WWE’s second biggest show of the year is heading back to Brooklyn. SummerSlam will air live from the Barclays Center for the second consecutive year.
The event will be the first pay-per-view since Raw and SmackDown’s debut episodes with new rosters. Several titles will be on the line, including the new Universal Championship.
Here’s a look at the entire SummerSlam card and predictions for each match.
Becky Lynch, Carmella and Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss and TBD
The SmackDown’s Women’s Division match. Every female wrestler on the blue brand is in this clustered match. It’s kind of like the WrestleMania preshow Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde whatever bout.
Fittingly, this all started with Becky Lynch vs. Natalya – who will likely do most of the wrestling for both teams – on the first post-Draft episode of SmackDown Live. The rest of the women came out afterwards and introduced themselves.
Surprisingly, the biggest star in this whole feud has been Eva Marie. Her new gimmick is actually getting over with the crowd. But news broke Thursday of her 30-day suspension after failing the wellness policy. Though Eva’s character uses every excuse not to wrestle, it’s unlikely this is a work.
WWE has had too many failed drug tests in 2016 to start involving it in angles. Then again, it would be the perfect opportunity to get Eva more heat.
Winner: Becky Lynch, Carmella and Naomi
SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan drafted Lynch to be the blue brand’s top female competitor. Eventually, she’s going to need to put together consecutive wins. Naomi’s character was been successfully repackaged as a babyface.
Carmella needs to win more matches to increase her credibility. The babyface team should win Sunday, unless Eva’s suspension is a work and she makes a late run-in.
Best-of-Seven Series: Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Hope you weren’t looking forward to a Cesaro title push. Instead, get ready for his next 4-7 matches to be against Sheamus. That’s right, a best-of-seven series. Thanks a lot, Mick Foley.
But does it matter? They’ll probably split wins until the seventh match. Either way, this prolongs a feud few people want to see.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) (w/Maryse) vs. Apollo Crews
The Miz has held the Intercontinental Championship since the night after WrestleMania. That same night, Apollo Crews made his main roster debut. Crews earned the opportunity to challenge for the IC title several weeks ago and could benefit from having his first title reign early in his WWE career. Also, maybe it will stop people from mistaking him with Carl Weathers’ character from “Rocky.”
Winner: Apollo Crews
It makes sense for Crews to pick up a victory at his first major pay-per-view. The win will elevate his character more than any vignettes will. There’s no reason to extend Miz’s title reign any longer.
Enzo and Cass vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
I think I’m more excited for Enzo and Cass’ pop in Brooklyn than anything else on the card. Seriously, it’s going to be nasty. The duo gets a huge reaction in Corpus Christi, so just imagine how loud a hometown Brooklyn crowd will be.
So much so that master heels Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens will actually get booed by the smark-heavy audience. The feud itself has been entertaining, especially with Enzo trading jabs with two of the other best talkers in WWE.
Winner: Enzo and Cass
There’s no reason E&C should lose this match. Not only are they an actual tag team, but the tag team outside of the title picture. Enzo and Cass should challenge the winner of the tag team championship match in the near future, but first must pick up a victory against two of WWE’s top heels.
Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. Gallows and Anderson
The New Day has held the W…W…E…World…Tag…Team…Championship for almost a full calendar year. The trio is now the longest reigning tag champs in WWE history.
But Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods have been without Big E for the past few weeks. Why? Because Bullet Club alum Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows injured him below the belt.
Winner: Gallows and Anderson
New Day has nothing left to prove as tag team champions. They’ve been great as both heels and babyfaces and have become a bigger act than the titles themselves.
Gallows and Anderson need the rub to be legitimized beyond AJ’s henchmen or Finn Bálor’s former stable to casual fans. Plus, with Enzo and Cass gaining steam, it makes more sense to put them against heel champions.
Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte for the Women’s Championship on the first post-Draft episode of Raw. But that was only a recent chapter in one of WWE’s longest running feuds, which began in NXT.
Banks and Charlotte have had numerous outstanding matches in the past. Sunday’s match could prove to be their best and steal the show at SummerSlam.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Banks needs to have a long, lengthy title reign before going back to chasing the belt. “The Boss” should retain on Sunday and continue to be the division’s brightest star.
United States Championship: Rusev (c) (w/Lana) vs. Roman Reigns
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Roman Reigns dropped his WWE World Heavyweight Championship two days before it was revealed that he failed a wellness test. He has since lost the majority of his televised matches and is now relegated to a United States title feud.
That’s the bigger story here. Not to discredit Rusev, who has been outstanding as United States Champion. So much so that the smarky Brooklyn crowd would probably cheer him even if he wasn’t facing Reigns.
I think the bigger burial for Reigns would be winning the U.S. title, rather than losing the match. Either way, he’s a far cry from where he was two months ago. But for some reason I see Rusev retaining with screwy antics.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
John Cena and AJ Styles have shared one of the best feuds in WWE. They’ve faced each other at each of the last two pay-per-views, first in a 1-on-1 match at Money in the Bank and later in a tag team match at Battleground.
So far, Styles is 1-0 in head-to-head matchups. But that could change on Sunday, right?
Winner: John Cena
No way Cena goes 0-2 in any feud. The 15-time champion should come out of SummerSlam victorious, despite likely assistance from Gallows and Anderson.
Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Randy Orton
Somehow, WWE has made a Brock Lesnar feud compelling beyond “how many suplexes will ‘The Beast’ hit before he kills the other guy.” Randy Orton provides an opponent who can realistically defeat Lesnar. Not in real life, but in the realm of the WWE Universe.
Also, Orton has been more entertaining over the past month than he’s been in several years. This feud has actually lived up to the hype of the month-long buildup.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
At the end of the day, this will likely be the same as every Lesnar match. Suplex. Suplex. F5. Suplex. F5. Brock wins.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
WWE has done more to push Dolph Ziggler in one month than it had in three years. Ziggler has won matches, cut outstanding promos and posed a legitimate threat to WWE Champion Dean Ambrose since becoming No. 1 contender.
Ambrose, on the other hand, looks to extend his championship reign to its third month. Will “The Lunatic Fringe” stay champion or will it be “The Showoff’s” time to shine?
Ambrose will retain on Sunday. Although the idea of Ziggler as champion does sound enticing, WWE will look to extend the Lunatic’s reign a bit longer.
WWE Universal Championship: Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins
It took Finn Bálor one night to become No. 1 contender for Raw’s top championship. The former NXT champ defeated Rusev and Reigns in one night to face Rollins at SummerSlam.
Rollins, on the other hand, was handed his spot in the inaugural title match. But considering he carried the company through 2015 before a knee injury cut his WWE title reign short, he’s plenty deserving.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Bálor’s stock is high early and that’s great. But Rollins is still “The Man” in WWE. Though a double turn with Bálor reuniting with Gallows and Anderson sounds enticing, Rollins will probably win using his own heel tactics.