SummerSlam Preview

Posted by Grey Sunday, August 15, 2010

"The Biggest Event of the Summer" is here as the 23rd edition of SummerSlam hits Staples Center in Los Angeles, for the second consecutive year tonight.

Generally acknowledged as the number two show (right behind the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania) in a year, SummerSlam is also ranked second in terms of longevity, being in its 23rd installment this year. And the high expectation is not without reason. Traditionally, SummerSlam has consistent produced major match-ups the likes of the contest for the Intercontinental Championship between champion Bret Hart and challenger "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith at SummerSlam 92, or last year's Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship between defending champion Jeff Hardy and CM Punk. With the bar set high, can this year's show defend the literally hard-fought tradition of SummerSlam?

With consistently falling PPV buy-rates, one can understandably inclined to opined that WWE management would be in a desperate bid to stop the falling. On the contrary, WWE has rolled out a sum total of a meager five matches. Just what is going on here? With three out of the five on the card being upper card matches, Can the show manage to fill in the big boots of being the biggest PPV of the Summer?

We'll take on these questions as we roll along with the preview.

And by the way, last month we successfully predicted that The Miz will emerged victorious from Raw's Money in the Bank Ladder Match, that Mysterio will retained his title in his match-up against Swagger only to have his title taken away by the SmackDown MITB winner (though we erred on our bet for the identity of the SmackDown MITB winner), and predicted correctly for all results for the other matches (with the exception of the SmackDown MITB). So, yes, we are gloating now. Just so that we can move on with our prediction for this one.

WWE Champion Sheamus vs. Randy Orton

The single one performer that is more over than anybody else in the entire professional wrestling industry (as much as WWE intended to distance themselves away from this purportedly derogatory term) right now: Randy Orton. The seemingly unstoppable challenger for the title, right back where he was six years ago at SummerSlam 2004 where he surprisingly defeated then-reigning World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit for his first taste of being a world champion.

On the other hand, we have today's answer to Brock Lesnar, the Irish human-shaped jug of mayonnaise, Sheamus. While his in-ring capabilities are nothing compared to the former multi-time world champion and the reigning Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, his meteoric rise to main event championship class surpasses even The Next Big Thing himself. One commonly acknowledged element that contributed greatly to Sheamus's rise would be the gradually thinning roster with the departure of Shawn Michaels (retirement)), Triple H (filming), The Undertaker (regular injuries), Batista (quitting), etc. That said, Sheamus has in my opinion, adapted hastily to his heel role, and have since playing the heel champion role at ease, slowly but steadily moving towards the top heel position.

By having Sheamus to lose the title to Orton, it would seemed like his previous victories were a series of flukes. By having Orton failing to win the title would be putting an abrupt stop over his current great wave of momentum. And with the anonymous GM announcing the stipulation that anyone interfering in the match getting suspended indefinitely, the writers can't be having a non-finish as a result of run-in interference. So how shall this feud be resolved?

Match quality-wise, it would be wise to keep your expectation reasonable despite the unexpectedly great promos delivered from both superstars. They have had their PPV match-up before at last year's Royal Rumble and it wasn't that great back then.

Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
My prediction is based on the other stipulation that Orton would have to get back to the end of the line for his next title shot. That alone, seemed to be indicative of an element to further garner fans's support, a tradition step for championship match-up bookings. Moreover, with SmackDown slated to be moving from MyNetworkTV to Syfy in October 2010, there is no doubt that WWE will be repackaging the show, most likely by injecting a top face to the show. Cena, in his current feud with Nexus, a hot feud that still have mileages to cover, is quite likely to be the one moving, meaning Orton is poised to be the top face, most likely champion for sometime to come.

Funny that the real "Age of Orton" really pick up only when he stopped mentioning it.

World Heavyweight Champion Kane vs. Rey Mysterio

Yes, another repeated match, but this is far worse as Mysterio had faced Kane for the umpteen times and it's not like there's any stipulation here. And frankly, every fans already looked into their personal crystal ball and saw a certain undead fellow lurking in the shadow during or after the match.

Mysterio is always interesting to watch, but Kane is just the type that doesn't work well with the high-flying, cruiser-weight style of Mysterio. And we knew because we have seen it for the umpteen times.

Predicted Winner: Kane
Fortunately, Mysterio is finally going for his much-delayed surgery-cum-vacation as he tag in the Dead Man... Not literally. Mysterio will get worked all over by Kane, who proceed to drag his lifeless body into a casket, only to find The Undrtaker lies await! Or something along the line of that.

Team WWE vs. The Nexus (Elimination Tag Team Match)

The hottest feud of the Summer is surprising not a feud over a particular championship... It's a fight for the future. Or so they says, as the writers had a terrible time convincing the fans of the consequences should Cena and his team of veterans loses to the young rebels.

We are not going to retread the entire back-and-forth between Cena and The Nexus as we look into the differing theories that have beeen rampant all over the internet...

1) Will Bret turn on Cena and reveal himself as the man behind The Nexus, and probably the anonymous manager himself?
Likely, for the simple fact that the turning of both R-Truth and Morrison will be too inconsequential, the turning of both Edge and Jericho will be too obvious, and the turning of Cena is too impossible (they still got shirts to sell). That leaves Bret. And why the betrayal theory, you ask? Because it's elimination matches as such that betrayal happens more often than not. But I'll stick to Bret as he certainly seemed to be the old school type who just don't want heel heat at this extended stage of his career. So, no.

2) Who is the "Seventh Participant" for RAW? Online theories have been especially wacky with this one, going as far as to suggest The Rock being the no.7 and turning on Team Cena to reveal that he is the anonymous GM. My guess: It's just The Miz, as suggested in last RAW. Nothing special here.

3) The anonymous GM revealed at the show? Yes, I do think the chances of this one is likely. One way or the other, this part of the plot ought to move on.

All theories aside, I'll have one to offer too: Cena will turn down The Miz's offer to take part as no.7, only to introduce the mysterious superstar at the very end: Bryan Danielson! Talk about irony.... Okay, move along now, fantasy's over.

Predicted Winner: The Nexus
Months ago, they were just a bunch of clowns bumping around in the ring just like the current NXT class two, now they are giants slayers. After building up so much heat and suspense over the Summer, it is unlikely for WWE to kill The Nexus's amazing momentum. Together, they are like Transformers's Devastator, the combined form of the Constructicons, from the Decepticons.

That said, their victory lies for other reasons. Namely, the machination of the sinister anonymous GM...

Big Show vs. The Straight Edge Society (3-on-1 Handicap Match)

Yes, the entire Straight Edge Society. CM Punk, Joey Mercury and Luke Gallows. Oh, and Serena at ringside.

A big reason why I just don't feel too hopeful for this year's SummerSlam. Big Show is the best gigantic athlete ever. CM Punk is one all-round superstar blessed with good looks, great mic skills, and excellent in-ring capabilities. Handicap matches are among the very worst match types ever, serving only storyline purpose. Luke Gallows is frankly, improving, but nothing you wanna spend your hard-earned money to look out for. Mercury is... hell, I didn't even see enough of him to convince me anything. Serena is, well, voluptuous, and had no place in this match-up whatsoever.

So they took out Big Show's much publicized right fist of doom. Guess what? The big guy is coming back tonight with a further fortified right fist of doom, when he armed himself with a enormous arm cast.

And no, I'm not touching on any match quality here.

Predicted Winners: The Straight Edge Society
A lose-lose situation for all. But mathematically speaking, this makes better business.

Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston

Finally, an actually functioning mid-card match between two capable opponents with a tried-and-true old school storyline.

This could just be the best match of the show.

Predicted Winners: Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler's first gold has been a long time coming, given his tremendous work rate. They didn't come all this way just to lose the title back again.

Divas Champion Alicia Fox vs. Melina

Due to the top-heavy card for the night, we get to see yet another women title defense.

As much as I sounded like an absolute sexist right there, any self-respecting feminist will understand our plight when they see Alicia Fox with her Scissor Kick of Death.

Jokes aside, the return of Melina is a much-needed jab in the arm for the Divas division.

Predicted Winners: Melina
The only imaginable result unless WWE envisioned that a long title chase is more suitable for Melina's return. Either way, this is too inconsequential to consider.


The Rundown

An uneven card due to the top-heavy seven-on-seven match-up, which should be as good as it lasts while furthering the storyline to another possible peak. However, five matches announced for a high profile show like this one still seemed too few for me, despite my belief that there will surely be some other match-ups being tossed into the show like an afterthought.


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