by Frank Lucci
SummerSlam 2017 promises to be a similar event to WrestleMania 33, meaning that while there will be plenty to like in this PPV, everyone will agree that the card would be better if they cut several of the 13 matches announced.
That many matches is just too damn many. At least throw in a Miz segment instead of the throwaway six man tag to break things up and act as a palate cleanser during the show.
I just hope the bad matches or potentially dead crowd during the show do not detract from the quality matches on the show, since there is a really solid three hour show in this marathon. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my SummerSlam 2017 predictions.
Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This match was looking to be a dud until Tozawa won the title on the Raw before the show. While the decision to switch the title unto the challenger so close to the main show baffled many it did serve it’s purpose to get people to care about this feud.
Tozawa can be a great champ (especially flanked by his boys in the Titus Brand), but it is hard to see him topping Neville’s run. One big advantage for the champ is, despite getting little reaction coming out he always gets the crowd into his matches. However I do not think it will be enough for Akira to retain. The King gets back his title in a good opener.
The New Day (c) vs. The Usos (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)
Why this is on the preshow instead of Big Show vs. Big Cass is a complete mystery to me (cursed shark cages).
Anyway, this match has plenty of goodwill from fans based on the popularity of the teams involved, and I think this could be a showstealer. It will be early enough so the crowd will not be burned out, and if there rad match at Battleground is any indication this should be epic. The New Day continue to be super hot fire no matter what they do, and considering they are all over the promotion for the show I think they retain the belts here.
The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan vs. The Miztourage
I would be behind Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s son if he changed his name to Jason Angle-Jordan and just tried to recreate Kurt’s biggest moments. Or if he wrestled Brock Lesnar and broke his neck just like his poppa.
Jordan’s new direction appears to already be dead in the water, and just about everyone else in this match is drifting along as well. I’m glad Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel have something to do at least. Miz vs. either Hardy Boy (can you still be considered a boy in your early 40’s?) would be a pretty fun feud for the IC belt, and WWE could keep teasing the Broken/Woken Hardys with the singles feud.
Miz needs the traction since his IC title run has been nothing on his epic Smackdown run and adding a bit of weirdness from Matt and Jeff would be fun. However here Hardyz and Jordan win because it is the preshow and any team with Dallas and Axel is doomed.
Big Show vs. Big Cass (Enzo Amore in a Shark Cage Match)
Starting off the main card we see WWE needing to remind kids about their shark cage playset. The only reason I see this match being watchable is if Enzo gets a mike in the cage so he can provide running commentary during the match. Big Show allegedly has a broken hand for this match, but I do not see Big Cass being able to hang with the giant.
Some people seem to think Enzo is going to turn heel and rejoin Cass, but I cannot see that working at all. Enzo is to entertaining to throw away, backstage heat or no. Enzo provides a distraction and costs Cass the win, thus getting the closest thing he can get to a win against Cass.
Naomi (c) vs. Natalya (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)
I really hope WWE does not continue to use the SmackDown Women’s championship as the bathroom break before main events. Naomi is a fine champ when the WWE actually has her defend the belt, but hindering her with infrequent title defenses and lousy segments do not help her. Plus, that whole Lana situation was misguided at best.
On the other hand I am glad Nattie Ice is getting a shot for the belt, and I would not mind if she got a crack as the top lady of SmackDown. I just wish she could cut a promo without sounding like she was reading off cue cards. With a good amount of time I see this match being decent but unmemorable, and I think Naomi retains.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
I could see this match starting off the show, as Finn’s demon entrance would be a great way to pop the crowd to start things off. Both these men have lost so much momentum that it is crazy to think they were even champions since the previous SummerSlam. Both these guys need to enter the main event picture again ASAP or they will continue their freefall.
Out of the two I see Bray taking the loss here, unless he has a spectacular entrance planned as well. Go with the man with the paint when the chips are down. Now if only WWE could get me to care about this match beyond the entrances…
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
I hate everything about this match. From the lazy booking to the fact that it is going to suck the momentum right out of the show just like every Orton match this year has. I just cannot muster up anything but pity for Rusev.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but considering recent events in America can we get one foreigner character who does not play on xenophobia?
I think Rusev will lose here, and I wish he would come out on SmackDown, say he realized he simply does not have the hate for America he once did and that conflict in his soul caused his career to hit the skids. Now he is fully embracing his new country and can be the big goof he is on Total Divas and at Nashville Predator games. That would be much better than being just an ornery Bulgarian feuding with charisma vacuum Orton.
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
For all the talk of the tag team scene in WWE being lackluster, WWE does have three former world champs in this match. This has been the sneakily best built match on the card, and having Dean and Seth act like real people instead of the babyface caricatures they were before is very much appreciated.
Rumors and fantasy booking are flying concerning a Shield reunion, and I think WWE may be moving in that direction. Seth and Dean as tag team champs and Roman being Universal Champ as part of a heel Shield is a hell of a way to end the show, although I doubt people would boo Reigns if he finally turned. Seth and Dean win in a potential barn burner of a match.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
This match between Cena and his favorite dumpster fire has people talking to say the least.
Corbin’s epic fail on the go home SmackDown has people talking about WWE losing faith in the big man, but I am choosing to see the cash in attempt in a different light. There are only so many ways to tell a Money in the Bank cash in story, and Corbin failing and then going on a rampage on SmackDown before organically earning a title shot may be better in the long term than just randomly handing him the belt. Here, I see Corbin attacking Cena before the match starts and just beating him down instead of having a proper match. Or, if the match gets underway, Corbin DQ’s himself to give Cena the technical victory. Either would be much better than Corbin storming to the ring and…having a regular match with the man that cost him his big break.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (WWE United States Championship Match With Shane Mcmahon as Special Referee)
I keep waiting for these two to have a match of the year candidate, but so far this feud has been built on disappointment and potential botches.
I guess their snafu at Battleground served as the excuse to get Shane involved, but so far he has proven unable to prevent these men from attacking each other. With all signs pointing towards a Shane and Kevin match down the line I am thinking AJ keeps the belt here. We do not need more hot potatoing of the belt and AJ Styles can serve to elevate the belt while playing a proud country boy for the company.
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
It may be a good thing Bayley got hurt when she did, as she was tanking hard beforehand.
Bliss and Banks had a damn good match before, and the rematch feels much more natural than Bayley getting the shot again after the kendo stick on a poll debacle. Both these women have proven to be worthy of the top spot, but it is hard t take Sasha’s chances seriously when she is second choice for this match. Sure, it worked out better in the end, but I have to think Bliss will retain here over the Boss.
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
Jinder Mahal: heel in the ring, face in the gym.
With the possibility of Corbin cashing in out of the picture we can now focus on this very intriguing match. This may be one of the first, if not the first match for a main WWE title between two people of Asian descent, and both men deserve credit for making it so far in the company.
Both men’s standing and characters also depend individual crowd reactions. Jinder can either be a complex villain or a foreigner cartoon character, and Shinsuke can ether be The King of Strong Style or the goofy loose limbed guy. I imagine Brooklyn will have a stellar reaction for both, and I can see these guys working well together.
Jinder’s style is pretty snug, which will compliment Nakamura and the story they want to tell. Plus I am curious to see Mahal work against anyone other than Orton. I can see this going either way, but I’ll give the champ a slight edge here.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns (Fatal Four Way for WWE Universal Championship)
I am looking forward to this match the most out of any in the card, and honestly I will most likely be satisfied with whoever walks away with the belt.
With Reigns I would be happy if we get an evil Shield reunion, but if he just wins and keeps being the Big Dog in the Yard I will be peeved. Samoa Joe could sneak in and win the belt like when he one the number one contendership a few months ago, and considering how amazing he has been since I would love to see him be the top guy on Raw. Braun continues to impress, and he seems to make giant strides the more WWE leans on him to be a future cornerstone of the company. Plus, he seems like a lovely guy in real life who is not above stuff like this. And then we have the champ, whose resume speaks for itself.
While I can see each man having a significant shot to win the belt, I give Braun and Joe the least chance of victory, as Strowman may not quite be ready for a title run and Joe being the indy darling of the match. That leaves Brock and Reigns, with the champ threatening to leave if he loses. With that kind of statement I think Brock will win to keep him front and center in case he really does fight Jon Jones in UFC.