Cheap Pops: A Summerslam PPV Preview
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Greatest PPV Preview put together by two doting dads on the face of the earth. I am your usual mainpage mainstay, Adam Johnson, and my partner in crime for this preview is Jamie Vaccaro if Oratory Fame. Summerslam is turning into the biggest spectacle this year, with his introductory thoughts, here’s Jamie.
Jamie: WWE’s biggest event of the summer comes to us once again from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, as the 26th installment of the summer wrestling classic has the potential to go down as the greatest Summerslam of all time. I’m here with Adam to give my outlook on the show that wrestling fans the world over hope will be the best pay-per-view that WWE has delivered in quite some time.
United States Championship:
Dean Ambrose vs Rob Van Dam
Jamie: Ambrose and Van Dam will lock horns for the United States Championship on the pre-show. The days of the, “Free-for-All” quality matches on the pre-show have fallen by the wayside, to the point where this spot is one of the most important on the entire card. After all, a good showing by these two could persuade any last-minute buyers to go ahead and press that button on their remote and order the show.
Ambrose has been excellent since his arrival in WWE, and it continued this past Monday night when he said that, “unless the ghost of Andre The Giant is in that battle royal, none of these guys are going to take the United States Championship away from me.” Rob Van Dam has looked motivated, if a bit sloppy, since making his return to WWE at Money in the Bank last month. Both men are looking to make a statement in this match, but who has the upper hand? To me, the match may not go to Dean Ambrose, but the United States Championship will stay with him. Rob Van Dam won a battle royal on Raw this past Monday to earn this opportunity, and while he’s looked motivated, he doesn’t need the United States Championship. Ambrose has built the championship as the most important singles championship in the industry right now, and something tells me he’ll do anything–even get himself disqualified or counted out–in order to keep it. I expect the Shield to run-in, causing a disqualification, but allowing Ambrose to keep the US Championship and leading to a rematch next month.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Adam: Rob Van Dam is in the perfect role upon his return at Money In The Bank here in this matchup. While the outcome is rather obvious in that Dean Ambrose will be winning, it will still be fun to see RVD in a singles match on PPV. While Rob Van Dam is not known for his great in-ring ability, (at least outside of ECW) but rather his insane spots. Will this be a classic match? I doubt it, and while I have faith in the tenacity of Dean Ambrose putting together a passable match, RVD can pull off his few trademark spots (Van Terminator, Rolling Thunder) but it’s been pretty clear upon his return RVD isn’t quite the same performer since we last saw him in a WWE ring.
He’d be better served in a tag match which is what has been rumored will take place on the PPV after this match opens the pre-show, (Mark Henry, Big Show, RVD vs. The Shield). For now though if I were a betting man on the facts, Dean Ambrose should go over. The question is, who will take the belt off of him?
Natalya vs Brie Bella
Jamie: I really hope that they save this match until the middle of the card as a cool-down match between Lesnar/Punk and Cena/Bryan. That spot will give it the viewers that WWE wants it to have, with the participants being stars of Total Divas on E!, and it will allow for a break between the two main events of the evening. Personally, I don’t really care about this match, though it has been built fairly well on Raw. I don’t think Natalya gets her revenge here. They still have several episodes of Total Divas left and I think her ultimate revenge comes closer to the season finale.
Winner: Brie Bella
Adam: I wrote a column two weeks ago regarding WWE and its hypocritical approach to its Be A Star campaign in regards to the feud between the Bellas and Natalya. While the response I received could be categorized as par for the course with this company, it’s interesting to see the approach they have taken with Natalya since the “ugly duckling” episode. While I am not watching Total Divas on a regular basis, it’s quite obvious their storylines on that show will intertwine with what’s taking place on Raw. If those stories are self-contained in the Divas division, then so be it. If we start having main event programs being altered because Nikki or Brie Bella perhaps need their respective men to get makeovers, then there’s a problem.
After the abomination of a match Natalya had this week on Raw, I have very little faith in this match. I feel Natalya is the serviceable worker, but to think somehow that the Bellas are the “top dogs” in the Divas division is quite the ludicrous statement. There are much better divas in the NXT division and you can read all about them at our Reader’s Columnist Corner from my partner Jamie Vaccaro.
But I digress, Natalya will probably get the win after being made fun of for being ugly. Yay WWE!! The good guy always wins, they told me so in their e-mail response.
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs Big E Langston and WWE Diva’s Champion, AJ Lee
Jamie: Though they’ve built up this mixed tag team match well, I have a hard time finding myself caring about it. That’s nothing against the four performers at all, but has more to do with my anticipation for Punk/Lesnar and Bryan/Cena. Dolph Ziggler looked to be on fire since the double turn with Del Rio, and I really wish he would have stayed in the title picture. This match will hopefully conclude his unfinished business with his ex-girlfriend and his former, “heavy.” With that hope in mind, I’m going with Ziggler and Kaitlyn to pick up the win here. Kaitlyn can continue to feud with A.J. over the Diva’s Championship and Dolph can move back into the World Heavyweight Championship picture…at least, I certainly (probably foolishly) hope so.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn
Adam: Here’s an interesting matchup. It’s been awhile since there was an intergender tag match on PPV. The last recollection of mine would be Wrestlemania 27. It’s weird to view Ziggler as a face in this match, simply because he’s a natural born heel. And with Big E. still playing the mute character and not offering a lot of perspective, it’s hard to have a ton of interest in this match. It’s a shame this is what Ziggler is relegated to ever since he sustained that concussion. I see bigger things for him in the future (hopefully) that involve the WWE Title rather than the World Heavyweight Title. I remember Daniel Bryan and Ziggler having classic matches in the past, and I certainly hope that’s where we are headed after this match. In the world of WWE and even-steven booking, Dolph and Kaitlyn should be able to pick up the victory after their losses the prior month at Money In The Bank. In a perfect world I’d like to see all parties dissolve after this and go about their separate ways, that way everyone can move on after this match. Consider it therapy.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn
Cody Rhodes vs Damien Sandow
Jamie: I really don’t know what to think about this match. On the one hand, Damien Sandow won the Money in the Bank briefcase by tossing Cody Rhodes off of a ladder last month, stabbing his friend and tag team partner in the back for a guaranteed World Heavyweight Championship match. On the other hand, Cody Rhodes has come out with the upper hand in this feud since just after Money in the Bank. Sandow almost looks like the face with the way this has been booked, which is sad considering the high hopes I had for Cody Rhodes with the face reactions he was getting during that Money in the Bank match. Sandow has been on the short end of the stick since the feud started, but WWE seems to like to have their Money in the Bank winners go on a losing streak before they cash in. Honestly, I don’t think Sandow cashes in successfully when he does, but I don’t know if that will keep WWE from sending him down the losing path before that. With the thought that Sandow won’t be successful when he cashes in (likely due to Cody Rhodes screwing it up for him), I’ll go with the Intellectual Savior here.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Adam: While it was great to see Damien Sandow win the Money In The Bank Match last month, it was amazing to see the reaction Cody Rhodes received during that match. I understand why Cody wants to have a match with Damien Sandow since he feels he was as close as ever to winning that contract. But, is Damien Sandow the heel in this case? On the merits of the match, he won the briefcase fair and square. Cody Rhodes appears to be hurt simply because he was betrayed by his best friend, but in terms of storyline, isn’t that the point of Money In The Bank Match?
Now if Damien Sandow attacked Rhodes before the match started preventing him from competing then Rhodes would have a valid complaint, I just don’t see it here. With Rhodes stealing the briefcase and throwing it into the water, it just proves that he is hurt for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully this feud will end with Damien Sandow getting the clear victory and moving on in the process, but if there’s anything I’ve learned since the Money In The Bank’s inception, it’s that once you win the briefcase, you can be expected to lose a lot…A LOT.
Cody Rhodes will win this and continue to tread in the midcard. But golly, he gets the win over Sandow and that means something to him emotionally. Go Cody.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Ring of Fire: Kane vs Bray Wyatt
Jamie: I can’t see Bray Wyatt losing this match. The Wyatts are Triple H’s pet project and Kane is likely leaving for a while to film See No Evil 2. Moreover, Wyatt is the hot (pardon the pun) commodity right now and needs the win to establish himself as a legitimate threat. Bray Wyatt wins a back and forth match decisively at the end.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Adam: The Insane vs. Intriguing. While it’s being labeled a Ring of Fire match, it appears it will just be an inferno match. They haven’t quite stated that the opponent needs to be set on fire in order to lose, so I don’t know if we’ll end up seeing that stipulation. The Wyatt Family has been given plenty of time to be built up both inside the ring and outside (those vignettes that showcased The Family before they debuted were some of the best introducing new talent in quite some time). The only problem with this match and the way WWE has been writing the gimmick is if there are consequences to losing a match. I understand WWE can’t do this with every match against The Wyatt Family, but I feel in this case, Kane will either need to join The Wyatt Family, or go away for quite some time.
It’s pretty obvious Bray Wyatt will be going over to elevate this terrific trio, but Kane can’t just show up the next night on Raw or in the near future and act like nothing has happened. It has to be a “join us or be dealt with” mentality. I truly hope that Kane, in a hypnotized state, does indeed join The Wyatts as an enforcer type, doing the bidding of The Wyatt Family as he will definitely give them credibility. Sure, people move on from feuds all the time, but given the unique situation WWE faces with the three men, they need to approach them differently.
Obivously with a “Ring Of Fire” match they are trying to protect Bray and his limitations in the ring, but nevertheless this match adds to the spectacle of Summerslam. While I don’t have high expectations for the match itself, I have hopes for the intended ramifications of this match in the long run and where Kane goes from here (hopefully alongside Bray and co. in the near future). I want to see the family grow until it looks like a rotten pine tree with needles falling all over the place.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
World Heavyweight Championship:
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio
Jamie: From a kayfabe point of view, there’s very little reason to care about this match. Christian is on a hot streak as of late, has pinned Del Rio cleanly in the last few weeks, and looks to be a sure thing to beat the Mexican Aristocrat. Luckily, I don’t care. Christian and Del Rio, if given any semblance of time, should put on a great match that I’m really looking forward to watching, even though I think it’s a given that Del Rio retains.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Adam: Is it just me, or has Alberto Del Rio been consistently the worst booked champion in recent memory? He was pinned clean twice in the same week this past month and he doesn’t really hold any credibility at this point. What’s hard to establish is that he was a face for about a month or two when he was feuding with Swagger, but now he’s gone back to being a heel. That level of inconsistency in a character shows that WWE doesn’t really stand behind Del Rio and there is a greater chance of the belt switching hands here. But to Christian?
I’ll be the first to admit, that while I was not on the Christian bandwagon to begin with, he grew on me during his feud with Randy Orton and was terrific because of Orton just as much as himself. Putting him up with Del Rio? I’m not expecting much out of this match, and I’m definitely off the Christian bandwagon at this point. Was there nobody else WWE could book in his spot? I know that WWE wants to promote him since he recently came back from injury, but there are plenty of other talented members of the roster that could use a title shot.
The World Heavyweight Title is like a tryout for the real belt, and instead of letting one of your older roster members challenge for it, why not someone like Cody Rhodes, Antonio Cesaro, or even a member of the Shield? There are countless other possibilities that WWE could have taken with this match and I’m not too thrilled with the potential outcome either. The belt is going on Christian at this point and I really have no interest in seeing that.
The Best vs The Beast:
CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
Jamie: The build to this match has been downright amazing. Punk and Heyman have brought it on the mic and Lesnar’s promo package on Smackdown last week was excellent. Through the entire feud, CM Punk has looked like the plucky underdog who truly believes he will beat Brock Lesnar, even if no one else does. Lesnar has looked like his usually dominant self, only being laid out once in the past month, this past Monday. With Punk having taken the upper hand to end Raw on Monday, as well as Lesnar reportedly being gone until Mania again, I’m picking Brock to pick up the win here. Punk doesn’t need the win, per se, and if Lesnar loses, he would be 2-3 since returning to the WWE. Lesnar wins a hard fought, great match, and possibly comes back to cost CM Punk the Royal Rumble, setting up a rematch for Wrestlemania.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Adam: This match has been labeled The Beast vs. The Best. This match has an old-school feeling to it, with nothing but bad blood on the table. And the mastermind behind this match, one of the greatest minds in professional wrestling, Paul Heyman. I have very high hopes for this match, but at the same time I feel as if I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Brock’s last three matches with HHH were nothing short of lackluster, but that was more or less because of his opponent being gassed within the first five minutes of the match, or Lesnar being concussed at the start of his match at Wrestlemania 29. Needless to say, when Lesnar is paired with the right worker, he puts on a great match. While his wrestling style has been associated with MMA since his return, I would like to see him make a return to his amateur background and truly display his athleticism for the world.
CM Punk will bring the goods for this match. The best matches over the last year have involved him at some point, either with John Cena, Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho. This has the potential to be a MOTYC, and this match alone would be worth the price of the PPV, just from the way it has been built on TV and the history between these two men. With the way it’s being built however, I can’t help but feel that Punk is going to win this match. This would put him over immensely, and with him being the full-time star I have no problem with him winning. The last thing I want to see is Lesnar take the victory and the feud ends up culminating at Wrestlemania 30. The only reason really is because I’m selfish and would rather see Austin vs. Punk at Wrestlemania instead. I can dream, can’t I?
Winner: CM Punk
Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
Jamie: And now, the match that wrestling fans around the world have been waiting for. Daniel Bryan has meteorically risen to the top of the WWE in a figurative sense, and this match will be what makes him a main event star for years to come. It’s been widely publicized that Cena needs surgery on that football-shaped elbow of his and will likely be leaving for said surgery after Summerslam. With that being said, the big question here–in my humble opinion–is not whether or not Daniel Bryan will be victorious, but rather, how will he do so? Will he deliver a slick counter into an unexpected pinfall like he did against Antonio Cesaro on Raw a few weeks ago, or will Cena give Bryan the ultimate rub, tapping out to the Bearded Superstar? I would like to believe that Cena will tap out, but that goes against the character’s, “Never Give Up,” mantra. It could lead to great character development for Cena whenever he comes back from surgery, but I don’t know if WWE wants to add that additional layer to John Cena, though it is long overdue. I believe that Bryan may trap Cena in the Yes Lock and Cena may pass out from the pain, saving his, “Never Give Up,” shtick and making Bryan look like a badass for beating Cena by stoppage. It will also segue nicely into Cena leaving, having the announcers state that because of the length of time he was in the hold, his injury that he had been working through now requires surgery.
The other big question in this match is whether or not Randy Orton will cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase afterwards. Orton sent an ominous message when he stood at the top of the ramp, holding up his briefcase while Cena and Bryan were embroiled in an intense staredown. I think Orton does cash in his contract successfully, joining forces with Vince McMahon. In the process, WWE will be creating a molten hot heel for Daniel Bryan to seek retribution against while Cena is on the shelf.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Winner of MITB Cash-In: Randy Orton
Adam:While in most cases a match of epic proportions couldn’t get any better than CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, this match has to take the cake. Everyone and there mother will be talking about this match for years to come. What has been built phenomenally from John Cena, a man whose virtues are hustle, loyalty and respect, was given the opportunity to hand select his opponent and chose Daniel Bryan, to Daniel Bryan’s promo this past week, it’s clear that a man will be making his ascension into the upper echelon of WWE after all is said in done. The question is, how does WWE decide to tell the story?
Though some might proclaim the addition of HHH might make things murky, he was the referee in question during the CM Punk vs. John Cena Title Unification match at Summerslam 2011 and that was as clean as could be (mostly). All the chaos will more than likely take place once the bell has rung and HHH has declared a winner. While I want to believe that WWE will do the right thing and put Daniel Bryan over, I can’t help but think there’s a part of me that believes John Cena will end up defeating Daniel Bryan but then Orton will cash in and take the belt off of Cena after John sells an elbow injury. I don’t want to believe this scenario will occur, I’d say there’s a 2% chance of happening. In an ideal/perfect world, John Cena will end up tapping out to the Yes! Lock to the adulation of the fans in attendance at the Staples Center. Then, with Vince McMahon in tow, Orton will look to cash in and take out Daniel Bryan in the process and his reign on top will be short-lived.
What I don’t want to see is multiple parties involved. I don’t want Orton to cash in and have The Shield there as well. I don’t have faith in WWE telling a story involving that many parties (not including Vince and HHH mind you). I’d prefer it if they told the simpler story of Orton being Vince’s guy and being in his corner when he cashes in. I want to believe they will go with the Daniel Bryan victory, it’s more than the common sense route, it’s just the right thing to do.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Followed by a successful cash-in by Randy Orton.
Adam: That does it this month for Cheap Pops. Any final thoughts Jamie?
Jamie: I hope you all enjoyed my thoughts on Summerslam, and I hope that I contributed meaningfully to this preview. Either way, enjoy Summerslam!
Til next time, remember, Father Knows Best.