For all intents and purposes, SummerSlam is WWE’s second-biggest show of the year, which means there’s no time to wait before we start speculating on what matches may appear on the card.
Unlike a standard event’s lineup, SummerSlam is one of the Big Four co-branded shows where both Raw’s and SmackDown’s rosters will share screen time. Unfortunately, every time a crossover event is looming, there is always a gap of several weeks between both brands’ precursor events and whichever one goes first gets the jump on building matches as soon as possible.
Since Great Balls of Fire is in the past, Raw is going to be focused on slowly rolling out the list of matches the red brand will be represented with at SummerSlam while SmackDown is still focused on Battleground. By the time Battleground is done, Raw will have already set in stone half the SummerSlam card, killing much of the ability for us to test our predictive skills.
However, we can still look at the current feuds happening on Monday Night Raw, analyze the fallout from Great Balls of Fire and try to determine which potential directions the Raw roster will go for SummerSlam, even without factoring SmackDown in the mix.
With that in mind, let’s try to give our extended projections for which matches we think will be on the card as far as the Raw roster is concerned. Make sure you leave your comments below with your predictions!
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe
This started off as Roman Reigns definitively getting the winner of Lesnar/Joe from Great Balls of Fire, but all that has changed. Now, the story we’re being told is that either he or Samoa Joe will face Brock Lesnar for the title, depending on who wins their No. 1 contender’s match.
I’m not buying it.
I thought Braun Strowman was going to be written off television for SummerSlam following the Ambulance Match, which would have left Reigns open for his match against Lesnar and Joe looking for a new opponent. Since nobody was set up to feud with Joe afterward, this is looking to me like we’re getting a Fatal 4-Way where Strowman will interrupt the match next week between Joe and Reigns, causing the result to be thrown out the window.
Why WWE is doing this, I’m not sure, but I just hope against hope that one of the three challengers walks away with the Universal Championship instead of Brock Lesnar. Whoever wins can have a rematch down the line at No Mercy or even Survivor Series, but I do not under any circumstances want this to be a stalling tactic where Lesnar retains and Reigns should’ve won, leading to the two of them fighting at WrestleMania 34…which is probably going to happen, so come the Road to WrestleMania 2018, look forward to hearing me have zero interest in the main event.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. The Miz and Bray Wyatt
This isn’t meant to be taken as that being a tag team match between the two sides. Rather, it’s just to signify what the feud has in store. We will probably see a tag team match on Raw leading up to SummerSlam with those two sides being drawn as Ambrose and Rollins have to put aside their differences to fight their adversaries.
Since we’ve seen Ambrose and The Miz go at it so many times, I’m hoping they switch dance partners, essentially. While I don’t have any need to see Ambrose vs. Wyatt ever again, I’m actually intrigued about what The Miz and Seth Rollins can do together in an Intercontinental Championship match.
To be perfectly honest, a feud between Ambrose and Wyatt doesn’t seem like it should even make the card for SummerSlam once we factor in some of the other, more important things going on with Raw and including the SmackDown side of things, but it’s all relative. There’s a chance WWE finds themselves in a position where that match can exist on the pre-show and something else will
Cruiserweight Championship Options
This week, we saw a definitive end to the feud between Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander, which should allow the two to move on to something else. Next week seems to be the end to the feud between Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak as well, while TJP and Rich Swann remain interlocked, as do Gentleman Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick.
WWE seems to put absolutely no effort into maintaining Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik, so while they’re on the brand, they might as well not be, and we all know Austin Aries is gone at this point, so what is going on with the Cruiserweight Championship?
We have so many weeks until SummerSlam that I think we’ll see Akira Tozawa act as a transitioning point for the next few, losing a rematch to Neville somewhere down the line before either rekindling a program with Ariya Daivari, or moving on to Noam Dar or Drew Gulak. Mustafa Ali, meanwhile, will pick up the slack with the other one (Dar or Daivari) and the new No. 1 contender will end up being Cedric Alexander.
Alexander has been receiving too much attention as of late to be ignored and the momentum he has outweighs every other person on the roster. Plus, he’s the only babyface who hasn’t had his multiple interactions with Neville yet, and after all this time, it’s perhaps the right part of the year for a title change.
That may not necessarily happen at SummerSlam, as Neville could do something to cheat to retain and drag this out a little while longer, but I do think Alexander is the one who gets the title opportunity and dethrones the king.
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax [and Sasha Banks?]
Sasha Banks technically defeated Alexa Bliss at Great Balls of Fire, but was unsuccessful in regaining the title as it was by count out. By normal WWE rules and standards, this opens her up to a rematch of some sorts, but that can’t just be the only thing happening for SummerSlam, can it?
In my mind, that’s too bland. Plus, it seems like they’ve been building up the idea of Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax crossing paths, so that has to happen at some point unless they decide to drop it.
The only question I have is whether or not this is going to be a Triple Threat or if Jax is going to usurp Banks and push her out of title contention by the time we get to SummerSlam.