The dog days of summer are in full swing. It’s hot and muggy. I am in the throws of my annual birthday depression, and that can only mean 1 thing…..It’s Summerslam week! To me this has always been the unofficial signal that the season is coming to an end. It is the last thing I get excited about before football season starts, and this year is no different. The card is absolutely stacked, and unlike Wrestlemania this year, I’m actually emotionally invested in a lot of the feuds heading into Sunday. Yet as I look ahead to Summerslam 2018, I can’t help but reminisce about the first time I attended a PPV event.
I celebrated a major birthday in the summer of 2002, my 21st. There was so many great memories from that year, but the one that stands out most was my experience at Summerslam. Getting tickets was only the first part of the adventure. My buddy Chris and I drove out to Nassau Coliseum on a Saturday morning the day they went on sale. It was a little more than a hour drive from where lived. That’s right, we DROVE TO GET TICKETS!! How archaic is that?! When we got to the arena we couldn’t believe what we saw. There was a line for days! It took up almost the entire parking lot. It was at that moment we knew this was going to be a futile effort. Summerslam ’02 just wouldn’t be in the cards. Then it hit me! Let’s call Ticketmaster from the line! I guess waiting in line wasn’t primitive enough, I could pull out my 8lb cell phone and talk to a person! I got through, but unfortunately the only tickets that available were single seats a row apart. Not going to work. Then a miracle happened. There was a nice guy behind us in line that was also trying to call for tickets. His operator had 2 tickets together in the upper deck, he didn’t want them, so he handed me his phone. A few minutes later, we were on our way to the biggest party of the summer!
The card that night read like an all-star team. The “popcorn” match featured The Undertaker for crying out loud! Rey Mysterio debuted in the opening contest against Kurt Angle. There was Jericho/Flair, Benoit/RVD for the IC Title, Edge vs Eddie!! We saw Christian/Lance Storm vs Booker T and Goldust for the tag team championship. As if we hadn’t already gotten our moneys worth with this undercard, the 2 main matches were something to behold. First up, I got to see something nobody ever thought was possible. My favorite wrestler of all time was back! After 4 years away, with what we thought was a career ending injury, Shawn Michaels returned to battle his former partner Triple H in an Unsanctioned Street Fight. It was a tremendous match. HBK hadn’t lost a step. It was an inspiring performance and an instant classic. Then came the main event. It was the passing of the torch in a lot of ways. The WWE Undisputed Championship was on the line, as The Rock took on one of his greatest challenges, the “Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar. Lesnar would be victorious that night, and at the time became the youngest WWE Champion in history. It was a fantastic event and an experience I’ll never forget. I watch the show every now and again, and even 16 years later it never loses its luster. I suggest you do the same. But enough about the classic stuff, it’s time for my predictions for the big show on Sunday!!
Let’s start off with the obvious:The card for Summerslam 2018 is without a doubt LOADED! The storylines and buildups to this event have been solid all around. I will even go as far to say that I am more into this show than I was for Wrestlemania this year. So without further ado, here’s what I think will go down this Sunday:
FINN BALOR vs BARON CORBIN: This has been a pleasant secondary feud on the RAW brand. It is a classic mismatch concept that I have always enjoyed throughout the years. As great a Balor is, I feel as if Corbin is starting to come into his own in this “Constable” role. I think Baron takes the win on Sunday in what might be a sleeper hit of the weekend.
JEFF HARDY vs SHINSUKE NAKAMURA(US CHAMPIONSHIP)- It’s shocking this match isn’t a three way dance with Randy Orton included. He has been an integral part of the build up to this rematch, but with Smackdown already having a Triple Threat title match on the card, it makes sense for him to be on the outside. I see this match being decent, then ruined by a DQ finish when Orton decides to get involved.
NEW DAY vs THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS(SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP)- Another match that has the potential to be sneaky good since everyone involved can work. I just don’t see the New Day getting the advantage here simply because this seems to be an event with a lot of title changes at the top. Rowan and Harper will continue their dominance of the SD Live tag division.
BRAUN STROWMAN vs KEVIN OWENS(MITB BRIEFCASE IS ON THE LINE)- I’ve a lot of chatter on social media about how Kevin Owens has turned into this coward during his feud with Strowman. I have to admit, this criticism baffles me. The “heel who’s terrified of the monster babyface” is a staple in wrestling. We all know Owens can fight, but honestly, who WOULDN’T be afraid of Braun Strowman! I’m taking Strowman here. I see little value in him dropping the case to KO, especially when he headlined a PPV to win it. They made merch out of it for crying out loud! I also think that after this match, Strowman won’t be holding onto the briefcase for very long. More on that in a minute….
CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs BECKY LYNCH vs CARMELLA(SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP)- This will boil down to who actually needs the title more, I just don’t see it changing hands at this particular event. Carmella has established herself as a major player in the Women’s division. She is a great heel with the perfect touch of annoying. I think she will weasel her way out of the match unscathed, and with her title in tow. Fans may be disappointed in this result, since Lynch seems to have the heart of the crowd. This match will be a stepping stone to bigger things, especially between her and Charlotte. With the Evolution PPV on the horizon, the WWE will be looking to save a little for that special event.
SETH ROLLINS vs DOLPH ZIGGLER(INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP)- I laugh to myself every time I see fans say, “Ugh Reigns/Lesnar again?!”, when we are getting this matchup for the third time in 2018 as well. The added drama this time is the addition of each combatants partner in their respective corner. As much as I enjoyed the return of Dean Ambrose, the timing of it just seemed a little off. Sure evening the odds makes sense, but I would rather see Rollins and Ambrose doing their own thing than be tied together again. I’m taking Ziggler in this one. Rollins is ready to move on to bigger and better things.
RONDA ROUSEY vs ALEXA BLISS(RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP)- It’s funny how things change in a few months. Everyone was curious about Ronda Rousey going into Wrestlemania. She put on a great performance there, and I expect no different here. Putting her in the ring with a top level talent like Alexa Bliss will only help her. Bliss will take her beating like the champ she is, and we will have a new Raw Women’s Champion.
DANIEL BRYAN vs THE MIZ- By far the most compelling storyline going into this weekend, as this is the match fans have had circled on their calendar since Daniel Bryan returned to action. In a world where everyone wants heel turns, Miz is the last of a dying breed. He is a classic despicable heel, going up against everyone’s favorite underdog. The emotion behind this match will carry it through, but I’m taking the Miz here. This is only the beginning……
SAMOA JOE vs A.J. STYLES(WWE CHAMPIONSHIP)- Given that the main event is being regarded by fans as the match, “nobody wants”(which is dumb), this is the match EVERYBODY wants. This match is the most unique, as it is the only one of the card where both men made their names elsewhere. Another potential show stealer, I will be stunned if this match is a let down. This will be Samoa Joe’s night. Styles has been a tremendous champ, but its time to move on. Heel champs are better anyway!
ROMAN REIGNS vs BROCK LESNAR(UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP)- Here we go again! Quite possibly the most controversial main event in Summerslam history. The hate these 2 guys generate is astounding. I plan on watching this match on mute. I want to see the story Reigns and Lesnar can tell, without hearing the whiny fan base make it about them. I’m anticipating another hard hitting brawl, with Roman Reigns finally getting over the hump and beating Lesnar. But that’s not all…..Braun Strowman WILL cash in his MITB contract, and send the crowd home happy. It will be the smartest play to swerve the fans, who will most likely hijack this match from the bell. One more thing….Paul Heyman will have a new client by the time this show goes off the air.
This has the potential to be a classic Summerslam. The only thing that will hold it back is its length. I hope I will have the stamina to last through this marathon, something I wasn’t able to do for Wrestlemania. Enjoy the show friends!