by Daniel Johnson, Kyle Childers, Jeremy Cundiff and Martin Bentley
Editor’s Note: This piece marks the return of the WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable. Martin Bentley, the man behind the incredibly entertaining ProWres Land makes a guest appearance to give his insight on WWE SummerSlam 2014. Old school writers for The Johnson Transcript, Kyle Childers and Jeremy Cundiff also give their thoughts on the Summer spectacular. More of Childers’ work can be checked out on the Freakin’ Awesome Network (FAN). To see what the FAN man is producing click here. To read an extremely detailed write-up of Cundiff’s Madman Szalinski character click here.
The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Johnson: I’ve long loved Dolph Ziggler’s selling. I mean come on how can you not? That being said I’m not the biggest fan of either guy in general. However, the match they had on the WWE Monday Night Raw right after WWE Battleground (2014) was all kinds of epic. Given that this is a pay-per-view I’m expecting these two to go all out. At the very least I expect Ziggler to sell his ass off, which in turn may accomplish the extremely difficult feat of making The Miz look like a badass. I’m expecting Miz to retain because it looks like WWE is just getting started pushing his new Hollywood character.
Kyle Childers: Hey! It’s a midcard title match. I care as much as they want me to, not a whole lot. I’m a huge fan of Dolph Ziggler and I feel like The Miz is doing a great job growing and developing his performance in his new gimmick, but in spite of the somewhat enhanced TV time from your usual midard match, this isn’t one that inspires much excitement. Hopefully they deliver a solid match and Ziggler pulls out a win.
Jeremy Cundiff: Ziggler’s still in the midcard? TRAVESTY. I’m going to go with Miz, because he’s the one they invested in for those crappy straight-to-home-video movies. On the bright side, you know this match shouldn’t insult your intelligence too badly.
Martin Bentley: Although I’m still not a fan of The Miz, his new character has made him more tolerable to me. Dolph seems to be addressing some of the criticisms of his work, and is slowing down to make his moves mean something, rather than going 10,000 miles an hour. But somehow, I don’t think Ziggler has earned back his trust, so I see Miz stealing one here.
AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige for the WWE Divas Championship
Daniel Johnson: The match these two had at Battleground was surprisingly underwhelming. Especially given that Paige is a legitimate skilled wrestler and AJ is supposed to be good. These two have something to make up for and given Paige’s talent and Lee’s ability to improve I’m expecting one of the best matches of the year for the WWE divas. Anything less would be disappointing. AJ will also retain unfortunately.
Kyle Childers: Who’s the face? Who’s the heel? Who’s paying attention? What a bizarre feud they’ve built here. Um, I guess Paige wins by cheating because she’s aggressive now.
Jeremy Cundiff: Rebecca Black versus the chick from Evanescense? Hey, at least we have a women’s division that doesn’t consist of a striptease gimmick as champion. I’ll go with AJ, but no matter who gets the title I think we’ll all win.
Martin Bentley: With Paige completing her heel turn recently, I have a feeling we’ll see a vast improvement from these two from their Battleground match that was too ambitious and didn’t get where it intended to go. Until recently, I was fully confident that Paige would win back the title, but AJ losing to Eva Marie challenged that assumption somewhat. However, Paige losing two title matches in a row would be somewhat of a setback to her, and AJ would be over at the same level regardless, so I’m sticking with my original prediction, and a new champion.
Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) vs. Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana) in a flag match
Daniel Johnson: Last year I predicted Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow could be the sleeper hit of the night. Needless to say I was wrong. This year I’m putting my bets on Swagger/Rusev to be the sleeper hit. To be clear I’m definitely not expecting the match of the night from this one, but I expect it to be way better than many would expect. Like with AJ/Paige these two underperformed at the last pay-per-view. However, Rusev wrestled a very good match with Big E back at WWE Money in the Bank (2014) and Swagger has always been a solid hand. Rusev will most likely win, but I’m hoping for Swagger.
Kyle Childers: It seems like they’re finally back around to caring about Jack Swagger. Since WWE retroactively gave Rusev the win in their last meeting, it seems like they’ll probably give Swagger the win to give one of the few non-main event programs with real interest one more month.
Jeremy Cundiff: Putting this out there. I fucking hate Rusev. Lana’s Russian SUCKS. Trust me. Iliya dolshev isoprov Rossikiya yazik? And he looks frickin’ Samoan. Yes, I know he’s Bulgarian legit. No, I don’t care. And yes, part of the reason I like Swagger has to do with the fact that if we ever meet up, I don’t have to be the first one to pull out a bag and offer to smoke. The rest is Dutch Mantel. So we’ll go with Swagger, and hopefully we aren’t getting the fake Russian run down out throats for the next three months too.
Martin Bentley: This depends on what the rules of the match are. If it is actually capturing the flag, then I can see Swagger getting the win to create a feel-good moment without really beating Rusev. Anything else, and Rusev gets the win, as they’re clearly building him to be a monster heel down the line, and they cannot beat him conventionally right now, even with Swagger. This is one I can’t be solid on until I know exactly what the format of the match is.
Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns
Daniel Johnson: This is one of the matches I am most interested in for SummerSlam and it has nothing to do with the storyline of it. Actually, the storyline kind of sucks so far. Seth Rollins attacked Reigns with a chair a long while ago and rather than ever get revenge Reigns tried to get the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (and has so far failed) and become fixated on Randy Orton. The reason I’m excited is because this is Reigns’ coming out match as a major singles competitor and will be a good indication of if he has what it takes right now to go further. Orton is a terrible opponent for this kind of match as the dude is way too selfish at best and lazy at worst to sell the way that is needed to get the most out of Reigns’ offense. Someone like Ziggler (again beautiful selling) would be a much better opponent for this type of match. Reigns has his work cut out for him, but at the very least I expect him to win. If Orton makes him look like crap and Reigns loses then this would be super bad for the big Samoan’s future.
Kyle Childers: WWE has tried their hardest to get Reigns over as a real superhero, badass, cool guy babyface and…it’s kind of working? He’s got a real “Cena” dynamic going on with the audience. Then you’ve got Randy Orton who has most of the appearance of a Slim Jim with only half the flavor. It’s really hard to pick a winner here because most of this angle has gotten so muddled in the last few weeks but I fully expect the jungle man Reigns to pull out a victory in his first singles spotlight match.
Jeremy Cundiff: Roman Reigns. That’s about it. Although I’m sure Orton would smoke a blunt with me, too.
Martin Bentley: This will be Reigns’ biggest test yet as a singles star, and at the moment, I’m not convinced that he can work to the ability expected of the top guy in the compan…but then again, he does have the same number of big moves as John Cena. He has worked plenty of house show matches with Orton, so at least they should have a good match set up. I just hope that Orton, although he’s starting to show the aggressiveness of the Orton of old again, doesn’t resort to extra-long chinlocks, as Reigns really needs the shine here. And I have Reigns taking the win on his quest to supposedly headlining WWE WrestleMania XXXI as is rumored.
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho in a match where Erick Rowan and Luke Harper are banned from ringside
Daniel Johnson: I’ve been following Chris Jericho for about 20 years and given that I’m 27 that is a considerable part of my life. That being while I’ll always love Jericho as a performer to some extent the times he has excited me in recent years have been few and far between. Likewise, Bray Wyatt’s crazy promos are starting to strike me as the kind of thing new talent will be making fun of in 10 years. You know like how The Ultimate Warrior got mocked on The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior. While I expect this to be proficient from an in-ring standpoint that will be about as good as it gets. I see this one ending with Wyatt winning via shenanigans even though Erick Rowan and Luke Harper are banned from ringside.
Kyle Childers: WHY?! Why this again?! These two don’t have a whole lot of chemistry and for some reason, this seems to be the one feud they’ve decided to put Jericho over in, in like five years. Maybe after the last month of being made to look dumb as a bag of hair Bray will pull out the victory and (hopefully) get the hell out of this feud.
Jeremy Cundiff: I LOVE THE WYATTS. But Chris Jericho? Way to make a decision hard. I’ll go with Bray Wyatt, but Jericho will probably look like gold in the process and totally embarrass the main event.
Martin Bentley: I was excited when Wyatt set upon Jericho to start the feud, but these two haven’t really clicked with me. I wasn’t exactly a fan of their NXT match last year, and their Battleground match ended far too abruptly. Also, Jericho winning the last match was a bizarre call, and they seem to have gone towards the story arc that would have presumed that Wyatt won the last one, with Jericho going for “revenge” against the guy he already beat. But even with no Harper and Rowan, I see Wyatt getting his big win this time, with maybe another match to come at WWE Night of Champions (2014).
Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon
Daniel Johnson: I never skip pay-per-view matches, but man is it tempting to just avoid this one altogether. I’m really hoping this has the time of a bathroom break match dedicated to it and that it gets treated as such. Stephanie McMahon will probably pull out the victory by cheating. After this hopefully we can move past the performance and the healing can begin.
Kyle Childers: The further up this card I go, the more I realize this might be the strangest SummerSlam in 20 years. We’ve got a match here built on assault, spouses, criminal charges, and “BITCH!” It would be really stupid to have active wrestler Brie Bella lose to office worker Stephanie McMahon. Then again, Stephanie looks like she could probably beat up most of the guys on the roster. I’d like to see Brie win but this could go either way.
Jeremy Cundiff: Slapped her so hard she peed herself. That’s all I can think about this entire feud. Common sense indicates Brie, so by WWE logic, Stephanie and they’ll make it entertaining anyway…or at least try to. As entertaining as Stephanie McMahon working a match is going to get, anyway. (Who would mark out if SHE did the Shane McMahon elbow off something high?)
Martin Bentley: A lot of people are drawing comparisons here to Stephanie’s match with Trish Stratus in 2001, which surprised fans as to how good it was. Problem is, that was 13 years ago, and Stephanie hasn’t wrestled in over 10 years, and has had several children since then. Not to mention that Brie Bella doesn’t exactly have the best reputation as a worker. The early stages of the feud were impressive with the WWE Payback (2014) confrontation, and the incident that led to Stephanie getting arrested, but since then, it’s kind of fallen flat, especially with the whole deal on Monday night. Some people have speculated that Nikki Bella could turn heel on her sister, and given the hell Stephanie had put Nikki through, this could be plausible with Nikki blaming all that on Brie. However, I have a fair amount of heel wins already, including Paige…so I’ll go with Brie winning, and then a slow build to the Nikki turn.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins in a lumberjack match
Daniel Johnson: This has the potential to be the match of the night, but that is pretty freaking obvious. I really wish this wasn’t a lumberjack match, but eh what are we going to do? The crowd should be red hot for this one given that WWE have starved their fans of a proper quality Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins match. I’m hoping Ambrose wins the battle of the former members of The Shield, which will pave the way for a ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE Night of Champions (2014). That prediction could be way off, but in an ideal world it would be nice.
Kyle Childers: What a fucking waste of a gimmick match. Let’s take a moment to reflect on all the great feuds that ended in lumberjack matches…seriously guys, tweet me (@HawkJefferson) if you can think of one because I can’t. I’m not saying this should be the end of the feud but shouldn’t they be doing something a bit more exciting considering how this match has been built? I figure Rollins takes advantage of the stipulation to get out a win so they can stretch this one another month.
Jeremy Cundiff: They’re still Jon Moxley and Tyler Black to me. Ambrose, I think he’s got the slight edge in star power as a singles guy.
Martin Bentley: This is the match I’ve been looking forward to even before Battleground…and then they made it a lumberjack match. Still, Ambrose explained it well, and given people expect them to have a crazy match where they brawl all over the building, this gives them a chance to change up their style and keep a lot of it to inside the ring. I would have preferred a one-on-one contest, seeing as this is a feud that could go on for a while, but it is what it is, and even with all those bodies around the ring, I’m sure Ambrose and Rollins could still put on a very good match. Even though it’s the first big match of the feud, I think Ambrose should win, and with good reason.
John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Johnson: This match is going to be ugly in a very good way. Not it won’t be a match worth forgetting like so many past SummerSlam matches. This is Brock Lesnar’s third match of the year and the other two kind of stunk. Lesnar was wasted at the WWE Royal Rumble 2014 in a match with The Big Show and then beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX in a disappointing bout to end The Undertaker’s streak. Lesnar should want to make up for these, but I doubt he cares much beyond his paycheck. John Cena will have to tap into whatever he tapped into for his WWE Extreme Rules (2012) match with Brock to create something as epic and as physical. The funny thing is despite all this I want Brock to win for a change of pace and just because the dude plays such a great badass character. I also expect Brock to win. I just hope that Brock will at least defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on some pay-per-views and not disappear for another four months.
Kyle Childers: It should be a fun match. That’s really all I’ve got. No, seriously you guys. Cena has been doing really impressive work on the mic and Heyman has perfected that Lesnar promo he’s been delivering since WrestleMania. The build up was really awesome with WWE cribbing production notes from UFC and it seems like WWE is taking another nod from UFC in giving Lesnar the title this Sunday.
Jeremy Cundiff: You know how I said earlier about one of the matches that no matter who gets the title, we all win? Well, this time, no matter who gets the title, we all lose. Either the guy who’s held it virtually the entire last god damn decade, or the guy who only wrestles twice a year, is going to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I don’t give two shits about seeing either one with the belt, to tell you the truth. Lesnar, I might like to see him as champ if there were still people in wrestling who could actually shoot wrestle. Cena, I might like to see him if he would do anything other than what he’s done for the past 10 years. Either way I’m just going to hope and pray we get someone returning, or some kind of new challenger for the title…*notices Batista is set to return after filming his last movie right about…SummerSlam.* Shit.
Martin Bentley: People have debated what would happen if Brock won the title in regards to his schedule, but why not? In the 1980s, you only saw Hulk Hogan wrestle on special occasions, and it was a big deal when he was on the card. Sure, he wrestled more house shows than Brock will, but this could be a very effective marketing tool for the WWE Network, as you could pay $9.99 a month (or $12.99 one-off) to see Brock Lesnar defend the title. Hopefully this match will be similar to their classic brutal war at Extreme Rules in 2012, and the promos for this match, including the 30 minute Network special, have been incredible. And hopefully this time, we’ll have the right result. Problem is, I feel like at recent SummerSlams of the past, the Money in the Bank briefcase could hang over the match’s head, and I have seen rumors of a John Cena/Seth Rollins house show feud for the autumn. This could suggest Cena winning again, and Rollins cashing in to take the title, but you don’t have Cena beating the guy who ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak in his very next match. Surely WWE aren’t dumb enough to do that. It has to be Brock.
Photos 1-3, 6-8: en.wikipedia.org
Photos 4-5: Daniel Johnson / Johnsontranscript.com
Categories: Smooth Runs
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