Saturday, August 18, 2012

WWE SummerSlam Preview

This Sunday is the WWE's biggest party of the summer. Don't expect too much craziness though, this is a PG party. SummerSlam takes place this Sunday from its traditional home of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The WWE has actually booked a handful of matches in advance for this PPV, unlike Money in the Bank in July that only had four advertised matches heading into the show.

For those of you that read my piece from last week, you know that to me, this PPV is lacking a big four feel. And the WWE did no favors for themselves with the final build on RAW this past Monday. Nothing new was accomplished in the WWE Title feud. The Jericho/Ziggler program stayed in neutral. And the Lesnar/HHH feud leads me to my biggest fear: Triple H is going over Brock Lesnar this Sunday. Nothing has been show stealing headed into this show. Last year we had two big time Title matches. This year the Title matches don't feel big time at all.

The WWE also threw Rey Mysterio on the card in a throw away match against The Miz. Randy Orton isn't even on the card. They didn't do a good job of promoting their bigger stars in some of their matches. Why rush Randy Orton back to not have him on this card? Or Rey Mysterio for that matter.

But with all that negativity out of the way, lets try to look at some positives in our match previews!

WWE United States Championship: Santino (c) vs Antonio Cesaro

This match takes place on the special YouTube pre-show. Hell, at this point we should just be lucky that the WWE remembers they have a United States Title. Santino has held the Title for what seems like forever now. And you can probably count how many times he's defended it on one hand. Cesaro is one of the new talents the WWE signed and has done well so far. If the WWE wants to get new stars over, Cesaro will win this match. If they want the crowd to get off to a hot start, Santino will win. Here's hoping the WWE does what is right for business and has Cesaro win. If the WWE sees Cesaro as a make it or break it prospect, having him win here would be a good way to start.

WINNER: Antonio Cesaro

WWE Tag Team Championship: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c) vs The Prime Time Players

Holy crap. An announced Tag Title match on a big show like SummerSlam? When was the last time that happened. Everyone knows the backstory here, and now the game has changed since A.W. has been released. We can get into the rights and wrongs of A.W.'s release, but the WWE product is different from what it was a few years ago. It's a PG product, and there is no place for rape jokes in it. And in my opinion, I think the Prime Time Players act is better minus A.W. He was nothing but annoying on commentary during matches. I think Darren Young and Titus O'Neil work well together. I like their act. They deserve a shot at holding the Titles, and it is always better for business to have the faces chasing the heels. Young and O'Neil win here to shake up what is left of the tag team division a bit.

WINNER: The Prime Time Players

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs Rey Mysterio

Again, maybe if the WWE actually tried to put a build into this match then people would care about it. But A.J. announced this on Tout, or Twitter, or one of those social media platforms that the WWE loves so much. How about instead of having Rey return and going after Alberto del Rio, have Rey return and go after Miz? At least then there would be a backstory. Miz has had the IC Title for a few weeks now and still hasn't done much. Him, just like Rey, seem to be a couple of guys with no direction. The WWE has all of these hours of programming now and you think they would find time to give these guys a decent storyline. Rey has been wrestling with a shirt on because he came back from suspension out of shape. Honestly, there is no reason to put the Title on Rey. Miz retains here.


Kane vs Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan has been a pleasure to watch on TV in the last couple months. He may be the best thing the WWE currently has going. His act is great. The problem is, he's piled up a handful of losses in recent weeks and that may start to hurt him sooner rather than later. I have no doubt that Bryan can get back his heat because he is great at getting a reaction from the fans. I really hope the WWE doesn't lose Bryan in the shuffle and keeps him towards the top of the card in the future. Bryan was put in this match by A.J. At least there is some back history between the two. But again, why not put him in a match against Randy Orton. Instead of naming Kane the opponent, A.J. could have reintroduced Orton as Bryan's opponent. But I digress. Kane wins here after Bryan eats a chokeslam.


Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler

And now we get to the first match on the card that has a build and could be really good. To say that Chris Jericho's return has been a bit underwhelming might be an understatement. He didn't win a single PPV match. He's had some good feuds with the likes of C.M. Punk and this one with Dolph Ziggler, but he just hasn't had the same kind of impact he's had in years past. Jericho is a world class talent and one of the best performers in wrestling, but he needs to win a few matches here or there to give him some credibility. Had Chris Jericho won the Royal Rumble match, maybe his return might have been a bit different. But the WWE pulled a fast one on the Internet. Because that was so smart on there part.

Dolph Ziggler is almost the exact version of a young Chris Jericho. He likes to show off and is a promising young talent. Ziggler has shown a lot of promising talent and the WWE recognizes it. He has the Smackdown MITB briefcase and I have a feeling he will cash it in soon. Ziggler's a future main eventer, no doubt. His in ring work is still some of the best in the WWE, and his promo work has improved in the last few months, especially in this feud with Jericho. You almost think Jericho might have been working with him on it during the feud. Ziggler did a good job tearing apart Jericho for all his recent failures a few weeks ago.

As far as the match goes, I think it will be a good one. Hopefully they get at least 15 minutes to work. Jericho is leaving soon, but I still think he picks up the win here. I know that normally isn't the case with departing wrestlers, but there's an easy way Dolph can get some heat back by the end of the show.

WINNER: Chris Jericho

World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c) vs Alberto del Rio

So after all the hubala and shenanigans surrounding this match in the last week, its still happening. I don't know what the point was of stripping Del Rio of his shot then him getting it back on Smackdown. To get people to watch Smackdown on Friday? Smackdown's rating is usually the same every week and I don't think this announcement/situation would do anything to change it.

Alberto del Rio is trying to get that added edge to his character to help get him over more, but it just isn't working. I've said numerous times, the WWE dropped the ball with Del Rio at Wrestlemania 27. If Del Rio walked away from Wrestlemania with the World Title, we may be talking about Del Rio differently. But he lost there, then lost at Extreme Rules. Yes he won the WWE Title. But he had it for a month, lost it, regained it three weeks later, then lost it a month later. After that its been injuries and the mid card for ADR. There are a handful of young heels (Barrett, Ziggler, Rhodes) that are ready to take their spot at the top of the card. Del Rio's character just hasn't stuck with the audience.

Sheamus continues to be pushed as the top face and he gets good crowd responses. His face turn is a water downed WWE face turn. How Sheamus can be in a "Be A Star" commercial then steal a car is ridiculous. I love how the WWE tried to pass it off as Sheamus just borrowing the car. What a joke. Sheamus doesn't cut the best face promos in the world. He lost the edge his character once had. He's still a good big man worker in the ring, but if this feud has shown anything, its that his character has definitely been water downed.

I don't think there is really anyway Alberto del Rio walks out World Champ here. If they wanted to put the World Title on him, they would have already. And as I said, there are a bunch of heels waiting in the wings to challenge Sheamus, but no new faces for Del Rio. Sheamus wins.

WINNER: Sheamus


Post match, our good friend Wade Barrett returns to sneak attack Sheamus. He lays Sheamus out with Wasteland, and out comes Dolph Ziggler to cash in his MITB contract and become World Champion. I saw this idea from another writer I follow on Twitter, and I think it makes sense. It creates a shocking SummerSlam moment and brings Barrett back with a big impact and puts major heat on him. Ziggler feels the need to cash in after his loss to Jericho earlier in the night.

New World Champion: Dolph Ziggler

WWE Championship: Big Show vs C.M. Punk (c) vs John Cena

Why is Big Show in this match? What has he done in recent months to deserve a WWE Title shot? He lost to John Cena at No Way Out and couldn't win Money in the Bank. He didn't even beat Randy Orton on RAW and ended up being on the receiving end of an RKO. And what makes it worse, Big Show will completely drag down the pace of the match. Even if there is a spot where Punk and Cena team up to take out Big Show, there will still be a part where Big Show "dominates' both men with his slow and uneventful offense. Big Show's matches just aren't that entertaining and his addition to the match takes away a potential show stealer that could have been Punk/Cena.

Surprisingly, John Cena has been tolerable in recent weeks. I can't say I've hated what he's done, but I also can't say I've liked everything he's done. In all honesty, it just seems like he's just kind of been there in recent weeks. Cena has just blended in with the pack and not done anything to make me hate him.

As far as C.M. Punk goes, well, I don't really know where he is going. He's not a full fledged face, but he isn't a heel either. Punk is still getting some pretty good crowd reactions when he comes out. Punk wanted to send a message that he should be respected when he took out The Rock, but what has changed since then? Nothing really. Something has to happen sooner or later so we can know what Punk's intentions are. He wants the respect and attention that the WWE Champion deserves. But he hasn't done anything to stand out anymore than he's normally done since becoming WWE Champion.

So what happens with this match? Big Show is not winning, I can tell you that much. I would be absolutely shocked if that happens. John Cena is getting the WWE Title back sooner or later to set up a match against The Rock. Or, C.M. Punk is holding on to the WWE Title until the Royal Rumble, and losing it to The Rock. I don't think the WWE would keep Cena away from the WWE Title that long. But I also don't think the WWE wants Cena to lose to The Rock twice. It is an interesting debate to have. For now, I think C.M. Punk retains here. Big Show lands a KO Punch on Cena, but Punk takes out Big Show with a chair afterwards (remember Triple Threats are No DQ). Punk then pins Cena to retain.


Triple H vs Brock Lesnar

A match that has been 3 1/2 months in the making, even though the build didn't start until about a month ago. After HHH told Lesnar that his contract with John Laurinaitis would not be accepted, Lesnar "broke" HHH's arm. Lesnar quit the WWE and HHH was out of commission. Triple H challenged Lesnar to a match, but Paul Heyman, Lesnar's representative, continually told HHH no until Triple H and his wife Stephanie bullied Heyman into saying yes. Triple H can say whatever he wants to Paul Heyman and its okay, the second Heyman says something about HHH's family, its wrong. Be A Star folks.

I'm glad Brock Lesnar came back, but I just wish he could be around for more dates. That really hurts Lesnar's reaction when it comes to the audience. When you compare the response from April to now, it is almost as if the crowd doesn't care about Brock Lesnar anymore. I get that they want to have every one of Lesnar's matches have a big time appeal to it, but there's just something missing from this one. The match doesn't feel like it has all to much of a meaning to it. Plus, why is this match not a No DQ Match? Do we really think Lesnar and HHH can put on a compelling one on one basic singles match? Lesnar/Cena was a brawl, and this one is more personal, so it should be the same.

As far as I'm concerned, there is really no reason to have Triple H go over here. Lesnar is still going to wrestle a few matches. But if Lesnar goes 0-2 in his first two matches back, what would be the point of having him wrestle a third match? He's already lost to two of the top guys in the WWE. A Triple H win would be just to feed his own ego. So it isn't out of the realm of possibility that HHH wins. If the WWE knows what is good for business, Lesnar will go over. Lesnar still has to be used for at least 2, maybe 3 more matches. Losing to Triple H here would essentially make those matches meaningless. I'm picking Lesnar here but I am honestly not all that confident.

WINNER: Brock Lesnar

This show has the potential to be a good wrestling show, but it doesn't feel like the second biggest PPV of the year. Either way, I will be covering it live Sunday night.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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