Pruett’s WWE SummerSlam 2012 Preview and Predictions: Brock Lesnar and Triple H return to the ring for the first time since April, C.M. Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show for the WWE Championship, Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
By Will Pruett
Before I get started with the traditional preview, I want to point out that I will be live in the arena at Staples Center this Sunday for SummerSlam. I'll be tweeting from there at twitter.com/itswilltime.
It's that time again. The biggest show of the summer is upon us. SummerSlam tends to be one of my favorite shows of the year, even during the years when it isn't built up as a major show. This year, luckily, has been built up as a major show. With Brock Lesnar on top of the card and some really great matches almost all the way down, it should be a very fun show to watch. I'd easily recommend the purchase of this show, if you're into solid storytelling and memorable matches.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find entertaining or interesting. Let's be real, even if I did have connections, the finishes would probably change twenty times between the moment this is published and the start of the show. Such is life in WWE today.
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H: This match has been building since April, when these two men were last wrestling in a WWE ring. It has been intense at times, but has also lacked focus and direction. The angle that kicked it off was great, but the followup was nonexistent for too long. When it did happen, the original angle was a distant memory.
Brock Lesnar is being portrayed as an unpredictable and uncontrollable monster. He has also shown to be cunning in major moments, instead of dominant. While some believe this wasn't the best way to portray him, it definitely isn't the worst. Running away hasn't hurt Lesnar. Being clotheslined out of the ring hasn't hurt Lesnar. Why? Because he is still Brock Lesnar. His match with John Cena at Extreme Rules was absolutely brutal and I expect nothing less from him here.
Triple H has had a mixed bag of matches in the last year. While his effort with Undertaker was breathtaking, he matches with C.M. Punk and Kevin Nash were not good at all. There is also the effort of this feud being "personal" for Hunter, which feels tacked on. Paul Heyman barely said a word about Hunter's family. I guess the injury to Shawn Michaels makes it personal, but just barely.
Finally, we have the match itself. I can listen to arguments about why either man should go over. In a world where the good guy always wins, Triple H is set up as the ultimate good guy avenging his family (kind of) and his best friend. On the other hand, Brock Lesnar needs to look dominant coming out of this show. If he has one match left (which has been heavily rumored) he should look strong heading into it at (presumably) WrestleMania.
I expect brutality, passion, violence, and an amazing display from these two men. It will be the best of the show.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Triple H via pinfall in a long, brutal brawl.
C.M. Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship: This has been one of the most interesting builds in recent memory. C.M. Punk is undergoing a character evolution. I don't consider it a turn (as Big Show turned in May), but rather growth. This has created a bit of an awkward period for the character where he is placed against both a heel and a babyface. I would prefer to see this as a singles match, but I understand the decision to make it a triple threat.
John Cena is back in the WWE Championship picture after spending almost a year outside of it. Cena fits here rather well and the picture has been lacking without him. Just like in any major sport, the championship should be desired by everyone. His story going into this is just wanting the title.
Big Show is the final component of this match and the lest compelling. He is extremely large and immobile at this point in his career. Cena and Punk will be the glue that holds this together. Show will play into some key spots, but I can't help but wish he wasn't in this match.
As for the match, I expect a reasonably paced effort with a fair amount of excitement. Punk and Cena won't let this fail quality-wise. For a finish, I expect it to be lacking a definitive finish and it to be as fluky as possible.
Prediction: C.M. Punk pins Big Show after Show receives an Attitude Adjustment from John Cena to retain the WWE Championship.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship: There has been exactly one compelling angle in this feud and it happened over a month ago. I was hoping we would see Rey Mysterio or Randy Orton added to this to make it at least slightly interesting, but that was not to be.
Alberto Del Rio is stuck as far as character development goes. Sheamus is similarly stuck, but he seems to have some room to grow.
Prediction: Sheamus pins Alberto Del Rio in a technically proficient, but ultimately boring match to retain the World Championship.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho: This match is the definition of show-stealer. Chris Jericho has reawakened in the Y2J persona, giving fans permission to cheer him for the first time since 2008. Dolph Ziggler is the reigning Mr. Money in the Bank and is (most likely) being groomed for a World Championship run.
The similarities between these two stars are more numerous than the differences. The mirror images in this match will be fun to watch take shape. To a lesser degree, this match is to Dolph Ziggler what WrestleMania XIX was for Chris Jericho. Ziggler can use a win here, but more than anything, he can use a competitive edge. I'd love to see Ziggler win, but I just don't believe it is his night.
Normally when a wrestler in on his way out, he loses, but this run has been anything but normal for Jericho. He's lost every high profile match and has seemed to revel in doing so. Could it be possible that he wins on his way out? If the run has felt backwards from the beginning, maybe it ends that way as well.
Prediction: Chris Jericho forces Dolph Ziggler to tap out to the Liontamer in a fantastic and potentially show-stealing match.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: Daniel Bryan's real feud is with A.J. Lee. Kane's real feud doesn't exist at this moment. This match feels more like a leftover from No Way Out's Triple Threat than its own organic entity. Add in the possibility of Charlie Sheen showing up and the storytelling seems to be lacking here.
However, Bryan is ridiculously entertaining and ridiculously over with fans. He is one of the best parts of WWE TV at this moment. Kane is a utility player who can have a decent match with anyone and a great match with a great opponent. This match could be one of the best we see on this card.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan defeats Kane via pinfall after a hard kick to Kane's head.
The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship: The Miz looked to be on the road to rebuilding when he returned at Money in the Bank, but that road has seen some bends lately. Miz is back to his losing ways. Rey Mysterio is another recently-returned superstar. Mysterio has been treated pretty well since his return.
It's always fun to see Mysterio in action in Southern California. The fans love him and will respond very well to him. I expect this to open the pay-per-view and light the crowd on fire. As for the finish, I see a Skull Crushing Finale after a fair amount of finisher attempting.
Prediction: The Miz defeats Rey Mysterio to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. The Primetime Players for the Tag Team Championship: Even without A.W., The Primetime Players seem set for a major push (at least major for a tag team). It'll be interesting to see if there is any punishment in store for the Players to pay for A.W.'s stupidity, but I doubt it. Kofi and Truth have been functional tag champions, but they haven't done enough to seem relevant. Perhaps a real tag division could help with a real tag team on top.
Prediction: The Primetime Players defeat Kingston and Truth to win the Tag Team Championship.
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship: Santino does nothing at this moment as U.S. Champion. Cesaro is a young up and comer. I sincerely hope that the series of wins for Cesaro on Smackdown has been leading to this.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro defeats Santino Marella to win the United States Championship.
In the ring, this show is going to be one of the best of the year. As far as storytelling goes, this show should be one of the best of the year. It's an easy must-see show for me.
Make sure to check back here on Sunday night. Jason Powell and Chris Shore will be covering the show live and will have an audio update for Dot Net Members shortly after the show!
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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