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WWE SummerSlam 2016 predictions: Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Aug. 21, 2016) live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with its SummerSlam event starting at 5:00 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: Brock Lesnar battles Randy Orton, Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor to determine who will be the first ever Universal champion, 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.



Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton

Geno Mrosko: How many suplexes will it take before Orton's shoulders are dislocated? Pick: Lesnar

Sean Rueter: It's time for Brock's annual side-quest with another part-timer. Lesnar is next, with the distraction of Bill G announcing that leading to a trip to Viperville. Pick: Randy Orton

Kyle Decker: Brock Lesnar hasn't had a clean loss since Triple H at WrestleMania 29 (the closest was losing to Undertaker at SummerSlam last year, but that had "controversy!" at the end). I don't see that changing here at all. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Jason Martin: Brock's star may not be what it was at this point last year, but it still burns brightly. Randy Orton is one of those superstars where wins and losses won't generally help or harm him, because he's one of WWE's longstanding "made guys." While we're approaching time to get out from underneath the unbeatable nature of Brock Lesnar, this isn't the time for that loss, and it's the wrong opponent. It won't be SummerSlam 2014 all over again, and it will be both competitive and quite good, but Orton's getting beaten. He may then face the wrath of Bray Wyatt, who could well be his next program. For Brock, I'm penciling either Joe (most likely) or Nakamura as his WrestleMania opponent, and that's when he loses in a big match. Not here. If it goes on last, there will be more to it than just the finish. I'm looking forward to it. Pick: Lesnar

Cain A. Knight: I don't really see a convincing argument for an Orton victory. Brock is one of the biggest stars on the roster and he should only get beat by someone who WWE plans to give a massive main event push. It would be very misguided to give that massive push to Randy Orton; his expiration date as a main event attraction in WWE has already passed. Pick: Brock Lesnar

ReverendKain: I am sick of Brock Lesnar's heat. He's been carrying it ever since they re-energized him by breaking the Streak and tearing through John Cena like so much tissue paper. He lost the title, traded wins with the Undertaker and still he has it, but I'm done. Shit or get off the pot, as they say. Randy Orton might not be the right guy, but he's the guy we have right now and he's been putting in good enough work that I don't even feel bad about suggesting it. Take what's left of that heat, give it to Orton, and let him transfer what he can to a guy like AJ Styles or even Bray Wyatt. Just please, don't wait any longer to divest Brock of it. Prediction: Randy Orton, ideally in under five minutes by reversing an F5 into an RKO


Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Geno Mrosko: You don't spend this much time pushing a guy, including introducing an alter ego you hope will make money in the future, just to beat him the first time out. Pick: Balor

Sean Rueter: Just a gut-feeling, but saying someone is the "first ever Universal champion" is the kind of thing they love to do instead of actually building a character, and it's worth trying something surprising with a guy already in his mid-30s for the slow Autumn months. If it works, great. If not, Seth can win it later to start to set up for Mania against Roman. Pick: Finn Balor

Kyle Decker: Despite this being the New Era and showcasing new guys, it still feels like their going with the established Rollins to lead their flagship show. While it felt like maybe they'd put the title on Balor early on, the odd decision to introduce the Demon last week has me feeling it will be Rollins in the end. Pick: Seth Rollins

Jason Martin: A new Championship, and one where the first man to hold it, by all metrics, probably would be Seth Rollins, if it weren't for the fact that he's wrestling The Demon in his actual in-ring debut. If you beat that character on Sunday, the entire gimmick is meaningless, so you can't do it. Seth can win the title at any time afterward, but Finn needs to leave Brooklyn with the gold. It builds momentum for a fresh babyface. He needs the win, and the momentum, and a Seth victory does nothing to keep the program strong. An angry, embarrassed, frustrated Rollins on the other hand? Money. That's the way it needs to play out. It won't be a double-turn either, because it's the wrong time for it. The Club (RAW edition) may all hold gold, but it won't be "together." It will be a GREAT match, and hopefully won't include Jon Stewart. Pick: Balor

Cain A. Knight: It would be a really bad idea to have Balor lose in his first PPV match with the paint on, but it also doesn't really seem like WWE to throw a top belt on a new face so quickly. Considering that Balor defeated Reigns on his first night on the main roster, WWE should go all the way with Balor right now rather than bringing him down to the rest of the pack. Pick: Finn Balor

ReverendKain: The war between HHH's surrogate children finally begins! Being perfectly honest here, I don't really care who wins this, I just need them to wrestle the fast-paced "New Japan junior heavyweight meets Ring of Honor indie main event style" match I know they can. No chinlocks, please. But since I have to pick, we'll go with the newer model, so to speak, and complete a hat trick of Bullet Club victories to go with Kenny Omega's G1 Climax win. Prediction: Finn Balor


Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

Geno Mrosko: You're lying if you say you actually believe Ziggler wins this match. Pick: Ambrose

Sean Rueter: I've been surprised by how much I've enjoyed the build, but I really don't think they trust Dolph with the top spot right now. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Kyle Decker: I'd say there's no way in hell that Ziggler wins this, but I didn't think there was any way in hell that he'd even become number one contender. I still don't think he wins this. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Jason Martin: The WWE Championship match is the third most intriguing bout...featuring SmackDown branded wrestlers. The television build hasn't been bad, but it hasn't been blow-away stuff, though it's featured some of the best mic work of Ambrose's career. The match itself should be pretty good, and could be excellent. Bray Wyatt could interfere here, if he's not planned to pair off with Randy Orton. If Ziggler loses, he should turn heel, but honestly, even if he WINS, he should turn heel. I've always believed it would be AJ Styles that would take the title off of Dean Ambrose. Dolph winning isn't the right call at the current time, and WWE knows it. Dean, whether Bray is there or not, retains in about 15 minutes. Pick: Ambrose

Cain A. Knight: I'm happy to see a deserving talent like Ziggler get pushed over these last few weeks, but it's going to be really hard to reverse all the damage that WWE has done to his character over the last several years. The only way Ambrose loses this match is if WWE decides to punish him for a few of the comments he made on the Stone Cold podcast. Pick: Dean Ambrose

ReverendKain: Even with all the work they've done to build up Dolph, actually having this wrestle seems perfunctory at best. But wrestle they shall, and I think Dolph is best served by losing and building that chip on his shoulder up even further. Prediction: Dean Ambrose


John Cena vs. AJ Styles

Geno Mrosko: We know Cena is leaving again soon, so it only makes sense that Styles goes over here to win their feud. But how often does that happen to Cena, even when he's leaving? This is hope more than anything. Pick: Styles

Sean Rueter: Never thought I'd say it, but then, I never thought American Grit would get renewed. Pick: AJ Styles

Kyle Decker: The rule of reverse momentum would have AJ Styles going over here after getting AA'd through a table on the go home SmackDown. But I still can't see John Cena losing two in a row. He just doesn't do that. I can see Styles winning the feud on the rubber match but will be very surprised if Cena loses two straight. Pick: John Cena

Jason Martin: Despite JBL constantly (and erroneously, because it's already happened) calling this the "dream match we never thought we'd see," I'm jacked to see these two square off again. Cena won't be tired from a long flight, and he's a tremendous big match performer. AJ is as good as it gets in WWE, and thus this could end up stealing a pretty stacked show. Even if it doesn't, it should be 20-25 minutes of pure joy, and after the table spot that ended SmackDown on Tuesday, Styles should have his hand raised. Cena will be leaving again soon, and AJ/Dean should be the direction. A clean three would be a huge victory for AJ, and would erase some of the PPV losses that still bother us, most notably WrestleMania 32 and the pinfall in the six man last month. Pick: Styles

Cain A. Knight: It would normally be a no-brainer to assume Cena won't lose multiple singles PPV match to the same guy in such close proximity. But I am trying my hardest to ignore the "CenaWinsLOL" part of my brain and instead focus on the fact that AJ Styles really needs this win to cement himself as a top heel for the rest of his time in WWE. Gallows and Anderson will be in the building, so they can probably help Styles beat up John Cena once again. Pick: AJ Styles

ReverendKain: Cena/Styles II! I still can't help but think back to the days when this was the number one "never gonna happen" interpromotional dream match, and he we are on the second one. What a world. Anyway, with Cena taking Backlash off, the outcome seems pretty obvious here. Can't wait to get there, though, because it's gonna be an incredible match. Prediction: AJ Styles


Rusev vs. Roman Reigns

Geno Mrosko: Reigns has been ahead every step of the way for weeks, so it's only natural he loses here. This is WWE, after all. Pick: Rusev

Sean Rueter: After last Monday, I have no idea what to think. Actually, yes, I do. And that's Reigns will probably be United States champ for a little while at some point this Fall, but probably not until the Bulgarian Brute and his wife do something dastardly to win in Brooklyn. Pick: Rusev

Kyle Decker: If I wrote this last week, I would have said Roman Reigns becomes US champion. But since they for some reason gave the match away for free on Raw and Roman won clean, I don't think he walks out with the US title Sunday. It's either a non-finish, a DQ finish, or Rusev wins by some sort of cheating. Pick: Rusev

Jason Martin: I'm still fuming over putting these two in the ring for 20 minutes six days before their first clash on PPV, but what's done is done. It won't have the impact it could have, because we just saw it. Roman winning on Monday means either Rusev is winning at SummerSlam, or his entire recent push will be squandered in favor of Vince's chosen one. That pinfall loss to the spear means Lana gets involved, and while there's no way the Champion goes over clean, he does go over. It's too damaging to Rusev for him to lose twice in a week, after a title run that hasn't had time to grow against respectable opponents. A cheap win for Rusev accomplishes the goal, and keeps both men strong. Pick: Rusev

Cain A. Knight: Considering how Roman Reigns caused Lana to go face-first into a cake one week and then straight-up defeated Rusev in a lengthy match the following week, it seems like it's time for Rusev to get his win back. He'll either cheat his way to victory, or maybe this one just ends in a crappy disqualification. I don't think Reigns is getting the belt just yet. Pick: Rusev

ReverendKain: Seven years is a long time, folks. But seriously, I'm kind of dreading some kind of screwy finish to keep the title on Rusev and move Roman right back into the main event. Even if that's not the case, though, John Cena didn't beat Rusev on his first try, and I don't think Roman will either. Prediction: Rusev


Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

Geno Mrosko: I can't think of a single compelling reason for doing a title switch here. This feels more like where they'll set up for Charlotte-Dana Brooke before Banks moves on to Nia Jax. Pick: Banks

Sean Rueter: Destined to break in, she found her way (Yeah), now ain't nobody gonna take it. Cause a girl gonna push 'em all out the way. Pick: Sasha Banks

Kyle Decker: Sasha Banks' title reign isn't going to be under a month. And since turning heel, Charlotte has not won a title match without some help from someone, whether it be Ric Flair or Dana Brooke. With Dana banned from ringside and Ric kicked to the curb by the former champ, Charlotte will have to go one on one. That's a formula for a Boss victory. Pick: Sasha Banks

Jason Martin: I still believe Sasha winning the title in Brooklyn would have been a much bigger moment for her, but I understand the logic in doing it on the first new era RAW, in front of a larger television audience. Charlotte has done a great job as a heel in 2016, and while I usually like antagonistic champions, here the finish should be easy. Dana Brooke is barred from ringside, but that won't matter. She'll likely appear, or Charlotte will pull some other dirty trick, but this will be Banks' night. She will walk to the ring to one of the biggest ovations of the night, and she'll celebrate 15-20 minutes later. This is Banks Statement, three count, theme music. Should be a strong, well-booked match. Pick: Banks

Cain A. Knight: I don't really see the point in having Sasha win the championship on Raw only to reset things by putting the title back on Charlotte a few weeks later. This is the time right now to really establish Sasha Banks as a must-see talent; therefore an impressive PPV win over Charlotte is probably the best route to take. Pick: Sasha Banks

ReverendKain: Given the reports that they basically did the match they were planning on having at SummerSlam on Raw already, I'm expecting some real insanity here. As far as winners go, though, I don't expect any hotshotting. Sasha retains, onto the next challenger. Prediction: Sasha Banks


New Day vs. The Club

Geno Mrosko: New Day broke records but all good things must come to an end. Pick: The Club

Sean Rueter: Truly believe its time for a change, but also think Big E could make his triumphant return from peen contusion and help his team to victory. I don't believe what I just typed. Pick: The New Day

Kyle Decker: It's time for the New Day to lose the titles. It's been over a year and they've done all they can with the belts. Big E's testicular troubles are a good excuse for the New Day to drop the bronze, given that it's he and Kofi that usually defend them. The good doctors should be walking away champions. Pick: The Club

Jason Martin: No program leading into SummerSlam has disappointed me more than this one, as we could have had a solid, intense, basic tag rivalry with a real build. Instead it's been double entendres and injured nutsacks and bad jokes. Big E almost assuredly returns, but I still don't see why The New Day would leave with titles that do nothing for them. They've grown past the gold, and Anderson and Gallows are the right guys to take them, then drop them to Enzo & Cass later in the year, or early in 2017. Maybe this isn't the match where they win, but they'll hold those titles by October. If E appears, New Day won't lose. I predict he will, so it will be a September PPV win for the challengers, after a distraction loss on Sunday. Pick: New Day

Cain A. Knight: Gallows and Anderson should win here, but it's also possible that Big E makes a triumphant surprise return to help his guys win, delaying the inevitable title change for another month. Pick: Gallows and Anderson

ReverendKain: New Day have cracked the previous WWE (not World) Tag Team Championship reign record open, and they're down their powerhouse thanks to a broken peen. It's not a great situation as far as retaining your titles go, really. Gotta go with the Hoots here. Just hope nobody else catches ringpostitis after the Club are through with them. Prediction: The Club


The Miz vs. Apollo Crews

Geno Mrosko: Uhhh ... Pick: Miz

Sean Rueter: This will probably happen during a commercial break. Or while Flo Rida serenades Jon Stewart. Pick: The Miz

Kyle Decker: They really have given this very little build, haven't they? I think the only story here is that Daniel Bryan accidentally called Crews "Apollo Creed." The go home segment was showed during the commercial. Because of that and because I think Intercontinental Title feuds will be better with the Miz holding the title as a great heel, the A Lister goes over here. Pick: The Miz

Jason Martin: I honestly have no idea, because Miz's act has been good, though the title hasn't meant much since he won it. It's the very definition of a prop right now, and it's one that Apollo Crews could definitely use. It would make him relevant, because he's still not on the level where he can do that organically. If you view the IC Title as a power-up for the man who possesses it, I could see Crews leaving with it. I'm really trying to talk myself into it, with the reasoning being Miz hasn't even come CLOSE to taking Apollo seriously on television. He's barely even talking about this guy, so logic says he should be upset, then demand a rematch, and still maybe come up short. You know what, I've talked myself into it. This is the "new" SmackDown. Why not? This makes sense. Pick: Crews

Cain A. Knight: It feels like the Miz is always involved in the Intercontinental Championship match at SummerSlam. It also feels like Apollo Crews is probably not ready yet for a bigger push, so I expect Miz to retain the gold. It doesn't really matter who wins though, because no Intercontinental Championship reign of The Miz ever matters. Pick: The Miz

ReverendKain: Hopefully Big Show can give Apollo a pre-match pep talk since this is a co-branded PPV. And a post-match pep talk, because I don't think Miz's amazingly smarmy reign is over yet. Prediction: The Miz


Enzo & Big Cass vs. JeriKO

Geno Mrosko: Put the good guys over! Pick: Enzo & Cass

Sean Rueter: There is no honor among heels. But even though they can't manage to stay together for more than a few weeks at a time, JeriKO will forever be my favorite tag team. Pick: Enzo Amore & Big Cass

Kyle Decker: There's no reason for the thrown together team of Jericho and Kevin Owens, as great as they are together, to defeat the actual tag team of Enzo and Cass. They were put together this time just to give the Realest Guys a team to beat. Still, I'll be sad with Jericho and KO go their separate ways sooner than later. Pick: Enzo & Cass

Jason Martin: If anyone can't get pinned in this match, it's Big Cass. He's the one being protected, and he's the one WWE is absolutely in love with as a singles star. Enzo is beatable, as are either of the two heels. The singles matches over the past two weeks have been mediocre, but this should be pretty good. Enzo will take heat, which he does quite well, and the heels should have control of well over half the bout. I look at the long-term future of the two teams and see Jericho leaving sometime in the near future, Owens going after a singles title, and Enzo and Cass working towards tag gold. Therefore, the REAL tag team should get the win, and it should be Big Cass pinning Chris Jericho. It might be the tag finisher. Booking doesn't always go this way, but keeping E&C strong, considering how over they are, should be the big goal here. It won't hurt either Jericho or Owens. Pick: Enzo & Cass

Cain A. Knight: As much as I love Jericho and Owens, it's probably not a good idea to have Enzo and Cass lose to a makeshift team. Jericho and Owens might even implode once the match is over, because let's face it, these two guys are super selfish and will abandon the team concept in a blink. Pick: Enzo and Cass

ReverendKain: Jeri-KO can't last, I don't think. Jericho's present-day heel character, love him or hate him, doesn't play well with others for long, and KO is ripe for either a face turn or a trade to SmackDown, so hard fought match, Enzo & Cass over to get into the tag title scene for the fall. Prediction: Enzo & Cass


Cesaro vs. Sheamus

Geno Mrosko: You can basically flip a coin in the opener of a best-of-7 series. Pick: Cesaro

Sean Rueter: Things have been going entirely too well for the Swiss Superman lately. Time for Vince to humble him a bit. Pick: Sheamus

Kyle Decker: With Cesaro winning the last two bouts, I expect Sheamus to win the first official match in the Best of Seven. Pick: Sheamus

Jason Martin: A best of seven, ideally, should follow the Wargames formula early. Put the babyface in peril, therefore making his comeback to force a seventh match more impressive and more dramatic. Cesaro has also pinned Sheamus twice on TV in the past three weeks, and assisted in his loss to Sami Zayn. So, you put the Irishman over in match one, in what will no doubt be yet another hard hitting bout between these two. I could even see Sheamus go up 2-0, but I think Cesaro will win the seventh match...probably at the September PPV, maybe on a big TV a week or two after. Match one won't go more than 10-12 minutes. Sheamus over with the Brogue. Pick: Sheamus

Cain A. Knight: Cesaro never wins singles matches on PPV and I don't see that changing at SummerSlam. Cesaro has beaten Sheamus in multiple recent Raw matches, so it's probably the Celtic Warrior's turn to finally win. Pick: Sheamus

ReverendKain: I'm definitely excited to see these guys wrestle a minimum of four times! Not a lot to say to predict the outcome, though. Cesaro's up 2-0 in the pre-series series, so logically it's Sheamus's turn to kick the series off. Prediction: Sheamus


Becky Lynch & Carmella & Naomi vs. Natalya & Alexa Bliss

Geno Mrosko: I can't talk about this right now. Pick: Team without Eva Marie so it doesn't matter

Sean Rueter: THE LASSKICKER HAS HAD ENOUGH OF THIS BULL$#!+. Even though Carm and/or Naomi will probably turn on her during this match... Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: I had Eva's team getting the win when she was still part of this match, with her doing none of the work but scoring the pinfall. With her gone, I have no idea. May as well give the star of the the division, Becky Lynch, a pinfall victory. Pick: Becky Lynch, Carmella, & Naomi

Jason Martin: Eva Marie's suspension changes everything about how I saw this match when it was booked. The most sensible thing would be for her to show up late in the bout, blind tag herself in, and score a pinfall on Carmella. But, now that she's out, and I predict Nikki Bella is in, that shifts quite a bit. Nikki comes back on a heel team, even though a large part of the crowd will cheer for her. She could turn on them at the end, or walk out on them. Anything could happen. There's nothing to be gained or lost here, but if it's Nikki's return, she's winning the match. Becky could have used her first PPV singles win, but in a six-person bout, it's irrelevant. You have Nikki use whatever her new finisher is and catch the rookie with it for the three count. No Nikki? Becky with the pin. This match will serve as the comedown after something major. I expect it to be disjointed. Pick: Natalya & Alexa & Nikki

Cain A. Knight: When a match is thrown together at the last second like this one, the babyfaces are probably getting the win. Pick: Becky, Naomi, and Carmella

ReverendKain: Well, my original blurb here was about Eva maybe not making the match. Whoops? Anyway, Nattie won last month, faces over to even it up. Prediction: Becky Lynch, Carmella, & Naomi


Those are our picks. What are yours?

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