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    Saturday, August 18, 2018

    A Universal Homecoming?: SummerSlam 2018 Predictions (Please)

    You’re probably sick of this cliche, but it’s mandatory for us at Smark Henry to ask: Are you ready for the Biggest Party of the Summer? Back at it again with another clash of predictions are our weekly reviewers—Kevin Owens’ best friend in the whole wide world and RAW expert Jofer Serapio and AJ Styles’ unofficial hypeman and SmackDown Live bonehead Ricky Publico. Get ready for some hot takes and controversial opinions, starting now!

    WWE Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (c)

    Jofer’s Pick: Roman Reigns. I think it’s time for the Universal title to come home to Monday Nights. Reigns might not be my top pick to be The Guy to slay The Beast but, well, he’s what we have at the moment. At the very least, we may get a heel turn if Paul Heyman pulls another swerve to counteract last week’s swerve. That or my best friend in the whole wide world, Kevin Owens, cashes in on Reigns as Heyman’s Plan B. Hey, just because Lesnar might be leaving doesn’t mean Heyman should.

    Ricky’s Pick: Roman Reigns. I usually dial up my sass every time I’m predicting the outcome of a Roman Reigns match. But this time, it’s more than a #LolRomanWins moment. I have a feeling that a heel turn is in the works for The Big Dawg. Whether he becomes a Paul Heyman guy or a corporate stooge for Stephanie McMahon, the night will end with Reigns finally getting a positive and unanimous reaction from the crowd. Believe that.

    WWE Championship Match: Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles (c)

    Ricky’s Pick: Alright, Jofer. I got this from here. My pick doesn’t really matter because I’m predicting this will be the best SummerSlam match in history. It’s a freaking dream match several years in the making; what’s not to love? I feel confident hyping this up because I know it can live up to it. Either one of them can win the title, really. AJ Styles can add this to his impressive reign or Samoa Joe can take his rightful place as one of the greats.

    Jofer’s Pick: AJ Styles. I initially picked Samoa Joe because he’s awesome in the ring and on the mic, but then I realized something: This is the start of their feud and it has been pretty mild. AJ keeps talking about how Joe has made this personal but they haven’t even gotten into a brawl of some kind. As it stands, this whole thing has been a few exchanges of words, with that one awesome attack being the only thing that really seemed to hype the fans outside of this actually being Joe versus Styles. That’s pretty sad. So now I’m going with Styles here, hoping that this feud is going to get much more personal and much more vicious in the long run. If it is, fingers crossed, it could get a longer run.

    RAW Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss (c)

    Jofer’s Pick: Alexa Bliss. I stand by my belief that it’s still too early for Ronda Rousey to become RAW Women’s Champion. She might be an unstoppable force but unstoppable forces tend to get sidetracked by betrayal. Will Nattie be the woman to do it? Or will Nia Jax make her return to take Rousey out, leading to a (wo)man vs monster match between them at Evolution? Or maybe Alicia Fox will just cause a distraction and get beaten up yet again. Expect Rousey to throw Bliss around that ring after she catches her, though.

    Ricky’s Pick: Ronda Rousey. I can’t really think of a scenario where Alexa Bliss gets to keep the RAW Women’s title by the end of the night. Sure, she can get a DQ win or something, but I think they’re better than that. They gave Rousey a WrestleMania moment. I’m sure she’ll also get a more significant SummerSlam moment.

    WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins w/ Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Drew McIntyre (c)

    Jofer’s Pick: Dolph Ziggler. Dean Ambrose looks too jacked and too angry to not turn heel this Monday (Manila Time). At the very least, if he doesn’t directly turn heel on Rollins, his fury might get the best of him and cost his Shield brother the title. I just feel like this match will see some ringside shenanigans that’ll help the heels take the win. Then we’ll do the whole Ambrose and Rollins vs. Ziggler and McIntyre matches, and so on and so forth. Maybe we’ll even end up with Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Ziggler versus McIntyre for the title in the near future. A man can dream.

    Ricky’s Pick: Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose turning heel does sound plausible, but it will probably spoil Reigns’ heel turn later during the night, so I believe Ambrose will stay Rollins’ buddy for the meantime. Let’s enjoy the new Ambrose for a while, you know? If there’s even a slight chance Styles vs. Joe won’t deliver, I nominate this match as the one that will steal the show.

    Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

    Ricky’s Pick: The Miz. This is a tough one. For one, I don’t want this rivalry to end just yet. They need to continue systematically destroying each other. Letting Miz score the first victory will be a bold move considering everyone expects him to get his comeuppance after years of mocking Daniel Bryan. If only one of them could get ahold of the WWE Championship before the year ends and make their inevitable WrestleMania match more interesting.

    Jofer’s Pick: The Miz. He’s not only the (arguably) safest wrestler in the WWE right now, but he’s also the safest bet to win this match, especially if you consider that whole thing with Bryan’s contract. If they want to extend this feud, Miz winning this would be a good start. Bryan can keep going after him, inevitably getting that win to satiate the fans. That is, if Bryan even inks a new deal. If he doesn’t, they still won’t lose anything with Miz winning. Safe.

    Triple Threat Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella (c)

    Ricky’s Pick: Carmella. Of course, Baby ‘Mella will wriggle her way out of this one. That’s basically her entire title reign right there. She’ll probably take advantage of the drama she unintentionally created between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Also, I’m bracing myself for a Becky Lynch heel turn, which I’m still hoping they won’t do. Let us keep babyface Becky, please. SmackDown Live doesn’t need another chickenshit heel.

    Jofer’s Pick: Becky Lynch. Okay, hear me out: I don’t like this as much as the next guy, which is Ricky, but I think Becky is going to turn heel on Charlotte at SummerSlam and take the title for herself. Okay, maybe not turn heel, but at least get the title win through an arguably heelish method? I’m basing all this on the way she interacted with The Queen on the SmackDown Live go-home show. That was pretty sketchy. Hmm.

    Money in the Bank Contract Match: Kevin Owens vs. Braun Strowman. If Braun Strowman loses by any means, he will lose the contract.

    Jofer’s Pick: My best friend in the whole wide world, Kevin Owens. This might just be wishful thinking, but Owens will find a way to cheat outsmart Strowman to win the briefcase, and then go on to cash it in on Roman Reigns after he beats Brock Lesnar as Paul Heyman’s Plan B. If Lesnar’s leaving the WWE and Heyman seems to be set on staying, then Heyman aligning himself with Owens would be the smartest move on his part. Strowman doesn’t even need that briefcase. He’s too OP. Please nerf.

    Ricky’s Pick: Braun Strowman. Vince McMahon will probably have cold feet turning Reigns heel, so he’ll send Braun Strowman to cash in on Lesnar so RAW can finally get its proper world title back. Sorry, Jofer, I don’t think your best friend in the whole wide world will steal this one away from the monster.

    SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) (c)

    Ricky’s Pick: The Bludgeon Brothers. Every match doesn’t have to be story-driven. This will easily be the tag team match of the night—probably the perfect match to open the show—but we all know the Bludgeons will retain. If the combined forces of New Day and The Usos didn’t faze the OP champions, what chance does The New Day have on their own? Then again, if they channeled their heel tendencies for one night...

    Jofer’s Pick: The New Day. The New Day beat SAnitY, so I’m shaking my old-man fist at them to win against The Bludgeon Brothers. Harper and Rowan are scary, but their reign has been somewhat mellow. The New Day as champs could pave the way for SAnitY to beat them up and take the titles from them. Bottomline: SAnitY, especially Killian Dain, deserves gold around their waist.

    WWE United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (c)

    Ricky’s Pick: Randy Orton.
    Wait, Orton isn’t part of the match? Oh, my bad. But he’ll probably be there, ready to shake the hand of the guy he hates the most. So yeah, Shinsuke Nakamura will retain. Next!

    Jofer’s Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura. Jeff Hardy has obvious unfinished business with Mr. Handshake himself, Randy Orton. With The Viper close by, Hardy’s chances of usurping the King of Strong Style’s throne is R-K-nil.

    Finn Bálor vs. Constable Baron Corbin

    Jofer’s Pick: Finn Bálor. I’m not entirely sure why Baron Corbin, who can now book matches, allowed this match to happen. Does he get paid more if he competes at SummerSlam? That’s probably it. Although, he could just ban Bálor from competing this Monday to stick it to his most hated rival, while at the same time he can go face one of No Way Jose’s pals for some easy money. But seriously, Bálor needs to get out of this feud, though, and a win against Corbin will get him on the right path.

    Ricky’s Pick: Finn Bálor. Aren’t we done with this one yet? I didn’t even realize they’re actively feuding. Corbin’s doing his little power play angle, right? Why do we need to associate Finn Bálor with this weak storyline? I hope they give him a shot at the Universal Championship once Strowman or Reigns brings it back to RAW. He has yet to receive a proper rematch, people.

    Kick-Off Match: RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) (c)

    Jofer’s Pick: The B-Team. The Deleters of Worlds have been deleted and The Revival might need to revive their RAW careers. Maybe on another night, they can become champs—if they make a good showing on Sunday at least. The RAW Creative team seems to hate The Revival for some reason. In any case, the B-Team got a new theme, so I’m B-etting on the B.

    Ricky’s Pick: The Revival, just because. The B-Team has already had their fun, right? Now that Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy are no more, let’s start reviving the dying tag team division on RAW with a more legitimate tag team leading the way. Hopefully, the Red Brand can get more legitimate tag teams from NXT. Or how about reuniting American Alpha?

    WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander (c)

    Jofer’s Pick: Drew Gulak. Is Cedric Alexander even actually at 205 lbs or below? Are they still checking Buddy Murphy weight before shows? Not that I’m complaining, but my argument is that Drew has been on fire as of late—more than the champ himself—and that may be a sneak peek of things to come at SummerSlam. With The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher in his corner, Gulak should have better chances of winning the title than Alexander retaining.

    Ricky’s Pick: Drew Gulak, because it’s been a long time coming. He’s been stealing the show even while Enzo Amore was still around. It’s Drew Gulak’s time to lead 205 Live as its champion. And if he wins at SummerSlam, he needs to make a PowerPoint presentation on how he won the title. That would be lovely.

    Mixed Tag Team Match: Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

    Ricky’s Pick: Rusev and Lana. They’ve been eating dust throughout the entire build. The power couple has to win this one. I’m als expecting a massive Rusev Day reunion because seriously, wrestling’s favorite holiday won’t be complete without Aiden English reminding us what day it is. I’m sure one loss won’t affect Andrade “Cien” Almas’ steady climb to the top.

    Jofer’s Pick: Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega. Rusev Day is over. Aiden English is going to cost the husband and wife duo this match, whether intentionally or not, and El Ídolo will continue his march to the United States Championship with La Muñeca by his side. Now that’s tranquilo.

    There you have it folks, another display of dissenting opinions from our esteemed reviewers. And did Jofer just say Rusev Day is over? Anyway, feel free to offer your own SummerSlam predictions in the comments below.

    Photos from WWE.com


    Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoe) reviews WWE RAW for Smark Henry. His favorite professional wrestling shows include NXT, Lucha Underground, WWE, NJPW, Ring of Honor, and (gasp) Impact Wrestling. He pops hard for Samoa Joe, Marty Scurll, Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, and Andrade "Cien" Almas.

    Ricky Publico (@NitPickRick) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and 

    brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to 

    have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember 

    who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.
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    Item Reviewed: A Universal Homecoming?: SummerSlam 2018 Predictions (Please) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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