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411’s WWE Summerslam Preview (Part I)

August 19, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE SummerSlam Daniel Bryan The Miz

411’s WWE Summerslam Preview (Part I)

~THE STAFF~

* 411 Columnist, Mr. Steve Cook.
* 411 Columnist, Mr. Mike Chin.
* 411 Contributor, Mr. Ken Hill.
* 411 Columnist, Mr. Justin Watry.
* 411 Contributor, Mr. Rob Stewart.
* 411 Contributor, Mr. Jake Chambers.

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Kickoff Show Match: Rusev and Lana vs. Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almas


Rob Stewart: From a world title shot at Extreme Rules to a mixed match pre-show contest at SummerSlam, I guess this isn’t one of the better Rusev Days in recent memory. I wish this was just Ru vs Almas with the ladies at ringside, but you take what you can get. Whether cleanly or through some botched Aiden English spot, Almas and Vega are sure to grab the win here. I suppose it’s possible Lana gets a pin on Vega, but that doesn’t progress anything, so nah. Not going to psych myself out.

WINNER: Andrade and Zelina

Ken Hill:

Rusev and Lana may be the best
Rusev Day may be number one
But they’ll fall to the duo tranquilo
Then Aiden’s song comes undone.

As much as I’ve enjoyed the “Rusev Day” union of Rusev and Aiden English, and Lana getting some fun musical shine from English as well, this match is clearly set up to finalize the split between Rusev and English. English will come out to “help” as he has in the past couple weeks, only this time his costing Rusev and Lana will most likely be intentional to set up the one-off feud.

WINNER: Almas and Vega

Steve Cook: Zelina has consistently gotten the better of Lana throughout this feud, & Rusev hasn’t fared much better against Almas. Logic dictates that Rusev & Lana should have their day here, but Almas & Vega have more upside & need the win more. Hopefully the fans get in their seats in time for this one.

WINNER: Vega & Almas

Mike Chin: This is an oddball case of two excellent acts who somehow still feel as though they deserve better—particularly better than their pre-show placement. Hopefully the match itself will be fun, and being on the pre-show winds up a blessing in disguise to give them more time than they otherwise would. In the end, Almas and Vega are the fresh act that could use the push, and ongoing dissension between Aiden English and Rusev ought to seal the deal.

WINNER: Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almas

Justin Watry: Another month, another rumor of Rusev/Lana leaving the company. What a way to begin my WWE Summerslam preview, huh? True or not, Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega are the new hot act. They deserve the victory more.

WINNER: Vega & Almas

Jake Chambers: Even with the most positive of vibes going beforehand, I was thoroughly disappointed by Rusev’s outing against AJ Styles last month. This is WWE, I shouldn’t have let them sucker me in yet again. But I did. Now I realize that this conception of Rusev as some held-back great wrestler is an illusion brought on by thirsty fans dying for something… anything new. Dude is just the next Santino, let’s be honest. Unlike Rusev’s constant unproven potential for excellence, Almas actually has a strong in-ring resume, but sadly the existence of this match in this spot on the card, indicates exactly how the WWE feels about the former La Sombra. And therefore, I’m assuming this one will live up to everyone’s usual low expectations for a Kickoff Match.

WINNER: Does it matter?

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Kickoff Show Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival vs. Champions The B Team


Rob Stewart: Talk about a tease. We all want a Revival title win here, but we aren’t about to get it. Dash and Dawson are just a segue feud for the B-Team as they transition from winning the titles from the Deleters of Worlds to losing them to the Authors of Pain. Dash, Dawson, and all their proud Southern people deserve better, but they aren’t getting it on this show. The story of the B-Team putting together a hot streak before they run into the Unstoppable Force of the AoP isn’t bad (as long as the Authors are allowed a long, dominant run), but the idea of watching The Revival fall to Axel and Dallas is… I need to lie down and watch some 2017 NXT…

WINNER: The B-Team

Ken Hill: While I don’t appreciate the last-minute setup of the match, it’s simple, sensible booking since The Revival were the odd team out on the finish to the triple threat tag title match on RAW. While in most cases I’d go with The Revival to have them claim their first main roster tag titles, I’d rather see them chase a more legitimate team like AOP. For that to happen, B-Team would squeak out another win here, only to then get mowed down by an uber-aggressive Akkam and Rezar for the red straps, possibly on the post-SummerSlam RAW.

WINNER: The B-Team

Steve Cook: It would be a bigger deal for Wilder & Dawson to win the straps on Monday night’s episode of Raw than on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show. True story. My guess: Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel win on a technicality on Sunday night, then Constable Corbin makes a rematch on Monday night.

WINNER: The B Team

Mike Chin: With so many good tag teams on SmackDown, it’s kind of absurd that two teams booked essentially as jobbers as recently as this spring are vying for the red brand’s tag titles. The Revival has the ability of a great team as demonstrated by their time in NXT, so I’m going a little outside my comfort zone in picking them to go ahead and take the titles here.

WINNER: The Revival

JUSTIN WATRY: This is the problem. If The Revival win (which they should), then the past two months of The B-Team has been a waste. If The B-Team win, then I don’t know what to tell you other than shrugging and moving on. We need new RAW Tag Team Champions. I doubt it happens at Summerslam though…

WINNER: Lose-Lose

Jake Chambers: The Revival needs a revival, and the B Team only wishes they were B-level. This match will suck.

WINNER: How could anyone be a winner in this match?

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Kickoff Show WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak vs. Champion Cedric Alexander


Rob Stewart: I’m WAY behind on my full episodes of 205 Live these days, as work on my podcast and blog has kept me from watching nearly as much wrestling as I would like (remember how I said during the NXT preview that I am also behind on the G1?). That said, this seems like Gulag’s time. He has turned in a great body of work for 2018 from his humorous Power Point attempts to his current turn as a more brutal grounder, and he really deserves the title for all he has done.

WINNER: Drew Gulak

Ken Hill: This is going to be a really fun match, an underrated spectacle that’s had some great buildup with Gulak using his cohorts Kendrick and Gallagher to effectively wear down the resilient champion by pinpointing Cedric’s neck in each of their respective singles matches, softening him up for the “Gu-Lock” dragon sleeper. Simple, effective storytelling at its finest and shows just how well Gulak has blended his campy “politcal” character with his vicious, technical savagery and savvy. As much as I’ve enjoyed Alexander’s rise to the top since WM 34, it’s time for some new blood in the CW Title scene.

WINNER: Drew Gulak for Champion, and A Better 205 Live

Steve Cook: The cruiserweights (well, two of them anyway) finally return to PPV (well, the kickoff show anyway). Gulak has done good work on 205 Live, and its about time Cedric dropped the strap anyway.

WINNER: Drew Gulak

Mike Chin: Although Drew Gulak deserves championship consideration for his excellent work of late, and the story of him and associates wearing down Cedric Alexander is nicely constructed, I’m ultimately picking Alexander to retain and set up an eventual title showdown with Lio Rush.

WINNER: Cedric Alexander

Justin Watry: I have watched a grand total of zero episodes of 205 Live the last couple of months. I have no idea if Drew Gulak is still discussing Powerpoint presentations or what Cedric Alexander is up to. What I do know is that this match is on the Kickoff Show and probably for good reason. IF I do end up watching, I am likely to enjoy the bout. In ring is not the issue.

WINNER: Cedric

Jake Chambers: How much better would this match be if it was just on 205 Live? We saw this happen at Wrestlemania: after a pretty awesome tournament on the weekly show, they shoehorned the finals onto the Kickoff Show and the match looked out of place and random rather than the epic showcase it would have gotten on its own show. Expect this match to follow a typical pattern: quick high spots to pop the randos getting to their seats who’ll all be saying some variation of “Oh, that guy’s pretty good, who is he again?”, then a long chinlock sequence to make room for commercials, and finally an ending that’ll feel rushed.

WINNER: Everybody who watches the inevitable re-match on 205 Live in 2 weeks.

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Money in the Bank Contract On the Line: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens


Rob Stewart: Real talk? I hate the idea of the Money In The Bank contract being something that should be defended. It takes away from the importance of the match itself if WWE is going to throw out the occasional mulligan. To my memory, only Mr. Kennedy ever lost a briefcase, and that was due to real life injury, so there’s no issue to be had there historically. I’m happy WWE hasn’t (to my memory) had MitB change hands since then, and I hope that trend continues here. I didn’t think Braun needed the briefcase, but he won it, so let’s see where this can go. Hopefully it goes all the way to, oh let’s say, the main event of this very show. Owens hasn’t proven to be a REAL threat to Braun yet, so while this could be a swerve… eh, I don’t think it will be.

WINNER: Braun Strowman

Ken Hill: I’ve generally agreed with the notion that Braun doesn’t really NEED the briefcase to earn a title shot, and the buildup seems set up so that Owens will use some sort of nefarious means to come away relatively unscathed with the MITB case. That said, I feel like they’re leaning so much on the notion of Braun getting DQ’ed or counted out that it’ll ultimately end up being a non-factor. My theory, correlating with a comment I made concerning the fallout from SummerSlam, is that Braun realizes that even though he’s not a dumb monster, there are people like Owens that are generally smarter than him and will try and outwit him to win a match. Thus, he secretly enlists the help of one Paul Heyman, someone who provides savvy and managerial genius to his clients to aid their brawn and/or athleticism in matches, like Lesnar currently and previous ones like Big Show, RVD and even current RAW GM Kurt Angle. For any and all parts of my theory to make even a lick of sense, Strowman has to win here.

WINNER: Braun Strowman

Steve Cook: I have this feeling that Owens will somehow win the briefcase & win the championship all in the same night. As much as I like the guy, I don’t see that working out too well. Braun should be the guy on the top of the card, and he should run through Owens in short order.

WINNER: Braun Strowman

Mike Chin: Although Kevin Owens could be a fine Mr. Money in the Bank, Braun Strowman is clearly enough heading to the top, and the MITB contract offers multiple intriguing routes for him to get there, including his rumored heel turn. One way or another, this one ought to come down to filler to occupy Strowman before he cashes in either at the end of the night or in the near future.

WINNER: Braun Strowman

JUSTIN WATRY: Despite all the speculation and fantasy booking, I do not feel this matchup will mean anything long-term. Braun had to beat somebody up at the pay-per-view, and Kevin Owens is the best heel available. No switch in contracts. No Money in the Bank swap. Nothing. Just a filler story line to get both men on the card in an entertaining way. Do we get the actual cash in later on Sunday? I know it is the popular belief…I will say no though. Keep the mystery going for awhile.

WINNER: BRRRRAUN

Jake Chambers: With this match the WWE has got everybody speculating on potential cash-in scenarios at the end of the night. Well, I’ve got one word for all that: BORING! If you’re going to “pop” for a Money in the Bank briefcase cash in – in 2018 – for two guys who are already huge superstars, then I gotta figure you’re just an easily pleased person. Are you telling me that it’s exciting to see Braun Strowman, a guy who topples trucks with super strength and has been pegged as the biggest babyface in the WWE for over a year, win the Universal Title with an impromptu cash-in on a tired opponent (after already failing to defeat Brock in 2 multi-man title matches, and a one-on-one attempt). Or do you think it’ll be cool if Kevin Owens, who was Universal Champion once (which he lost due to musical distraction) and was later crowned “biggest heel in the company” by many after head-butting Vince McMahon, also wins the title without any kind of match? If so, then I gotta ask you what you’re watching all this for? Do you like wrestling matches? Do you like twists and surprises? Because these scenarios offer you neither. You’ll be better off spending your time re-watching the build-up and main event from No Way Out from 2004 just to see how the WWE used to be able to take the title off Brock Lesnar before the crutch of the Money in the Bank briefcase became the main trope of the Mediocrity Era.

WINNER: Braun, Loser = People popping for his MitB cash in.

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Finn Balor and Baron Corbin


Rob Stewart: Might we get a demon sighting here? I’m not sure why on Earth we would do this match yet again unless we do something different. Has anyone been clamoring for Balor/Corbin III or IV or XII or whatever this is without any new strings attached? On the other hand… WOW, what a waste of The Demon this would be! Against Corbin in a nothing match? I don’t know… I’m down on this one, sorry. I feel like WWE is actively trying to make me not care about Finn with this feud. So even if it’s a meaningless appearance, hopefully we see The Demon to remind us all that, oh right, that’s a thing he does sometimes.

WINNER: Finn Balor

Ken Hill: This has simply been a feud, nothing outright bad, but certainly nothing memorable or remarkable about it either. Balor got the win at Extreme Rules, Corbin got his win back on RAW, so simple booking leads to the rubber match. Here is where a street fight-type stipulation might have done the feud a modicum of good in terms of a proper payoff. As it is, this will hopefully be set up to give Balor the win and move him towards a title picture (most likely IC), as Corbin is an “authority” figure and doesn’t really have anything to gain with a win, and even less to lose in a loss.

WINNER: Finn Balor

Steve Cook: Some find the whole Constable thing entertaining & thinks this match deserves a spot on a major card. I agree with the latter, as restroom breaks are important.

WINNER: Finn Balor

Mike Chin: This program feels like such a waste of Finn Balor. Hopefully, it comes to an end here, and with Balor going over once and for all.

WINNER: Finn Balor

@JustinWatry: I have officially thrown in the towel on predicting “The Demon” Finn Balor appearing. Too bad too because that persona should be busted out on rare occasions. WrestleMania 34 would have worked. Summerslam would also work. Either way, I think Balor gets the nod here. Corbin has the perfect role currently. Balor needs to be doing more though. With Brock Lesnar (maybe) out the door soon, a spot at the top of Raw is opening up.

WINNER: Finn Balor

Jake Chambers: The most unnecessary match on a card of mostly unnecessary retread matches. Even the most die-hard 2018 WWE super-fan has got to struggle to justify why this match is happening or explain why they should be excited for either guy.

WINNER: Balor, Loser = Anyone who considers themselves Balor Club.

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Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz


Rob Stewart: Now we are talking. If I had my druthers, I would still have preferred they held off this encounter until Wrestlemania (AND made it for the WWE title), but the build up has been so good–and there is just so much history to play off of–I’m just happy WWE is giving us a quality set-up. Those videos they ran on Smackdown hyping this match? If you can’t get excited for this one, forget having a pulse… you might never have been born. Onto my thoughts: Miz almost has to take this one in some kind of crooked, underhanded manner. Probably Maryse gets involved so that Brie can come back and join in the action for future encounters, but this storyline has the clearest path forward with Miz stealing one from Bryan. Keep the fans anticipating Daniel’s revenge!

WINNER: The Miz

Ken Hill:

A titanic rivalry building 8 years towards Sunday
Ultimate battle of technician vs performer.
The eternal struggle renews once more
Bryan’s draconic revival vs Hollywood’s Lister of A!

It’s a fiery war of passion versus fame
Which is stronger, which is fleeting?
Who will carry the torch and not be burned
By this rivalry’s everlasting flame?

To whom goes victory? To and fro, opinions sway
Some say Bryan should stand triumphant,
But to do justice to a feud of great magnanimity
Miz’s heelish tactics must seize the day.

Screaming babies aside, I’ve loved the slow-burning build of what’s been an intense rivalry “8 years in the making.” WWE’s production team has outdone themselves once again with an excellent series of promos highlighting Miz and Bryan’s building animosity, stemming from their time as Pro and Rookie in the original NXT, to Miz hijacking Bryan’s moves during the latter’s unfortunate retirement, to the Miz undercutting Bryan’s triumphant in-ring return and promising to prove what he’s always believed, that he is firmly above Bryan in all facets of professional wrestling. Miz has gone above and beyon to establish himself as WWE’s most prevalent asshole of a heel and I’ve loved almost (again, screaming babies) every second of it

This WILL be an intense, emotional match that’s bound to be one of the big highlights of SummerSlam. However, to have it only be a one-off where Bryan reigns triumphant over Miz would be a waste of the years of buildup and continuity this rivalry has built up and an insult to both wrestlers. Again, it’s a shame Cass got released, because this would have been the perfect spot to have Miz reveal him as his new backup to aid him and cost Bryan a big win at SummerSlam. As it is, it will still be a great match, and Miz will definitely have something nefarious in mind regardless to trip up Bryan and squeak out a win, then hopefully move on to a WWE Title program down the road with AJ Styles, where Miz can have his overdue second run with the title and have it lead to a big-time payoff with Bryan in a WM 35 main event.

WINNER: The Miz

Steve Cook: One of WWE’s longest running feuds finally returns to the ring. One suspects it won’t end here. Miz winning via chicanery makes the most sense for the bitter feelings between the two to continue.

WINNER: The Miz

Mike Chin: At the end of the day, this is the program, and consequently the SummerSlam match I’m most excited for. If the rumors are true that Bryan may no re-sign with WWE, there’s a rationale for The Miz to go over. In the end, though, as the climax of such a longstanding issue and at such a big show, I’m hopeful WWE gives us the happy ending to this rivalry with Bryan winning cleanly.

WINNER:Daniel Bryan

Justin Watry: Awesome, awesome, awesome video packages Tuesday night on Smackdown LIVE. If you have not seen the promos yet, go watch them now. I can not praise them enough. We all knew this story line would be good, but wow! Hats of to WWE, Daniel Bryan, and The Miz for their work in hyping Summerslam. No doubt will be a hot atmosphere in Brooklyn on Sunday. The winner comes down to Daniel Bryan’s contract. If he is leaving, he needs to lose. If he is staying, he needs to win. The rivalry is paid off with the face beating the heel. No other outcome is correct…unless The Yes Man is finished with WWE.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan

Jake Chambers: This match deserves so much more than being stuck in the middle of another excessively overstuffed PPV. Sure, those video packages on Smackdown were cool, but to me that only highlighted just how much time the WWE has wasted with these two over the years, especially Bryan. The sad part is, the match at SummerSlam will likely be shorter than those 3 videos combined, and way less interesting. WWE has a surplus of TV and PPV time, but they still can’t make a whole Smackdown episode dedicated to a big match between these two, or have them main event next month’s PPV. It’s kind of infuriating how much I just know they’re gonna mess this up. And if you think I’m being a jerk here, show me where the WWE has followed through on anything with the potential to be awesome in the past few years? I’m begging them to be better.

WINNER: Bryan’s bank account, Loser = Fans of Daniel Bryan professionally wrestling.

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO


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