Predictions: Many fans love to read them, and some people hate that they love to read them.
There is no shortage of opinions about who will come out on top in the announced matches for this Sunday's SummerSlam.
However, predictions are becoming increasingly difficult in the WWE because although a large portion of the product is scripted, the WWE has started to make a habit of dressing up randomness as "unpredictable." It has become a headache of attempted logic.
For example, a fan might say:
"John Cena is a super face. He'll likely come out on top. But that's too predictable. So perhaps CM Punk will be victorious since it seems WWE is trying to accomplish some type of record with Punk's long title reign. Or maybe Big Show will win because he's the least expected to come out on top, especially since his track record at pay-per-views isn't great."
And then it probably turns out that John Cena wins. What has resulted is WWE's version of unpredictability, what I call "shockingly predictable."
And that's why SummerSlam needs to be about more than just who wins for it to be a true success.
Simply put, SummerSlam's matches need to be great. That's what pay-per-views are all about: the matches, the wrestling. The culmination of storylines is the payoff.
Since WWE RAW's expansion to three hours, viewers have been exposed to large supplies of filler: highlights, recaps, tweeting and advertising. Some matches on RAW have been really good, but a significant portion of the matches end in disqualification or involve some type of interference.
When it comes to pay-per-views, fans dish out a significant investment on a monthly basis. That investment needs to be taken seriously.
This is what I expect for SummerSlam to be worth the money:
Dolph Ziggler versus Chris Jericho
Nothing but a stellar match. Viewers got a taste in the triple-threat match on this past Monday's RAW, and it delivered. Most fans are expecting Ziggler to win because he is a rising star and the winner of Smackdown Money in the Bank. And he should win.
However, the focus has been on the doubt surrounding Jericho's ability to win the "big one." So don't be surprised if this feud continues past SummerSlam.
Punk, Cena and Show
Honestly, I am not putting a lot of weight on this match. We've seen these superstars go at it before, and the match will likely end in controversy. If Punk or Cena wins, it's business as usual. If Show wins, it would be a surprise, but it wouldn't last long. Most viewers are probably anticipating the Rock interfering.
Triple H versus Brock Lesnar
This feud has gotten a lot of hype, especially since this past Monday's RAW succeeded in making it really personal in a very last-minute way. This match has a real level of unpredictability because we haven't seen either Triple H or Lesnar wrestle a match in quite some time. The odds seem stacked against Triple H. Lesnar has actually gotten into the head of the cerebral assassin; the tables have turned. A brutal yet dramatic end would make this a great payoff.
Kane versus Daniel Bryan
Although fans have seen this before, I'm confident it'll be a solid match. The WWE, however, seems to be unsure about how they want to approach Bryan's character in relation to the general manager, AJ. The payoff here would be if fans finally get an understanding of where this storyline has been heading since last WrestleMania.
The Miz versus Rey Mysterio
There has been very little build, if any, for this match. The Miz, however, has been getting more of the spotlight on WWE programming. On the other hand, Mysterio just hasn't been himself upon his return, and his matches have seemed relatively random. The payoff here would be a good match that generates traction for one (or both) superstars.
Tag Team Titles
I think it's safe to say that AW's absence is felt. His character provided so much additional personality to the Prime Time Players' stable because they were so entertaining to watch. That being said, all superstars here are very physically capable of putting on a 5-star match.
Lately, the WWE has been making a habit of announcing some matches very last minute, some have even been announced at the actual pay-per-view. Aside from the fact that it's a bad idea from a promotional point of view, it just makes fans care less. One example is the World Heavyweight Championship.
While there are a lot of critics of both Sheamus and Del Rio, I think both are gifted superstars who can put on great matches. But Del Rio no longer seems like a threat to Sheamus. Booker T's "cancelling" of the match just generated confusion. I don't really know where it's going. And this uncertainty isn't the good, "unpredictable" kind.
All in all, SummerSlam 2012 has a lot of potential to be a really entertaining show. As one of the "Big Four," this pay-per-view should provide some significant payoffs.
And again, it's not about who wins. It's about the quality of the matches, tying loose ends and carrying storylines in a way that makes sense and makes fans care about the results.
What would make SummerSlam worth it for you? Please comment below!