Sunday, August 21, 2016

WWE SummerSlam Predictions

I actually recently said that I wanted the best of seven series to return. However, I didn't want it like this. Don't get me wrong, Sheamus and Cesaro should have some really good matches throughout. I just didn't like that they've already had two in recent weeks that weren't part of it. Also, I want there to be some sort of reward for winning. Now, it's just them facing each other for the sake of it. Have the winner earn a United States or even Universal Title shot.

Winner: Sheamus

It will be interesting to see what they do with this match now that Eva Marie is suspended. I'd actually really like it if Nikki Bella returned and took her spot. I grew to kind of like her before her injury. Anyway, the Smackdown women's division is pretty interesting after a rough fist week or so. As much as I love Carmella and Becky Lynch, I also really like Alexa Bliss. If we get a Nikki return, which I kind of expect, I say the heels win.

Winners: Alexa Bliss' team

There is a lot of potential in this being the most fun match of the night. There is just something so captivating about Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, while the JeriKO duo is all kinds of awesome. The promos involving both teams have been great and I hope for similar stuff from the match itself. It's tough to pick a winner here. I believe Enzo and Cass are in line for a Tag Title run soon but I'm gonna say JeriKO wins here and we get a rematch at Clash of the Champions, where Enzo and Cass win.

Winners: JeriKO

While I firmly believe he needs more character development, I really like Apollo Crews. Captain BALD HEAD is just a joy and his in-ring work is strong. This is easily the biggest opportunity of his young career. Not only for the Intercontinental Title but on the second biggest show of the year. All that being said, I say the Miz retains. For one, he continues to excel in every role the company gives him (except for his horrible babyface run). For another, the build to this has lacked. I could see Apollo doing very well and giving Miz all sorts of trouble before Miz finds a way to retain. I expect Crews to be champion soon, but not at SummerSlam.

Winner: The Miz

Over the past year, Rusev has become one of the most entertaining people on the entire roster. Roman Reigns had some highlights in 2015, but 2016 has been a down year outside of one or two matches. The WWE had potential here because Reigns and Rusev could have a good old fashioned, hard hitting battle. Instead, the rivalry has seen Reigns make bad jokes while Rusev defends his wife's honor. Yet we're supposed to boo him and cheer Roman. Also, giving away the match on Raw this past Monday, with a totally clean finish, was stupid. After taking losses to Rollins, Balor and Ambrose, I think Reigns' punishments are over and he gets a run with the title here, even though I don't want that.

Winner: Roman Reigns

The time is up for the New Day. Their first title reign should have never ended, but their second one has gone on long enough. I'm not saying that I don't want them to continue to have success or that I think they're stale, I just think that Gallows and Anderson should win it here. They're the hot new team, New Day has held the gold for a year and if my predictions of Enzo and Cass winning the titles soon is to come true, taking them from the heel Anderson and Gallows makes more sense. Hopefully, this will be the breakout match the former Bullet Club members need in their WWE run. Plus, without Big E, there will be reasoning for the New Day to ask for a rematch.

Winners: Gallows and Anderson

This is how John Cena programs go lately. He loses the first match (which he did to AJ, Rusev, Owens and Rollins in the past year) before not only beating them back but beating them back several times over. I don't think AJ gets buried here but this loss is going to hurt. He's already just 2-4 on PPVs, not counting the Royal Rumble, and considering their recent promos, I just get the feeling that this loss will hurt. it would be great if AJ got the win here and could truly throw it in Cena's face. Instead, the WWE won't allow that to happen and Cena will make AJ eat his words after another great match. Another note of recent Cena feuds is that the best match usually happens first and things get progressively worse (Rusev, Owens and Rollins again).

Winner: John Cena

Originally, I thought this is where Sasha would win the title. Well actually, I thought WrestleMania was the time but the WWE blew that and gave us more months of Charlotte's dreadfulness. Sasha ended up winning the title on the excellent first post-draft Raw and it was wonderfully done. This should be another good to great match between the girls. Part of me could see Charlotte regain the title because, WWE. The other part though feels like it is finally Sasha's time and she needs to have a good title reign. She should win and defend the gold against both Raw and Smackdown girls, especially since Raw is just Nia Jax and Dana Brooke outside of these two.

Winner: Sasha Banks

File this under matches I never thought would happen at SummerSlam in 2016. Dolph Ziggler might as well be Mr. 2013. His 2015 was atrocious following WrestleMania. Just lackluster effort after lackluster effort and it continued into 2016. However, kudos to the Smackdown crew for actually making me care about this. I don't think Dolph should be ANYWHERE near the WWE Championship at this point though hopefully this feud can reignite him. Dean needs to retain and solidify his reign. Make sure he's THE man for Smackdown until dropping the title to AJ Styles down the line.

Winner: Dean Ambrose
First off, the Universal Title name is pretty dumb. With that out of the way, I can focus on the match itself. This is one of the toughest title matches to predict in a very long time. On the one hand, Seth Rollins makes for a great first champion. He's established, has credibility, is great in the ring, good on the mic and would make sense as a top heel running with the gold. However, Finn Balor is showing up as the "Demon". That changes things. Not because I believe he's some different entity in the paint but because I think it would be a mistake for the WWE to have the Demon lose his first main roster match. Either Finn wins the title super fast and gets another one over on Seth or Seth kills the Demon gimmick in one shot. I say the WWE goes with the latter. Should be a great match though.

Winner: Seth Rollins
The WWE is hyping this match like it is something incredible. Randy Orton has indeed been enjoyable since his return, but I'm sure once he's done feuding with new guys (Brock, Bray, AJ) we'll get unmotivated, lackluster Orton again. Brock walked away from his drug issue with no consequences, so I could see why a lot of people think he may eat a pin here. I don't see it. I think it would be a waste of everything done with Brock to have him get pinned by Orton, who is already established. Plus, they gave a tease for Orton/Wyatt on Smackdown and that feud can happen after Orton loses anyway. Brock should lose soon, but not to Orton.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

2016 Prediction Record: 36-21
2015 Prediction Record: 60-35

TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn Review

The main show begins with a video of the way Triple H opened TakeOver: Brooklyn last week. Highlights from that night are shown. Several NXT stars, including Joe, Nakamura, Roode, Asuka, Bayley, Jose and others are shown sitting down talking about where they were a year ago. Gargano was in a random city, Dawson didn’t have the title and Roode didn’t expect to be here. Joe and Bayley mention being at last year’s show. Nakamura says he watched the show live. Multiple people say they’re going to take over, with Bayley going last and adding “again”.

Apparently they have more fans this time than last. Tom Phillips and Corey Graves handle commentary.

Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose

The crowd loudly sings along to Jose’s theme. HE HAS A CONGA LINE WITH HIM! Aries also gets a major pop. Go behind from Aries who takes Jose down and slaps him on the back before talking smack. Jose tries to attack but Aries backs into the corner. Jose does get in some shots that play into his anger. Aries hops over and avoids a shot, taking a powder outside. Aries goads him into a chase and gets in a kick but Jose answers with a right hand. Jose follows with a double axe handle off the apron. He then shoves Aries into the apron. Back inside, Jose gets in more shots but runs into a back elbow. Aries drops jose’s throat across the top rope, taking control. Snapmare from Aries, who steps on Joe’s face and comes off the middle rope with an elbow to the back of the neck, getting a near fall. Jose fights back but eats another elbow and Aries hits a jumping one for two. Jose sends Aries over the top, which would have been a DQ in old WCW/NWA days. He smashes his face into the turnbuckle twice and hits two double chops. Aries hits a kneebreaker and turns it right into Last Chancery to a big ovation. Jose crawls and reaches the ropes to break it. They have an awkward missed forearm spot. Aries misses a roaring elbow and takes a TKO for two. Aries knocks Jose outside and hits the heat seeking missile.Aries hits a neckbreaker on the ropes and corner dropkick. He goes for a brainbuster but Jose counters into a falcon arrow. HE DID THE DEAL for two. Roaring elbow connects but Jose comes back with a clothesline. He goes for his finish but Aries backs him into the corner. He tries again but Aries counters into a crucifix bomb. Corner dropkick connects for another near fall. Aries goes up top but Jose stops him. Jose wants a superplex and they fight up top. Aries wins out with a sunset flip bomb and Last Chancery goes back on. Jose taps.

Winner: Austin Aries in 10:40

Enjoyable match and the best I’ve seen from Jose so far. He did good in his first real test. The right guy went over, Jose looked impressive and this was a lot of fun. ***1/4

Aries attacks after the match and slaps the submission back on. HIDEO ITAMI’S THEME HITS! He comes out in a dapper ass suit. Aries starts in on attacking him. Itami lays him out with a ton of strikes and kicks. The pop he gets for hitting the GTS is unreal!

Ric Flair is shown in the front row.

Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura are shown in their respective locker rooms getting ready. Nakamura is with Funaki and Kota Ibushi.

Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon

Billie has new music. Ember gets a good pop. They lock up and Billie works a headlock. Ember gets free to work the arm. Ember lands on her feet on a hip toss attempt and hits her own. The camera focuses on her red contacts. She tries a crucifix bomb but Billie holds on and grabs the hair. She hits a big shot for two and clubs Ember in the back. Ember ducks a clothesline and hits a springboard cross body for two. Billie nails Eat Defeat for a near fall of her own. Billie struggles to get her up so she clubs away again and works a Canadian style back breaker submission. When Ember doesn’t tap, Billie tries two pins for near falls. Ember rolls her up for two and they trade blows. Ember elbows free of her grasp and nails a back elbow. She hits a spin kick, neckbreaker and suplex. Kip up from Ember who follows with a handsping attack. She goes up and hits the diving stunner and that’s all.

Winner: Ember Moon in 4:33

Mostly a squash, which I figured it would be. I think they could have a better match if given more time. This was meant to be the Ember showcase, while allowing Billie to hit some of her stuff. It accomplished the goal. **1/4

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Bobby Roode

GLORIOUS! The crowd actually sings along to Bobby’s incredible theme. The crowd wants on part of Almas. A “this is glorious” chant starts. The crowd is pretty much 95% in Roode’s corner. He applies a wristlock, which Almas uses athleticism to get out of. Roode turns it to a headlock and outsmarts Almas by holding the ropes and causing him to miss a dropkick. Roode takes time to pose. Roode sends Almas to the ropes and he latches on like a spider, posing back to Roode. Basement dropkick by Almas but the crowd just doesn’t care. He snaps off a rana to send Roode outside and follows with an interesting baseball slide. Almas frustrates Roode by athletically getting over the ropes and posing again. Roode crotches him up top, causing him to fall hard. Roode hits a stalling vertical suplex for two. Almas dropkicks Roode off the top and sends him outside. He follows with a springboard corkscrew plancha. Cross body from Almas gets two. Almas fires off shots in the corner and signals for the double knees. Roode is up and takes his head off with a lariat. Roode seems to want a super German but Almas knocks him off. He gets up and tries it but Almas lands on his feet and hits a straightjacket suplex for two. Andrade tries a double moonsault but Roode gets the knees up. Almas counters a fisherman suplex into an inside cradle for two. They trade shots to cheers and boos. Almas wins out and hits a wheel kick in the corner. Double knees connect but Roode blocks the hammerlock DDT with a big uppercut. Roode runs into a boot but then hits a massive spinebuster. Roode signals for the end and hits a pumhandle slam that he calls the Glorious Bomb to win.

Winner: Bobby Roode in 10:23

Probably the best Almas has looked since his debut. The spectacle of Roode itself was five stars but the match itself wasn’t. It was pretty good though. ***

A strange vignette airs that shows a gate and graffiti on it that says “SANITY”.

Earlier today, Triple H had a meeting involving a big surprise regarding the CWC. It ends on 9/14 by the way. The men from Orange County Choppers made the trophy, which HHH revealed along with the guys. It’s pretty cool. It looks black for the most part, with a silver globe on top. Some remaining CWC participants (Swann, Ibushi, Dar, Kendrick) as well as the Orange County Chopper guys and Mauro are all shown in the front row.

In the back, Tommaso Ciampa hands Johnny Gargano a light blue shirt that basically says “DIY” since they do it themselves. Something like that.

NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa

The crowd seems way into Gargano and Ciampa. I guess their team name is DIY since “nobody will do it for you.” Dawson starts with Ciampa and they lock up but break away quickly. Dawson targets the left arm but Ciampa goes after the same part. Big chop from Dawson and the Revival end up taking a breather to talk strategy. “Let’s go Ciampa” chants. Once back in, Dawson wrenches a headlock. Ciampa gets free and they do a similar spot from earlier. Instead of a chop from Dawson though, Ciampa ducks and hits his own, even giving one to Dash. Tag to Gargano, who Ciampa sends in for double knees on Dawson. Big “Johnny Wrestling” chant. Dash helps Dawson get free of a hold and when the referee tells him about it, Dawson pulls Gargano’s hair. tag to Dash, who has his arm worked by Gargano. Gargano nails a running single leg dropkick for two. Body slam from Dash, who tags Dawson. Gargano snaps off arm drags and works the left arm again. Gargano runs into a huge back elbow. The Revival try some double teaming by Gargano and Ciampa stop them and the four men standoff. They get into a big slugfest. Ciampa sends Dawson over the top and they go for the finish on Dash but Dawson pulls him to safety. Gargano takes out Dash with a suicide dive and Ciampa takes out Dawson with a knee off the apron, though the camera fucks up and misses it. The Revival come back with a cheap shot and back suplex by Dawson. Tag to Dash and they just clubber Ciampa in the corner. Drop toe hold/elbow drop combo from the champions for two. Time to wear down Ciampa. He tries to fight free with big blows but Dawson stops him. Sunset flip by Ciampa gets two. he tries an enziguri but Dash ducks and he catches Dawson. Ciampa gets close to Gargano but Dawson pulls Gargano off the apron and they’re back in control. Ciampa gets so close to the tag again, firing away on Dash but again gets pulled into the opposite corner. Dawson taunts Gargano and kicks Ciampa for two. Ciampa finally gets the tag, but Dash was in distracting the referee so the referee doesn’t count it. The Revival hit a backbreaker/middle rope elbow double team for a close near fall. Ciampa fires up after taking a beating but runs into a big clothesline from Dawson. Dawson knocks Gargano off the apron again and charges at Ciampa but misses and hits the corner. Dash misses a charge and Ciampa makes the tag. It’s legal this time. He hits clotheslines and a snap belly to belly. Gargano runs into a Dawson elbow but ducks him in the corner and hits a rolling kick. Jumping neckbeaker gets two. Gargano gets sent to the apron where he kicks Dash and slingshots in to spear Dawson for a close near fall. Gargano ducks Dawson, who blind tags Dash. He ducks both but eats a DDT. Dash covers for two. Gargano ducks clotheslines and rolls up Dawson for two as Ciampa pulls Dash outside. Tag to Ciampa who counters a DDT into his armbar. Dash pulls Gargano off and tries to get in but Johnny stops him. Dash gets free and saves the match. They try a double suplex but Gargano spears Dash. Ciampa rolls up Dawson for two again. Ciampa and Dawson get up forehead to forehead and trade blows. It breaks down into a slugfest and Ciampa annihilates him with a slap and knee. Dawson comes back with a bigright hand. Tag and they try the Shatter Machine but Gargano superkicks Dawson. Ciampa rolls Dash up for two and hits a big knee. Tag to Gargano and they hit their kick/knee combo. Gargano covers and we think it’s three but Dawson puts Dash’s foot on the bottom rope. They take out Dawson with a knee and kick and are left alone with Dash. Dawson pulls Ciampa out and sends him into the ring post. Dash chop blocks Gargano and tags Dawson. He comes in and they do the submission/stomp off the ropes spot that injured Big Cass. Inverted figure four by Dawson and Gargano has to tap.

Winners and Still NXT Tag Team Champions: The Revival in 19:10

Tag team wrestling is simple. It’s about deprivation and hope spots. The Revival do it so well. Incredible match. The emotion, the false finish, all of the action and everything about this just clicked. Best tag match I’ve seen anywhere, from any company. Give me this kind of tag over the stuff we get elsewhere please. ****1/2

Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch get huge pops as they are in the front row. They arrived there before the previous match. Charlotte is in another part of the front row and gets booed.

NXT Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Bayley

Bayley is wearing Carolina blue and white tonight. Bayley shoves Asuka off early and looks ready. Asuka gets behind her but Bayley turns it around and shoves her again. Test of strength sees Bayley kick free and school girl her for two. They go into a series of flash pins for near falls. Bayley hits a corner clothesline and tries her springboard arm drag, but eats a big knee by Asuka. Bayley charges in but only gets hip attack after hip attack. Running corner hip attack. Asuka applies an abdominal stretch in the ropes, breaking at three. Bayley takes a breather in the corner and sends a charging Asuka on the apron. Asuka kicks the hell out of her, finishing with a big one to the back of the head. She hits a running kick to a draped Bayley and seems to be toying with her. Bayley comes back with turnbuckle smashes and a suplex. Running elbow to the back and a clothesline are followed by a knee for two. Asuka sends Bayley to the apron. Asuka charges but misses a hip attack. She gets stuck in the ropes and Bayley clubs her before hitting a stunner of sorts. Double springboard cross body by Bayley gets two. She goes up top and kicks Asuka away. She misses a cross body and Asuka scores with a shining wizard for two. Asuka puts Bayley in the corner and wants a superplex. They fight and Bayley gets free, hanging her in the tree of oey Lawrence. She follows with her signature elbow for two.They exchange strikes and Bayley hits a running knee. Asuka comes bakc with a hip attack and Bayley does another running knee. Asuka trips her up and applies a stretch muffler. Bayley gets free only to end up in an ankle lock. She gets free again but gets kicked in the midsection. Bayley fires up, asking to be hit in the face. Asuka fires some off but Bayley catches one and gets two on a backslide. Shots from Bayley before she runs into a back fist. They kind of mess up a spot but commentay says it is because of Bayley’s bad ankle. She hits a Faarooq dominator for two. Asuka Lock gets slapped on and Bayley fights out. She hits the Bayley to Belly but only gets a near fall. Asuka gets the submission back on and Bayley again gets to her feet. She counters it into a pinning combination for two. Asuka gets up wit a kick but Bayley is all like FIGHTING SPIRIT! She slaps Asuka, who responds with one of her own and a huge kick to the head that does it.

Winner and Still NXT Women’s Champion: Asuka in 14:05

I thought this was slightly better than their Dallas match. It told a good story of Bayley being more prepared for Asuka this time and doing everything in her power to try and overcome the unbeatable champion. She did her best but it still wasn’t enough. ***3/4

Asuka and Bayley hug after the match. After Asuka leaves, Bayley gets left alone and a “thank you Bayley” chant begins. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch get involved too. Bayley is in tears as she puts her headband on and goes to hug Sasha and Becky. She goes over to hug Charlotte too, which gets boos. Her mom’s hug gets cheers again. Izzy gets one too.

NXT is going to tour Australia and New Zealand.

NXT Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

A guy with a violin is there for Nakamura’s entrance and is playing him out live! Joe is way over too. Joe’s entrance it to the point. They nearly brawl before the bell. The crowd is singing Shinsuke’s theme. They go to a test of strength and Joe kicks Nakamura away. Kick from Shinsuke and slap from Joe. They struggle to the mat and break and do the same on the ropes. Joe works the arm and headbutts Nakamura in the hand. Nakamura flips out into his a headlock. They break free and are at a stalemate again. Nakamura gives a clean break in the corner an misses a big kick. He taunts Joe and hits several knees. Good vibrations from Nakamura and Joe takes a breather. Joe pulls Nakamura outside and they trade blows. Inside, more kness from Nakamura but he misses a corner charge and Joe nails an enziguri. Nakamura hit a signature knee on the apron before missing a second and hitting the mat. Elbow suicida from Joe. Chop to the back and kick to the chest by Joe. He gets two on an elbow. Joe stomps and kicks away. Nakamura gets his ass kicked and as he comes back, Joe rolls into his legs to take him down. Powerbomb by Joe gets two and he goes right into a Boston crab, that then transitions into the STF. Enziguri from nakamura gives him breathing room. Vicious kick from Joe but Nakamura retaliates with some of his own and both men are down. When up, Nakamura hits a corner knee, drapes Joe on the top buckle and hits a running knee. Inverted atomic drop and kick from Joe, but Nakamura avoids the senton. Big knees from Nakamura but his next running attempt ends in an ugly STJoe. Nakamura comes back with a kick off the second rope and again, both guys are down. Shinsuke fires away with shots that back Joe ot the corner. Joe fires back with his own shot sand turns Nakamura inside out on a clothesline. Joe gets caught in a cross armbreaker but holds his grip to prevent it from fully being applied. It turns into a triangle choke but Joe powers out and works a cloverleaf. Nakamura gets free and breaks the Coquina Clutch but runs into a sick knee for two. Big elbows from Joe and he gets the clutch in. Nakamura uses his long legs to reach the ropes. They jockey for position until Nakamura nails a German. He calls for Kinshasa but runs into a powerslam that gets two. Jabs in the corner and Joe looks for the Muscle Buster. Nakamura fights off and Joe hits the enziguri. Muscle Buster connects but Nakamura kicks out. Joe wants a second but Nakamura gets free and hits Kinshasa, yet that only gets two. Second rope knee from Nakamura and a second Kinshasa hits to win the title.

Winner and New NXT Champion: Shinsuke Nakamura in 21:12

Good match that started off disappointingly slow before picking up. It ended on a relatively high note but didn’t quite reach the great levels of some other high end TakeOver matches. I did like that they avoided a spotfest or typical Nakamura formula and the stuff we got was nice and hard hitting. ***1/2

Overall: 8.5/10. NXT delivers another high end TakeOver. The weekly show is no longer at the level it once was, but they always step it up come TakeOver time. Nothing on the card is bad and the show had a big feel. The opener was a lot of fun, as was Itami's appearance. The Ember Moon match did what it needed to and Bobby Roode was a spectacle. The Tag Team Title match is the show stealer, being the best tag match I've seen this year. The final two matches are also really good and the entire show is worth a watch. Everything goes back rather quickly and it is probably my favorite Takeover this year.