Summerslam is here. Arguably, WWE’s second biggest pay-per view of the year has rolled around once again and the line up for this year’s card is phenomenal. A lot of the hype surrounding Summerslam 2013 is due to the fact that another wrestler from the independent scene has risen up through the ranks of the WWE and is now challenging for the WWE title from the home grown, John Cena. Cena still gets cheered, mostly by kids, and sells a lot of merchandise, but week in, week out, crowds have been going ballistic for Daniel Bryan. As far back as Wrestlemania 18, where Bryan dropped the World Heavyweight belt to Sheamus in 18 seconds, people have known that Bryan could wrestle but since then it is his personality that has started to bubble up to the top.
There are a lot of comparisons that could be made between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Until the summer of 2011, Punk’s success in the WWE was lacklustre and unfulfilling. However, once they have him a microphone and allowed him to go out and show his personality, Punk’s unique brand of determination and devil may care attitude, catapulted him into the fan’s hearts. In response, the WWE gave him multiple wins over Cena and then gave him a year long run with the WWE championship belt, the top belt in the wrestling industry. Is the same about to happen for Daniel Bryan? He may not get a yearlong title reign but his crowd reactions right now are so hot that WWE can’t fail to capitalise.
And although Punk isn’t in the title chase, he hasn’t been left off of the Summerslam card. Following the betrayal of Paul Heyman, CM Punk will attempt to tame Heyman’s biggest pet, the beast incarnate, Brock Lesner. It is the best verses the beast. For weeks now, Lesnar has made appearances on RAW, slamming Punk into the announce table and beating him with chairs. That was until this past Monday night when Punk turned the tables on Heyman’s trap and took down the beast, showing that despite the size disadvantage, Punk is capable of going toe to toe with Lesnar. What is clear though is that this isn’t going to be a wrestling match; it’s going to be a fight.
So who is going to win? That is jumping ahead a little. First, let’s run through the rest of the pay per view.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam (Kickoff Match)
Some people will bemoan the fact that this match is on the pre-show but frankly, I’m fine with that. The main PPV is packed as it is and on the pre-show, Ambrose and Van Dam will at least get a good twenty minutes to work with. Van Dam is an old pro, so we all know he can wrestle a great match, and this will be a great opportunity for Ambrose to show what he is capable of. I have a feeling that Rob Van Dam will get the win here by disqualification, following some interference by the rest of The Shield, bringing out Mark Henry and The Big Show to set up matches for next month’s Night of Champions PPV.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Given that Natalya comes from a family of wrestlers that includes Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and that Brie Bella is actually the better wrestler of the Bella Twins (maybe it is due to her dating Daniel Bryan), but this match actually has some potential to be half way decent. That said, it is mostly on the card to continue to promote WWE’s reality show Total Divas, so expect the rest of the cast to get involved somehow. Natalya should win but it will probably be Brie Bella.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
Sandow screwed Rhodes out of the World Heavyweight Money in the Bank briefcase at last month’s MITB pay per view, so logic would dictate that Rhodes would get some revenge here. However, it was an everyman for himself situation and Sandow could probably use the win to assert himself as a serious contender. The WWE probably want to draw out this feud a bit more though, so Cody Rhodes for the win.
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & Divas Champion AJ Lee
It says a lot about AJ Lee’s abilities that she can carry a feud with someone as high profile as Dolph Ziggler almost entirely via promos and interviews. The only two options here are that AJ Lee beats Kaitlyn or Ziggler beats Big E. Langston. Ziggler is coming off a couple of failed World Heavyweight title matches, so losing to Big E. here would be a real step back. My gut says Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn win so that Ziggler can keep the momentum and it will give Kaitlyn another much needed victory over AJ to fuel the Diva’s title feud.
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (Ring of Fire Match)
Having seen Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt family in NXT, I can safely say that this is going to be a good match. Wyatt’s promo work alone has made this short feud extremely interesting and I think the gimmick will be a good way of showing just how sadistic Bray Wyatt can be. Bray Wyatt should pick up the win here to demonstrate that although he uses the family to his advantage, he doesn’t need them. Besides, Kane is leaving soon to shoot See No Evil 2.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Although Christian is a favourite of mine, it seems like he was just thrown into this match with Alberto Del Rio. Indeed, some fans are decrying the fact that Ziggler is in a mixed tag match when he should be challenging for the title. I have no problem with Rio and Christian mixing it up until Ziggler is ready to come back into the title scene though. Christian, like RVD, is very experienced and, while he is incredibly dull on the mic, Del Rio is talented in the ring. Since this is just a filler match, Alberto Del Rio will successfully defend the title on this occasion.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
As much as this feud has been about CM Punk and Brock Lesner brawling every Monday night, the real feud is between Punk and Lesnar’s manager, Paul Heyman. That means that Lesnar can lose here and the feud can continue. However, this match should probably go the other way. Brock Lesnar should get the win, but the war should go to Punk. Punk should bring in the chairs and tables and get disqualified, but don’t end the match there. Instead, keep the match going as some kind of unsanctified street fight at the end of which Punk is left standing tall. Thus Lesnar gets a win but Punk leaves looking strong.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
This is the big one; the match that everyone who buys the PPV will be paying to see. In all honesty, there is only one outcome to this match that makes sense. Bryan has to beat John Cena. He may not leave with the title if Randy Orton has anything to say about it, but he has to beat Cena if the WWE want to take advantage of his huge crowd reactions. Inserting Triple H as the special referee will hopefully assure this outcome, much like the 2011 Summerslam. There were some rumours about Triple H turning heel in his feud with Vince McMahon, which doesn’t make much sense. Vince is already a heel, so turning Triple H into a bad guy as well wouldn’t give the fans anyone to root for. And it is meant to be building towards something for Wrestlemania, so there is still plenty of time to go down that route if they really want to…after Summerslam. Hopefully, the WWE don’t do anything stupid and give Daniel Bryan the win he deserves here.
And that is Summerslam. Looks fairly straightforward on paper but everyone should know by now that nothing is ever simply straightforward when it comes to the WWE and their creative booking. To find out if my predictions are correct, check out WWE Summerslam live tonight on Pay-Per View.