by BROCK KOLLER
It's time for WWE SummerSlam - the biggest party of the summer - and there's a lot to get to so let's get started before the summer is over or gets a 30 day suspension for violating the wellness policy.
There's a feeling around SummerSlam that no other WWE event has. It has it's own mystique to it as it is separate from any indication of being on the road to WrestleMania which the other big events have.
SummerSlam always seems to have matches that would only fit at this particular event - it's hard to explain - but it's matches that pit foes against others that they normally wouldn't or have never in the past - i.e. Razor Ramon vs Million Dollar Man, Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio, John Cena vs Batista. This card has some of these kind of matches - Lesnar/Orton, Reigns/Rusev, Balor/Rollins, Enzo & Cass/ Jericho & Owens. AJ Styles vs John Cena would have fit this bill if they hadn't fought before. I'm happy the SummerSlam feeling is still there even with hours upon hours of wrestling every week.
This will be the first official pay per view of the new era - technically, the second, but the first since Raw and Smackdown became two separate brands again. I expect as they did back in the 2000s that the commentary teams will alternate back and forth to call their respective matches.
Carmella, Becky Lynch & Naomi vs Natalya & Alexa Bliss
The Smackdown women wrestlers have no title to fight for as of yet, so now they just fight for pride. A couple new faces, a new attitude for Naomi, and the suspension of Eva Marie are the headlines going into this match. What I am looking for is Becky Lynch cementing her dominance as the star of the Smackdown female roster, which she is, and another woman stepping up to challenge her.
WINNERS: Carmella, Becky Lynch & Naomi
The Miz vs Apollo Crews
The Intercontinental Championship is on the line and Miz's entertaining run as champ could come to a halt Sunday. The audience needs to see more from Apollo Crews though before he is awarded the title. I could see The Miz winning or losing this match by unscrupulous means. A few more weeks should give Crews enough time to show more about his personality and his abilities. He can get the title next month at Backlash. Yay, Backlash is back.
WINNER: The Miz
Cesaro vs Sheamus
This is the first match in a Best of Seven Series. I had a feeling we were going to see this match at least seven more times so why not make it count, right? These two can go and there last few outings have been really good. As the series goes on, the matches will take on a more important quality, which will add more interest and entertainment value. How they will change it up match after match will be what I'm most interested in seeing.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
This is one of those matches that could steal the show. With both Jericho & Owens in the driver seat, this could be a wild ride. Just whatever the mic picks up from those two during the match will make this a match of the night candidate. But the ringwork should also be stellar from all four. Looking forward to this one.
WINNERS: Enzo & Cass
The New Day vs Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
It's finally here. The end of The New Day as tag team champions. If New Day wins, it will be a shock. The time has come for new champs and these champs should not be funny. We've had hilarious tag champs for a year, no need for another, and less funny, so the doctor gimmick has to stop for Gallows & Anderson. And The Club with titles in hand need to be serious and mean business. It's time for a new day in the tag team division. What The New Day did over the past year should not be overlooked. They made a name for themselves and proved WWE and its performers can still make new ideas work. New Day still rocks just not as champions.
WINNERS: Gallows & Anderson
Roman Reigns vs Rusev
Roman Reigns is taking on one of the most evil characters in the WWE today. This is his chance to get the fans fully behind him. But why is he going after Rusev? I think he wants the US Championship, but in recent weeks it seems he just wants to make fun of Rusev & Lana for being in love and getting married. Maybe he can give an impassioned speech prior to the match about brining the US Title back home to get the fans to understand his true motives. But the Brooklyn crowd is not expected to give Reigns a rousing ovation. Though Philly did once so anything can happen. Reigns' climb back to the main event begins with a win here.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte
The WWE 24 special looking at the Women's Evolution is a must watch and shows just how much being in this spot means to these talented female wrestlers. Sasha Banks and Charlotte are no strangers to stealing the show. Given the right amount time and a chance to connect in the ring, these two can put on a clinic. Sasha Banks will walk in and out as champ.
WINNER: Sasha Banks
We still have quite a number of matches to get to so let's just take a short intermission. Remember when they used to take intermissions during pay per views? I feel like we need them again. Let's listen to the old SummerSlam theme for a bit.
Ok back to the card...
John Cena vs AJ Styles
Back in the day - they would have saved AJ vs Cena for SummerSlam but nowadays it's not like that. We've already seen them one-on-one so while this isn't an epic first time ever encounter it still should be pretty epic. I always go against Cena seeing that he never has to win another match and he will still be the face that runs the place, but usually Cena still wins anyhow. But I'm still going with my gut and picking Styles.
WINNER: AJ Styles
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton
Now this is a first time ever match (minus a 2002 era Smackdown) but in my opinion, it's missing something. Yes we have two big names. Yes we have two awesome finishing maneuvers that can come from out of nowhere. But this match came from out of nowhere!! It was just "this guy will take on this guy for no reason." It was announced at the time to feed off the UFC 200 hype, but that was pretty much it. Why not have Randy Orton return, say he's looking for a challenge, and Paul Heyman respond. There. Cause. Effect. Gets people invested. Plus, now it's also about Raw vs Smackdown which is way too early to care about. While this match has it all, it could have been so much more. Should be a very good contest just without a real reason for being.
WINNER: Brock Lesnar
Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler
Potential. If we were playing the WWE association game, and you were to ask me to give a one word response to describe a wrestler that would be the word for Dolph Ziggler. Potential. Ziggler has it. He shows it in the ring. He especially shows it on the mic when he's speaking from the heart. His heartfelt promos are straight from the book of every inspirational sports movie. But he has never been deemed the man. If there was ever a time to give him a chance- now is that time. Who knows? WWE could not be happy with Ambrose after the comments he made on the Stone Cold Podcast and want to make a change. You never know. In the end, though, I think we do know. It will be a great match and we'll be saying "boy, that Dolph Ziggler sure shows a lot of potential, doesn't he?"
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
The fun is in the chase. That is the only reason I am going to go with Seth Rollins. It is not too early for Finn. Finn doesn't need to prove himself. Finn doesn't need to become a star. He is one. He has proven himself. He could definitely become the first WWE Universal Champion and that would make sense. But just think of the fun of an annoying, arrogant, boastful Seth Rollins walking around with his brand new title - only to be tormented by the Demon King week after week. A good old fashioned wrestling story. Then eventually we will get Finn's triumphant victory over Rollins and it will be that much sweeter. Though it could be the time for Balor, it shouldn't be.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
Wow. That's a lot of matches. I got my party hat on - now I just need like 20 pizzas for all 6 hours!