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SummerSlam 2014 preview: Brock of ages!

Gunter, glieben. glauchen, Heyman.


I owe you an apology, my dearest Cagesiders.

Last month, I called Battleground a MUST BUY for any pro wrestling fan and welp, not only did it leave a brown stain on the underpants of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, it robbed us of the Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins grudge match because HA HA FOOLED YOU or whatever the official reason was.

But WWE and I are back for redemption with SummerSlam, one of the "big four" pay-per-view (PPV) events, which takes place this Sunday night (Aug. 17, 2014) inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. It's time to decide whether or not this event is worth the coin, even if you stream it via WWE Network for just NINE-NINETY-NINE.

Drumroll, please.

John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

This is the one, folks. This is where it needs to happen. I want Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship. But I will not be satisfied if John Cena is afforded his usual man-of-steel shtick in defeat. I want him to lose badly and I want to feel nauseated that Lesnar won.

Show me Paul Heyman's O-face when the ref counts three.

I hope Brock takes the title and spits at the camera in disdain for all the people who hate him, then walks off and leaves with absolutely no indication as to if (or when) he'll ever come back to defend it. I want chaos backstage. I want my wife (a hater of all things "Incarnate") to text me in disgust.

That's the only way this works.

Lesnar did a great job of heeling it up in recent promos, particularly when broached about his upset win over The Undertaker. He looked incredulous at the idea that anyone expected a different outcome. Of course Lesnar beat 'Taker, you fools.

That's how this should be booked, too, as it only strengthens the WrestleMania win, historically speaking.

It also freshens up the main event picture and makes the future Lesnar loss -- whether it comes to Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns -- that much sweeter. If I spend the next three months hating the fact that Brock is holding the title hostage and only shows up to F5 the faces, the WWE has done its job.

Here's to hoping.

Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho with Erick Rowan & Luke Harper banned from ringside

This is the best stipulation WWE could come up with? Ooooh, they done stacked the deck now! If banning the Wyatt Family from ringside is supposed to be a huge deal, then that suggests that Bray is outmatched against Jericho in a one-on-one match.

Conversely, if all this does is make it a "fair fight," then what's to celebrate?

Be sure to tune in this Sunday as it's going to be ... dun-dun-dunnnnn ... evenly matched. I don't think it helps that this feud has failed to live up to expectations, which is mind boggling considering you have two guys who are great on the stick AND in the ring.

What went wrong?

Well, nothing... it's just not clicking. Things were a bit awkward from the beginning as Y2J returned and Wyatt just showed up ... because reasons. I know there was an explanation in one of the protracted diatribes Wyatt gave in the build-up to SummerSlam, but I can't decipher what exactly it is.

Bray went from captivating in-bred prophet to that annoying neighbor who won't shut the fuck up when you run into him down at the mailbox. I saw this feud at Battleground and I'll see it again this weekend. I wasn't that jazzed the first time around and I don't see any reason why I should be here, either.



Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon: The criminal bitch-off

Will the real BITCH please stand up? That's what the message has been since this blood feud started. Brie called Stephanie a BITCH and then Stephanie got to return the bitchy favor at a later date. Then after they swapped B-words, they took turns getting arrested.

Ooooh, bad girls!

I've actually enjoyed the build-up to this match and not because I like to stand and yell CAT FIGHT! when two gals throw down (even though I do), but rather because both performers have played their roles so well. I even chuckled during the infidelity shtick because Stephanie McMahon is the evil genius and you will bow.

Brie Bella, by contrast, is loyal wife who stands by her man.

The bad news is, their match is likely to shit the bed. Stephanie gets in the ring about as often as I do and we all know Brie isn't going to light the world on fire. Hopefully, they do what the men do when the referee is the most agile person in the ring. A few power moves (hair pulling will suffice) followed by lots of mugging for the camera.

Just don't forget the big, bitchy ending.

Jack Swagger vs. Rusev: Flag match

Give credit to Jack Swagger and Rusev for their admittedly boorish "USA vs. Russia" program. Not only have they reenacted the cold war, they've managed to drag it out for just as long, too. That's commitment! But even the staunchest patriot will get tired of chanting USA! USA! if they have to do it every show, just to see Swagger get clowned.

I'm sure he's winning this weekend and it will be worth it to watch Lana blow her stack, but I'm not sure anyone cares at this point. Zeb Colter is usually on point with his promos, but they've felt bland and generic these past few weeks. That's not his fault.

How many times can you say the same thing about the same people?

Assuming Swagger can get through this match without killing anyone -- including himself -- it will be nice to see Rusev move on to bigger and better things. I know he can work, now all he needs is someone he can work with. Is it too late to resurrect that Big E. feud?

AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige for the WWE Divas Championship

This grudge match is the complete package.

It has a storyline that makes sense, two performers with good chemistry, and the right pacing leading up to the event. There have been a few hiccups along the way -- mostly inside the ring -- but I'm confident they hit second gear this weekend and show fans what a good Divas match should look like.

It also helps that it's not obvious who the winner is. That always cools off a match for me, but heading into SummerSlam I think you can make a case for both champion and challenger. Hopefully during this bout, Eva Marie doesn't get forced-pushed or just fall down backstage for no apparent reason.

Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns

Here we have a bout that is all about the work. The idea that Randy Orton can only get back into the title picture by disposing of Roman Reigns is fine, and there's history between The Authority and The Shield, but their salesmanship could use some polish.

I blame Reigns.

His promos usually sound something like mumble-mumble-mumble-I GOT A HAIR TRIGGER-mumble-mumble-mumble. What does that even mean? His Superman punch is like a gun and if you fuck up, he fires? Then why not just open with that punch and have an easy night?

No matter.

I'd classify this as an "in the meantime" match because these two are double-parked outside their upcoming programs and are fighting each other in the meantime. And as far as layovers go, you probably can't do much better than this, because both Reigns and Orton can deliver when it counts.

C+ build up will translate to an A+ match.

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

I feel the same way about The Miz wrestling as I did when Jimmy cracked corn. I don't care. I do appreciate that he's gone full douche and spending 10 minutes watching Ziggler take bumps isn't the worst thing in the world, but nobody cares about the Intercontinental strap, so why should they care about the wrestlers who are fighting for it?

Sorry, that's all I got. I mean c'mon, it's The Miz, and I don't get paid by the word.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins: Lumberjack match

I really hope WWE decides to kick things off with this contest because I think it not only wins match of the night, but it also sets the tempo for the rest of the evening. Get the fans all fired up and what could have been some lackluster affairs, suddenly have the backdrop of a hot crowd to work in front of.

And unlike the harebrained stipulation in Wyatt vs. Jericho, this one makes sense.

Seth Rollins has spent the last four weeks running from Dean Ambrose and there is a pretty good chance he would beat feet here, too, so the only way to prevent that is by surrounding the ring with half the jobbers roster, most of whom he's managed to piss off across the last few months or so.

Do we even need to talk about the physical aspects of this match?

The best part about having a bunch of guys at ringside is knowing people are there to catch you, so I would expect a couple of bowling-pin spots from Ambrose. Maybe somebody backstage can slip one of these lumberjacks a Benjamin and we can have a ladder "accidentally" end up in the ring.

Regardless, the decision to keep them apart has put the anticipation for this showdown through the roof and I just don't see any possible way for this match to suck (famous last words).

Must Watch:

John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
AJ Lee vs. Paige
Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella
Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Must Not:

The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler


Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev

There you have it.

Looking at this card overall, if WWE distributes the bouts in the right order, it could turn out to be a great show.

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