United States Championship match
Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (c)
A low blow led to the title change at Extreme Rules, now everybody better watch out for a snake who likes to strike out of nowhere.
The Road to SummerSlam
It looked like the Charismatic Enigma would regain his red, white and blue belt just days after dropping it, but Randy Orton had other ideas...
The Viper explained his attack - it wasn’t specifically about Jeff Hardy, although he didn’t sound like a fan of the daredevil’s ...dives. No, Randy was making an example out of Jeff to punish us for not respecting him. It didn’t look any better for Hardy when he returned after a couple weeks off to recuperate from Orton’s attack, and it became apparent that Randy and Shinsuke Nakamura were, if not on the same side, at least willing to co-exist to wipe Jeff out of the United States Title picture:
Since then, there’s been a real world controversy for Orton, but it’s not clear that’s changing WWE’s approach. He lurked in the shadows while Jeff fought off a blindside attack by the champ on the ‘go home’ show - but that fits in with his heel character. WWE.com’s official preview for the match goes out its way to tease his involvement, too, so there’s no sign he’ll be held back by the company’s investigation into hazing allegations.
What’s at stake?
A clear indication of seriously WWE is taking the mainstream attention being paid to Orton’s old ribs, although that may already be clear by the fact he didn’t even miss a week of television.
There have been rumors Hardy is working with injuries. But again, what else is new with Jeff? Nothing has indicated it’s anything like what brother Matt is struggling with, so that probably shouldn’t be factored into your predictions.
Winning the belt in Pittsburgh was a nice acknowledgement of the strong work Shinsuke’s been doing since turning heel, and it would be a surprise to see his reign end so quickly. He’s been a little overshadowed with the inclusion of the Viper and his fixation on Hardy, and it doesn’t seem like WWE would want to do a feud between the two bad guys coming out of this.
Should be interesting, which isn’t always something fans have said about a Randy Orton program. We’ll see which course SmackDown’s secondary title scene takes after SummerSlam on Sun., Aug. 19.
Who will win?
This poll is closed