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Predicting the match order at SummerSlam 2019

It’s one thing to predict the winners and losers at SummerSlam 2019, but how about taking a guess at the match order on that card?

WWE has announced ten different segments for the main card of SummerSlam. Here is my subjective view of how important each of these ten segments rank, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
  2. Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
  3. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
  4. Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair
  5. Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
  6. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
  7. AJ Styles vs. Ricochet
  8. Bayley vs. Ember Moon
  9. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
  10. Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan

It is important to come up with a list like this to get an idea of which matches are going to be placed in the key spots on the card or take up the most time, and which matches might end up in the cool-down spots or be given the least amount of time.

This list was very difficult to put together, which is a strong indication that it will not be easy to predict the match order on this card. This is partially because WWE is using Goldberg and Trish Stratus as special attractions, but it’s also because WWE has done a pretty good job of trimming the fat.

At one point it looked like the card could run 14 matches deep, counting the pre-show. But that’s not how things played out, and so all but one of these ten matches that survived the cut are important.

Hell, I have Bray Wyatt ranked right near the bottom even though for some fans his in-ring debut as The Fiend is the most intriguing thing about SummerSlam. My ranking isn’t a knock on Wyatt, it’s more about the predictability of the outcome due to Balor’s impending departure, the lack of any stakes like a championship, and the lack of more obvious upper card stars like Goldberg, Stratus, Lynch, Flair, Rollins, McMahon, etc.

As for other difficult decisions, I have slotted Owens and Shane ahead of most championship matches. In my view their story has been a bigger focal point of SmackDown television than just about any other match on this card.

I would normally rank Goldberg higher, since he always has a chance to main event any card he wrestles on. However his opponent is career mid-carder Dolph Ziggler, so that takes him down a notch.

As far as the ranking of the women’s matches is concerned, Charlotte Flair gets the top spot because she’s just as big of a star as Becky Lynch, while Trish Stratus is a bigger star than Natalya.

Sorry, cruisers

I don’t buy for a second that Gulak versus Lorcan is going to remain on the main card, so I’m bumping them off to the pre-show. Therefore I’m going to treat the main card of the pay-per-view as if it has nine segments.

Main event

I’m giving this one to Brock Lesnar, mostly because he’s Brock Lesnar. But after the way Seth Rollins had his ass handed to him the last two weeks, I think WWE really hurt the interest level in their match, leaving the door open for another match to headline this card.

The problem is that I don’t see what other match would main event SummerSlam. Goldberg always has a chance, but Ziggler doesn’t really belong in the main event. Same thing goes for Becky and Natalya, with Natalya being the one who is not presented as a main event superstar. Kofi Kingston has never headlined a WWE pay-per-view in a singles match, and it’s one of those things where I likely won’t believe it until I see it. And there are too many question marks about Trish’s current abilities in the ring to put her in the main event match.

Maybe Goldberg has a small shot at it, or maybe there is a major angle planned for the finish of Owens and McMahon that warrant the final match of the night. But these are unlikely scenarios.

So, Lesnar versus Rollins remains as the main event of SummerSlam.

Opening match

The opening match of the night is usually one of the mid-level attractions with good work rate that doesn’t require a dedicated video package ahead of time to hype it up.

WWE has thrown several curveballs my way on this spot this year. Two examples include opening WrestleMania 35 with Lesnar versus Rollins, and opening Extreme Rules with Graveyard Dogs versus McMahon & McIntyre. Could we see another bold move like that at SummerSlam?

I’m looking at this card and can see a reasonable case for several different matches as the opener. With that in mind, I’m going to choose Stratus and Flair for this spot. Trish did kick off Evolution last year, and maybe WWE will want to go right for the hometown pop to begin SummerSlam.

I was also tempted to pick Owens and McMahon here, because it seems that Shane’s matches generally appear in the first half of the night.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair
Segment 2:
Segment 3:
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6:
Segment 7:
Segment 8:
Segment 9: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins

Segments 2 and 3

One of the least important matches of the night usually wind up in Segment 2. WWE rarely ever places women’s matches in consecutive segments, so I’ll choose Wyatt for this spot rather than Bayley.

Bayley and Moon will then go in Segment 3, assuming that the most important matches of the night will take place in the latter half of the card.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair
Segment 2: Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Segment 3: Bayley vs. Ember Moon
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6:
Segment 7:
Segment 8:
Segment 9: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins

Everything else

It’s time to select a men’s match for Segment 4. Owens, Goldberg, or Ricochet are the most likely choices. I’m thinking that it’s still a bit too early for Goldberg, and that a high workrate match like Styles versus Ricochet makes the most sense here.

After that I’ll put Lynch and Natalya in Segment 5. I’d like to put Lynch later in the card, but I’m doubtful that they will place Natalya so close to the final match of the night.

That leaves Kingston, Owens, and Goldberg for Segments 6 through 8, in some order.

The more I think about it, I want to position Goldberg very close to the main event, so I’ll put him in Segment 8. Might as well go with a squash segment the crowd will eat up right before the Lesnar/Rollins stuff, which could be hard to predict how the crowd will react.

I did rank Owens ahead of Kingston’s match, but Kofi does have the WWE championship, so I’m going to keep him among the final three matches of the night. That means Owens goes in Segment 6, and Kingston in Segment 7.

Finalized card

So here is my final prediction for the match order at SummerSlam, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times.

Segment 1: Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair (11 minutes)
Segment 2: Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt (6)
Segment 3: Bayley vs. Ember Moon (12)
Segment 4: AJ Styles vs. Ricochet (19)
Segment 5: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya (14)
Segment 6: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon (18)
Segment 7: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton (17)
Segment 8: Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler (1)
Segment 9: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (10)

I do have the four longest matches of the night all occurring consecutively, which is not ideal, but it sounds like there’s a good chance that something else will be added to this card. Any unadvertised filler match like that can easily slot in between Owens’ and Kingston’s matches, for example.

That’s my prediction for the match order at SummerSlam 2019. What’s yours?

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