WWE SummerSlam 2015 Preview/Predictions

SUMMERSLAMBy Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

If you ask any wrestling fan, it’s not summer until SummerSlam.

In a year that has pushed new stars into the limelight, we’ve gotten a SummerSlam card that’s more revved up than years past, even getting an extra hour, all taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

It’s an excellent weekend to be a Brooklyn wrestling fan on many fronts, aside from the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn show just the day before.

It’s a loaded show, so let’s get right to things.

 

 

 

 

The Card

  • WWE Tag Team Championships – Fatal Four-Way – The Prime Time Players (Champions) vs. The New Day vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. The Lucha Dragons: The WWE tag team division can be met with sarcastic glances more often than not, and it has been that way for a while. Then The New Day came along and changed all that. Well, sort of. Okay, so they flopped as babyfaces in their initial run, but since “turning the tide” and becoming over-the-top heels, they’ve easily been one of the overall company highlights. This is a team you can also take seriously. They were Champions until dethroned by The Prime Time Players, who come across on TV as “Titus O’Neil and That Other Guy.” This was probably done for the sake of good publicity with O’Neil being named a “Father of the Year.” When PTP wants to be good, they are. The key is staying away from the cornball comedy and actually coming across as serious contenders, which doesn’t happen often. They’ve had a good run with the Titles, but New Day’s show-stealing performances as of late warrant another reign. This comes off as the “get all the tag teams on the show” match and while it does that, we can only serious consider New Day or PTP for true winners. Lucha Dragons have impressed with their athleticism, but they’re little more than marketable luchadors at the moment. Los Matadores and El Torito? Yeah… Not going to happen. The stipulation allows for the Champs not to be pinned to lose the Titles and that gives us some hope New Day pulls off some shenanigans to hold the gold again. Just imagine the over-the-top celebration right there.

Prediction: The New Day

 

 

 

  • Stardust/King Barrett vs. Neville/Stephen Amell: In what first started as rumors of a Stardust-Amell one-on-one SummerSlam match has since developed into an entertaining, comic book-esque feud that has also dragged in “The Man That Gravity Forgot” Neville and King Barrett, a character in his own right of this twisted universe. The Neville-Stardust portion of the feud has carried the load and it has all been cool. Neville is easily marketable towards children and then Stardust seems more creatively inspired since his father’s passing. The slow build to including Amell culminated in the angle that sold this match alone – him jumping the barricade on Raw, attacking Stardust, as well as enthusiastically convincing Triple H to book this match. Amell fits in perfectly with this environment with his promo and athleticism, not to mention his Green Arrow persona teaming up with The Red Arrow. It almost books itself really. What’s good about this match is that it’ll whole-heartedly entertain and let Neville do most of the hard work, though we know a hot tag to Amell is probably in order. The match has stirred a lot of buzz and publicity for the company, so conventional wisdom would tell us that the faces probably go over. The pairing of Stardust/Barrett seemed odd among introduction, but their chemistry has gelled over the weeks and leaves us without worry.

Prediction: Neville/Stephen Amell

 

 

 

  • Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) vs. Rusev (w/Summer Rae): Rusev started the year off as hot, riding an undefeated streak with Lana at his side. Slowly but surely, it all unraveled before his eyes. He blamed Lana for the downfall and they eventually parted ways. Somewhere along the way, Lana found Ziggler and Rusev found Summer Rae. It came off exactly how it looked: forced chemistry. Despite WWE’s constant attempts to get Ziggler/Lana over as a couple, they just don’t “click” that way. Rusev has somewhat rebounded with Summer while at the same time, denying wanting his ex-girlfriend back, dressing Summer up like Lana in every way fathomable. This four-way feud has had its share of entertaining segments (fish heads, customized flags, catfights, etc.) but it all comes down to the glaring absurdity that are these new “couples.” We hope for some sort of swerve, but it probably won’t happen. It’s just a feud you want over and done with since it’s benefiting nobody involved. As for the match itself, we expect outside commotion involving the two ladies, and Ziggler to get his “revenge” on Rusev with the win. We can only hope Rusev dumps Summer and starts to get built up as a true beast again.

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

 

 

 

  • Divas Three-Team Elimination – Team PCB (Paige, Becky Lynch, Charlotte) vs. Team Bella (Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Alicia Fox) vs. Team BAD (Naomi, Tamina, Sasha Banks): When it comes to addressing the “Diva Revolution” that has since become a trendy hashtag upon its inception, it has its pros and cons. Pro: It has been extremely beneficial for quality TV and the Divas division in general that has practically been begging for the NXT ladies to come solve the stagnant storyline struggles. Con: After the initial “introductory” Raw segment that saw all nine women choose sides, it has been unclear what exactly is on the line. Why are all these women sticking together? What are they fighting for? Nikki Bella has been Divas Champion for over 270 days as of this post, and the obvious plan seems to call for her surpassing AJ Lee’s 295-day reign, and her team brags about being the reason for the “Revolution.” The other two teams established they don’t like the Bellas and want to “dethrone” them from their top spot, but also go about business differently. What has disappointed most is that all we’ve seen are pointless matches week after week that carry no momentum from one to the next. Can you even recall an excellent match from the timespan of this “Revolution”? Sure – the wrestling has been good, but the memories serve no longevity. It’s a failure on that front and it all shows in this match lineup. What does the winner get? There should’ve been some incentive involving the Divas Championship. What also hurts here is the lack of definitive faces and heels, instead being catty women who all hate each other. That’s why fans don’t know how to react at times with the Bellas because they change character ideologies like underwear. We can predict the winner here just for kicks and giggles, but we know it won’t be relevant in either outcome. That’s just how it is in the “Divas Revolution.” Let’s go Team PCB, just because they could use a notable victory and truly get over as emotional faces for the crowd to cheer.

Prediction: Team PCB

 

 

 

  • Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the feud that never ends. For reasons unknown, WWE management likes banking on these two to deliver “good” matches. Granted, their last PPV match was somewhere between good and great, but that was mainly due to Orton being over in his St. Louis hometown. We’re in a different environment this time around, an environment that might not be so warm and receptive to the idea of these two fighting yet again. That alone will add an interesting dynamic to the match, but the only thing this crowd might pop for is an RKO. Will we get it here? With Orton the previous victor and WWE management high on Sheamus’ recent heel work, you’d think Sheamus would get the nod here for some momentum, but we think WWE throws us a curveball to let Orton win again, keeping the idea of a Sheamus cash-in out of our minds… until later. More on that lower.

Prediction: Randy Orton

 

 

 

  • Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: It has been an interesting time for both characters, respectively. Owens is fresh off losing momentum from two straight PPV matches against Cena and against Finn Balor in Japan – all matches he fell short in. As we’ve seen, he can get back up to where he was in a matter of no time, if given the right opportunity. Being one of the guys to work both NXT TakeOver and SummerSlam, Owens has a great opportunity to win Management over and convince them he’s worth investing in and not a punchline for a fat joke. On the other hand, Cesaro has been around for a few years and has been shuffled around the card, just not hitting a groove no matter where he was, until teaming with Tyson Kidd and gaining momentum in the tag division with impressive moves. With Kidd’s sidelining injury, the time was now or never for Cesaro to break through on his own. After a couple show-stealing performances against John Cena, he’s single-handedly riding a fiery momentum wave and has the most vital thing: fans’ support. The “Cesaro Section” signs have now become a part of the show. Sure, we all know Cesaro’s signature moves, but even then, he delivers in a way that doesn’t make it feel routine. As for the match itself, we’re sure this has show-stealer potential. Where the result lies is tricky. Both guys could use the win, but there’s a way to salvage things for both men. With Owens strongly rumored to win back the NXT Championship at TakeOver, that gives him back his most prized possession and stretches out things with Balor, who would be owed a rematch. NXT is dry of core talent like Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami. Though Owens has done more than get his feet wet in the main roster pool, he’s a name that sells NXT. His presence on the show would only enhance it until Zayn and Itami return. Let’s not forget Owens is still intertwined with feuds with those guys as well. That being said, Cesaro could cement his recent push with a well-deserved victory here. While Owens will likely have a good share of fans cheering him, we’re quite sure there’ll be a good share of people in the “Cesaro Section” in Brooklyn.

Prediction: Cesaro

 

 

 

  • WWE Intercontinental Championship – Triple-Threat Match – Ryback (Champion) vs. The Big Show vs. The Miz: Some say longevity can be a gem. In this case, it has been both a curse and a blessing, being booked a few months ago, finally able to happen. Ryback is fresh from a staph infection injury, already something fans can emotionally invest in. WWE has done a superb job in making Ryback come off as a relatable guy once again after the debacle that was his heel stint. He has the “fighting champion” personality that WWE seems to want in their IC Title holder. That said, his two opponents also offer something to the match. Show is that guy you can place anywhere on the card, heel or face and still get something decent out of it, but is the big physical obstacle. Miz has been consistently entertaining this year and while not as physically threatening, he has been in the ears of both men, providing a nuisance to simply everybody. It’s a respectable clash of personalities in a bout that seems geared towards putting Ryback over as the “fighting champion.” What truly interests us here is who will be eyeing the IC Title next?

Prediction: Ryback

 

 

 

  • Family Vs. Family – Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper: Anybody who’s anybody knows these four men can tear the roof off any arena they perform in, as we’ve seen when The Shield took on The Wyatt Family. However, things have changed in 2015. While we have the core elements of these factions, we also have missing ones. Rollins has gone on to the main event scene and Erick Rowan has been sidelined by injury. On one side, we have Reigns/Ambrose, who’ve been pushed heavily as a duo, sort of like “bros.” On the other, we have Wyatt/Harper, who’ve been recently reunited as a “family reunion.” When these four collide, physicality and chaos ensues. It has been entertaining for the most part, and the match hype has been fairly consistent. We expect much of the same chaos from this match and it should succeed in keeping everybody’s interests, but online speculation has run rampant on a heel turn by one of the faces either leading to the finish or happening afterwards. This would be a welcome change in either scenario. Reigns hasn’t gotten over as a babyface the way WWE wants him to be, though he has steadily improved. A heel run could get fans to finally take him seriously. At the same time, despite Ambrose’s high popularity among fans, his character also feels to be in a “rut.” He has already challenged for the World Title and come up unsuccessful. A turn could be huge for his character to feel fresh and stay that way. We could even picture Ambrose or Reigns as the newest Wyatt member. However, if the plan is to keep both Ambrose/Reigns unturned, then perhaps we may be in store for a Shield reunion. As it relates to the match and based off the hype, there’s no reason to bet against the “bros.”

Prediction: Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose

 

 

 

  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship/United States Championship – Title For Title – Seth Rollins (Champion) vs. John Cena (Champion): With this a match that was almost 50/50 a couple of weeks ago thanks to Cena’s broken nose via Rollins’ knee, you have to believe WWE is breathing a huge sigh of relief that it’s taking place. We can definitely say this stands out on the card as a marquee factor. While both Rollins and Cena have been kept mostly apart from WrestleMania since winning their Titles, we’re not surprised this “collision course” has happened. Both men have grown as Champions in their own right. Cena’s “open challenges” have been very much a Raw highlight, with show-stealing matches against the likes of Neville, Cesaro, Dean Ambrose and Stardust to name a few. Rollins has been riding mostly solo since losing his mates in The Authority and it has helped his credibility tons. Breaking Cena’s nose has even helped Rollins in this feud, giving him more vocal ammunition and inspiring his latest t-shirt. However, all good things must come to an end… or so it seems. It’s the right match for the right occasion. Conventional wisdom would probably point to a Cena win, but there are two factors going into the match that make each guy winning look unlikely. Rollins requested for a statue of himself along WWE Headquarters in the event of a victory? Sure that’ll happen. At the same time, Cena’s newest t-shirt has a big “15X” on the back, highlighting his 15 World Title reigns, which would be 16 with a victory, tying Ric Flair. This makes us think that something goes down that keeps both men’s Titles on each other. What makes this happen? Most likely a “controversial” pinfall that involves both men pinning each other simultaneously. While this would be a lame way to end what should be an entertaining 25-minute match, it’s the only logical way to go about it. What also helps this possibility is the fact that this isn’t the main event and therefore doesn’t have an effect on how the show closes out. That said, the possibility of a Sheamus cash-in is strong after the match and in doing so, could set up an angle where Rollins is abandoned by The Authority and screwed out of his Championship, thus turning him face. Ending up in a scenario where Rollins keeps his Title but doesn’t pin Cena is best to set it all up. After all, shocking moments happen during the “big four” and this would stand up to par.

Prediction: No Contest (Double Pin)

 

 

 

  • The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman): In a rivalry dating back to WrestleMania XXX when Lesnar did the utter unthinkable, one thing has been on Taker’s mind: retribution. It always seemed that this was the one final cloud hanging over the Deadman’s career and thus, it makes sense to have a rematch on another big stage. The hype for this has been extremely well-handled from incredible promos (Heyman) to pull-apart brawls and video packages involving input from other big name superstars. It’s still slightly disappointing the way they built Lesnar up for Rollins only to leave it to the wayside, but Taker returning for revenge provides the only possible exception. Hell, this match was sold on the big brawl alone just weeks into the general SummerSlam build. Both men have steered clear of the distinct babyface/heel roles, but as of late, it seemed as if WWE was pushing Taker as the heel and Lesnar as the face. After all, Taker resorted to a low blow yet again just this past Raw when Lesnar was the hometown hero. It’s a dirty move. This could all be by design headed into this main event, which should be chock-full of brawl-like fighting and suplexes. Put it this way: to fulfill his revenge, Taker needs to win this match. If he’s a heel needing to resort to more dirtiness, this can only be accomplished with help. Plus, it’s Lesnar. You’d probably need the help of two men to take him down. Kane has been rumored to make a return with the mask and if you think back, it was Lesnar who took him out to begin with. This also screams “shocking moment.” Plus, it opens the door for a Kane-Rollins feud if the Rollins turn occurs, as those two have unfinished business. This could be WWE’s way of “shaking things up” by keeping things fresh with a new twist on an old feud. SummerSlam 2015 will be the night of Taker’s retribution, though fans may not agree with how it happens.

Prediction: The Undertaker

 

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About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 25 year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently Freelancing for The Bensonhurst Bean website in Brooklyn, he has also been published on sites such as Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on August 22, 2015, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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