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WWE SummerSlam will broadcast live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday.

The event will feature members of both the RAW and SmackDown Live rosters, as well as two world championship matches. Universal champion Brock Lesnar will defend his title in a fatal-four way match against Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe. Shinsuke Nakamura will face WWE champion Jinder Mahal in his first singles title match since being promoted to the main roster in April.

Here’s a preview of what to expect at this year’s SummerSlam event.

Preshow

6-Man Tag Team Match

The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) and Jason Jordan-Angle vs. The Miz and The Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) (w/Maryse)

On Thursday, WWE announced that the Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan would face the Miz and the Miztourage in a 6-man tag-team match during the SummerSlam Kickoff show. Jordan, who was recently revealed as general manager Kurt Angle’s biological son, has had problems with the Miz and his cronies during the past two weeks. The Hardys inserted themselves into the feud by helping an outnumbered Jordan during Monday’s episode of RAW.

Winner: Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan

Jordan is believed to be on pace for a big push. The Hardys should remain in the tag-team title picture. A loss to the Miztourage would derail both of those plans. The smart money is on the babyfaces.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Akira Tozawa (c) (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Neville

Akira Tozawa has benefited from his decision to join Titus Worldwide recently. The Japanese import defeated Neville on Monday to win the Cruiserweight Championship for the first time. As former champion, Neville evoked his rematch clause and the match will take place on Sunday’s preshow.

Winner: Akira Tozawa

What would be the point of having Tozawa win the title only to drop it six days later? Then again, stranger things have happened in WWE.

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WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship

The New Day (c) (Big E and Xavier Woods) (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso)

The New Day, otherwise known as your W…W…E…SmackDown…Tag…Team…Champions will defend their titles against The Usos during the SummerSlam preshow. That’s a strange decision by WWE given that this has been one of its better feuds in recent months. Also, New Day is still arguably the most popular tag-team in the company — save the Hardys, who didn’t have a match on the show at all until Thursday — and the Uso’s resurgence as a heel team makes the match deserving of being on the main card.

Winner: The New Day

Like Tozawa, New Day’s recent title win doesn’t seem likely to be expunged on the preshow. Expect Big E and Xavier Woods to retain before moving on to their next feud.

Main Card

WWE Championship

Shinsuke Nakamura Jinder Mahal WWE title SummerSlam
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Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Jinder Mahal has had a lengthy reign after becoming the most unexpected WWE Champion in company history. Shinsuke Nakamura, who defeated John Cena to become the No. 1 contender, has been booked strong since his main roster debut and is one of the top babyfaces in the company.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

With Baron Corbin losing his Money in the Bank briefcase on SmackDown Live, it seems certain that Nakamura will dance his way out of the Barclays Center with the WWE title. Long live the King of Strong Style.

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Big Cass vs. Big Show (w/Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage)

Big guys. Big Cass. Big Show. If you’re a fan of giants, this is the match for you. Personally, I think the style works best with a smaller opponent. But I guess it’s better than watching Cass squash Enzo Amore for the 10th time since they’ve split up.

Speaking of Enzo, he’ll be locked in a shark cage above the ring because “reasons.”

Winner: Big Cass

Cass is going to win this match. WWE seems keen on pushing him to the moon and Big Show’s purpose, at this point in his career, is to put over younger talent.

Cass is likely going to beat Big Show either in spite of or with help from Enzo. It has been rumored that WWE wants to put them back together, which honestly makes sense.

Enzo has been booked like a goof to the extent that it’s completely unbelievable for him to win a match against a capable opponent. Cass, to be frank, is boring without Enzo carrying the promo. They both need each other. A lot.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

There wasn’t much buildup to the Randy Orton-Rusev feud. A few weeks ago, Rusev wanted an opponent and Orton answered the challenge. There was a cool ’90s Nitro-esque ending to SmackDown last week that saw Rusev superkick Orton out of nowhere as the show went off the air. But really, it seems like a feud that was thrown together at the last second.

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Winner: Randy Orton

Rusev hasn’t been booked strong since 2015. I don’t see any reason for that to change. Sure, Orton has nothing to lose and his legacy as an all-time great is set, but I don’t see him putting over the Bulgarian Brute.

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship

Naomi (c) vs. Natalya

Naomi has been SmackDown Women’s Champion since WrestleMania. She has a glow entrance and dances. Natalya, surprisingly, won the No. 1 contendership several weeks ago on SmackDown. She’s Jim Neidhart’s daughter and Bret Hart’s niece. Also, she likes cats. Now you’re up to speed on this feud that, like Rusev-Orton, was kind of just thrown together in a very short span.

Winner: Naomi

It seems like Nattie is the transitional opponent before the champion’s bigger feud and eventual title drop. Similarly, she faced Charlotte for multiple pay-per-views last year while Sasha Banks healed from an injury and Becky Lynch worked her way back into the title picture prior to WrestleMania. Despite her recent winning streak, I don’t see Natalya beating Naomi. But more importantly…

Women’s Money in the Bank Cash-In

Carmella Money in the Bank WWE Summerslam
CarmellaWWE/Facebook

Naomi (c) vs. Carmella (w/James Ellsworth)

Carmella is going to cash-in her Money in the Bank briefcase. Natalya is a heel, so unless WWE plans to turn her face out of sympathy, it’s more likely that Carmella will face Naomi for the title.

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Winner: Carmella

Carmella picks the scraps after a hard-fought win by Naomi over Nattie. Maybe James Ellsworth interferes. Maybe he doesn’t. Either way, Carmella is leaving Brooklyn with the title.

Finn Bálor (Demon) vs. Bray Wyatt

Finn Bálor has been feuding with Bray Wyatt for several weeks and was pushed to his limit on Monday after their pre-SummerSlam match on RAW. Following his victory, Wyatt drenched Bálor with a bucket of what seemed to be blood. Shortly after, Bálor revealed that Wyatt would be facing his “Demon” persona at SummerSlam during an interview with Charly Caruso backstage.

Winner: Finn Bálor

Bálor will be painting up as the Demon. That was enough for him to become WWE’s first Universal Champion at last year’s SummerSlam, which was also his pay-per-view debut. I don’t see the Demon losing this match especially to Wyatt given his long run of disappointing booking.

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match

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Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta. Shield.

The boys are back! Well, sort of. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins bumped knuckles, a nod to their old Shield pose, to solidify their solidarity after weeks of attacks by Cesaro and Sheamus.

The only thing missing is Roman Reigns who, assuming this isn’t a one-off deal, will likely align himself with his former teammates for an upcoming storyline since they’re all babyfaces and on the same show now.

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Setting the odds at 2:1 chance Reigns pops up in a backstage promo with Ambrose and Rollins prior to their match as a tease to the audience, as has been the case several times in the past.

Winner: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins

I don’t see this Shield angle being a one-off match. Rollins and Ambrose have been up and down the card as of late and this angle has been interesting. The full Shield reunion will happen and it seems likely to take place sooner than later. But for the faction to remain a dominant force, Ambrose and Rollins should be able to handle the likes of Sheamus and Cesaro.

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

Believe it or not, John Cena hasn’t won a SummerSlam match since 2010. On Sunday, he’ll face Baron Corbin who blew his Money in the Bank cash-in after focusing on Cena and getting rolled up by Jinder Mahal for a pinfall.

Winner: John Cena

It seemed like Corbin was destined to be pushed to the top of the card after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase and getting a new theme song — which, by the way, isn’t as good as his previous theme.

But in recent weeks, WWE brass has booked Corbin as if they’ve already gotten bored with the idea of him as a headliner.

Meanwhile, Cena’s status as a “free agent” who appears against top competition on both RAW and SmackDown can only work if he’s still a top guy. A loss to Corbin wouldn’t make sense here if that’s the case.

United States Championship 

AJ Styles Kevin Owens United States title SummerSlam
PhenomenalAJ/Facebook

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (Shane McMahon as special guest referee)

AJ Styles and Kevin Owens have played “hot potato” with the United States Championship over the past month. Styles reclaimed the title on SmackDown three weeks ago by defeating Owens and a returning Chris Jericho. After the next week’s rematch, Owens complained he was treated unfairly when referee Mike Chioda counted to the pinfall, despite his shoulder coming off the campus prior to the three-count.

SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan named commissioner Shane McMahon as the special guest referee for Sunday’s US title match, which has led to tension with both Styles and Owens. McMahon has vowed to get physical if provoked during the match, so it’s likely to happen.

Winner: AJ Styles

Shane has had history with both Owens and a then-heel Styles. Both have accidentally attacked him during the past two weeks, so there’s no guaranteed favoritism for either side. But it’s more likely that he’ll be provoked by Owens, who will probably do so intentionally or out of frustration.

WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks

Alexa Bliss has held the Raw Women’s Championship for months. Sasha Banks emerged as the No. 1 contender following former contender Bayley’s shoulder injury by defeating Nia Jax in her hometown of Boston on Monday.

Winner: Sasha Banks

Banks is arguably the biggest star in RAW’s women’s division. Bliss has already been established as a lengthy champion and should stay in the title picture. But it seems most likely that The Boss leaves SummerSlam as a four-time champion.

WWE Universal Championship

Brock Lesnar WWE SummerSlam
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Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

Brock Lesnar has vowed to leave WWE if he loses the title in Sunday’s fatal four-way match. That means he’s probably going to lose the title, which will only make the speculation of a possible UFC return even more exciting. Lesnar’s gripe is the unfairness of the fatal four-way to the champion, who can lose the title even if someone else is pinned. Of course, that allows the unstoppable Beast to lose without actually taking a pinfall.

So now the question is “who?” Who is going to walk out of Sunday’s event as Universal Champion.

Samoa Joe looked extremely impressive during his loss to Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire and is rumored to have Paul Heyman’s backstage support as the next champion. Strowman has emerged from green unknown wrestler to an extremely popular monster since his debut two years ago and disassociation from the Wyatt Family last summer. And, of course, there’s Reigns who is still pegged to be the company’s franchise player in a post-Cena era.

Winner: Samoa Joe

Honestly, every outcome seems feasible. But two seem more likely than others. Initially, Joe seemed like the most obvious choice. At 38, he’s not exactly over the hill as he’s arguably in the best shape of his career. But a title run needs to happen as soon as possible and it’s never been more believable than now.

However, the idea of a reunited Ambrose and Rollins winning the tag-team titles makes me think that a run-in to help Reigns seems like a possibility. Imagine SummerSlam ending with a reunited Shield all holding titles. That’s how you finish your second-biggest pay-per-view of the year.

But I’m going with instinct here. I see Samoa Joe making someone who isn’t Lesnar pass out with the Coquina Clutch. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, maybe it’s logic. But my gut is telling me to go with Joe as the new Universal Champion.

Jason has contributed to numerous websites in the past covering a wide range of sports including SEC football for the past four seasons. He began his journalism career as a student journalist at the University of Tennessee where he covered the Vols for the student radio station and newspaper. Here’s ...Read more
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