WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Aug. 23, 2015) live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with its SummerSlam event starting at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 7 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.
Set for the card: Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar in a rematch from WrestleMania 30, Seth Rollins vs. John Cena in a title vs. title (WWE world heavyweight vs. US) match, and so much more!
Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.
Let's get to it.
WWE SUMMERSLAM PREDICTIONS
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
The General: THAT'S GOTTA BE ... THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE! THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE! Pick: Undertaker
Sean Rueter: Rumors, be damned...there's just no way I buy a Taker win here, no matter how I look at it. Straight up, this is a 50 year old man fighting a man more than 10 years his junior who has legit fighting experience. Kayfabe, this is a man who's been unstoppable for two years in WWE against a man heading into his third match in that time frame. 'Reality' era, Brock almost killed Taker last time they fought. And call him Bitter Taker or mid-life crisis Taker, his story isn't even satisfying if he goes over clean here - unless he's planning a return to semi-regular status, and we all know that's not happening. The deciding factor for me is that Vince has a lot more money invested in Lesnar at this point, and any animosity he had with leftover from his first exit from the company has been redeemed by Brock's flattery on the press trail this week. I'm picking the guy that gets ESPN to broadcast from Arlington, Texas next April. Pick: Brock Lesnar
Keith Harris: The working assumption is that The Undertaker retires at next year's WrestleMania and that this bout will lead to an even bigger rematch in Dallas for his swan song. Standard WWE retirement booking protocol suggests that Undertaker would win here to set up a rubber match at WM 32 where he would do the time honoured tradition of putting over an existing megastar on his way out the door. However, the fact that RudoTaker laid out Lesnar in his home-town with the Tombstone piledriver in the go home angle on this week's Monday Night Raw is probably a sign he's not getting his win back at SummerSlam. It looks like the intrigue for WM 32 will be The Undertaker getting one last shot to defeat the unconquerable Lesnar and finally avenging the breaking of his WrestleMania Streak. Pick: Brock Lesnar
Bill Hanstock: Kudos to the build for this, because I'm legitimately uncertain as to who will win this one, but I'm still assuming it's going to be the Undertaker. The real story with this one is whether the match will be good. I think these guys can still manage to surprise us.
Kyle Decker: By all intents and purposes, Lesnar should win this match. It continues the story of Undertaker failing to overcome his demon while setting up an excellent angle to continue down the road. Plus, at this point, Undertaker is more part time than Lesnar. Lesnar is going to be around for a few years while Taker can't have much more time left. The loss would derail the momentum Lesnar has had since he originally beat the streak over a year ago. That all being said, this is WWE and my gut feeling says they want to give Taker a win back for allowing Lesnar to beat the streak in the first place. Storylines be damned. Pick: Undertaker
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
The General: If it's really all about what's best for business, they put the belt on Cena here but the increased emphasis on Ric Flair's record for title reigns and Triple H's close association to it on Raw telegraphed the finish here. They may as well have screamed in our faces that this won't end with a clean victory for either man. Pick: Cena by DQ
Sean Rueter: If I were handed the book right now, I put the belt on Cena. Through very little fault of his own, Seth's run has been a mess, while I don't think I've ever been more impressed with the U.S. champ. Plus, I don't know that WWE will have too many more opportunities to give him a run with the top strap before he becomes more of a part-time attraction himself. The inclusion of The Architect being an extension of Triple H's legacy screams interference, however, and meshes with reports that SummerSlam is not the end of this program. Which means, by hook or by crook... Pick: Seth Rollins
Keith Harris: The story of the summer so far has been how John Cena has outshone Seth Rollins on three consecutive WWE specials in his feud with Kevin Owens by having much more heated and dynamic matches that the WWE World Heavyweight Champion couldn't follow. Cena has raised his game, whilst Rollins hasn't been able to escape his shadow. Thus, one year on from being squashed by Lesnar, the time seems ripe for Cena to hold the top WWE title again. The tease of a statue of Rollins being built if he wins and Cena bringing up what a big moment it would be to tie Flair's record of 16 officially approved World title runs also seems to hint in that direction. Pick: John Cena
Bill Hanstock: I'm predicting a non-finish, because it's far too early in the feud to put both titles on one guy. The best thing that could happen is a decisive win by Rollins, but I'm just feeling a non-finish. Either both men walk away with their respective titles, or Sheamus shenanigans (sheamnanigans?) result in a new champion that ISN'T John Cena.
Kyle Decker: This just reeks of a non-finish. Cena is doing some of his best work and likely should win the title, but it won't be this weekend. WWE just started teasing the idea Triple H's legacy being at stake along with the titles and just finally mentioned Ric Flair. They'll probably want to flesh out that story for another month before actually crowning a winner of this feud at Night of Champions. Plus, with this match not going on last, WWE can give the fans a non-finish and not leave the bitter taste that comes with actually closing a show with it. Pick: John Cena via DQ
Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz
The General: They believe in THE BIG GUY for whatever reason. The only consistently entertaining aspect of this has been the guy treated the worst, The Miz. He has no chance. Pick: Ryback
Sean Rueter: Miz has been killing everything they give him, Show is being set-up for a transition to part-time status and is deserving of a victory lap kind of run with something more respectable than the Andre the Giant statue, yet someone backstage sees money in The Big Guy. Wonder if it's the dude who once backed a competitive bodybuilding league? Pick: Ryback
Keith Harris: With Ryback having spent several weeks on the disabled list due to a nasty staph infection, his IC title run has stalled and he deserves longer with the strap to make his reign feel more meaningful. Between his size and stature, Big Show doesn't need the belt. Similarly, although there has been insider chatter about Miz getting another run with the gold, there's no need to rush it, having held the title four times already. Pick: Ryback
Bill Hanstock: Ryback retains. Let's do something different next month, please.
Kyle Decker: WWE did not wait out Ryback's three times too large knee to heal up just to have him lose the title as soon as he comes back. Plus, there's no way he'd lose to either guy in the match. The Big Show is not going to win any more singles titles in the WWE. And while Miz has been doing his best work, he's taken too many losses to both these guys in the build up to be anywhere near credible enough to win the title. Me thinks Feeding Time has just begun. Pick: Ryback
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
The General: They've set us up for a heel turn here but I'm wondering if that's not simply misdirection. I actually think it would be best for Ambrose to turn, though not to join The Wyatt Family. However, Brooklyn is the wrong crowd to do that in front of and I've got a feeling they'll just book this standard and have the babyfaces go over after a fun match. Pick: Shield
Sean Rueter: Yet another match where what I would do bears little resemblence to what I think they'll do. Having Roman turn on Dean in smark-y Brooklyn makes a huge heel and face respectively. But I've actually been swung so far around by their build to this match that I think it goes down without any backstabbing. Bray's not being built for anything, Harper's a guy they have no problem telling to look at the lights and the buddy act keeps Reigns busy (and over-ish) until his next WrestleMania push starts. Pick: Ambreigns
Keith Harris: With WWE's tack at the moment seemingly that they need to build sympathy on Reigns by screwing him over at every major event before the push to the world title begins in earnest again, this doesn't look like it will be The Shield brothers night. It's possible that Ambrose stabs Reigns in the back here and aligns himself with the Wyatts to stack the deck further against The Big Dog, but that could wait for another night. The Brooklyn crowd likely being on Reigns' back also suggests this is not the night for him to play Superman either. Pick: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
Bill Hanstock: Dean and Roman stay BFFs and get the win to finish the feud. Then everyone moves on to better things? A boy can dream.
Kyle Decker: WWE has been so in our face about how buddy buddy Ambrose and Reigns are that it telegraphs their split so much that I think they'll swerve us and keep them together. Wyatt already picked up his win over Roman so Roman will get his win over Wyatt here. They'll showcase the teamwork and friendship of Ambrose and Reigns, leaving Ambrose to be the smark's connection to Roman. Pick: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
Team Bella vs. Team B.A.D. vs. Team PCB
The General: I imagine the way to go about this is to give Nikki the win and have her really start pushing the title reign starting on Raw next week. Pick: Team Bella
Sean Rueter: My thoughts on the Divas Revolution are pretty well documented, but I'll try to stay positive. If there are any notions about seriously elevating the women, the butterfly belt needs to mean something. There's a story in place to do accomplish that with Nikki close to setting the record for longest reign, but she has to stop doing jobs to newcomers - no matter how talented and/or experienced they actually are. They should start making her look like a badass again in Brooklyn. Pick: Team Bella
Keith Harris: The goal of this match should be to make a strong contender to Nikki Bella's Divas Championship for Night Of Champions. Given that Sasha tapped out Nikki on Raw, it's likely that Team Bad will be the first team to be eliminated with either Naomi or Tamina dropping the fall. Unless Charlotte has heat for the botched finish to her match on Smackdown a couple of weeks ago, which there doesn't seem to be, she would be the favourite to beat Nikki to win the fall. Pick: Charlotte, Paige & Becky Lynch
Bill Hanstock: If this were single-elimination I would say Charlotte is the last Diva standing, but it's team elimination. So ... I'll say Team B.A.D.? Yeah, Team B.A.D. Why not.
Kyle Decker: WWE has not bothered to give us any reason to care about this so I'm not going to bother really wracking my brain for a real logic based prediction. Since Charlotte is likely the first in line for a single's shot, I expect team PB&C to get the win. Pick: Charlotte/Paige/Becky
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
The General: My god, who cares. Pick: Orton
Sean Rueter: This is the match pictured between the two main events on WWE.com. Just wanted to point that out. Anyway, these guys...yeah, I got nothing. I can't even get excited about the fact that they're good sports entertainers capable of a stiff match, because we've seen it so many times. I don't buy reports we could get a cash-in on Sunday, but I also don't think we've reached the point in Sheamus' MitB arc where he starts losing a lot yet. Pick: Sheamus
Keith Harris: Between WWE's booking philosophy that the Money In The Bank briefcase holder can lose repeatedly because he'll (almost certainly) get the title in the end, which may be coming for Sheamus sooner rather than later, and WWE clearly protecting Orton for a future WWE World Heavyweight Championship shot, I'd have to lean towards Orton winning here, but in such an under-promoted mid-card match it really doesn't seem to matter much either way. Pick: Randy Orton
Bill Hanstock: I expect Orton to win, if only because a MITB holder should always have an automatic challenger with a legitimate gripe. You know, for safety.
Kyle Decker: I totally forgot... why are these two feuding again? Reasons? Yeah, I think that's it. When there's absolutely no story behind a match like this, it's extremely tough to actually make an informed prediction. I'm going to say Sheamus, just so they can troll us with the rubber match at Night of Champions. Pick: Sheamus
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens
The General: Cesaro is getting the push and Owens is on the downswing. No reason that changes here. Pick: Cesaro
Sean Rueter: And we've reached the part where, despite it basically just being an exhibition between two guys I like, I'll almost be too nervous to watch. But I guess I have to put my fan heart aside and do this with my professional brain (such as it is)...KO is still on the roster of the brand that has an event on Saturday night, can still crow about beating Cena on PPV and, sorry prizefighter, but Cesaro actually has momentum right now. A good showing keeps Kev where he is on the ladder, whereas the King of Swing is better positioned with a win, so... Pick: Cesaro
Keith Harris: As Owens is clearly losing to Finn Balor at NXT Takeover (why put your developmental title back on someone who has already successfully transitioned to the main roster?), it would make sense for Owens to win here. Even though WWE management seems unhappy over a perceived recent weight gain, it would be foolish to completely extinguish Owens' momentum by having him lose six high profile matches on the trot. Cesaro's day should come when Owens has more steam under his sails. Pick: Kevin Owens
Bill Hanstock: I have no idea who will win, because neither guy really needs another loss right now, but I fully expect this match to steal the show. I'll say Cesaro gets the win, only because SOME good guys need to win at the second-biggest show of the year.
Kyle Decker: The tough thing about feuding two guys who really need a win is unfortunately, one of them has to lose. As long as they get time, and they should on a 4 hour show, I call Match of the Night on this one. Since Cesaro seems to be on an upswing as Owens seems to be on a bit of a decline, I'm picking the guy without the conspiracy theories about setting up him to fail. Pick: Cesaro
Prime Time Players vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons
The General: What's the story here? It's not competition because everyone has been losing and everyone is still involved in a title match. The tag division is a mess. Pick: Prime Time Players
Sean Rueter: Uh...in lieu of a story, I'll keep making the same pick here every month. AKA DON'T YOU DARE BE SOUR. Pick: The New Day
Keith Harris: Los Matadores and the Lucha Dragons are both fun teams, but neither are ready for a title run and are here just to make up the numbers. Clearly, The New Day are the hottest act in the division and will inevitably win the belts back from The Prime Time Players, who have struggled slightly as champions, but my gut instinct is that WWE will hold off on that change for another month. Pick: The Prime Time Players
Bill Hanstock: I could see one of three possibilities: PTP retain, New Day wins or Lucha Dragons get a surprise pinfall to take the titles. I'll go with New Day, just because they're the best.
Kyle Decker: It's that time of year again! It's the time of year where WWE actually features the Matadors as somewhat legit so they can pretend they have a tag division but really, it's so they can pull all their tag teams in one big title match. Seriously, it's exactly what they did at WrestleMania in March. This may just be a wishful thinking pick, but there's only so long you can feature the hottest tag team without them holding the belts again. And the New Day are still the hottest tag team. Pick: The New Day
Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler
The General: This is likely continuing into Night of Champions for a mixed tag, which tells me they'll have the ladies get involved here. That would almost surely mean Summer will help cost Ziggler the win so the heels go over to set up the babyfaces getting their return match and victory next month.
Sean Rueter: Though it's not my dream of a Lana vs. RaeRae match, the outcome shouldn't change. We just had what was essentially a month-plus pause on the feud while Dolph was making movies, so we shouldn't be at the point where the heels need their comeuppance just yet. Bottom line is this...SummerSlam needs to see that flag. Pick: Rusev
Keith Harris: What's clear is that the women will be heavily involved in the finish. Like Owens, Rusev is another heel that has suffered to many high profile losses in a row and needs a win to repair his battered aura. This feud is obviously leading to a mixed tag match, which is where Lana and Ziggler should get their revenge over Rusev. Pick: Rusev
Bill Hanstock: Rusev likely gets the win to set up a mixed tag match next month to blow off the feud, in order for RuRu and RaeRae to finally be left alone by jerks. I wish nothing but the best for them.
Kyle Decker: Despite Ziggler having a good pop coming back on Monday with legit revenge fire, he's still not in Rusev's league right now. Even with this poor angle, Rusev is still on top of his game. Plus he still has only lost to two people: John Cena and Cesaro. I don't think we're adding Dolph Ziggler to the list Sunday. Lana and Hot Summer aren't in this match, but they'll surely be a factor. My bet is they end up fighting on the outside, Ziggler is distracted, and Rusev takes advantage. (Though I wouldn't be surprised with a no contest ending either.) That way they can set up the mixed tag at the next PPV and Rusev can stand victorious with his flag hanging above him on Sunday. Seriously, how about that flag, though? Pick: Rusev
Stephen Amell & Neville vs. Stardust & King Barrett
The General: Although many others have noted that Barrett is here to take the loss, it makes more sense for the story to have Amell, himself, pin Stardust to jolt him back to reality, bringing an end to the character and ushering in the return of Cody Rhodes. Pick: Amell & Neville
Sean Rueter: Just hoping that at some point in the match, a Stardust/Cosmic King death trap has our heroes incapacitated so the supervillains can do a little monologuing, while Felicity Smoak (Cody must have tweeted about her for a reason) sneaks in and frees Amell, allowing him to hit Barrett with a boxing glove arrow to save New York, Starling City and Newcastle on Tyne. Pick: Stephen Amell & Neville
Keith Harris: The rule of thumb with celebrity matches is unless they're used in a heel joke role, the outsider gets put over to garner mainstream press and keep them happy. With it being a tag team match, Stardust can drop the fall to Neville to save him the ignominy of losing to an actor, not that it matters much at this point, as both he and Barrett have been buried sideways with their comedy gimmicks. Pick: Stephen Amell & Neville
Bill Hanstock: I'm almost irrationally excited about this match. The good guys prevail and Stardust takes the pin, because in this match above all others, evil must be defeated.
Kyle Decker: The celebrities always go over. Can you imagine the confusion in the crowd if Barrett pinned Neville for the win? Hopefully, Amell gets a chance to do a little something in the ring. Not too much to anger the folks at the CW but enough so we're not watching him stand on the apron the entire time. I suspect he gets the pin on Stardust after Neville hits the Red Arrow and he does whatever move they've come up with for him. Pick: Adrian Neville and Stephen Amell
Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?