The 2013 edition of WWE SummerSlam is here, and with it arrives two of the most anticipated matches of the year. Daniel Bryan looks to prove he is the best wrestler on the planet by taking the WWE Title from John Cena, and CM Punk looks to put down The Beast known as Brock Lesnar.
Other exciting matches with potential to steal the show litter the card, with the most notable coming between rookie Bray Wyatt and Kane as they step into a Ring of Fire match.
All in all, SummerSlam is the most bang-for-your-buck show the WWE has hosted since WrestleMania.
Here's all you need to know about Sunday's huge event, plus some final predictions before things get underway.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Sunday, Aug. 18, at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-per-view (local cable providers)
Live Stream: WWE.com
Full 2013 SummerSlam Card
- WWE Champion John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
- CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
- World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
- Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (Ring of Fire Match)
- Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and Divas Champion AJ Lee
- Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
- Natalya vs. Brie Bella
- United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam (Kickoff Match)
Main Event Preview and Prediction
The WWE Championship feud started off interestingly between Internet hero Daniel Bryan and the polarizing John Cena, but it quickly became overwhelming with Randy Orton having the Money in the Bank Briefcase and Triple H acting as special guest referee.
If that sounds like a lot going on in one match, that's because it is.
WWE has been known to add in extra details to matches in order to throw a swerve no one saw coming or to prevent the Internet sleuths from discovering the outcome before it occurs. That makes this title bout extremely difficult to peg down.
On one hand, Bryan could simply go over. There it is—the passing of the torch. Crowds have not been this hot for a Superstar since CM Punk back in 2011, and really, even that is debatable.
Or Cena could simply go over, but that seems unlikely with rumors from Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio stating that Cena is pegged to have surgery on his elbow, and that the operation is "imminent."
Then again, that could be the swerve. Who's to say it's not a minor operation and WWE will allow Cena to keep the strap and simply take time off like Dolph Ziggler did recently with a concussion?
Then you have the possibilities of Randy Orton interfering during the match or cashing in after. One of—but not limited to—Triple H, Bryan, Orton, Vince McMahon (face-turn) and even Cena (yeah, yeah) could turn heel for another major swerve.
In other words, this one is a toss-up. Did we mention Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via Wrestling Inc., is advertising for Orton vs. Bryan at Night of Champions?
Yeah, this one is as unpredictable as it gets with so many moving pieces. Just for fun, and because you all know how WWE is, Cena overcomes the odds and wins.
Prediction: Cena retains
Predicting the Rest of SummerSlam
This has a lot of swerve potential here, as the WWE could be planning more of an Ambrose solo run. There's also The Shield out there with the Tag Team Titles and the recent pairing of Big Show and Mark Henry.
It smells like a perfect surprise plan, but let's stick to the original match. Van Dam has exciting offense, but Ambrose is insane. He'll retain.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella just feels like a way to further promote Total Divas. The diva scene as a whole has experienced a resurgence in recent months, but this one is all too predictable. Bella wins with help.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow have some obvious history, but Rhodes needs the victory more since Sandow can use the briefcase as a crutch. These two are destined for bigger things. Rhodes wins.
The lone tag team match (for now) will see Big E Langston and AJ Lee lose as Langston gets distracted. Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn are the smarter pair and will come out on top.
There's no chance Kane walks out the winner over Wyatt, and not because he's outnumbered, but because he's going to put the rookie over in a big way. Wyatt has a bright future and he and his cronies will overtake Kane one way or another, likely leading to a storyline where he joins the family.
Alberto Del Rio and Christian have had absolutely zero build, which is standard treatment for the World Heavyweight Championship. There's no chance Christian wins the strap after being thrown into the match at the last second.
Finally, you have Punk vs. Brock Lesnar. At first glance it looks like Lesnar is booked to win as he needs the victory to keep this feud going, but with his post-SummerSlam future in doubt, it's hard to imagine he'll walk out the victor.
Punk needs the victory more anyway after a string of major losses to part-time wrestlers like The Rock and The Undertaker. There has to be something to get Punk back in the title discussion and this is it.
Punk outsmarts The Beast and his best friend Paul Heyman to get the win.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling