WWE SummerSlam 2017: Full Projections for Brock Lesnar and Each Champion at PPV

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

WWE SummerSlam 2017: Full Projections for Brock Lesnar and Each Champion at PPV

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE SummerSlam 2017 is scheduled for Sunday, August 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and as it is one of the big four events of the year, every main roster title will be defended.

    This is typically a crucial turning point for WWE's calendar, as the champions who leave SummerSlam will have serious implications for the build to WrestleMania 34.

    As every title is on the line, save for the Intercontinental Championship—which is conspicuous by its absence—the current champions all need to be on their guard.

    Some belts will be put up in first-time-ever fights, while others are unfortunately saddled with rematches the WWE Universe has seen multiple times now, giving a wide range of possible outcomes from dramatically shocking to painfully predictable.

    With that being said, what is going to happen with the champions at WWE SummerSlam 2017?

    Who will retain their gold and which challengers will dethrone the current titleholders?

    Let's gaze into our crystal ball and give our predictions for how these title matches will play out and where the current champions will end up.

SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There are actually three potential outcomes for who leaves SummerSlam with the SmackDown Women's Championship, as the current title-holder Naomi may be successful in retaining, but there are two other women who have their eyes on the prize.

    The first and most immediate hurdle is Natalya, as she's the official challenger for Naomi's title at the pay-per-view.

    History has shown that Natalya loses more than she wins, though, so fans of Naomi's title reign shouldn't be too worried that she'll disrupt the flow of the glow.

    There's also the looming threat of Carmella, though, since Ms. Money in the Bank can cash in her title opportunity at any given moment.

    Since Baron Corbin had to relinquish his briefcase this week on SmackDown, it would be strange for WWE to also throw out the Women's Money in the Bank option just a few days later with or without Carmella being successful.

    Further down the line, Carmella may be the next champion, but for now, Naomi will probably rest easy after a generic match with the reliable Queen of Harts.

SmackDown Tag Team Champions the New Day

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Usos and The New Day have been feuding long enough that it seems crazy they're not just having yet another match at SummerSlam, but it also has no gimmicks or stipulations attached to it.

    Whether this is because WWE couldn't think of anything interesting to do as an alternative or legitimately thought it was good enough to just rinse and repeat is up for debate.

    Whatever the reasoning, there's no justification to take the titles from The New Day and to put them back on The Usos.

    SmackDown has already recently seen Jimmy and Jey holding the belts and feuding with the babyfaces who could pose a threat—The Fashion Police—so there's more flexibility in having The New Day go up against a new heel team for Hell in a Cell.

    That is, of course, unless WWE's writing team continues the trend of 2017 in not trying too hard and wants to push this same feud even further into a Hell in a Cell match before it has to actually think about an alternative program for the tag team division.

    All in all, the belts should be staying where they are, at least this time around.

Cruiserweight Champion Akira Tozawa

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In a surprise bit of scheduling, WWE decided to have the Cruiserweight Championship match between Neville and Akira Tozawa on Monday Night Raw instead of waiting for SummerSlam.

    Even more of a shocker was the title change, with Tozawa dethroning The King of the Cruiserweights, who would elect to have his rematch on the pay-per-view.

    This switches the perspective from Neville defending the belt to him being without the champion's advantage for the first time in months, which may make all the difference.

    It isn't unheard of for someone to win a title and quickly drop it, as evidenced by how frequently Kevin Owens has traded the United States Championship around this year alone, so Tozawa may be bitten by that bug.

    Neville's done the best work of his career as the top dog of 205 Live, and while Tozawa has been making steady improvements to his character and popularity with the WWE Universe, a reset with the belt going back to Neville doesn't seem farfetched.

    Still, more often than not, the fresh champion holds on to his or her belt at least for a few weeks, so it's safe to assume Tozawa will be retaining the Cruiserweight Championship before moving on to a new partner to feud with come next Monday night.

Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After several years of being at odds with one another, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins appear to have buried the hatchet and reformed their alliance, much to the dismay of the current Raw tag team champions, Sheamus and Cesaro.

    While they may set the bar, they are nothing in comparison to the force of The Shield, even with Roman Reigns missing from the equation.

    The key to this whole situation is whether the story being told by WWE is the reunion and path of success for Rollins and Ambrose or if the audience is being set up to have hearts ripped out of chests.

    Keep your tinfoil hats on and guard your emotions, as we may be awaiting more deception, but from The Lunatic Fringe this time around.

    One scenario has new champions being crowned with the babyfaces standing tall, bumping fists and starting a new run that could last many months, while another has the champions retaining their titles after Ambrose turns heel on Rollins.

    In any stretch of the imagination, the focal points of this match are going to be the challengers and not the champions, so Sheamus and Cesaro are being pushed aside.

    The story being told on Monday night will either be about how Rollins and Ambrose were unsuccessful or how they were able to capture the gold. WWE won't be framing this as a victory or a loss for Cesaro and Sheamus.

United States Champion AJ Styles

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    Credit: WWE.com

    AJ Styles and Kevin Owens have been trading the United States Championship enough that it seems foolish to go into this match expecting any logical outcome to be a guarantee.

    There's just as much of a chance that Owens leaves with the belt as there is that Styles retains, since it could be determined by a flip of a coin backstage during the match itself.

    If that does happen, let's hope the ending of the match doesn't come off as awkward as the mess that happened at Battleground 2017.

    The addition of Shane McMahon adds another variable to the mix. He and Styles have had their problems before, and it may come back to haunt the champion, resulting in just enough unintentional chicanery to give Owens the victory.

    However, McMahon and Styles already had their feud, and telling that story would be going back to the well, so the smart bet is that this will be more of a hindrance to Owens or a non-factor rather than something that will hurt The Phenomenal One.

    If you're going to gamble with your savings, put your bets down on some of the other matches instead of this one, but if you have to, go with Styles.

Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Originally, Alexa Bliss was scheduled to defend her Raw Women's Championship against Bayley, but an injury to the hugger with a heart of gold forced a change in the card.

    Instead, WWE's resident goddess is now set to face off against Sasha Banks in a rematch from Great Balls of Fire, wherein The Boss was victorious by count-out.

    In theory, this should mean Bliss' days as champion are numbered, as Banks is the babyface and she could shut up the egotistical heel.

    Plus, WWE has a tendency to go with the flow if change is forced upon it and just give the win to the surprise replacement for the sake of making the audience shocked.

    However, if Bliss was scheduled to face Bayley, that seems to point in the direction that she was meant to retain the title, since Bayley's trajectory did not feel like the belt was coming her way.

    There's also the factor of Nia Jax never having her confrontation with Bliss, as has been teased for weeks, so if she were to drop the title, it would prematurely kill much of the excitement of that feud.

    What does it matter if Jax destroys Bliss with no belt in the mix? Then, it's just the biggest girl on the roster picking on the smallest with an easily foreseeable outcome.

    It would not be crazy for Banks to pick up the win, but with how much success Bliss has had the past few months, the odds should be in her favor.

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Critics of Jinder Mahal can say that he hasn't had a good enough run on the main roster, nor is he charismatic enough in his promos to justify giving him the top title in the company, as he would be better suited for a midcard belt while building him up.

    Oddly enough, the same exact thing can be said about Shinsuke Nakamura, so this is almost a wash.

    With Nakamura holding the WWE Championship, SmackDown would have its top dog be someone who can't sustain feuds with anything other than in-ring action, yet would need to be protected by remaining undefeated for months.

    As strange as it is, Mahal is the better option to have more flexibility, even though there aren't many opponents left for him who make sense on the blue brand.

    Since Baron Corbin is no longer a threat to either man in this match, it seems even more likely that Mahal will retain the championship due to some shenanigans—either interference from The Singh Brothers or someone new to feud with Nakamura, or a lame disqualification or count-out finish.

    Don't be shocked if this match isn't something that will stand the test of time, nor if either man's title reign goes down in history as massively impressive.

    However, it would be somewhat surprising to see the title change hands, as Nakamura is still new enough that it's hard to imagine WWE would put so much weight on his shoulders.

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar

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    Credit: WWE.com

    After defeating Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 to capture the Universal Championship, Brock Lesnar is finally in a situation where it appears as though his title reign is in danger.

    Not only has Paul Heyman alluded to Lesnar quitting WWE and heading to UFC if he were to drop the title, but he happens to be set up perfectly to lose the belt while also not taking a loss.

    The situation could not be more perfect for a performer wanting to look strong and a company wanting to stay in his good graces in the hopes that he'll return several months down the road for another big match.

    If Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman or Samoa Joe makes any of the other two challengers tap out or succumb to a pinfall, they become the new universal champion and Lesnar takes a few months off to train or sit on his behind and do nothing.

    WWE gets what it wants by having someone else hold the title to be defended on Raw events, and Lesnar gets what he wants by not having to be the one to lose, hurting his momentum going forward.

    However, this is WWE. This is a company that has done everything in its power to perpetually make Lesnar seem like he's above all the rules and the entire roster—including legends like The Undertaker.

    Skepticism is encouraged with this, as Lesnar should lose, but history has shown that he won't drop the title.

    It may not be the "smart money" to take a fool's gamble and say the title-holder will retain despite the severe handicap of the champion's advantage being thrown out the window, but this is The Beast Incarnate, and if WWE wants to keep him in the spotlight, having him as champion is what the company will prioritize.

    What do you think is going to happen with our current champions in WWE and who will walk out of SummerSlam with the gold? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below!

               

    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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