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WWE SummerSlam 2018 predictions

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., Aug. 19, 2018) 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 defends the Universal championship against Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey challenges Alexa Bliss for the Raw women’s title, Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz, and 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.

SummerSlam predictions

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

Geno Mrosko: I will laugh if this isn’t it, but this is it. It really is it. I mean, yeah, it’s it. IT’S IT, OKAY. Pick: Roman Reigns

Sean Rueter: Heading into WrestleMania and Greatest Royal Rumble I was on the “just finish the story” train. Now I’m on the “watch the world burn” express. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Kyle Decker: Roman Reigns. It’s going to be Roman. Yes, I say this all the time and it’s never Roman, but it’s going to be this time. Vince and Co. have stuck to their guns for better or worse to give us this match a fourth (FOURTH!) time. Roman has to get his one on one win finally. Hell, I don’t really care about it but even I feel that if they’ve come this far, just give the man his big Brock win. Pick: Roman Reigns

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Please just let this be the last one. Pick: Roman Reigns

Cain A. Knight: Vince McMahon just can’t help himself, booking a main event match that he knows will be completely rejected by the audience. The worst outcome for me is a successful Strowman cash-in, so I’m hoping that Lesnar wins and then disappears for the rest of the year. But I don’t think Vince is going to book his top guy to come up short every single time against Lesnar, so Reigns will probably win. And then Strowman cashes in. Hopefully Paul Heyman will do something noteworthy to save this mess. Pick: Roman Reigns

Stunning Stella Cheeks: It. Has. To. Be. Roman. Pick: Roman Reigns

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

Geno Mrosko: They didn’t get the chance to tell much of a story before this but they will after Joe takes the title off good ol’ uncle Al in a show stealer. Pick: Samoa Joe

Sean Rueter: In the not-at-all unlikely event folks find this disappointing a la the Nakamura series, may I suggest watching the Fallout video of Joe taunting AJ while Gallows & Anderson hold the champ back? Because that was very good. Pick: AJ Styles

Kyle Decker: Man, this is such an after thought. I’d probably say in the sense of presentation, this is the 6th most important match on the SummerSlam card. Given that Styles has been champion for awhile now, I don’t think they’re doing a change when the feud seems so unimportant compared to so much of the card. Pick: AJ Styles

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how wild it is that AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, two of the men most associated with TNA (not to mention two-thirds of the generally most universally acclaimed match that promotion ever held!), are competing for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. That’s kinda cool, ain’t it? Anyway, a title change here wouldn’t shock me, but given that Joe’s said some pretty underhanded things I think the crowd goes home happy here. Pick: AJ Styles

Cain A. Knight: It’s interesting how Samoa Joe can seem so intimidating during his tough guy promos yet he rarely backs it up when the big match takes place. I initially figured this was a one-off match until WWE gets their preferred heel (probably Randy Orton) to take the title from Styles. But the story WWE decided to pursue now involves AJ’s wife and kids, and that’s the kind of story that can’t work if it’s just dropped after a few weeks. So maybe Joe has a better chance than I’m giving him credit for here. Pick: AJ Styles

Stunning Stella Cheeks: I think AJ has been an excellent champ, but post Nakamura his reign has felt a little stale to me. This story line with Joe hasn’t been my favorite (no one cares about Wendy. Sorry!), but I think there is a lot of exciting possibilities with Joe as the champ. Turning this match into an ongoing feud (sans Wendy) would be fun to watch. Not to mention Joe’s tenuous relationship with Paige as the GM. Would love to watch Paige navigate how to handle a heel champion like Joe! It would also give AJ an opportunity to go hang out with his Good Brothers. There are just too many exciting story line options for AJ to retain. Pick: Samoa Joe

Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey

Geno Mrosko: I didn’t think Rousey should lose in her first title match, but they figured out a way to make that acceptable. That said, we know she’s the real deal by now and while there’s money in the chase, there’s a serious risk in waiting too long to pay it off or screwing the babyface over too many times. I don’t see any avenue they can get out of this with her losing. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Sean Rueter: Betting against Alexa feels like betting against Cena in 2008 at this point. The first all-women’s PPV and finally crowning Rowdy feels like a match made in marketing heaven, too. Ronda may technically win, but the lack of a stipulation makes me doubt a title change just yet. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Kyle Decker: I’m surprised they waited this long to be honest. But it’ll happen here. With Evolution around the corner, they’ll want a big hook to sell that big show to their casual fans as well as their hardcore ones. Ronda as the champ is that hook. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: There is a wrong answer. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Cain A. Knight: I initially groaned when Alexa won the Money in the Bank contract, but after her cash-in I realized that she actually is a great choice for an insufferable heel who Ronda can chase until SummerSlam. Well SummerSlam is now here, and there’s no way in hell Ronda should leave this event without being the new champ. The eventual Natalya heel turn should wait for another night. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Ronda is obviously going to win, but all I want is for Alexa to pull some weird double jointed nonsense when Ronda attempts an arm bar. It would be interesting to see Ronda thrown off by Alexa’s cunning and have to figure out a new way to win without an arm bar. We all know the outcome of the match, I’m just hoping they can make it interesting. But yea, Ronda’s walking out champ. Pick: Ronda Rousey

Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch

Geno Mrosko: If the story here is the breakup of the friendship Charlotte and Becky share, that wouldn’t require doing a title change. It could include it, but they seem to like this F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S champion. There’s another strong babyface on the SmackDown roster who can come take her title while Flair and Lynch sort their issues. Pick: Carmella


Kyle Decker: I honestly could make an argument for any of these women winning. Carmella because the triple threat stipulation gives her an excuse to hold onto it for a bit longer. Becky because of her journey. But I’m going Charlotte here. I don’t think Becky’s journey is over. And her BBF rolling in and stealing her thunder here is a great wrinkle in their relationship - one that should be explored more. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Becky Lynch seemingly has it won, tragedy swoops down, Charlotte Flair sadly but non-maliciously picks the bones, onto the next act. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Cain A. Knight: The all-female PPV Evolution is coming soon, and women’s wrestling is about to get an increased focus throughout WWE. That means it’s time to take the title off Carmella, because she’s just not nearly as talented as so many other women on the SmackDown roster. The Charlotte/Becky story has received the most attention here, and as much as I love Becky and want her to win, I think the story is more interesting if her best friend takes her hopes and dreams away from her. Pick: Charlotte Flair

Stunning Stella Cheeks: No. No, I refuse to entertain your theories about Becky losing. Charlotte doesn’t need to win. I love Charlotte, but we don’t need her as champ right now. Mella is over and It’s Becky’s time to shine. IT HAS TO BE BECKY!! We deserve Becky. Let us have nice things! Plus when she wins we can go straight into a Charlotte vs Becky feud for Evolution. Pick: Becky Lynch

The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day

Geno Mrosko: There isn’t much to this, like there hasn’t been much to the title reign of The Bludgeon Brothers. There’s more potential in the matches they can get out of New Day as champions but they seem to like the character stuff they can do with the Bludgeons. Pick: Bludgeon Brothers

Sean Rueter: Remember when there were rumors about Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E getting singles pushes? Those were cool. Pick: The New Day

Kyle Decker: I can make an argument for the New Day based off the fact that they and the Usos are the only face teams on the roster. Meaning any further Bludgeon match ups would have to be heel vs. heel. That said, the Brothers haven’t even been challenged yet. It would be sudden to go from unchallenged to losing the belts. I also really want to see the Bar vs. the Bludgeon before Harper & Rowan lose their titles. Pick: Bludgeon Brothers

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I still believe WWE want to get New Day the number of reigns record in addition to the longest reign record they already possess. They cooled their jets on title changes for a few months there, but if we’re gonna get there in due time, now’s the time to kickstart the process again. Pick: New Day

Cain A. Knight: SmackDown is loaded with amazing tag teams, so of course WWE has spent the last several months inefficiently using the roster by sticking the titles on the team with the least interesting gimmick. In contrast, the New Day is endlessly entertaining and it’s time for the power of pancakes and positivity to shine again. Pick: New Day

Stunning Stella Cheeks: The Bludgeon Brothers are boring and have done absolutely nothing as champions. The only thing scary about them is just how boring they are. You know what’s never boring? Pancakes. Pick: New Day

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

Geno Mrosko: I’ll hop on the “Dean Ambrose is turning heel on his brother” train here. Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Sean Rueter: Gonna hold my breath until they move Seth up to chase the Universal Title and start building toward Ziggler vs. McIntyre by having Dolph get too full of himself and take the Big Scot for granted. Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Kyle Decker: The story up to this point has been that Dolph can win because Seth doesn’t have an answer to Drew McIntyre. Now he does with the return of Dean Ambrose. The only way I see him losing now is if Dean turns on him. And while that’s the haircut of a man turning heel, even if it happens, I don’t think it happens tomorrow. Pick: Seth Rollins

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: A reckoning is definitely coming soon with the four men involved in this match, but I don’t think anything big happens here. No title change, but also no loss for Rollins, expect a disqualification or a no contest or something on that order. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: Rollins has been the hottest babyface in WWE for most of 2018, but for some reason WWE decided to cool off Rollins and not put him in the main event match with Brock Lesnar. If the Architect is now booked to lose on consecutive PPVs against career mid-carder Dolph Ziggler...I don’t even know how to comprehend that. That can’t actually happen, right? Pick: Seth Rollins

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Seth Rollins wins. Then the next night on RAW Dean Ambrose beats him up. Dolph and Drew are sad, but then delighted. Chaos in The Shield is good for Drew and Dolph. Roman tries to help. Drew beats up Roman. Drew wins the Universal title from Roman. World Peace occurs. Pick: Seth Rollins

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Geno Mrosko: They like Braun Strowman too much to take this away from him. Pick: Braun Strowman

Sean Rueter: You’re supposed to pick against the Money in the Bank briefcase holder, but if the case is on the line, I guess he doesn’t technically have it yet, so that rule doesn’t apply? Pick: Braun Strowman

Kyle Decker: They demonstrated that Kevin Owens has a chance because he has figured out how to get Braun counted out or DQed. Now that they’ve put the idea in our heads that Kevin can actually win this, Strowman will beat him. Pick: Braun Strowman

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: There are two times you can almost always count on Money in the Bank winners to pull through for a big victory— when they cash in, and when they put the case on the line. Monsters are no different. Pick: Braun Strowman

Cain A. Knight: Strowman isn’t losing the briefcase to KO. All those losses to Jinder Mahal were just done to create some doubt, but it’s pretty clear Vince McMahon has just been biding time so that Strowman can cash in either at SummerSlam or on Raw the very next night. Pick: Braun Strowman

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Braun Strowman was on a hot streak before winning this briefcase and has felt stale since MITB. Kevin Owens is doing him a favor by taking it off his hands. Kevin Owens is a good egg. Pick: Kevin Owens.

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

Geno Mrosko: Really excited for this. Do you have the babyface conquer the heel who has antagonized him for so long in their first meeting, not even attempting to draw it out even further? Or do you give the heel a victory, count on that getting enough heat to keep anticipation going for the ultimate beatdown, and extend this? I think they go with the first option. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Sean Rueter: This is the start of Act Three, which will culminate in DB beating his old pro for the title at WrestleMania 35. And don’t tell me I’m fantasy booking instead of making a prediction. Pick: The Miz

Kyle Decker: Can’t wait for this one. This is probably my most anticipated match on the card. (The SmackDown women’s match is up there too.) Regardless of whether or not Bryan has re-upped his contract, I think the Miz takes the W here. Him being able to lord that over Daniel until their eventual rematch (hopefully not immediately) will be super obnoxious. Pick: The Miz

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: What I want is for 2018 pro wrestling to let Miz pick up the win, Bryan “lets his contract expire” and “leaves” for a few months ala his summer vacation in 2010 to do WWE-friendly indies like Evolve and Progress so I can still get my Bryan Danielson Indie World Tour, in truncated form, before returning around the Rumble to kickstart this thing towards something like what my fellow fantasy booker Sensational Sean suggests. But no, WWE looks at Miz in a certain way and I think this ends here and now, unfortunately. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Cain A. Knight: If this feud is going to stretch across multiple PPVs then the heel should probably start out with a win. But this one feels like the culmination of a long-term story, where Bryan needs to finally put this guy away before moving on to bigger matches with better opponents. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Daniel Bryan and The Miz have been feuding for eight years. Think about how long that is! If this match had less weight behind it I would say The Miz due to shenanigans, but after those video packages from SmackDown Live I really feel like this match is it; the cherry on top of a long term story. If that is the case it 100% has to be Bryan. Pick: Daniel Bryan

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy

Geno Mrosko: With Randy Orton lurking around every corner, ready to shake anyone’s hand, there’s a wrestler in close proximity who specializes in low blows. It’s almost too perfect. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Sean Rueter: Hopefully we get to the part of this story where Shinsuke punches Randy Orton in the junk a lot soon. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Kyle Decker: Too soon to switch back here. (I think Nakamura should hold the US title for a long time.) I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a no contest because of a Randy Orton interference. But I would be if Jeff took his title right back. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Where’s Steve Corino when you need him? Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Cain A. Knight: Nakamura has been a steady upper carder for most of his run in WWE, and it would be disappointing for his title run to end against a guy whose singles push is clearly on the decline. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Stunning Stella Cheeks: It’s been too long since I’ve seen someone get hit in the junk. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Finn Balor vs. Constable Baron Corbin

Geno Mrosko: Hey, whatever happened to The Demon? Pick: Constable Corbin

Sean Rueter: Don’t know much about this Finn character, but I hear he’s a little feller? Pick: Constable Corbin

Kyle Decker: That’s right. This match is taking some space on the card. Let’s say Corbin because they probably have bigger plans for him than Finn. Pick: Baron Corbin

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Yeah yeah Corbin’s found a very enjoyable niche with the constable schtick, but Finn’s still got more wrestling acumen in any six-inch stretch of flesh on his body than Baron has in an entire arm. Pick: Finn Balor

Cain A. Knight: How far has Finn fallen to be stuck in this nothing match? This match is needlessly taking up space on a bloated SummerSlam card, and should instead be taking place on Raw. It doesn’t really matter who wins here, so I guess I’ll go with the babyface. Hey WWE, please find something better for Finn ASAP. Pick: Finn Balor

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Why is this on the card? This show is like 1,000,000 hours long. This is a RAW match. In fact, we’ve seen in on RAW. A lot. Ugh. Pick: Finn Balor

Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

Geno Mrosko: Even I know Drew Gulak is the right choice for a better 205 Live. Pick: Drew Gulak

Sean Rueter: People keep looking for ways to get folks invested in the cruiserweights when someone has been literally telling us he has a plan for a better 205 Live ALL ALONG. Vote Gulak. Pick: Drew Gulak

Kyle Decker: I love me some Drew Gulak, but I think they keep rolling with Cedric. I wouldn’t mind seeing them turn Alexander heel and have Ali eventually dethrone him. Pick: Cedric Alexander

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: With the future of Catch Point in Evolve very much up in the air after Drew’s protege “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams ran the usurper Stokely Hathaway out of the company, maybe it’s time for the Campaign for a Better 205 Live to mutate into a more... competitive form with the title around the Legal Eagle’s waist. Pick: Drew Gulak

Cain A. Knight: I’m shocked that this match made it onto the card period, even on the pre-show. Hopefully these guys will tear it up in front of the empty arena. Pick: Cedric Alexander

Stunning Stella Cheeks: For a better 205 Live. Pick: Drew Gulak

Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega

Geno Mrosko: Contrary to their steadfast belief in it, Lana is, in fact, not the best nor is she number one. Pick: Andrade Almas & Zelina Vega

Sean Rueter: Hate when Mom and Dad fight with Dad’s personal songmeister, but I think that’s gonna keep happening. Pick: Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

Kyle Decker: Aiden English keeps screwing things up. Pick: Almas and Vega

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Team of wrestler and manager beats team of two managers, film at eleven. (Yes, yes, I know, it’s called a joke.) Pick: Rusev Day

Cain A. Knight: WWE’s love for 50/50 booking can never be ruled out in a situation like this, but Rusev eating losses is basically a staple of WWE PPVs at this point. Pick: Almas & Vega

Stunning Stella Cheeks: After that big ole baby face promo from Rusev on Tuesday I have to go with Rusev and Lana. Regardless of the outcome, I hope the feud between Rusev and Almas continues. Pick: Rusev Day

The B-Team vs. The Revival

Geno Mrosko: Fans seem to care more about the comedy act than the serious wrasslers. Pick: The B-Team

Sean Rueter: Let’s do some Top Guy Business, just to thumb our noses at Bully Ray, if nothing else. Pick: The Revival

Kyle Decker: This would be the perfect time for the villainous duo take the titles off the popular, goofy team while they’re still hot. But leaving the titles on the B Team until they run out of opponents for them feels like more of what they’d do, just like they did with Beauty and the Man Beast a couple years back. Pick: The B Team

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: God there are a lot of matches on this card. Anyway, say yeah, something something Hart Attack something suck it, Bully Ray something... Pick: The Revival

Cain A. Knight: Raw’s tag division is a complete joke. It appears to me that the Revival still haven’t really connected with the audience, so that means B-Team should probably retain. Pick: The B-Team

Stunning Stella Cheeks: Honestly, if The Revival doesn’t win they should just release them. Pick: The Revival

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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