WWE Championship

Drew McIntyre © vs Randy Orton

There’s not a lot of betting action for the “Biggest Party of the Summer” – almost all of the odds across the card are very short. Is this because of tight intricate story telling where the result could logically go either way? Is it because WWE is a land devoid of logic where nothing makes sense, ergo everything does? Well… truth be told it’s a little of column a and a little/lot of column b. In this case, I’m giving The ‘E their credit as this match could – logically – go either way.

The bookies are predicting a Randy Orton win with The Viper currently at 8/13 against Drew McIntyre at 6/5. Orton has been strong on the mic recently and a lot of the build up has been more about what a rotter Randall is (and Drew standing up to him) rather than simply Orton vs Drew. This all tends to hint at a (much rumoured) title change in what would be Randy’s 10th WWE Title Reign (plus a further four “World Title” championships).

So yeah, it’s easy to see why the odds are in Randy’s favour (side note though, if you are backing Orton, the odds really aren’t worth it). However, I think the smart money could be on Drew McIntyre here. After his *long* awaiting title win, it would seem somehow lacking for him never to actually defend it in front of an audience and by having him win here, they’d be going back to the booking which made people like Hogan strong – build up a monster of the month, make them believable and then have them lose. It’s impressive they’ve done this with Orton whose been around the World Title picture for CLOSE TO TWENTY YEARS NOW.

I think Drew wins here and wins here clean. At 6/5 it’s even worth a bet. It will do him the most good and Orton doesn’t suffer a bit. Let good triumph and you might begin to make some of the stars which WWE are so sorely lacking.

Predictions: Drew McIntyre Wins

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) © vs Angel Garza & Andrade

This feud feels like it’s been going on a lot longer than it actually has – which is very much a sign of the issues which are currently affecting the Raw Tag Team scene. Besides these two and The Viking Raiders, who are the other challengers on Raw? The AoP are injured/MIA, The Hurt Company are pre-occupied and that’s.. well that’s it. Cedric and Ricochet maybe? How can a company which has never been so stocked full of talent as it is right now still find the tag division on it’s main show seem so stale?

Because of this, I’m predicting a title switch. I prefer Andrade & Garza as singles and think that The Street Profits deserve a longer run, but something – anything – needs to happen to keep this feud going as it’s hard to see where either team goes otherwise.

Based on the odds, the bookies are inclined to agree with me here with Los Ingobernables de Performance Centre are 4/9 favourites. The odds are short enough though where – like the end to a Randy Orton match – it’s just not a sensible punt. There’s a lot of upside in this match but something about them hasn’t been clicking. Fully expect this match to end with Zelina Vega based shenanigans and the first reign begins for Garza & Andrade

Prediction: Andrade & Angel Garza Win

WWE US Title

Apollo Crews © vs MVP

I was confused doing this write-up thinking that we’d already had this match. I was about to go on a diatribe about returning to the same challenger for a second month doesn’t really help anyone (unless they’re throwing the title back and forth) and then I remembered that this match was supposed to be on last month’s PPV and go cancelled due to an un-named illness of Apollo’s – presumably rhyming with “paronamirus”.

MVP is having a lovely renaissance in his current – and totally unexpected as much as 18 months ago. His role really should be that of the “New Japan Dad” – an established veteran can beat those around him, soundly beats those beneath him (Hi Humberto Carrillo!) but ultimately get soundly beaten by anyone who is on their way up. It’s how you show the audience that someone IS on their way up. And the art based around hierarchy based story telling is something which WWE are really not great at

Hopefully they prove me wrong here and Apollo remains strong with a comfortable win over Mr Porter before moving onto another challenger (perhaps Lashley). The bookies are actually backing this as an option with Apollo being the favourite to win. However, WWE has returned to this match as opposed to just ditching it or throwing it away on RAW, making me think we’re going to see a title change. At 6/4 it might even be worth a quid or two.

Prediction: MVP Wins

Street Fight

Dominik Mysterio vs Seth Rollins

There’s a big part of me that hopes this goes an increasingly bizarre way… when they announce that Dominik is about to come down to the ring, Mysterio’s music plays and instead, the Dominik look-a-similar WALTER comes down instead. Ideally, everyone (announcers, Rey, the fans) play it that this is “the same man” and that The Austrian is actually “Rey’s son” – the only person who “can tell the difference” is Rollins.

Seth becomes increasingly exasperated as WALTER shouts in a faux-Mexican accent and absolutely batters Rollins. Then, on RAW the next night, *actual* Dominik Mysterio comes out to celebrate his victory with only Rollins pointing out it was “a different person”.

In reality, the Street Fight stip is a sensible choice. With this being Dominik’s PPV debut having enough “bells and whistles” for both competitors to use can only be a positive for them. Seth’s an experienced enough competitor to get a half decent match out of someone “green” and Dominik has shown some real potential in everything he’s been involved in so far. Like everything on the night, the odds are very short for both men so no real point of betting. Dom is the – slight – favourite at 10/11 vs Seth at 4/5 (but it’s so close that actual maths are needed to even work out the favourite here!). I think, given the hammering that the Mysterio’s have had to date this seems the most logical conclusion too.

Prediction: Dominik Mysterio

Smackdown Women’s Championship

Bayley © vs Asuka

It’s a difficult one to preview, as both the RAW and Smackdown Women’s title matches are so implicitly linked. You’ve got to assume that with two shots at titles this weekend, Asuka has to be walking away with *at least* one of them or else… well… what’s the point? And although the bookies odds are suggesting that Bayley is the more likely to retain than Sasha, I’m predicting that it’s going to go to the other way.

Bayley’s current title reign has been low-key very, very impressive. She’s held the title May 2019 (excluding a 5 day reign of Charlotte’s in October) and her current 311 reign is significantly the longest in the title’s history. So if Asuka is going to win one belt this weekend, then this is the “bigger prize”.

If it goes as I expect, I think that the Sasha / Asuka match goes first and ends with (successful) interference from Bayley. But when it’s time to “return the favour” that evening, Sasha either fails or simply doesn’t turn up. This is then the next chapter in the eventual break up of Sasha and Bayley (their tag title loss would be next) before we get a high profile match between the two in the future. Of course, it could go the other way (just reverse Bayley and Sasha) but my gut says if you’re going to give Asuka something then might as well give her the bigger prize. It’s also the best way to win some cash…

Prediction: Asuka Wins

RAW Women’s Championship

Sasha Banks © vs Asuka

See above. The bookies are thinking Sasha’s got a better chance than Bayley, I disagree. Avoid this one like the plague with your cash but I think it’ll be the more interesting of the two matches “in-ring”

Prediction: Sasha Banks Wins

WWE Universal Championship

Braun Strowman © vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

Facing The Fiend changes people or so the story goes. In Braun’s case it means he’s lost his hair. Perhaps the lake of re-incarnation is filled with immac?

Looking back at mystical or “mind games” type wrestlers such as The Undertaker or Jake Roberts, you often see that they’ve not needed to be involved in the World Title picture to make an impact (‘Taker has spent less than half the time as WWE Champion than AJ Styles has and Roberts never held it). With this in mind, is somewhat surprising to see how often Bray has been involved in the main title picture. I’d argue this is because Wyatt’s storylines have been so hapharzard that they’ve needed to fall back on the Title almost as a crutch, and it’s not something I expect to see change any time soon.

I think Bray gets the title back here; it was probably the plan all along stretching back to Bray’s surprise loss to Goldberg and there’s been enough a gap between all of the changes where it’s not so obvious a “cause and effect”. The last few weeks of television have hinted at the darker side of Braun and this is probably a role he’s best suited to. Bray wins the title and Braun “returns to the fold”. Bray – backed up by Strowman as more of a “Deputy” than mindless lacky would be a fresher approach to the pair and could even be interesting tag champs if you can get them away from the Universal Title picture. Maybe that’s the plan for Mania / Rumble season? We’ll see. Even if it’s not though, I think Bray gets his belt back here… and possibly his Black Sheep too. The bookies are calling this too – Bray is currently 4/9 against Braun at 13/8.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt Wins

Hair vs Hair Match

Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville

Following the horrific events at Sonya Deville’s house this past week, it’s understandable that both performers will have a lot on their minds and it’s a shame there’s not a (real) audience at Summerslam as I think that public support for both Rose & Deville could push this match up a level. It’s probably the biggest match of both women’s careers and the rare Hair vs Hair match stipulation makes this one of the more notable matches on the show.

It’s been a well put together story-line with both performers in the right role (SEE WWE, YOU CAN DO IT) and I’m looking forward to this one. It probably won’t be a five star classic, but I think Deville in particular is one of the more under-rated performers on the roster and both should come out of this better than they go in.

Hair vs Hair is a stipulation that often works best with the heel losing. Think Angle with his wig. Think Punk with his SES mask. Having Mandy Rose lose though? That would be very interesting. Sonya Deville forcibly shaving her opponents head as a distraught Otis looks on? I mean, it would be *dark* and give some complex storylines going forward. The fact that it’s a bit too emotional, a bit too dark is what makes me think WWE goes the “easier” route. Deville loses, head-shaved – maybe with a comedy wig for a week or two – before a full Sinead O’Character turn and the shorn Sonya gets a more intense attitude and goes after one of the women’s title belts. Win / win either way.

Prediction: Mandy Rose Wins

Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments!