The Best in the World encounters the Beast, a World Eater enters a Ring of Fire and the very fabric of WWE as we know it is on the line at Staples Center for the 2013 edition of SummerSlam.
As the second biggest pay-per-view WWE has to offer, the company is not holding back on its buildup and star-studded matchups.
The show will run in the U.S. for $44.95, but the price of admission is a small cost to pay with some of the matchups on the card. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk is sure to draw the attention of Internet fans everywhere, as is the fact Daniel Bryan has a shot at pulling off an upset over John Cena not seen since Punk himself did it at Money in the Bank in 2011.
Not to mention the debut of Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire match and there is plenty of reason to tune in to the big event.
But enough building it up, WWE has done that enough already. Let's take a look at some smart projections for how SummerSlam will shake out.
Note: All card info and relevant statistics courtesy of WWE.com.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam (Kickoff Match)
This one is going to get buried as a kickoff match, but the elevation of the U.S. Championship as a relevant title continues with the emergence of Rob Van Dam as a contender.
Van Dam has plenty of exciting offense, but the unpredictable and sometimes clinically insane Ambrose will have more than enough in the pain tolerance and counter categories to get the win.
Ambrose, through superb promos and great title defenses, has single-handedly made the U.S. title matter again. Van Damn failing to steal it away will only further that notion.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Oh look, a way to promote Total Divas for the Bella twins. Natalya is the superior wrestler and athlete. She also has a heck of a lot of momentum after making AJ Lee tap out on Raw.
That's all well and good, but it does not make sense for Natalya to go over Brie. The Bella twins need to be in the spotlight to promote the show and Natalya is outnumbered with Brie having friends at ringside.
Winner: Brie Bella
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee and Big E. Langston
Give credit to WWE where it is due—there are some interesting relationships going on in this match that the company has spent some serious time building up.
Of course, that could lead to things getting predictable, but let's give out an A+ for the effort.
Ziggler and Kaitlyn have had a tough go of it as of late, but as long as Ziggler can keep her calm against the devious AJ Lee, the duo should go over fine. Langston is a monster (and hopefully the next big face in the company) but will be too predisposed with acting as a guardian to focus on winning.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
More credit where it is due time—here's another matchup WWE has put effort into making interesting.
Team Rhodes Scholars is gone and in its place is a heated rivalry over the Money in the Bank briefcase.
What's interesting is Sandow could end up cashing in at any point as a heel, while Rhodes needs as much of a face push as possible. That should happen here as it looks like WWE is attempting to elevate him back to World Championship status.
Sandow will entertain on the mic, but Rhodes goes over to potentially end the feud and move on—for now.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (Ring of Fire Match)
The Big Red Monster has quietly put on some of the best matches WWE has seen over the past few years as a reliable veteran performer. At SummerSlam he's tasked with getting the most out of Bray Wyatt—a monster in his own right.
We're starting to see the slow death of sarcastic Kane as Daniel Bryan goes off in his own direction, so the darker side of Kane has re-emerged.
Inferno matches have not been kind to Kane in the past, and it's hard to imagine this one will be either. Wyatt will have a numbers advantage with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan at his side.
Wyatt finally gets a chance to impress in the ring, and you better believe he will. The next big thing is here.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk
Here's an intriguing matchup that is a complete toss-up. Many will argue Brock Lesnar cannot afford another loss considering he is a mediocre 2-2 since his return.
However, others will argue CM Punk cannot have another loss on his tally after a flurry of recent L's to his record.
In reality, both can afford to lose. Whether smart fans admit it or not, Brock is a believable monster no matter how many losses he takes in succession. A genetic freak with his demeanor doesn't come around often—a loss here would not hurt.
Punk can take losses in the same way and not have it impact his credibility at all. Losing to the Undertaker? Fine. Losing to an animal like Brock? Perfectly fine—especially if it can continue the feud with both Brock and Paul Heyman.
At the end of the day, Punk is a face and we don't know how long Brock will be around. Punk will send Brock back home while he turns his attention to one of either Curtis Axel or the WWE Title.
Winner: CM Punk
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
The interesting note about the World Heavyweight Championship bout between these two superstars is the last time Christian won the title; he did it against Del Rio.
Don't expect a repeat performance.
Christian has strung together a few recent victories against Del Rio and it's hard to imagine the streak continuing. The WWE love Del Rio as champion for whatever reason, and giving the strap to Christian would just feel like he's a transition champion at this point.
The World title has bigger things in store soon, but it won't be with Christian.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
Sorry smart fans, SummerSlam is not the day it happens.
You see, in time Daniel Bryan will win the title for the little guys, the anti-establishment characters and put the wrestling back in wrestling. It just won't happen at SummerSlam.
We've seen it before—WWE is afraid to pull the trigger and give someone else the strap. Granted, not many have been as hot as Bryan is now, but the safe bet is on WWE dragging this one out.
With Triple H for whatever reason suddenly thrown into the match as a guest referee, expect this to be only the beginning of an over-arching story that pits the McMahons, Triple H, Cena and Bryan into some convoluted storyline leading up to WrestleMania.
WWE is doing a good job of building up Bryan as Cena remains as stale as ever and re-hashes old promos reminiscent of his feuds with Punk, but business is still good and Cena is relatively healthy.
Winner: John Cena
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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