SummerSlam, one of WWE's "big four" pay-per-views, takes place Aug. 20 and features the "big four" of "Raw" squaring off in a much-anticipated main event, as Universal Champion Brock Lesnar defends the title against Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe.
Here's my preview of that match and the rest of the SummerSlam card:
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe: As if this match pitting four badass alpha males against each other isn't compelling enough, there's the additional intrigue of Paul Heyman vowing he and Lesnar will quit WWE if Lesnar loses the title at SummerSlam, which plays into rumors Lesnar is returning to UFC to fight Jon Jones. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Lesnar drops the title (without being involved in the finish) and disappears for a while -- as he routinely does anyway -- but I think "The Beast" will retain the championship to set up big-money title defenses against Strowman and Reigns. If Lesnar does lose the title at SummerSlam, I believe the man most likely to win it is Strowman. When Reigns inevitably regains the title, it will likely be in a singles match. As for Joe, I'm just not feeling him as Universal Champion. In fact, I'd be surprised if he isn't the one who drops the fall in this match.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: Any speculation that Baron Corbin would cash in his Money in the Bank contract at SummerSlam and win the title ended Aug. 15 when his surprising cash-in on "SmackDown" was unsuccessful. Nakamura is destined to be world champion, but I don't think it's happening on this show. I expect Nakamura to win by disqualification or countout.
U.S. Champion AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens (Special Referee: Shane McMahon): It seems like Shane O'Mac's presence in this match is to set up a future bout between him and Owens, so that means Styles wins here. McMahon's involvement doesn't do much for me, but this still figures to be one of the best matches on the card.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin: I'm shocked Corbin has joined the short list of Money in the Bank contract winners who failed to win the title. It remains to be seen whether it was just a plot twist or if something is going on with Corbin behind the scenes. One thing for certain is that this is the biggest match of Corbin's career thus far. More important than whether Corbin wins or loses -- I think Cena will go over -- is how he performs in a big match with the "face that runs the place."
"Demon King" Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt: The fact that Balor will be wrestling as his alter ego pretty much guarantees he's winning. It would be way too soon for the "Demon King" to lose.
Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins: The fans were clamoring for a reunion of former Shield members Ambrose and Rollins, and now that it's finally happened, it would be a letdown if they didn't win the title. New champions will be crowned in a match that has the potential to be one of the best of the night.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos: I'm probably in the minority, but I'm bored with New Day's act; I find The Usos far more entertaining at this point. It might just be wishful thinking on my part, but I'm going with The Usos to regain the title.
Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks: With Bayley having to bow out of her title match against Bliss due to a shoulder injury, I look for Banks to win the title, thus setting up a program between pals Banks and Bayley. If that does happen, it would be an opportunity for WWE to rejuvenate Bayley's character by having her turn heel on Banks.
Big Show vs. Big Cass (Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage): This one could go either way depending on how long WWE is planning for the program to last, but I think Big Cass will win. It makes sense given the injury to Big Show's hand and the fact that Amore theoretically won't be able to interfere. By the way, I can't recall the shark cage ever being used for a babyface. Is this some sort of rib on Amore, who apparently has a ton of backstage heat?
Randy Orton vs. Rusev: There's not much of a storyline for this one, but it is a fresh matchup of two stars, and it'll probably be a good match. It's another one that could go either way, but I'm leaning toward Orton winning.
SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi vs. Natalya: Natalya was one of my favorite people to work with during my time on the WWE creative team, and she certainly is deserving of a spot in a title match on a major pay-per-view. That said, it seems like most of the interest in this match concerns whether Carmella is going to cash in her Money in the Bank contract. I wouldn't discount it happening, but I think it's more likely that she cashes in some other time, as it would get lost on such a loaded show. I expect a successful title defense for Naomi, with Carmella teasing a cash-in but not following through.
Cruiserweight Champion Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O'Neil) vs. Neville: Tozawa winning the title from Neville on "Raw" Aug. 14 was unexpected, and it wouldn't shock me if Neville regained it in this match, but my guess is that Tozawa retains.