Could Natalya turn heel and cost Ronda Rousey her championship opportunity?
WWE SummerSlam is just three days away, and for the fourth year in a row, it comes to us live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Sunday will mark the thirty-first SummerSlam, and the WWE touts the pay-per-view as their second biggest event of the year.
While the card is decent enough, if fans are going to feel like this is the second biggest pay-per-view of the year — playing second fiddle only to WrestleMania — then the WWE will have to provide some big surprises on Sunday. As a lifelong fan and former professional wrestler and booker, below are my predictions on what I think may occur at SummerSlam for the event to be a memorable one.
This may not be that much of a bold prediction, but it does need to happen. The Finn Balor and Baron Corbin feud has been one of the most uninspiring rivalries of the last several years. The only back-story to this feud is that Corbin keeps calling Balor “small.” Considering we have already seen these two square off several times over the last couple of months, the WWE will have to do something different with this SummerSlam contest if they want the crowd to care. If the Demon King (Balor is the Gaelic word for Demon King) were to appear — fans would go nuts! Balor has appeared as the Demon in the previous two SummerSlam pay-per-views, so there is a chance that we could see the evil character once again arise on Sunday.
Kevin Owens Will Win The Championship Contract
Kevin Owens was once one of the most over superstars in the WWE, though that status has been declining over the last couple of months. Ever since his partner Sami Zayn got injured, he has seemingly been in booking limbo. Though the rivalry was based on absolutely nothing, his feud with Braun Strowman has been an entertaining one. Unfortunately for creative, there are only so many times the WWE universe can watch Owens get pummeled by Strowman. The more Kevin gets beat up by Braun, the more he loses his persona as being a legitimate threat on the roster.
Sure, he technically beat “The Monster in the Bank” at Extreme Rules, but that’s only because Strowman threw him off the top of the cage — his win was a technicality. Kevin Owens needs a credible win big time, and while “The Monster in the Bank” is a catchy nickname, Strowman doesn’t need the championship contract. It’s always more entertaining when a heel holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, and if Kevin beats Braun to obtain the contract, the pair then will have a legitimate reason to be in a feud with one another down the road. Considering that Strowman loses the contract if he loses the match in any form, including by disqualification or count out, then there are several ways for Braun to lose the match and still look strong.
The Miz Will Beat Daniel Bryan
While this would have been hard to imagine four years ago, The Miz is way more over in 2018 than Daniel Bryan. When “The A-Lister” cut his famed promo on Bryan during Talking Smack, the WWE universe responded, casting The Miz as the heel they love to hate. Many pundits are expecting Bryan to leave the victor on Sunday, but “The A-Lister” going over at SummerSlam would allow the rivalry to grow, and for bigger matches to be booked in the future featuring the two WWE superstars.
This is the best feud the WWE has right now, and it has been told brilliantly. Assuming Bryan re-signs with the WWE — if booked right — this rivalry could climax at WrestleMania. Regardless of the outcome, expect The Miz and Daniel Bryan to steal the show on Sunday night.
Alexa Bliss Will Retain
It looks more than obvious that “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey will beat Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam, but that may not be the case. Rousey is certainly WWE championship bound, but the face chasing the heel champion is where the money is at, and thus far, there hasn’t been a chase. Heel Stephanie McMahon could finally return and cost Rousey her championship opportunity, though another scenario seems more likely.
For the last several months, the WWE has been awkwardly reminding us that Natalya Neidhart and Ronda Rousey are good friends. While the two have been friends before Rousey even stepped foot into the squared circle, this friendship angle that the WWE is promoting only makes sense if there is a payoff down the road. There are many ways for Natalya to turn on Rousey. “Rowdy” Ronda keeps coming to her aid, and Neidhart could do the classic heel routine of stating that she doesn’t need anyone’s help. Natalya could also turn heel because she is jealous that Ronda has a championship opportunity so early in her career.
Natalya turning heel at SummerSlam would not only allow Rousey to chase the title in the future, but it would put Ronda in a program with Neidhart, an in-ring technician that “Rowdy” could learn from by competing in a series of matches with her. Moreover, Alexa Bliss makes a great heel champion, and the WWE may like the belt on her until Evolution. If Bliss were to defend the title at Evolution in a rematch against Rousey, Ronda winning the title will mean more at the first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view than at SummerSlam.
Recently, the WWE released footage of Ronda Rousey training for SummerSlam.
Brock Lesnar Will Retain The Championship
It’s very hard to predict this match, as so many things could occur during the bout, and they all make sense. However, Lesnar retaining seems like the biggest surprise, and the WWE loves to surprise their fans. It seems obvious that Roman Reigns will finally beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship, and it also seems apparent that either Owens or Strowman will cash-in their contract after Roman wins, though I don’t bank on any of these things happening.
Lesnar’s contract status with the WWE is not clear, and he could very well continue wrestling for the company while competing in the UFC. Plus, Lesnar competing in the UFC as WWE Universal Champion would be a history-making event, and it just seems like something Vince McMahon would love to see go down.
Moreover, as the Inquisitr reported, “The Beast Incarnate” is scheduled to appear on Raw the day after SummerSlam. Lesnar appearing on Raw after losing a huge match doesn’t make as much sense as him returning to the show after retaining the title. Plus, Lesnar retaining would likely boost Raw’s ratings the following night, as casual viewers may tune in to see the aftermath. “The Beast Incarnate” could also be confronted by Bobby Lashley on Raw, putting the two in a program with one another, and many fans have been clamoring for that would-be match.
Additionally, Roman Reigns has had 13 world championship opportunities and has only won two of them. It seems like the WWE has had cold feet putting the belt on Roman, and I don’t expect that to change on Sunday. Reigns often gets booed out of the arena, and reportedly, the WWE is not a fan of that. The Brooklyn crowd will likely be hostile against Roman at SummerSlam, and it’s doubtful that the WWE would want to leave the live audience with a bad taste in their mouth. If Roman does finally beat Lesnar, then a cash-in is likely.
SummerSlam airs live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network on Sunday, August 19, at 7 p.m. EST.
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