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Everything You Need To Know About WWE SummerSlam Weekend 2020

If you’re like a lot of people during these late-into-the-pandemic times, you’re probably not watching WWE on a weekly basis — at least that’s what their ratings say. But you may still want to check out the big shows this weekend, and I’m here to help with that. In addition to SummerSlam 2020, there’s also NXT TakeOver, so before things kick off, let’s run down the cards for both.

NXT TakeOver XXX

The first show of the weekend is NXT TakeOver XXX, with the festivities starting on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET. Regular viewers know that NXT usually puts on a stronger show, at least when it comes to in-ring work, than the main WWE roster. This isn’t the strongest TakeOver card I’ve ever seen, but it should still be a lot of fun.

Finn Bálor vs Timothy Thatcher

WWE

The Deal: Finn Bálor came back to NXT last fall to kick ass and take names. Tim Thatcher debuted early in the pandemic era and has become a staple of NXT in a short time. They’ve crossed paths a few times, and currently they both blame each other for neither of them being in the North American Championship Ladder Match. At least in Finn’s case that blame is well-justified, because Thatcher interfered and cost Finn the win in his qualifying match against Velveteen Dream. Finn would very much like to beat Tim up about it, and the feeling’s mutual.

The Likely Outcome: I think Finn probably wins here. He’s been doing a lot of putting guys over lately, but he loses the prestige to do that if he doesn’t get an occasional win, and this Takeover grudge match is the perfect time.

Adam Cole vs Pat McAfee

WWE

The Deal: Pat McAfee is a former NFL punter who does commentary and pre-show panels for WWE, and he’s picked a fight with former champion Adam Cole for … reasons. McAfee’s the heel in this feud, which makes Cole basically a babyface for the first time in his NXT career. Anyway, they’re having a match because this is WWE, and when you’re an NFL player turned sports personality, all you have to do is show up and act like a jerk and you get a match.

The Likely Outcome: I swear to god Adam Cole had better win this. I’m pretty confident he will. That whole “being a wrestler” thing ought to give him an edge.

NXT North American Championship Ladder Match: Damien Priest vs Cameron Grimes vs Johnny Gargano vs Bronson Reed vs Velveteen Dream

WWE

The Deal: Keith Lee vacated the North American Championship when he won the NXT Championship, and through a complex system of qualifying matches and last-chance re-qualifying matches, these five guys have been selected as the top contenders. The belt will be suspended above the ring, and they’ll beat the hell out of each other on their way up to it.

The Likely Outcome: There’s no way they put the belt on Velveteen Dream, after the backlash to bringing him back. I don’t think Johnny’s winning either — he’s already had bigger accolades, and I think he’s just in the match to be a steady hand. Any of the three newer guys could potentially take it. I’d like to see it go to Bronson Reed, but I know Cameron Grimes could have a lot of fun with it. I personally find Damien Priest kind of boring, but hey, maybe his run as North American Champion is exactly the thing that will win me over.

NXT Women’s Championship Mach: Io Shirai vs Dakota Kai

WWE

The Deal: Io Shirai and Dakota Kai both used to be sweet and lovable. Then Io’s heart turned cold and she became a moody heel. Then Dakota turned heel too, but she didn’t turn cold so much as she turned petty and cruel. At this point Io is back to being as beloved and rooted-for as ever, because nobody can resist a moody goth queen with an absolutely flawless moonsault.

The Likely Outcome: Io’s not dropping the belt here unless there are immediate plans for her to change brands or something like that. I’d like to see Dakota with gold around her waist at some point, but this doesn’t feel like her moment.

NXT Championship Match: Keith Lee (c) vs Karrion Kross with Scarlett

WWE

The Deal: Keith Lee is a big guy who can do all the stuff nobody expects big guys to do, plus he’s a great talker and has charisma for days. He’s only had the championship for a couple of months, and it already feels right at home on his shoulder. Karrion Kross is a big scary bald man who lives to destroy people, and he recently arrived at NXT with his girlfriend/herald of darkness Scarlett in tow. Everything about Kross says “future champion,” so it’s really just a matter of time.

The Likely Outcome: I think Kross wins the belt here, and Lee moves to Raw or Smackdown after SummerSlam. Keith’s been ready for that move for ages, and it’s time to stop waiting for a better time to pull the trigger on stuff. Times may not get better, so let’s just have the best wrestling we can. Plus Karrion Kross will make a great monster champion, and going ahead and putting the belt on him is a stronger choice than finding an excuse for him to lose this match that could hurt his momentum.

SummerSlam 2020

And then on, Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET, comes SummerSlam, WWE’s second-biggest show of the year. Of course it’s made stranger, like everything lately, by the pandemic. Back in April when WrestleMania happened with no live fans, I remember everyone talking about SummerSlam like everything would surely be normal by then. But here we are, and nope! Still, we’re entering the Thunderdome era of WWE, so we’ll see what they can pull off.

Hair vs Hair Match: Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville

WWE

The Deal: Sonya and Mandy used to be inseparable best friends, but then Mandy fell for Otis from Heavy Machinery, who Sonya thinks is unworthy of her (or something? it was never well explained), so now they’re enemies. Sonya attacked Mandy and cut her hair, so now they’re both putting their hair on the line in one of those traditional lucha matches that hardly ever happens these days.

The Likely Outcome: Pretty sure Mandy’s winning this one, because while she’s gorgeous enough to pull off a bald head, I don’t really see what it could do for her. For Sonya on the other hand, getting a buzzcut could lead to a reinvention of her character into the lesbian badass she ought to be. Then she can leave Mandy behind and become a force to be reckoned with in the women’s division.

Street Fight: Dominik Mysterio vs Seth Rollins

WWE

The Deal: Unhinged messianic weirdo Seth Rollins has been tormenting the Mysterio family for a while now, and at Extreme Rules he (theoretically) poked out Rey Mysterio’s eye in a match where the stipulation was that the goal was to poke out your opponent’s eye, and then everybody was aghast that he did the thing the match said to do (which admittedly was a pretty nasty thing). So now Rey’s son is here for revenge, and presumably to transition into full-time wrestling.

The Likely Outcome: Seth definitely wins this match. The goal here isn’t for Dominik to win, it’s for Dominik to look like a real pro wrestler, and with Seth’s help I suspect he will. And to be honest, I haven’t let go of the theory that Dominik’s going to turn against his father and join Seth’s cult. That might happen here too, but one way or another Seth comes out on top.

United States Championship Match: Apollo Crews (c) vs MVP

WWE

The Deal: MVP’s Hurt Business faction has been butting heads with Apollo Crews, and Crews has fought hard to prove himself a worth United States Champion.

The Likely Outcome: I think Apollo probably wins here, but if he loses it’s not going to be just because MVP beats him clean. If Apollo loses, it will be because someone new joins the Hurt Business and gets around the ringside ban to interfere on MVP’s behalf, something like that.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits (c) vs Andrade and Angel Garza with Zelina Vega

WWE

The Deal: The Street Profits have been champs for a while, but honestly they haven’t really done much beyond play golf and basketball with the Viking Raiders. Zelina’s boys want those belts, and if they have to result to dirty tricks to get them, they definitely will.

The Likely Outcome: First of all, Zelina will definitely get involved in this match, and there’s a good chance Bianca Belair will show up to counter her. Even so, I think Andrade and Garza probably win the belts here. The Street Profits will probably have the opportunity for better title runs down the road, but I’m afraid this one has gotten stale.

WWE Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman (c) vs The Fiend Bray Wyatt

WWE

The Deal: Braun Strowman used to be Bray Wyatt’s henchman, then they split up and Braun became a pretty nice guy. Then Bray Wyatt became the Fiend, a terrifying demon clown that lives in the mind of a sweater-clad children’s show host. Then he temporarily turned back into his old cult-leader self to mess with Braun and they fought in a swamp. Now Braun’s more of a monster, the Fiend’s still the Fiend, and Alexa Bliss is involved somehow.

The Likely Outcome: Bray has already succeeded in corrupting Braun, so I think it’s entirely likely that he wins the belt back now. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them team up again for a while. Also Alexa Bliss will probably show up?

WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (c) vs Randy Orton

WWE

The Deal: Drew McIntyre has been a great champion for the pandemic era, but ratings are down, things are weird, and Vince McMahon’s getting panicky, so we’ve got old standby Randy Orton starting a feud with the less experienced champ. Randy Orton isn’t exactly Mr. Excitement, but everybody knows what they’re getting with him, and that seems to be especially important to WWE.

The Likely Outcome: Hopefully Drew retains. It’s one thing to bring Randy in to take a run at the champ, but actually making him champion in 2020 feels like a step too far. Honestly, this match probably has a messy ending so they can fight again (and quite possibly again and again).

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs Asuka

WWE

The Deal: Asuka won the Raw Women’s Title in the Money in the Bank match when Becky Lynch was leaving to have a baby. Then Sasha Banks won it from her with the help of her best friend, Bayley. So the two of them are Tag Team Champions, Sasha’s Raw Champion, and Bayley’s Smackdown Champion. It’s a whole thing, and these two have been killing it as heels these past few months. But Asuka has little patience for nonsense, and there’s been a lot of nonsense lately.

The Likely Outcome: Asuka’s got two matches on Sunday, and I’m betting she wins one of them (probably whichever one is first). I’m going to guess, though, that this is the one where Asuka loses, and Sasha retains.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs Asuka

WWE

The Deal: Bayley was once the purest of babyfaces, but now she’s the nastiest cockiest heel, and honestly it’s been tons of fun to watch. Asuka was already scheduled for a rematch with Sasha for the belt she recently lost, but then she won a battle royal so she could wrestle for this title too. Asuka knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to work hard to get it.

The Likely Outcome: You never know, especially since they keep extending this storyline, but I’m betting Asuka beats Bayley for the Smackdown title Bayley’s held for so long, and then loses to Sasha for the Raw title. That moves Asuka to a new brand to freshen things up, and it builds the tension between Sasha and Bayley for the feud we know is coming.

That’s all we’ve got for this weekend (aside from a preshow match or two). Let me know your predictions in the comments, and I’ll be back afterward to discuss everything that happens!

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