There are eight announced matches at SummerSlam including the pre-show, which is more than the usual four or five announced matches that WWE usually has at PPVs. This could also be the first WWE PPV of the year where the WWE Title match may go on last. I thought that would happen at Money in the Bank, but it didn't end up happening. Let's get to the preview.
United States Championship: Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro (Pre-show)
I think they need to book a title switch at one of these pre-show matches, so why not here? Santino does nothing for the title. He would be popular with the fans whether he had it or not. The US Title is booked so poorly that it's basically useless these days.
Get the title on Cesaro here. Perhaps it would freshen up the US Title a bit.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
WWE Tag Team Championships: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil)
It's a shame that AW's firing garnered so much attention because it has taken away from the fact that the tag team division in WWE has improved greatly in recent months. I think there's been a push to make it better since WrestleMania. Over four months later, here we are.
The PTPers have done a good job of developing their gimmick as cocky heels who think they're on their way to something great, and at SummerSlam they have a chance to prove how good they are.
I think the Kingston/Truth team was put together to give some credibility to the division because they feature two long term babyfaces, but long term, I doubt they will team together that much. I think it's time for the titles to change hands.
Winners: The Prime Time Players
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
There's not much heat in this feud. It's happening because Miz needs a credible opponent that most fans will think has a chance to win—even though in reality—that person (Mysterio) is very unlikely to win.
Putting the IC Title on Miz is about building him back up after booking him so poorly since his run as a main-event level guy over a year ago. Mysterio will give him a good matchup, but Miz will get the win after about ten minutes of action.
Winner: The Miz
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
What happened with the Charlie Sheen involvement? Are they so scared that he may not show up if they advertised him that they just dropped the whole thing together, or will he actually be there? I'm not sure.
They've made it a point to say "anger management" on Raw every week as a way to plug Sheen's TV show, but there's been no mention of him being at SummerSlam since they teased it at Raw 1000 on July 23.
I really hope Daniel Bryan wins this. Kane is in his mid-40s. He has turned heel and babyface about a dozen times in his career. He doesn't need wins. Bryan's out of the World and WWE Title picture right now. He should be at that level. If they do a post-match angle with Sheen at ringside that's fine, but don't let it affect the match.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
I already wrote a fantasy booking style column as it pertains to what I want to see in this match. Will it happen? Probably not.
In short, here's what I wrote there. Sheamus beats Del Rio early in the show. Barrett comes out, he destroys Sheamus. Ziggler cashes in Money in the Bank. He becomes World Champion. Ziggler vs. Jericho then becomes a World Title match later in the show. Ziggler retains.
I threw it out there as a possibility because the obvious result of this match is too easy to call. That's a Ziggler win. I want something more to remember this feud by because Jericho's reportedly gone from WWE again as of Tuesday, so I want them to give us a memorable moment we will never forget.
You won't get complaints from me, though. The only way I would complain about this is if they got less than ten minutes, because it needs to be between 10-20 minutes in order to give us the kind of exciting action we expect to see from guys like this.
They're two of the best workers in the company, so I think this is likely the match of the night as long as they get a chance to have a special match based on how much time they are given.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
You know what's a shameful thing? That the creative team lost their head and decided to book this match after they already did it at last month's Money in the Bank PPV. Then in the buildup to the match, they chose to completely ignore that they had a match at the last PPV. On top of that, they also decided to cancel the match last week, only to put it back on this week. For what? All of it seems like filler to me.
Do fans think of Del Rio as a threat to Sheamus? No. He's a guy that Sheamus is going to beat.
It's frustrating that they gave this feud another month because it really didn't need it or deserve it. I think it's a sign of how thin the roster is in terms of people you can put in a main-event level match.
The only positive of the feud is that Sheamus is gaining steam as a babyface, although that might just be because people are so tired of this feud that they want him to kick Del Rio so hard that he doesn't get back up.
Brogue Kick. Sheamus wins. Feud over for good. We hope.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
I'm a big time Brock Lesnar fan. I saw him wrestle in a dark match before his WWE TV debut in 2002 and I was in awe of him then. His original two year run in WWE was a lot of fun with one of my most famous moments being when he absolutely destroyed Hulk Hogan in a match on SmackDown. I cheered so loudly for a taped wrestling match.
What I like the most about Lesnar is what WWE advertised him when he came back: legitimacy.
Sure, he lost his last UFC fight and it seemed like he quit during it, but it's not easy to be a NCAA Champion, UFC Heavyweight Champion and WWE Champion. Lesnar's the only one to do it. That legitimacy puts him on another level from everybody else.
Why did I share all that? It's pretty simple. Because I feel that Brock Lesnar has to win on Sunday night or else bringing him back was a complete waste of time. I still think it was wrong to have John Cena beat him at Extreme Rules, but I understood it because Cena's a full timer while Lesnar is not. In the case of Triple H, he's a part timer. If he loses, it's the right call because it's not like he's going to be wrestling every week.
As for the match, I would expect some kind of brawling stipulation to be added. Hunter called him out for a fight, so a fight is what we'll get. I find it peculiar that they didn't make it a point to add a stipulation and to remind us about it during the 473 video packages we've seen about this match in the last couple of months.
I don't think Shawn Michaels will be there. The "broken arm" was done as a way to put over Lesnar as a monster heel that shows no remorse for his actions.
Lesnar is getting paid a lot of money to be a part-timer in the WWE. If he loses again, he won't be the "baddest man on the planet" that he should be booked as. He'll be just another guy. Hopefully WWE knows this and gives him a strong win over the part-time performer whose future is in the office more than it is in the ring.
Triple H is there to put Lesnar over. If the finish is anything other than a Lesnar win, I'll be very surprised.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
I've been torn on this match prediction for a few weeks now. This is the part of the preview where I complain about how much I dislike Triple Threat matches. They happen far too often.
Two PPVs ago at No Way Out, we saw Punk defend the title against Kane and Daniel Bryan. I really don't want to see Triple Threat matches every other month. They are repetitive. Even if the workers are good, they can be boring.
I predicted Bryan would win the title there. Did not happen. My thinking was that Punk was going to drop the title at some point because he's had a nine-month title reign, which is very rare in today's WWE.
Now he has two new opponents in a Triple Threat, although they are much bigger in terms of name value.
Let's eliminate Big Show from the equation immediately.
I think it would be foolish to put the WWE Title on him because he's not that interesting of a character to put the title on when there's the lingering shadow of The Rock returning at the Royal Rumble in five months.
As I've written many times in recent weeks, Show didn't win at No Way Out against Cena, he didn't win the Money in the Bank match he was in and he didn't even beat Cena when they had a singles match, yet Show is still in this WWE Title match.
In no other "sport" would you be rewarded with a championship match after failing to win three big matches. That's why pro wrestling is not a sport. It's entertainment. Isn't that right, Vince?
I would have preferred if this match was just Punk vs. Cena for the title because it would have been a rematch of last year's SummerSlam main event, which was a fantastic match. Now that Big Show's a part of it, I would assume that Show is the one that gets pinned.
It's likely that WWE felt they didn't need to do Punk vs. Cena in singles because Lesnar vs. Triple H is also a big draw of a match. They probably felt they could save the Punk/Cena singles match perhaps next month in Boston (John Cena's home town, or at least very close to it) for Night of Champions, where a strong main event match would be needed.
After figuring all of that out, the question is who gets to be the one that pins Big Show to leave as WWE Champion?
Originally, my prediction was a John Cena win here. As we all know, going with Cena is usually a safe bet because he obviously wins way more than he loses. However, the happenings on Raw changed my mind.
Not only did Cena get a clean win on Raw, which plays into my "win on TV, lose on PPV" theory, but Punk also had some words for Cena that caught my attention. He said that at SummerSlam, he wouldn't be disrespected by Cena anymore.
The "lack of respect" comment leads me to believe something big will happen where Punk's heel turn will be accelerated even further.
Perhaps some kind of stable will be formed that will be led by Punk, or maybe it will be a common finish we've seen before. Cena could hit Show with the Attitude Adjustment (as the announcers act like we haven't seen it before), and Punk could take out Cena to claim the pin for himself.
Remember there are no disqualifications in Triple Threat matches, so he could even use a chair to the back of Cena in that situation. This gives them the out that Punk didn't beat Cena and there's your WWE title match next week.
I'll admit that I'm not that totally sold on this prediction, but I will go with CM Punk to retain his WWE Title at SummerSlam.
Winner: CM Punk
I am definitely interested in SummerSlam. I'm most interested in the Jericho/Ziggler and Lesnar/Triple H matches, while the finish of the main event (assuming the WWE Title match goes on last) has my interest as well. While I don't know if it will top Extreme Rules as my PPV of the year, it could be very close to that. We'll find out on Sunday night.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He'll be writing about SummerSlam live on Sunday night at TJRWrestling.com, so be sure to read his recap over there. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com and follow him on Twitter @johnreport too.