Randy Orton upsets Brock, Finn Bálor first Universal Champion: WWE Summerslam predictions

It's WWE's second biggest event of the year. Let's wildly guess at who wins!

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• Summerslam: Monday, 3 am GST | WWE Network is on OSN

WWE's biggest summer event moves from Los Angeles to Brooklyn this year, and the card looks very promising. I could gripe about how there are 11 matches and NO SAMI ZAYN (a National favourite), and even though I kind of did just that, let's be happy with what we have.

Programming note: Regular prognosticator Graham Caygill is not available, so if these picks are more wrong than usual it’s because I’m very, very dumb. It’s important to stress that.

Brock Lesnar v Randy Orton

The build to this long-time-coming match has been pretty stellar. Paul Heyman has been backing Lesnar at his selling-ketchup-to-white-gloves best while Randy Orton has come back from injury with as much energy and enthusiasm as I can remember him ever having.

But do we really think the match will be that good? While fun, Lesnar matches – events that happen only a handful of times a year – tend to hit the same beats over and over, and Orton matches are infamous for their lethargic build-ups leading to the inevitable surprise RKO. Even with the solid TV work leading up to the match, I’m dubious that these two predictable workers can give us something surprising.

That said, it is refreshing that the outcome is somewhat in doubt. Lesnar would have been a shoe-in before his PED allegations from UFC, and with Orton as popular as ever, it’s pertinent that WWE gives him the win to keep the one full-time player in the match fresh and important. I think Orton wins, though he’ll take a beating to get there.

Finn Bálor v Seth Rollins

WWE Universal Championship match

While we should be excited for Bálor being on the verge of superstardom, I can’t get past the incredibly stupid title name. Daniel Bryan – though bias as the new GM of Smackdown – said it best:

Man, I’m glad he’s back on TV.

Bálor and Rollins are two of the three or four best in-ring performers in the company, and this has Classic written all over it. Bálor should win, but I’m more interested in seeing if time is kind to the Universal title, and whether it supplants the tried-and-true WWE Championship as the top prize in the industry. The dumb name doesn’t give it a great start, but maybe a fresh face like Bálor will help.

Dean Ambrose (c) v Dolph Ziggler

WWE World Championship

A month ago if you told me – an unrepentant Ziggler stan – that The Showoff was getting a Summerslam WWE title shot against Dean Ambrose, I'd have thought Vince McMahon had finally gone senile and given the Internet complete control of booking. But the WWE Championship has been relegated to second-billing as the top title on Smackdown, so again it seems as though Ziggler is finally getting his shot just short of the spotlight.

He deserves the opportunity, and hopefully he’ll get another, because he’s not beating Ambrose here. It should be an entertaining bout.

John Cena v AJ Styles

Consider this the rubber match of what has been a pretty solid feud. Styles won at Money in the Bank and Cena – teamed with Enzo Amore and Big Cass over Styles and his Club cronies – won at Battleground. History says Cena always wins the rivalry, but this time feels different. Styles has been incredibly popular since joining WWE in January, and with Cena taking more time off and seeking more outside career opportunities, the time feels right to put someone else over. Styles wins and moves onto the WWE Championship picture.

Rusev (c) v Roman Reigns

WWE United States Championship

Rusev deserves so much better, but he’s been on the wrong end of yet another effort to get Reigns over to casual fans. The Bulgarian Brute has been the best character on the show and done yeoman’s work making a secondary title seem important. He’s made it seem so important, in fact, that Reigns losing here would be an utter shock. WWE will try to rehabilitate Reigns’s image the way they did Cena’s last year with a long US title reign. Hopefully that also means bigger and better things for Rusev.

Sasha Banks (c) v Charlotte

WWE Women’s Championship

Banks is on fire as the new champion and Charlotte is one of the best performers on the show. This is just the beginning of what should be a long-lasting feud. If the show gets the right type of live crowd to help sell it, this match could steal the show.

The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) (c) v Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

WWE Tag Team Championship

If juvenile jokes are your thing, this rivalry has been your favourite program ever. I get the sense Big E is being held out with a storyline injury to take the belts off New Day and stir an eventual breakup. Gallows and Anderson have proven deserved contenders if they are to end a long New Day title run, so the timing feels right to do so.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass v Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens

Kudos to WWE for putting four of the most entertaining guys on the show in the same program and pairing them together. I don’t care who wins, I just want Jeri-KO to last forever and ever.

And ever and ever.

The Miz (c) v Apollo Crews

WWE Intercontinental Championship

RIP Intercontinental relevance. The same thing happened the last time WWE split up Raw and Smackdown and added tons of other titles to the fold. Miz is doing the best work of his career when he’s not hosting innocuous Smackdown segments with opponents unrelated to his story, but the chance is now to put the belt on an up-and-comer. Crews has all the tools minus personality, so we’ll see what he can do with an IC title run.

Cesaro v Sheamus

First match in Best of Seven Series

What do you do when you have two world-class workers with nothing else to do? Put them in a best-of-seven series! It’s like WWE Test cricket, and I’m all for it. Cesaro has gotten better of the Irishman lately, so I think Sheamus wins here.

Six-woman tag match: Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi v Natalya, Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss



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