Sasha at ringside, slide in at the 9-count and WIN by count-out. It’s cheap, but it psychologically kills a little more time before Nia Jax has had enough and throws Alexa Bliss through the moon.

What Will Happen: One thing WWE loves is booking a match, having someone get injured or suspended or whatever, then watching the Internet assume that since the replacement wasn’t the original participant in the match, they’re going to lose. Then they pull the trigger and have them WIN, because that’s their very favorite “you didn’t expect this!” So no matter how hard we’re building to Jax/Bliss, my years living with WWE booking makes me think Sasha wins, the Raw Women’s Championship feud defaults back to Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, and Bliss and Jax end up being perma-buddies who never fight each other for the championship. Or hey, maybe Nia eventually wins it on her own, Bliss wants a title shot, and Jax ducks her a bunch to make her feel like an a-hole.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – We still have to someday get to a for-real title match between Bliss and Nia Jax, so while you could play hot potato with the belt for a while to get to that point, I think the company is aware of how many title reigns Banks has vs. how many Charlotte has, and they don’t want X to exceed Y at this point. Bliss will retain.

Scott Heisel – Alexa Bliss rightfully retains, just like that little kid who grabbed her butt at a live event recently rightfully gets grounded until he understands the seriousness of touching someone in an intimate area without their consent.

LaToya Ferguson – Sasha wins, then she and Nia wrestle 25 more times to determine whether or not they will wrestle. I’m sorry — this card actually looks pretty great on paper, but then once you have to think about said paper and what WWE has been doing with it, it’s easy to get deflated fast. Very fast.

Chris Trew – Since these two wrestlers are equally appreciated by yours truly I’ll search for clues to the winner via their entrance themes. Alexa Bliss’ ‘Spiteful” is already a song by PARTYNEXTDOOR but Sasha Bank’s “Sky is the Limit” is also already a song by the Notorious B.I.G.. There’s a lyrics in Spiteful by PARTYNEXTDOOR that is “Take Us Out the YYZ” and when I looked up what YYZ meant a Rush song came up and turns out YYZ is the IATA airport identification code of Toronto Pearson International Airport, near Rush’s hometown. So since New York is closer to Sasha’s hometown (216 miles) than Alexa’s (557 miles), I’m going with Banks.

Joe Starr – BLISS BLISS BLISS BLISS BLISS BLISS wins by hitting Sasha Banks with her lifeguard throne. Or Banks goes too far, mauls Alexa’s face, and she returns as the deranged masked Ablyss. HIRE ME WWE.

Danielle Matheson – I love Sasha Banks more than most people but if Bliss doesn’t win I will burn this motherf*cker to the GROUND.

John Canton – I’m going with the title change because I think it’s time Banks gets the title back. It’s been a while for her, so might as well give her another shot. Plus, I feel like WWE is going to want to get Nia Jax more in the title picture and putting it on a face like Banks makes more sense.

United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens with special guest referee Shane McMahon

What Should Happen: Shane should call the match down the middle, and his opening promo next Tuesday should be, “See?”

What Will Happen: Why does the lighting on AJ Styles here make it look like he’s telling a scary ghost story?

If you follow rumors, you know there are reportedly plans to do a Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon match at some point. Combine that with the facts that (1) AJ Styles just won the United States Championship back, (2) the belt’s played hot potato too much recently and (3) you’ve gotta keep this secondary title on Styles so he doesn’t rise up and murk the jabroni currently holding the WWE Championship and you’ve got Styles retaining via Owens accidentally (or purposefully) KO’ing Shane.

I’m also totally okay being wrong, Owens winning, Nakamura winning the WWE Championship and WWE building to Styles vs. Nakamura for the top prize in the company at WrestleMania. A boy can dream, can’t he?

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – I don’t really care who wins this, as long as it FINALLY leads to the United States Open Challenge. So … let’s say Styles. If Nakamura manages to win the world title, Owens can be one of his future challengers, and you can keep Nakamura and Styles apart until WrestleMania by having them hold the two singles titles on Smackdown til the Rumble or so.

Scott Heisel – I predict the match ends in a no-contest when Pete Gas and Joey Abs run in and re-form the Mean Street Posse, giving Smackdown the main event-level heel stable it so desperately needs. Tell me you wouldn’t tune in to watch Shane be a bad guy again.

LaToya Ferguson – Ah, the match that continues my habit of shouting into the void: “SHANE MCMAHON IS A BAD AUTHORITY FIGURE WHO’S JUST AS TERRIBLE AS HIS FAMILY.” Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, my answer is AJ Styles. Not just because the Shane character’s idea of “the land of opportunity” is a place where he can make himself look better off the backs of his wrestlers’ pain (see: his WrestleMania match against AJ Styles and AJ still being owed a WWE Championship rematch, btw; the promo he cut to announce the women’s Money In The Bank match in the wreckage of all those women beating the crap out of each other). But because there’s nothing left to do in trading the title back and forth between AJ and Owens, unless WWE intends to Miz-ify both of them with this title.

Chris Trew – Kevin Owens, please, and Shane McMahon making the three count in mid-air while backflip cartwheeling across the ring for some reason because Shane is here to do Shane things.

Joe Starr – I just realized how many matches are on this show. Does Summerslam end with Halloween Havoc? Kevin takes this one and AJ moves onto being the next hinderance to jinderance.

Danielle Matheson – WHY IS SHANE SO RED? Also AJ Styles should win this total dadfest. But seriously buddy, you’re really throwing away that DILF status when you show up looking like a microwaved hot dog.

John Canton – A title change would be very surprising. The most likely scenario is for Styles to keep it after Owens argues with Shane about something. That should lead to Owens vs. Shane in a PPV match possibly at Smackdown’s Hell in a Cell show on October 8 in Detroit. As much as I enjoy everything these guys do, if they don’t wrestle eachother for a while that would be fine. It’s time to move on for both of them.

WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

What Should Happen: One thing I love about this pay-per-view is that I can’t confidently predict either title match. It’s so absurd and great that this is actually the WWE Championship match at a SummerSlam, right? It’s also probably not going to be very good and have a ridiculous finish nobody wants, so my “what should happen” will be, “Jinder Mahal reveals that he watched the entire G1 Climax to prepare for this and busts out a bunch of Tanahashi’s moves.” I just want to see Jinder Mahal getting a nearfall on Shinsuke goddamn Nakamura with a High Fly Flow. Jinder’s body would probably explode into prank snakes on impact.

What Will Happen: How weird is it that after Saturday we could live in a world where two members of 3MB are world champions, and neither of them is Heath Slater?

It feels like WWE’s not done with the Jinder Mahal Experiment and they aren’t totally ready to being the Shinsuke Nakamura Dynasty, so I’ll say the match ends with a deflating disqualification. Maybe an upset Baron Corbin shows up and attacks both of them because of his intense briefcase dysfunction. There’s no way this goes on last, so you can still build the crowd back up for the Universal Championship match.

It’d be pretty cool if Nakamura won though, huh? If he can beat anyone in his first championship match on the main roster, it’d be Jinder.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – Now that Baron Corbin is no longer lurking with the Money in the Bank briefcase, the path is clear for Shinsuke Nakamura to capture the title without fear of being Daniel Bryan’d. Having said that, the Singh Brothers still exist, so I think Mahal will hold the title until whenever WWE can finally book a tour of India, and Nakamura will win a rematch somewhere down the line. My heart says Nakamura will win his first WWE world title here, but the stupidity of everything else says my heart is an idiot.

Scott Heisel – No idea who thought this match-up would be a good idea. I love Nak in theory, but he’s not ready for the title yet. I still don’t care about Jinder Mahal beyond wondering why his voice is almost always hoarse when he cuts promos. Given Nak’s struggles with producing memorable matches on the main roster with actually talented guys, I can’t imagine this thing being anywhere close to good. Mahal retains, I guess.

LaToya Ferguson – Shinsuke Nakamura is in a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam in his first year on the main roster, and all I can think is, “I really don’t care. Just get the title off Jinder Mahal already, I’m tired of fast forwarding so much.” So Nakamura it is.

Chris Trew – What I love about this is literally 0 people would have predicted this match 12 months ago. So I’m inspired to make a similar prediction for 2018. Highlight this and remind me about it one year from now – Kofi Kingston vs. Big E vs. Xavier Woods for the WWE Championship. And if that’s not crazy enough, the other title match is Tye Dillinger vs. Keith Lee.

Joe Starr – Look guys, I like Nak just as much as you do. But let’s not hinder Jinder. Not yet. Give him a clean fucking win. Let him fight hard against the unbeatable Shinsuke Nakamura and barely come out of it. Would it really hurt Nakamura? Legitimize Mahal and then take the next step: stop making his gimmick an ‘evil foreigner/diversity/sjw’ thing.

Danielle Matheson – Hahaha oh my god 2017 is f*cking wild. What is even happening with this match? My heart says Nakamura, but the part of my brain that pays attention to WWE says that they haven’t given him a reason to win. I won’t hinder Jinder on this one.

John Canton – The story going in, which WWE doesn’t push enough, is that Nakamura is undefeated on the main roster in singles matches. Mahal is “on a roll” (that’s what WWE will tell you) even though he lost clean to Orton two weeks ago and by disqualification to Cena this week. Sounds like a loser to me, but at least he beat Baron Corbin in five seconds. Best WWE Champ ever! Um, no. Put the title on Nakamura, let him carry it to WrestleMania 34 against 2018 Royal Rumble winner AJ Styles and let them have a classic match that we all deserve to watch. If Nakamura doesn’t win then it’s probably going to be a DQ finish leading to another match.

Universal Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns

What Should Happen: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

I think it’s time to pull the trigger on Universal Champion Braun Strowman. I want to see it, you want to see it, the crowd wants to see it. He’s one of your hottest acts, and there’s really no point in hanging out and letting him cool off. In my head, the money here is to have Strowman pin Lesnar. Then you keep the belt on Strowman until Lesnar’s gotten UFC out of his system again and build to a one-on-one rematch that makes you ALL THE MONIES.

What Will Happen: I think the “Brock and Heyman will both leave if Brock loses the title and also wink wink the UFC” stuff is too obvious. That’s going to happen eventually, sure, but some stupid part of me thinks it just builds up the surprise when it doesn’t happen here. I’m picking Brock to retain, somehow, and it’s the worst pick I’ve made on the entire show. It’s probably Roman, because it’s always Probably Roman. Keeping my expectations properly low for Joe or Strowman so I can lose my damn mind if either of them wins.

Staff Picks

Bill Hanstock – As much as I want Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman to take this, adding the wrinkle that Lesnar will leave WWE if he loses seems like a little bit of hand-tipping. There’s never been a better time for Lesnar to lose the championship, and the roof will absolutely blow off Barclays if Strowman manages to capture the title on Sunday. But I think Lesnar retains by pinning Samoa Joe after Strowman and Reigns hit him with their finishers and then take each other out.

Scott Heisel – The build for this has been totally awesome and organic, and man oh man, I hope the match can live up to it. I’m honestly okay with anyone winning, but I’ll throw my vote behind Braun because why not give the biggest, strongest, most intimidating guy on your TV show your No. 1 prize?

LaToya Ferguson – What prediction should there be other than, “HOSSES CRASH INTO EACH OTHER, WWE GOES BOOM?” Then again, I’m very tired while writing this, so maybe that’s not the most eloquent way to say anything. Based on Futurama logic, the largest one should win, so that’s who I’m going with. How we’re defining “largest” is up to you.

Chris Trew – The more Braun Strowman doesn’t win the Universal Title the more I’m faced with speculating how he would carry it to the ring. Carefree dangle like Stone Cold? Classic big guy over the shoulder? I have to know. Strowman, win this match so I can move on to the next thing on my to do list which is starting my Road Dogg themed pajama pants company.

Joe Starr – As much as I like the idea of Braun Strowman, who is Constructicon gestalt Devastator in baby faced human form with the title, this is not the match I see as a solid torch passing from Brock Lesnar. Brock is treated as a special champ and his eventual loss should feel equally special. So Brock pins Roman after Strowman and Joe do all the work. Or we get our heel Shield reunion.

Danielle Matheson – I know years of Samoa Joe stealing laptops and trying to murder people with hammers made me hard, but I honestly really want this for him. I also want him to team with Roman Reigns just so they can have the name Samoan Reign. Come on WWE you’ve been so awful to other Samoans and that brilliant name is RIGHT THERE. So. Samoa Joe or we riot.

John Canton – My original thought was that WWE was doing this match to get the title off Lesnar without actually beating him similar to WrestleMania 31 when Seth Rollins pinned Roman Reigns on his Money in the Bank cash-in. However, the story with Paul Heyman and Lesnar threatening to leave WWE if Brock loses made me change my mind. Lesnar is also scheduled to wrestle at No Mercy in Los Angeles on September 24. Braun Strowman makes a lot of sense as the opponent there especially after their “collision” on Raw.

I expect this to be a great match with a lot of big spots and probably some tables breaking too. Look out Spanish announce team. Lesnar going through a table and sitting outside the ring has been done in the past. After it’s all over, I expect Lesnar to retain the Universal Title with Reigns and Strowman protected, so Joe will probably get pinned.

There you have it, that’s what we think will happen at SummerSlam. But hey, what do you think will happen, Mr. or Mrs. or Mx. Know-it-all? Drop down into the comments section and let us know.