The history of SummerSlam is not a usual one and has a strange echo to what is currently happening in the wrestling world. In the 1980s, WWF’s main competition in the professional wrestling industry was from the Charlotte-based Jim Crockett Promotions, which was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). McMahon countered Jim Crockett’s successful Starrcade closed-circuit television event, which began airing in 1983, with the WrestleMania franchise in 1985 and eventually forced Crockett to sell his company to Ted Turner, who renamed it World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
In addition to WrestleMania in March and Survivor Series in November, McMahon added a third pay-per-view for August, which he named SummerSlam. To keep the WWF from having a pay-per-view market monopoly, WCW began airing monthly pay-per-views, and both companies began bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. The first SummerSlam was held on August 29, 1988, in New York’s Madison Square Garden. SummerSlam became one of the WWF’s, later WWE’s, most successful events and one of the “Big Four” pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble.
SummerSlam is the first Big 4 shows to have a full capacity since the pandemic, even if the mask will be compulsory inside. Sasha Banks said, “I actually think that this SummerSlam might be bigger than WrestleMania. It feels like it’s going to be bigger than WrestleMania (…) But I am so ecstatic to be back with fans. There’s nothing like their energy. So I think this crowd is going to be bigger attendance than WrestleMania, which already makes me, it lights a fire in my heart.”
But at a moment when the business is in shambles, SummerSlam has lost its powerful appeal. The WWE is not in a position to be the leader they were anymore. Fans are getting used to something else, something different, new and fresh. And doing it on a Saturday is not going to change fans’ interest in a show whose card desperately looks like the previous PPVs’ ones.
Note: Predictions are purely that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard of anything ahead of time, we promise.
Edge vs Seth Rollins
At SummerSlam, two of the most intense Superstars of any generation will go to war when Edge takes on Seth Rollins in a highly personal matchup seven years in the making.
While Rollins continuously insisted that Edge had jumped the line and that The Ultimate Opportunist was keeping him from getting a Universal Title Match against Roman Reigns, Edge claimed that Rollins was trying to walk in the footsteps of the Ultimate Opportunist, but was actually nothing more than an “Edge-lite.” At WWE Money in the Bank, The SmackDown Savior attacked The Rated-R Superstar during his one-on-one rematch against The Head of the Table and cost him the illustrious title. This led to more than one altercation back on SmackDown.
First, an intense verbal exchange led to blows on the July 23 edition of the Blue brand, with Rollins retreating after being hit with an Edge-Ecution by The Rated-R Superstar. The following week, Rollins struck back with a brutal sneak attack on Edge as the WWE Hall of Famer was making his way toward the ring. In response, Edge laid out a challenge for a SummerSlam showdown, and an irritated Rollins ultimately accepted.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Edge – much like the returns of Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, The Rock and Daniel Bryan before him, it seems certain that Edge will be World Champion, at least one more time. But it’s not a straight road and Seth Rollins is an obstacle along the way.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Edge.
Alexa Bliss vs Eva Marie (w/ Doudrop)
After a four year absence, Eva Marie officially returned to WWE in mid-June, but she didn’t come back alone. Eva introduced her protege to the WWE Universe, who she calls Doudrop (known as Piper Niven in NXT UK). It soon became apparent that Doudrop was less of a protege and more of an employee. Doudrop defeated Naomi in her debut match on RAW, but Eva Marie claimed the win as her own.
Elsewhere, Alexa Bliss still has the supernatural powers she obtained through her time in the Firefly Fun House. Not only that, but wherever you see Alexa Bliss, you can be sure that the mysterious voodoo doll known as Lilly won’t be far behind. Lilly apparently has ties to infamous serial killers from the past, including Jack the Ripper. She has already made life a living hell for Shayna Baszler and caused Eva to trip over on a recent edition of Alexa’s Playground. Doudrop lost a recent match on RAW after she was distracted by Lilly winking at her. Eva since instructed Doudrop to steal Lilly, but the protege was freaked out upon picking up the doll and abandoned the plan.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Alexa Bliss – as long as she has Lilly in her corner, there’s always an advantage.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Alexa Bliss
Veer & Shanky Banned From Ringside
Drew McIntyre vs Jinder Mahal
The seeds have been planted for this feud for quite some time. Way back when, McIntyre and Mahal made up two-thirds of 3MB, where they were essentially the lackeys of Heath Slater. Fate played its hand when both men were released on the same day back in 2014. Their respective releases lit a fire underneath them and sent them each on separate journeys, but their ultimate destination would be the same. After proving themselves on the independent circuit, Jinder and Drew each earned their way back to WWE where they would each go on to become WWE Champion.
It looked like WWE were set to ignite this feud between the two former friends last year, right after Drew won his first WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36, but an injury to Mahal shelved those plans until recently. The difference between these two men now is that McIntyre has just come off the back of the single best year in his professional career, while Mahal has considerably slipped down the pecking order since his sole World Championship reign. That makes for a bitter Modern Day Maharaja, jealous at the success and opportunities handed to his former friend. So much so that Jinder took it upon himself to cost McIntyre his chance of winning the Money in the Bank contract last month. Jinder Mahal is looking to get the last laugh over the Scottish Warrior at SummerSlam, but it won’t be easy, especially without Veer and Shanky at ringside for backup.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre – WWE hasn’t put enough groundwork into making Jinder seem like a credible threat here.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre.
WWE United States Championship
Sheamus (c) vs Damian Priest
At SummerSlam, United States Champion Sheamus will battle a very dangerous Damian Priest in an all-out brawl. After capturing the United States Title, Sheamus has enjoyed a controversial reign that has included several attacks on his opponents before, during and after the bell. Once he suffered a broken nose, however, The Celtic Warrior returned to the ring with a face shield and now possesses the viciousness of a wounded animal.
Since joining the RAW roster, Priest has wasted no time making a splash on the competition. Most recently, The Archer of Infamy overcame Sheamus in the Championship Contender Match after ripping the face shield off the titleholder. When Sheamus attacked him from behind the following week, Priest added extra momentum by teaming with Ricochet to overcome Sheamus and John Morrison in tag team action.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Damian Priest – Sheamus has relied on bullying opponents smaller than him in recent times. I think things will be different when he takes on somebody his own side.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Sheamus
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (c) vs Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Last year’s SummerSlam marked the in-ring debut of Dominik Mysterio. Although he did wind up on the losing end of that match – against Seth Rollins – it did prove to be a valuable learning experience when we look back on Dominik’s first year as a WWE superstar. Whether he’s working a singles or a tag team match, it’s clear for all to see that the Mysterio blood pumps through his veins when you see his in-ring style. Since then he has teamed with Edge on the first episode of SmackDown, back in front of a live crowd, and won the Tag Team Championships with his father, and the young man isn’t yet twenty-five.
The only thing that Dominik currently lacks is experience and the Uso’s know that. That’s how the veteran twins were able to win the titles last month, and have kept their cousin, Roman happy in the process. On the subsequent editions of SmackDown, there has been a series of one-upmanship between these two teams, trading wins over each other through questionable means. That’s also where Dominik’s inexperience has been exposed, which has led to a number of stern lectures from his father, Rey. This father-son duo gets their rematch on Saturday, but is there the feeling that Dominik is getting tired of living in Rey’s shadow?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: The Usos – this is a close one to call, but I think the Usos will edge this one.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Rey & Dom.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match
AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs RK-Bro (Riddle & Randy Orton)
The seemingly unstoppable force of Styles and his “Own Personal Colossus” Omos has dominated RAW since overcoming The New Day at WrestleMania 37 to capture the RAW Tag Team Titles. Every time they have entered the ring, the phrase that has been uttered more than any other is “who can possibly stop them?” Could it be RK-Bro?
It might not have been the tandem we expected, but it’s definitely the one we deserve. When Riddle defeated Randy Orton in April, he earned the respect of The Viper, and that gave birth to the unlikely team of RK-Bro.
Even when Orton was out of action, the loyal Original Bro continued to believe in his partner, using the RKO and even competing in the 14-time World Champion’s honour at one point. Despite Riddle’s efforts, when Orton returned to action, Riddle once again had to earn the respect of WWE’s Apex Predator by coming to Orton’s aid on the August 16 edition of RAW even though Orton turned his back on him earlier in the night.
Now that Riddle and Orton are together again, are they able to work as a team and walk out of Your Summer Vacation Destination with the RAW Tag Team Titles?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: RK-Bro – I gotta admit, I love the name. My reaction to this tag team may be rather similar to Orton’s, but I’m curious to see what this duo does together.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: RK-Bro
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Bianca Belair (c) vs Sasha Banks
If you think Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks produced a bona fide Match of the Year candidate in the main event of WrestleMania 37 (they absolutely did), then make sure you’re glued to your screen when they once again clash for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam. Though they experienced their share of bumps, heated exchanges and even a fierce slap from Sasha to Bianca on The Road to WrestleMania, the two mostly maintained a rivalry that was forged in respect. All that went out the window on the July 30 edition of SmackDown.
As The EST of WWE was assaulted by Carmella and Zelina Vega, Banks suddenly electrified the WWE Universe by making her first appearance since The Show of Shows, sprinting to the ring and helping the SmackDown Women’s Champion repel her attackers. The two even joined forces for a tag team bout against Carmella and Vega later that evening, scoring the victory when Banks forced “The Most Beautiful Woman in All of WWE” to tap out to the Banks Statement, but that was all part of the plan for The Boss.
After momentarily celebrating with her partner and arguably getting The EST to let down her guard, Banks suddenly blindsided the titleholder with a backstabber, carrying out a ruthless assault that ended with Belair locked in the Banks Statement, screaming in agony and tapping out as SmackDown concluded. The following week, the newfound enemies got into another heated confrontation, and the highly anticipated match was made for The Biggest Event of the Summer. With animosity certain to be off the charts in Belair vs. Banks II, will Belair prevail or will Banks win her 8th Championship in WWE?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Sasha Banks
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Sasha Banks
RAW Women’s Championship Triple-Threat Match
Nikki A.S.H (c) vs Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley
Nikki (Almost a Super Hero) stunned the world when she captured the women’s Money in the Bank contract last month. She then successfully cashed in the next night and defeated Charlotte Flair to capture the RAW Women’s Championship. This was less than 24 hours after The Queen defeated Rhea Ripley to become Women’s Champion. That leaves all three women with claims that they deserve to be Champion, or at least have a shot at the title. Of course, there’s only one way to solve a dispute when there are three individuals involved, a triple threat match.
In a recent episode of RAW, Flair cut a promo where she raised an interesting point. Since the inception of the Women’s Money in the Bank contractors, no woman on the roster has been cashed-in on more than Charlotte. Of the five winners, three have cashed in successfully to win a Women’s Championship from Flair. This led Charlotte to compare cashing-in to cheating, claiming that it wasn’t possible for any of those women to defeat her in a fair fight, they needed that extra bit of leverage. Not only does this pay lip service to making Charlotte Flair the most dominant woman in WWE history, it also legitimised anybody who can successfully defeat the Queen.
Charlotte Flair escaped her rematch against Rhea Ripley (the same night Nikki captured the title) via DQ, however that won’t be an option at SummerSlam, due to triple threat rules. We also know that the Champion doesn’t need to be involved in the decision, under triple threat rules, so Nikki could well lose her title without even being pinned. With that in mind, maybe this won’t be the end of this particular story. But SummerSlam is bound to provide another thrilling chapter in this ongoing saga.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Nikki A.S.H – just as the Champion doesn’t have to be involved in the decision, Nikki could well win this match without Charlotte being involved in the decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE choose that option, as it gives Flair grounds for further whinging and complaining until she gets another title opportunity.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Nikki ASH.
WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena
Buckle in, everybody, because the story of this match is quite a ride. Having not wrestled a match since WrestleMania 36, John Cena returned to the WWE at Money in the Bank, showing up Roman Reigns as he was celebrating another Universal Championship win. The following night on RAW, Cena announced that he had returned as he believes he’s the only one capable of bringing Roman down a peg or two – that and Cena is chasing a 17th World Championship that would break Ric Flair’s record of 16 (recognised by WWE).
However, the Tribal Chief wasn’t interested in seeing Cena and declined the challenge. Instead, Roman did accept the challenge of a returning Finn Balor – the first-ever Universal Champion. But the following week on SmackDown, Balor never got a chance to sign the contract, which would make the title match official, as he was attacked by Baron Corbin. So John Cena signed the contract, despite the fact the contract was clearly made out in Balor’s name, yet apparently, that was “good enough” for WWE Official, Adam Pearce.
Like it or not, Roman Reigns will defend against John Cena on Saturday in what is certainly a headline-worthy main event. Subsequent face-to-face encounters between the two foes have leapt into meta territory. Roman took digs at Cena over his previous real-life relationship with Nikki Bella, while Cena talked about how Reigns has been pushed and protected at the top of the card for a long time. As we all know, talk is cheap, what counts is the actions to back it up. So we’ll see who has the last laugh at SummerSlam. And in the meantime, surely somebody owes Finn Balor an apology.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – with Reigns closing in on a full year as Universal Champion, I think he’ll get the win here. Plus we don’t know how long Cena is back. While I expect Cena to win that 17th World title eventually, I think his Hollywood commitments may prevent that from happening right now.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Cena, just for the 17th…
Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Goldberg
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The WWE Universe will find out when The All Mighty Bobby Lashley meets the legendary Goldberg in a huge WWE Title showdown at SummerSlam.
Lashley was on the top of his game at WWE Money in the Bank, as the dominant champion put his incredible power on display in a victory over Kofi Kingston. The exhibition of power left mystery around who would muster the courage to challenge him next, but Goldberg put the doubts to rest with a challenge for the champion the next night on RAW. Lashley would initially turn down the proposal, but after MVP fell victim to an earth-shattering Spear from the WWE Hall of Famer the following week, the WWE Champion obliged the SummerSlam offer.
Will The All-Mighty Era reign on? Or will Lashley indeed be next in the battle of the two goliaths?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bobby Lashley – regardless of age, the list of names who’ve defeated Goldberg for a World Championship is very short. Adding his name to that list will be a major accolade for the All Might one.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Goldberg signed for 2 matches per year… So Lashley.
WWE SummerSlam is streaming this Saturday at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) on the WWE Network. The Kickoff Show begins at 7 PM EST (midnight BST) on WWE Network and WWE social platforms.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE