Summerslam Preview and Predictions, 2011

Summerslam, Aug 14, 2011, from the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

First off, I can’t believe I wont be watching this live! Unfortunately, it’s just impossible for me. This is why there haven’t been regular posts, buthose observant fans will have been folowing me on twitter for some bite-sized opinions regarding the world of wrestling (@RTVWOW)

There are two matches not on the card for Summerslam that I can foresee being booked: The Miz vs Rey Mysterio almost has to happen; Miz, and to a lesser extent, Mysterio, are too important to bot make the card. Also, Big Zeke’s rematch for the Intercontinental Championship would make sense and would be of Summerslam calibre.

Match 1) The Miz vs Rey Mysterio
I see Miz ‘interrupting’ the start of the show and bitching about not being on the card. At that point he calls out Rey, saying that if he is any kind of man, letalone hero, he would face him again. Out comes Mysterio, limping or heavily taped up. It’s difficult to see how this could go though; I would usually suggest that Miz dominate until he gets too cocky and Rey turns the match for the win and to continue a feud possibly, but I think Miz could probably do with a big win at PPV, and depending on how he does it, that could also continue the feud. Expect a good match though – as you can from Rey, and to be fair, from Miz too.

Winner: The Miz

Match 2) Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett
I’ve said before just how rich this feud could be as these two have some of the most entrenched, natural history between each other than any other pairing in the WWE. Dating all the way back to the first series of NXT, these two have been natural adversaries, and it starts to come to the boil this Sunday. Bryan is obviously supremely gifted in the ring, but Barrett can woirk well too and will be a nice styles-clash for Bryan. This wont be the end of this feud, which i’m worried may even end up with Barrett holding the MITB briefcase. Usually, I would argue, Barrett would have to win, but I think Bryan needs the credibility, so I would have him go over, before a frustrated Barrett attacks him after the match in brutal fashion.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Match 3) Intercontinental Championship Match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Ezekiel Jackson
I see why WWE like Zeke, but he just isn’t ready for titles yet, and I think they recognised this when they had him drop the title to Rhodes, a man who is much more qualified for that honour and is probably on his way to the main event. Rhodes is a very good wrestler, but Zeke isn’t, so i’m not expecting a classic, but i’m sure it will be fine. Rhodes needs to retain, and I think he will do so with the more explicit help of Ted DiBiase. I think this is all leading to a Rhodes-DiBiase feud over the title, and so perhaps an angry Zeke assaults DiBiase again after the match while Rhodes does nothing to help. DiBiase snaps and earns a title shot at Night of Champions in what will be a much more interesting and high-quality match!

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Match 4) Mark Henry vs Sheamus
This is one of best attractions for the PPV. Henry is on fire and Sheamus is a great success thus far as a babyface. I really enjoyed Henry-Show from MITB, and with Sheamus being more mobile, this could be even better. This is hard to predict though; with Sheamus being such a success, can he really lose? The same goes for Henry of course. My belief though is that Sheamus has more to lose here. He will be the one to finally defeat/stop Henry, but Henry wont look weak, and in fact, this will be the start of a more sustained feud. How the booking will sustain that i’m not sure – perhaps it will be as simple as Henry beats Henry down in a post-loss rage. As a babyface, winning this sort of match will be the start, I think, of a route to the World Championship down the line.

Winner: Sheamus

Match 5) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Christian (c) vs Randy Orton
Christian and Randy have been wrestling fantastic matches for months now, and the magic of the relatively short (so far) Punk-Cena feud aside, this has been by far the best feud of the year. I think, however, that tonight, it will be quite possibly coming to an end. The textbook says that after he only won the title last month, Christian can’t lose the title; and although Christian’s first reign threw that section of the textbook out of the window, I think this time,the booking will follow the textbook. A lot of the story surrounding this match has been that the no-holds-barred stip favours Orton, but it has been (intentionally I think) forgotten that Christian thrives in the role as a wily veteran, and I think when he says he has ‘the best thing going’, he is referring, basically, to the means by which he will win the match. For obvious reasons, the first thought has to be that Christian has Edge on his side, who will interfere in some way and return to TV, perhaps as Christian’s manager (I think Edge would have to remain on TV – showing up for one night and not being seen again in this context). If it isn’t Edge, could Christian have HHH in his pocket. I’ll talk more about this in conjunction with the main event, but if indeed, ‘the fix is in’, maybe HHH will pick his Smackdown champion in a way that excludes one of his biggest rivals, Randy Orton. If it isn’t either of those things, as long as it’s eye-catching and powerful, it’ll work. It’ll be interesting to see what Christian does to win, but i’m sure he will win.

Winner: Christian

Match 6) Divas Championship Match: Kelly Kelly (c) vs Beth Phoenix
It seems to me that Beth and Nattie are a nicely tweaked version, it seems to me, of Kharma’s recent storyline before it had to be nixed. This is another difficult one to predict because Kelly only recently won the title, while Beth seems to have a lot of steam behind her. Usually, I would back Beth on this, but I really think Kelly is being positioned as the top diva babyface, and I think they’ll want her to keep the championship for longer. Also, Nattie is another member of these pinupstrong divas that could challenge Kelly down the line anyway, after the two have gotten themselves and their new gimmick over, and maybe be more of a threat to Kelly (and the rest of the model divas).

Winner: Kelly Kelly

Match 7) WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs John Cena (paper c)
There is one result that WWE seems to be screaming at us for this enigmatic, unprecedented match; the Cena heel-turn ‘fix is in’ finish. That is certainly possible, and would be shocking and iconic (Cena has been the guy for so long, and his turn has been so anticipated, that when it does happen, it’ll be a huge moment fitting of the second-biggest PPV of the year). One of the best things about this storyline though, has been that it has been unpredictable and surprising, so I don’t know what to expect. If it is the case that HHH supports Christian in his match, perhaps HHH will pick his champion for RAW too. So giving WWE the benefit of the doubt about their ability to surprise us, i’m not going to bother guessing what will happen; all I will say is that the ‘fix is in’ story could be a red herring and CM Punk would only grow further from a victory over Cena at Summerslam, so I am picking Punk for the victory. Here’s how i’d book it from this position: during the match, HHH seems to be slightly favouring Cena, and as Punk continues to kick out of pins, Cena starts getting frustrated at HHH as if they had pre-planned a Cena victory until Cena maybe pushes HHH, maybe even turning heel during the match by saying ‘count faster’. The tension grows between the two and HHH shoves Cena back in to a GTS and with Cena out, is forced to count 3 (admittedly, the most shaky part of the story). After that, it is clear that HHH doesn’t want Punk as champion and, having cost Cena the match, gives him the chance to face Punk again, this time as a proper heel. Whatever happens, at PPV, and with Punk having a say as well as WWE wanting to behave differently, I expect something that will satisfy our high expectations. The best way to watch wrestling is by giving it a fighting chance to entertain, which a lot of people don’t. Punk is a growing entity, and I foresee him winning tonight.

Winner: CM Punk

Some Thoughts On the WWE Releases/Resignation

Some really brief thoughts …

The wrestler i’ll miss most is Gail Kim. She is undisputedly one of the best female wrestlers alive, and really should have been given more opportunities with the title and storylines. I don’t understand why WWE brought her back if they had no plans to utilise her. I hope she gets to move on to somewhere where she gets time to wrestle, and is happy doing so.

The biggest shocks for me were Melina and Vladimir Kozlov. I understand completely Melina’s reputation, and how she is known (or in the fans’ case, believed) to have a bad, egotistical attitude, but she is a great female worker, a veteran even, and not to mention, well, sexy too! I would have thought that if her attitude bothered WWE, she wouldn’t have made it at all far in WWE at all. Kozlov didn’t deserve to get fired. After his short run at the top, challenging for the WWE title, he fell in to obscurity; but not many other ‘monsters’ would have made a success out of themselves after falling from the big time. Koz succeeded and has become very popular as, I suppose, a comedy wrestler with Santino, and he deserved kudos for that, because that tag team (who managed to become champions) could easily have flopped if it wasn’t for two talented performers.

I understand that, in Masters’ case, he was ‘just another guy’ and not going anywhere, but he was a solid worker who could make others look good and was maybe worthy of some title shots. This is coming from someone who once had absolutely no time for ‘The Masterpiece’ (I still think the Masterlock is one of the worst submissions ever!). Don’t get me wrong, I can live without seeing Masters on TV every week, but I just think he had more to offer in the right circumstances; maybe in a tag team.

DH Smith was one I think we all thought inevitable, and while he certainly has the skills, and the legacy, he wasn’t going to make it. He couldn’t talk – it really is as simple as that. He was never going to get over and that’s why I don’t mind this, especially given that he seemingly has designs on an MMA career. All power to him.

It is rumoured that there may be more cuts to come, but we’ll see about that. If it does happen, i’ll give you some thoughts. This doesn’t change the fact that I am still, officially, on hiatus though. I’ll provide some Summerslam predictions in some form, but other than that, just keep the faith. I will be back at the end of the month!