What's up, ladies and gentlemen? My name is Eric Kanes and I'm back here today with my monthly pay-per-view preview. I will break things down and give you guys the realistic odds for each match.
Except, this month, I won't be doing it alone. I'll have my buddies, Chinmay, RiZE, and Buzz M. joining me so there will be four different viewpoints on every match.
Make sure to add me on Facebook to keep up with all of my latest columns and receive live updates this Saturday from SummerSlam Axxess.
And now, with that shameless bit of shilling out of the way, let's get this show on the road!
Eric Kanes: The first match on the card will more than likely be Sheamus vs. Mark Henry. While I don't think anybody is looking forward to the wrestling itself, it's going to be very interesting to see how WWE handles this because both men are red hot going in.
Mark Henry has been built up like a monster, taking out Big Show, Kane, and Vladimir Kozlov over the past several weeks. A couple more wins and Henry could be well on his way to another world championship run. On the other hand, Sheamus is a fresh babyface and is currently receiving the push of his career.
Rather than just lazily shoehorning him into the main event scene, the writers have finally taken the correct approach to build Sheamus up. Neither man can really afford to lose momentum. Nonetheless, somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose.
Who's going to be elevated here? Let's find out.
Chinmay: For a change, Mark Henry has become really entertaining for the past few weeks. The way he demolished Big Show and Kane was really amazing. Two years back, such a run was the perfect recipe to start a feud with The Undertaker.
However, these are different days and we might witness a birth of a future super-face, thanks to the same Mark Henry.
Apart from The Undertaker and Batista, WWE has lacked a truly menacing face. They do have dominant faces that always win matches, but they don’t have faces that dominate the match. Sheamus fits the bill very well. Sheamus has truly proven his mettle over the past year. He's put on stellar matches with the likes of John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and also had a strong showing at Money in the Bank. He surely is one of the best workers in the company right now.
His mic skills have improved consistently to match his ring work as well. Such a superstar is all that SmackDown needs right now. If booked well, Sheamus can be a face of Undertaker or Batista’s category. Therefore, Sheamus has to win this match or else the logic is defied.
Chinmay's Pick: Sheamus
Buzz M: I think that Mark Henry’s path of destruction will come to an end this Sunday.
When his run as an unstoppable force started and he took out Big Show and Kane, I had two scenarios in mind. I thought they’re either going to give him a solid run that might lead to a World Title feud, or he’ll keep doing this until someone stops him and receives the rub as a face.
Until now it seems that WWE are going with the latter. Sheamus turned face after confronting Henry and it seems he’ll be put over as a face. Some might say that Henry could win and get a title shot, but for me, Sheamus has higher chances of winning. Maybe he’ll have a world title feud after this as he’s been involved in matches with Christian and Randy Orton for a while.
Mark Henry might feud with a returning Big Show. I would give Henry a slight chance of winning and getting a title shot. I heard he’s retiring soon, so this could be WWE’s way of honoring him.
Buzz's Pick: Sheamus
RiZE: This match is very intriguing. With Sheamus possibly becoming a “Batista” like face, he’d be the perfect combatant for the rejuvenated Mark Henry. The two have gone back and forth since Sheamus turned face and I’m very interested in the outcome of this match. My prediction is a double disqualification or count out.
RiZE's Pick: No Contest
Eric Kanes: I've got to agree with Chin and Buzz here. Henry needs momentum but Sheamus needs it more and it'll probably be more beneficial in the long run if Sheamus picks up the win here.
Afterwards, I'd have Sheamus go on to feud with Christian for the world title while Henry goes on to feud with Orton. You can even have a Fatal Four Way Hell in a Cell match for the world title in a few months. Either way, it looks like Christian vs. Sheamus is the route WWE is going, so I'm giving the slight edge to Sheamus in this one.
Eric's Pick: Sheamus
Eric Kanes: Over here, we've got probably the most anticipated divas match since...I can't even remember when. WWE has finally done the right thing by turning Beth Phoenix and Natalya heel and giving them a slight push.
This is another match that I am a bit interested by. Will WWE do the right thing and let Beth Phoenix win and take over the Diva's Division or will Kelly Kelly predictably "overcome the odds?"
Chinmay: The case of Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix is the complete opposite of Sheamus vs. Mark Henry. Here we have a face champion over with people going against the powerhouse that has freshly turned heel. Kelly is improving, no doubt about it. She is learning how to wrestle and that is commendable. But, Beth is somebody who is still light years ahead.
The Glamazon is an amazing wrestler and she plays the heel role to the perfection. Her win in this match is imperative; there's no room for another outcome.
However, the real outcome of this match and the rivalry will be Kelly’s ascension to superstardom.
It is the classic tale of the underdog hero going against the mighty odds after several attempts. Kelly will sure have some rematches, and every time she will come closer just to fall a little bit short.
After several such attempts, when she will win it, it will be a moment that matters. Therefore my prediction—Beth Phoenix wins and we see the birth of a meaningful diva’s rivalry.
Chinmay's Pick: Beth Phoenix
Buzz M: This seems a bit tricky. On one hand, we have one of the most popular current Divas among fans, Kelly Kelly, who only won the title a few weeks ago. And on the other hand, we have the Glamazon who recently turned heel and declared war on the typical WWE Divas.
Personally, I hope Beth wins. But I won’t be surprised to see Kelly pull an upset via roll-up pin maybe. I guess this rivalry might go on for a while. Phoenix will definitely dominate most parts of the match. But maybe we’ll see something similar to what happened with Candice Michelle who won the first match against Beth only to lose later on.
As I said, I hope Beth wins, but I don’t think it will end this way at Summerslam. Kelly just won the title and I don’t see her losing it this quickly. Beth might win later and dominate the division for a while. We also have Natalya who might get involved in the future. So we have many possibilities coming later.
My final prediction is that Kelly will win with a roll-up.
Buzz's Pick: Kelly Kelly
RiZE: Finally, the real Glamazon is back and I couldn’t be happier. I wholeheartedly agree with Beth’s words, the era of the “model” like Divas is over. The Championship has been controlled by Michelle McCool for the last three years.
With Mickie James, Lita, and Trish Stratus gone, I was very displeased with the Division as a whole. It seems as if things may be turning around. In the end, Beth Phoenix will become the Divas Champion.
RiZE's Pick: Beth Phoenix
Eric Kanes: Chinmay, did I hear you say that Kelly has been improving? All she does is yell. Honestly, I just want to see Beth win in dominant fashion in several minutes and then have her and Natalya dominate the division until Kharma returns. Kelly as champion is going nowhere. It's time to move forward.
On a side note, I dare anyone who drinks to take a shot every time Kelly yells "COOMMMEEE OOOONN!" She yelled it seven times at the last PPV.
Eric's Pick: Beth Phoenix
Chinmay: Over the past year, SmackDown creative has developed a nasty hobby. They go for the same match-up for a minimum of 5 times. After such an overdose, viewers simply cannot take it anymore and for the sake of humanity, SD creative has to end the rivalry.
Randy Orton and Christian have reached that point now. Agreed, they have put on many stellar matches, but the word “many” is the problem. This rivalry has to end, at least for now. That means Randy Orton cannot win. If he reclaims the title, Christian will have a rematch and the public will go to sleep.
Therefore, to keep this short and sweet, Christian retains in a typical dastardly heel manner and moves on to a feud with Sheamus.
Chinmay's Pick: Christian
Buzz M: Personally, I see Christian finally winning and ending this rivalry. I liked and I enjoyed most of their matches, but I guess there’s nothing more to add to this feud.
I see Captain Charisma winning and starting a new rivalry with Sheamus. But if you think about it for a while, who will Randy Orton feud with? It’s a tricky situation here, and if dirt sheets are right, we might see Orton win and extend this feud to Night of Champions. And since Hell in a Cell is only two weeks after NOC, we might even see another match there too.
Six consecutive PPVs? I’m not sure about it. Therefore, I’ll stick with my thoughts unless Orton wins and punts Christian to make sure he doesn’t get a rematch later. My final prediction is Christian winning, possibly after cheating.
Buzz's Pick: Christian
RiZE: What can I say about this match-up that hasn’t already been said? It has been overdone. From Over the Limit to Money in the Bank, Randy Orton vs. Christian has completely repelled the interest I had in the feud. While I am happy to see Christian living his dream, I can’t bring myself to be interested in this match.
Yes, it’s a No Holds Barred match but we’re still living in the PG Era. Besides a pair of RKOs on the announce table, I doubt we’ll see anything too hardcore in this match. That being said, Orton is fresh out of challengers while Christian has Sheamus. Because of this, Christian wins.
RiZE's Pick: Christian
Eric Kanes: CM Punk vs. John Cena is the most anticipated match going in at this point but I think that if this match is given 30+ minutes and these two are allowed to go all out, this match can easily hit the **** range and be a "Match of the Year" candidate.
The match that these two had at Over the Limit is probably the 3rd best match of the year thus far, behind Taker/Triple H at WrestleMania and Cena/Punk at Money in the Bank. The "No Holds Barred" stipulation will only add to the match so this is one I'm really looking forward to.
I'll have to agree with the consensus here. If Orton wins that means that there will be yet another re-match which would just be overkill. There's also a fresh challenger waiting for Christian in the form of Sheamus.
Plus, there are no disqualifications here meaning that Christian can legally cheat to win. Put all of that together, and it seems pretty obvious that Christian needs to walk out of SummerSlam still world heavyweight champion.
Also, adding to what Buzz said, Orton actually has a red-hot Mark Henry to feud with after SummerSlam so it makes even more sense for Christian to go over.
Eric's Pick: Christian
Chinmay: This match has a tough task of living up to its epic predecessor, not only in terms of wrestling but in case of outcomes as well. Fortunately, a twist is guaranteed this time as well.
At this point in time, no one can say with certainty who will win. For once, John Cena is not a safe bet. CM Punk, on the other hand, is sure to find some hurdle in Triple H. Both of these men have a legit chance to win this match. In such a scenario, the third angle holds the key.
Triple H is the person who will determine the outcome of this match, or to be more precise, manipulate it. He has a reason to screw both Cena and Punk.
At this moment, Punk looks like the obvious target, and it makes me believe that Cena will be the one to get screwed first. First is the keyword here, since every possible sign is pointing towards double screw up. Triple H will cost one of them the victory and as soon as the match is over, Del Rio will cash in MITB with Triple H’s aid.
So my prediction—Alberto Del Rio will walk out of the SummerSlam as the WWE champion.
Chinmay's Pick: Alberto Del Rio
Buzz: I’m still not able to predict the winner. But there’s one thing certain here. We’re going to have a controversial ending. I mean, do you really see the match going on normally and ending without any controversy especially with Triple H as the special guest referee? It’s hard to believe. I’m sure HHH will get physical during the match after an occurrence of controversy and maybe screw someone.
My guess is that HHH will screw Punk. Maybe this will start a Punk/HHH rivalry. I mean, they had more than one heated promo together, and it’s obvious that they won’t wait longer before they feud. As for Cena, I don’t see him turning heel. He insisted to reinstate Punk when he first got suspended and then he refused Vince McMahon’s help at Money in the Bank, so why would he accept HHH’s help this Sunday?
I even believe he won’t allow HHH to help him and maybe Trips will screw Punk without Cena noticing it.
Now, will Alberto Del Rio cash in his contract? It depends on if Punk and Cena will go on or not. Or it could turn into a triple threat feud with HHH still involved in some way. Or Del Rio might cash in the next night on RAW. We also still have to know if Rey Mysterio will get his rematch on RAW as we were promised. It seems like anything can happen. My final pick is John Cena winning with the help of Triple H.
Buzz's Pick: John Cena
RiZE: Whether SummerSlam 2011 succeeds or fails rests on the shoulders of this match. Simply put, Cena/Punk is SummerSlam as none of the other matches have garnered any attention. John Cena and CM Punk put on a wrestling clinic at WWE Money in the Bank and I expect the same this Sunday. Like their previous match, this one has heavy stakes and an added twist.
This is for the WWE Championship and the personal animosity between the two has certainly made this match must-see. Punk has played his role to perfection by incorporating real life events into this feud. On the other hand, without John Cena, this angle is nothing.
Before RAW, I didn’t have a clue who would win this match. After Triple H inserted himself in as the referee, I figured Mr. H’s would screw CM Punk out of the WWE Championship, in turn, allowing Cena to feud with Del Rio and sparking a feud between Punk and himself. However, Punk mentioned the “fixed” end before RAW went off air so I’m clueless.
If I were to decide, I’d say Punk wins clean.
RiZE's Pick: CM Punk
Eric Kanes: Oh boy. We already have three projected scenarios - John Cena wins clean and then Alberto Del Rio cashes in setting up a feud with him, Triple H screws CM Punk without John Cena knowing it, or CM Punk simply wins clean.
I'm going to go out on a limb and disagree with all three of these. I think we'll see Triple H screwing CM Punk and John Cena siding with him. Cena will be the golden boy of the evil boss going forward. I mean, the company's top angle right now is a feud between three babyfaces. Surely, this can't go on much longer. One or two of these men must turn heel and I believe those men will be Triple H and John Cena.
Cena could use a heel turn and it would freshen up both this feud and his upcoming feud with The Rock. Plus, it makes the most sense after the most recent promo. Both Triple H and John Cena have something to lose if CM Punk wins so an alliance makes sense.
This brings up the question—what about Alberto Del Rio? My response to that is—who cares about Alberto Del Rio? Having him cash in now would spoil one of the most hyped up feuds in years. He was given the briefcase prematurely and it was clearly a mistake. No matter how you look at it, he does not fit into the RAW main event scene right now.
An interesting scenario would be him getting drafted to SmackDown in April and cashing in on a freshly-crowned Daniel Bryan, after Bryan spends a year working for it. Either way, there's no reason to have him cash in now.
My final pick is John Cena winning with the help of Triple H.
Eric's Pick: John Cena
As always, here are some bonus questions for my readers:
Which superstar left off the card should've gotten a spot on the show?
Chinmay: There are honestly a lot of them. *SPOILER ALERT* Why WWE did not wait until Sunday to crown Cody Rhodes as the Intercontinental Champion is beyond my wits. Whether they have a rematch at SummerSlam or a completely new match up with Sin Cara is completely up in the air. In the case of Alberto Del Rio, he will most likely be involved in the main event. Irrespective of that, he might have a match with Kofi Kingston.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley, John Morrison vs. R-Truth, and The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio are other possible match-ups. But in my opinion, two superstars absolutely need to be on the card. I am talking about Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan. These two guys are essentially the future of SmackDown. Both guys are great athletes and they will sure put on one hell of a match.
Buzz M: As of now, we have four matches on the card. This means we still have dozens of superstars who will be missing the PPV. I can name many people but the ones in my mind are the following:
The Miz: He said he’ll make an impact at Summerslam and WWE are promoting what he said. So it will be totally dumb if he doesn’t get a match. And if they want to keep him relevant, he should get a match at the summer’s biggest event. After all, he headlined WrestleMania and won.
Cody Rhodes: He hasn’t wrestled at a PPV since the end of his nice rivalry with Rey Mysterio at Extreme Rules. They shouldn’t keep him away from big events that long especially after his twisted gimmick evolved.
Daniel Bryan: He’s the Money in the Bank winner and he needs to start getting more PPV matches until he makes it to Wrestlemania 28. And Summerslam will be a good event for him to put on a great match. Obviously, he’ll face Wade Barret.
Alberto Del Rio: Now that’s tricky. It might be good and bad. As long as he holds the MITB briefcase, we should always expect him to cash it at any time. But to make it trickier, WWE should make us believe that something else is keeping him away from cashing in his briefcase.
However, I hope they don’t just put him in one of his typical promos or in another repetitive match against Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be another choice and that’s why I think it’s tricky. We need to look forward to him after Summerslam, though.
Other Superstars: Dolph Ziggler (US Title match), Alex Riley, Wade Barret (mentioned above), Ezekiel Jackson.
RiZE: The card only has four matches announced right now so I’d like to see what else the WWE has in store for this Sunday.
Eric Kanes: There's a lot of talent left off the card but when it really comes down to it, two guys deserve to be on the card and those guys are The Miz and R-Truth. Both have been doing everything right since WrestleMania but are left off due to unfortunate circumstances. The Miz because Rey Mysterio is injured and R-Truth because John Morrison has yet to set his priorities straight.
I like a scenario that I saw in one of the articles earlier today. Have The Miz come out to complain about being the most must-see champion yet not having a match. Have R-Truth come out and claim that he doesn't have a match either and it's all part of the c-o-n-spiracy.
At that point, Triple H can say that since Miz did defeat Kofi Kingston on RAW and since R-Truth did defeat John Morrison, they have earned a tag team title shot against The New Nexus. Have Truth and Miz go over Otunga and McGillicutty and go on to defend the titles against The Usos or Kings of Wrestling at Night of Champions. Hey, it's more interesting than just having them float around!
Money in the Bank is easily PPV of the year so far. Can SummerSlam out-do it?
Chinmay: In my opinion, in terms of wrestling quality, SummerSlam will be a better PPV. In terms of outcomes and shock value, it is premature to predict, to be honest. Both the title matches have enough potential to tear the house down. Cena vs. Punk still has its luster and electricity.
The hype and intensity of this match is enough to overshadow any shortcomings. In the case of Orton vs. Christian, the stipulation of “No Holds Barred” pretty much saves it from the rust of repetition. Other matches like Sheamus vs. Henry, Bryan vs. Barrett, or Kofi vs. Del Rio are sure to be great contests. Therefore, personally I am hoping for a great pay-per-view.
Buzz M: Money in the Bank was definitely a great PPV for several reasons. It had a great build-up and the main event match was one of the most hyped-up matches in a long time. The stipulations added to the match made it even more exciting. The Money in the Bank ladder matches were good as always (even though they were better last year).
The main event match was awesome and lengthy. The ending was even greater with Punk winning, avoiding Del Rio, and escaping with the belt. Nobody saw that coming. Add to this the awesome crowd in Chicago and we were left with too many questions following the event. In summary, it was a historic night.
For Summerslam to out do it, they need to have something new to add. They need great matches for sure. They need another historic ending maybe. This night needs to be the beginning of new things that will lead to a new direction. Until now, the PPV seems to be a one match show. All of the focus is on Cena vs. Punk match and I’ll admit that it had another nice build-up.
So they’re doing fine with this match until now. The rest depends on the event and the other matches.
RiZE: In my honest opinion, I don’t think SummerSlam will be as great as Money in the Bank. For starters, fans knew what matches were on the card a week before the pay-per-view. The fact that SummerSlam revolves around a match that originally took place at MITB is a noteworthy notion to this.
Eric Kanes: Can SummerSlam outdo Money in the Bank? Easily. It doesn't have two unpredictable ladder matches that are bound to at least hit the *** star but if you give Cena/Punk 40+ minutes to tell a story, give Orton/Christian 30+ minutes and let them go all out, add Barrett/Bryan, and add Truth & Miz vs. The New Nexus, it sounds like a good card to me.
Will SummerSlam outdo Money in the Bank? Tough to say. We'll have to wait and see.
Which match will steal the show?
Chinmay: Matches like Cena vs. Punk, Orton vs. Christian, and Barrett vs. Bryan are strong contenders for the award of show stealer. But my pick is different, given it takes place.If Alberto Del Rio and Kofi Kingston are given more than 15 minutes, I am sure they will put on a clinic. Both are amazing workers with complimentary styles.
Buzz M: Of course, I think Cena vs. Punk will steal the show again. It might even be longer this time. Christian vs. Orton will be good for sure especially with the "No Holds Barred" stipulation. I think we’ll have two or three matches added. I’d like to see how Daniel Bryan will perform if he gets a match. And I hope Beth can put a good match.
RiZE: That would be tough to say considering there are matches yet to be announced. My guess is Punk vs. Cena.
Eric Kanes: John Cena vs. CM Punk. There's just too much hype going in. It'll also probably get the most time. However, I'd watch out for the Christian vs. Randy Orton match. Not a lot of people are expecting much from it but I think it's a potential dark horse candidate to steal the show.
Will you be ordering this PPV?
Chinmay: As much as I wish I could, I can’t. I am not a U.S. resident; therefore it is not possible for me. However, I would have definitely ordered it, had I been a U.S. citizen.
Buzz M: Well, my answer might be a bit irrelevant, but this depends on my friends. We usually gather and order it together. And since it’s Summerslam and the main event looks great, we'll probably be ordering it.
RiZE: Not a chance. To be honest, I’m not excited about SummerSlam and I firmly believe the pay-per-view will be lackluster. I’ll read the results when it’s over, though.
Eric Kanes: Yes. Definitely. I'm looking forward to a lot of the matches and to seeing how the whole event plays out. People talked about how unpredictable Money in the Bank was but none of these matches really have a surefire winner either, so I'd give it a chance.
Also, just throwing this out there. I'll be meeting CM Punk at a signing in Hot Topic tomorrow and then meeting Triple H on Saturday at SummerSlam Axxess. I'll possibly even go meet Edge on Sunday. Not going to the event though.
The tickets have crazy prices this year. It's like $3,000 for ringside seats. I'm sure WWE is going to have a nice payday since they legitimately sold out a 15,000+ person arena for this event.