Breaking down SummerSlam 2016 predictions
With the biggest showcase of the WWE’s New Era, SummerSlam is definitely a pivotal show. The matchups and build have delivered, but now it’s time to see how it all unfolds. Let’s see how it plays out with these SummerSlam 2016 predictions.
Born from the aftershock of an errant Atomic Leg drop, Scott Saffran took his seat at the table of sarcastic pop culture connoisseurs at a frighteningly young age. In his wake, he leaves legions confused and irritated by his obsessive appreciation of pro wrestling, comic books, action figures, TV, and movies. Unfortunately for you all, I am he.
As a longtime follower of Lyles Movie Files and an aspiring columnist, I’ve been granted the tremendous opportunity to inject a bit of my own musings into the news cycle at LMF. What follows is a rundown of the SummerSlam 2016 card, my thoughts on each bought, and a predicted outcome. I hope to continue this series for forthcoming WWE pay-per- view events if this is deemed a success. Make sure to comment and let me know how much of a stupid idiot you think I am.
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
(Dana Brooke is banned from ringside)
Sasha Banks. Charlotte Flair. Two of the most talented female wrestlers to step foot in a WWE ring. I really don’t know what more needs to be said. Sasha’s shock victory on RAW weeks ago was unbelievable, and, in the words of Mick Foley, one of the most emotional moments in the history of RAW. Defeating Brooke to ban her from ringside at SummerSlam, Sasha has been cruising on a long string of victories over the pair of Charlotte and Dana.
I would hate to see Sasha’s reign be cut short, but weakening Charlotte even further could have serious long-term repercussions. I would rather not see a weak, dirty finish, but this could be an interesting time to bring Bayley into the fold again after her appearance at Battleground. I’m feeling too-close-to-call on this one, but for now I’ll lean into traditional WWE story-telling.
PICK: Charlotte, via DQ by an overly-eager Bayley trying to help out her friend.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
With two wins already in the bag over the Celtic Conqueror, one might think Cesaro would be on to bigger and better feuds and a course set on another United States Championship reign. Instead, the WWE Universe is blessed with the Apple of Eden that is a best of seven series between the two. I have this horrible feeling down in the pit of my stomach that this may last seven PPVs. Now, I have nothing against either man (I’m particularly fond of Cesaro), but I have to question the motive behind this decision. Why should anyone care?
Cesaro has won back-to- back matches, that’s as good as anything in kayfabe. The WWE Universe needs 30cc’s of emotion injected into this feud, stat. I could not possibly imagine enduring seven more confrontations otherwise. Sheamus will go over, but I would love to see Cesaro run through the next four matches for the squash.
PICK: Sheamus via Brogue Kick, reversing Cesaro’s uppercut off the ropes
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
With most of the allotted TV time between RAW and Smackdown dedicated to bolstering other feuds and title matches, the WWE has chosen to let the hype for this match rest on its laurels. I can definitely see where the ‘E is coming from on this; here we have the two industry titans of the past decade face off after a pair of entertaining collisions in preceding PPVs.
There isn’t a whole lot to be added to the rivalry, and time is truly best served setting up matches that really need the care to get them over. All things equal from the past decade, Cena wins clean. However, as Cena cuts down on his time on the road and looks to hand the torch to the next Face of the WWE, I would not be surprised to see AJ go over and take Olympus’ throne. I do not mean to insinuate AJ will be the next Cena, but rather that a Cena loss will set up the transition further down the road with someone like Ambrose, Reigns, or Rollins. Still, I would be no less than floored to see AJ put over Cena in this feud. The only thing I can say for certainty is that this will be no less than a Four Star affair.
PICK: Cena, via clean pin after a double dose of Attitude Adjustment
The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse)
vs. Apollo Crews
While Miz remains as entertaining as ever (and I’d never shy away from watching Maryse on my TV), I could not possibly have less interest in this match. Apollo Crews makes John Cena look like Hall and Nash, circa ’96. For the love of all creation, give him something! Anything! With his combination of size and in-ring ability seldom matched, you’d think creative would be all over Crews with different ways to rocket him to the top. I’ve said my prayers exclusively for this match to inject some character into Apollo, and I hope like nothing else that they’re answered.
PICK: Miz, via clean pin because we can’t have nice things.
The New Day (c) vs.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I feel pretty confident in saying that SummerSlam 2016 will be the end of the rainbow for the New Day. There won’t be a pot of gold, instead two large bearded gentleman will take their bronzey-gold from them. The New Day’s tag reign is just verging on overstaying its welcome, and the Club has finally started to shine over the past two weeks. It’s time to hand over the belts.
While assigning comedy shticks to physically imposing wrestlers has never been my favorite pursuit, I do think the ‘doctors’ bit has done much to showcase the Club’s mic skills. The New Day is as over as can be, and the belts are not necessitated to keep them in the spotlight. The Club desperately needs legitimacy, which the championships will grant. A Club win could enliven a continued feud between the two teams or open up the field for other pairs to contend. More than anything else, I’m just happy the belts are on the line for this PPV.
PICK: Gallows and Andersion, via pinfall following a Magic Killer
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
The three best promos in the ‘E and a guy that’s seven foot tall! For what more could you possibly ask? Kev and Jericho is my personal version of the Mega Powers and this whole matchup is very reminiscent of late ‘80s, early ‘90s ‘let’s put them in a tag team match because they’re all huge draws’ matches. I must say, I really miss those.
While stellar promos have made this worth the price of admission already, I’m interested to see how the ring work pans out. Jericho and Kevin Owens are two of the best workers in this era of wrestling, while Enzo and Cass are still refining their style. Hopefully, we avoid suicide dive spots en route to an entertaining battle. Heck, I’d even like to see some comedy wrestling worked in via Jericho and Enzo. The young blood will need the victory to bolster their credit, but a loss would show the cracks if management is hell bent on splitting the two up.
PICK: Enzo and Cass, via Enzo pin on a Bada Boomed Jericho
Rusev (c) (w/ Lana) vs. Roman Reigns
So you’ve got this guy that you’re trying super super hard to make everyone like as the top champion. But a whole bunch of people really don’t like that you’re kinda shoving him down their throats. Isn’t that a bummer? It’s a huge bummer. But wait! There’s a really great way to make people not hate him so much! Don’t shove him down their throats! Seriously, this is the best thing we’ve seen out of Reigns since the Shield. I don’t want to say he’s a midcard guy, because he definitely has main event looks and ring work, but this is a role that fits him really well at the moment.
Reigns and Rusev have done some fun segments together on RAW, and the concept of these two meeting is really quite exciting. The tremendously dominant Bulgarian Brute against the former World Champion, Roman Reigns could be a top-of-the-card affair if not for the deluge of title matches that overshadow it. If rumors are to be believed, if the feud is a success, Roman could find his way back to the top spot. While this is fair, I wish they’d keep him around the midcard for a bit longer before force-feeding him to the WWE Universe yet again. Though, for all his star power, it’d be a bit wasteful to stick the belt on Roman.
PICK: Rusev, via Accolade submission on a distracted Roman
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)
vs. Randy Orton
The first match announced for the card features the returning Beast Incarnate, fresh from his UFC win and failed drug tests, against the Viper, also making a return to the ring after months of inactivity. While Brock has been very hit-or-miss in his WWE appearances leading up to his departure for the UFC, the buildup on Raw and Smackdown has been highly successful. Despite this being an inter-brand match, the WWE has done an excellent job maintaining the feel of the brand split. As both Orton and Lesnar each ‘invaded’ their rival brands, they were followed by a contingent of security and the brand management, keeping kayfabe very much alive.
If not for the investment in building up this match, I’d have very little interest in this clash of aging stars. The question of who wins feels like a very ‘lose-lose’ situation to me. If Orton goes over, you have Brock looking more like bum than Beast after his domination of Mark Hunt in UFC competition, which really doesn’t make the least bit of sense. But, if Brock picks up the win, the extremely popular Orton loses any semblance of momentum coming in from his time off for rehab. If there’s a winner, it’s gonna be dirty.
PICK: Orton, via DQ after Brock snaps and goes full Beast
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
While still trying to warm up to the idea of a ‘Universal Title,’ the actual matchup requires no forced appreciation. Finn and Seth are two of the hottest acts going in the entire wrestling world at the moment, and to see the two face off is, frankly, a dream come true. In a move cementing the New Era, a debuting Finn was able to pick up clean wins in a four-way match and singles match over Roman Reigns in the same night on RAW to gain contendership for this brand new championship belt.
Interplay between the two on RAW has been interesting, with Seth continually demonstrating his stellar mic skills and Balor foreshadowing the arrival of his much-adored alter ego. Though the build has not delivered yet on par with the moniker of the belt, the promise of the in-ring excellence surely to be on display is far more than enough to get me over the moon with excitement. The odds of seeing Balor as the Demon are very high (and the painted alter ego has only been defeated once as result of a second-rope Muscle Buster from Samoa Joe), but I would not elevate my hopes for a Finn win. Though Seth is a cemented top-tier talent with little need of additional backing, it would be near-unprecedented to see such a lunar push of Finn Balor.
A Club appearance would go over quite nicely, as would some sort of underhanded victory, but I’m still most comfortable in saying…
PICK: Rollins, via clean pin after a Pedigree
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
As unpredictable as was a debuting Balor going over half of RAW’s premier talents, even more so was Dolph ‘Just Lost a Feud to Baron Corbin’ Ziggler becoming #1 Contender to the WWE World Championship. Ziggler is easily the most underappreciated worker in the ‘E, so seeing him in this spot really warms the heart. The two have been showing off some superb promo work on Smackdown, which is quickly elevating this matchup. A challenge for the contender-ship against Bray Wyatt was a fun little curveball that I wish we’d see more often.
The way Lucha Underground treats their #1 Contendership as an actual title to be won and lost could work very well in spicing up RAWs and Smackdowns. This match will certainly be a solid confrontation and a boon to Ambrose’s title reign, which really ought to be as strong as can be. The best I can hope for Ziggler is that management is encouraged by his performance to toss a little bit more his way down the line.
PICK: Ambrose, via clean pin following the uber-protected Dirty Deeds
So that’s Scott’s SummerSlam 2016 predictions. Let’s hear yours. Who do you see coming on top?
Image Credit: WWE.com