WWE SummerSlam 2017: Predicting Most Likely Swerves at Marquee PPV
WWE SummerSlam is coming up on Sunday, August 20, and fans are bracing for impact. Why wouldn't they? SummerSlam is one of the company's biggest nights of the year, and WWE is surely planning something major that fans won't soon forget.
All of the top stars from both brands will be out in full force, so that's a great start.
Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are just some of the top names that will be on hand representing both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. The stars are booked, the storylines are flowing and now the WWE faithful are anticipating the swerves.
But isn't that always the case?
Predictability is the death knell for any pro wrestling promotion, and that's especially true of WWE. Though many fans love to feel smart about the product and thus are capable of predicting what's going to happen, there's nothing quite like the element of surprise.
When WWE hits the audience with something from out of nowhere, shockwaves are immediately felt throughout the building, and eventually, throughout the business. It could be a character change; a heel or babyface turn would do.
A Superstar could be returning to the fold after not being in the picture, or a title could unexpectedly change hands. Maybe none of that will happen at SummerSlam; or maybe all of it will. Smart fans would certainly love to be wrong if it meant being pleasantly surprised.
Of course, some swerves are actually very predictable, which could be the case on August 20. But even those moments could be met with not only surprise, but wholehearted acceptance.
The Hardy Boyz Awaken
Has the time come for Matt Hardy to get broken?
Fans have been patiently waiting on him to introduce his former character from Global Force Wrestling, but that moment has yet to come. The topic has been discussed, debated and dragged out for so long now that many may feel it's just not going to happen.
But then there's SummerSlam.
All signs point to something happening for Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero on August 20. Matt has teased it on Twitter for weeks, and his TV promos are more than a little reminiscent of his Broken character. Fans know what they're seeing and what they're hearing; so will it happen at SummerSlam?
The truth is that if he's able to do it, and if WWE has the green light to move forward, then fans will see Matt and Jeff in all their Broken glory.
Of course, they may or may not be challenging for the Raw Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose may be the duo stepping up to face Cesaro and Sheamus for the gold. If that happens, then The Hardyz will be left with The Club. The Revival is on the shelf once again due to injury, so Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows will likely be the team left to face the Broken brilliance.
It's an expected swerve, but then again it's been expected for months.
When it does happen, the crowd will pop. The fans will leave happy, and everyone will be talking about it for weeks to come. The Hardy Boyz are a legendary combination, but their Broken personas will definitely take them a step further in WWE.
Bray Wyatt Defeats Finn Balor
Everyone knew that Seth Rollins was going to defeat Bray Wyatt at Great Balls of Fire. They not only knew it; they expected it.
Wyatt has been a favorite of many for quite some time, mostly because of his character. The Eater of Worlds is unique, he's entertaining and he's fun. He's a great character babyface in the making, and the only ones that don't seem to realize that are the creative minds in WWE.
So it's not that fans necessarily wanted Wyatt to lose at GBOF, but his booking has been so horrendous that they did indeed believe it was going to happen.
How many believe he's going to lose to Finn Balor at SummerSlam?
This swerve hinges on one important aspect; Balor's Demon character. If Balor shows up in the paint, then he's likely going over. It's hard to imagine that Balor won't be in character, mostly because Wyatt will probably demand it.
But if Balor is not in the Demon persona, then he could well lose at SummerSlam.
Wyatt's track record is indeed weak, but he does seem to win at odd moments when no one expects it. This could be one of those moments.
Of course, what that would mean for this feud is unknown. If SummerSlam is not the payoff for them, then what is? WrestleMania 34? Would the company be able to logically revisit it that far down the road? Balor may come away with the win over Wyatt on August 20, and fans would be perfectly fine with that.
However, if Wyatt does go over, that would definitely be a swerve to remember.
Jinder Mahal Defeats Shinsuke Nakamura
It's not a question of whether Shinsuke Nakamura deserves a WWE title shot; but this soon into his career is another matter altogether.
Fans saw Nakamura go from bumping to Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin to a championship match at SummerSlam. The King of Strong Style's supporters were certainly happy with the news, but at some point, reality has surely begun to set in.
Nakamura has been thrust into this role, instead of following a logical path to it.
Meanwhile WWE mainstay Randy Orton could not regain the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal. Mahal had a way around him, as he always seemed to have an answer for everything Orton could offer in a match. What makes fans believe Nakamura will just walk in and win on his first shot?
The key here is the timing, which feels all wrong.
In a perfect world, this match would be Nakamura challenging AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 34. By that time, Nakamura would certainly have established his WWE main event career and a match with Styles on that stage could be the best one of his life.
But the current storyline with Mahal is troubling to say the least. It's troubling because Nakamura's fans do not want to see him get pinned at SummerSlam in his first title opportunity. But if he did beat Mahal, the whole thing could be a setup for Baron Corbin to cash in after the fact.
Either way, Nakamura walks away without the gold.
But it could be that WWE is just not finished with Mahal in that spot. If that's true, then The Modern Day Maharaja could once again shock the world by this time finding a way to pin The King of Strong Style at SummerSlam.
Baron Corbin Cashes in His Money in the Bank Briefcase
The best thing about WWE's Money in the Bank briefcase is that no one knows when it's going to be cashed in.
It could happen moments after it's won. It could be the next night on TV. Or it could be 12 months later, just when everyone has forgotten about it.
It's the swerve that just keeps on giving. That's the beauty of the gimmick, and that's why it gets over so well.
But the current WWE champ is a guy that no one picked to ever wear the gold. He's facing a guy at SummerSlam that was suddenly thrust into title contention without warning. There may not be a better time for Corbin to cash in than right now.
If he does, then that opens the door for John Cena's 17th world title win. It also opens the door for AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and other top babyface talents that could give Corbin a five-star match any day of the week.
The fact is he's going to cash in sooner or later; why not at SummerSlam?
At the very least, a Corbin win at SummerSlam would be different and would put him in a spot where he is no longer the hunter but the hunted. He would immediately have challengers, and WWE would have a New Era champion in a top spot on TV.
The shame of this is of course that Nakamura will probably not be leaving as the new WWE champion if Corbin does indeed get involved.
But he would surely be working on the main event level, which is definitely a good thing. Despite what happens with The King of Strong Style, Corbin is the odds-on favorite to become WWE champion eventually. That could well happen on August 20.
Brock Lesnar Retains the WWE Universal Championship
If Brock Lesnar loses at SummerSlam, he's gone. Period.
It seems to be exactly what's going to happen, mostly because WWE seems to be hitting a wall with Lesnar creatively. He's beaten nearly everyone in the company. He's also a former UFC champion that would probably love to get another fight in at some point. If that happens, then he will leave WWE behind once again.
Considering all of that, why would Lesnar retain the Universal Championship on August 20?
Then there's his competition that night, which consists of Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe. The Beast Incarnate looks as though he doesn't stand a chance. But what happens if he walks away from SummerSlam with Raw's top strap?
That's the real swerve in this match, even more so than any of the other three challengers becoming the next Universal champion.
Perhaps it should be considered a likely swerve, only because there are indeed so many reasons why Lesnar probably won't win. Every time WWE seems to be heading left, it suddenly goes right. That could be precisely what's happening here.
Lesnar could drop the title at Hell in a Cell on October 8. Or he could lose it at the Survivor Series on November 19, the same event where he lost to Goldberg in 2016. Or maybe the championship will remain around Lesnar's waist until WrestleMania 34.
There are plenty of opportunities to take the belt from him, but who's really talking about him retaining?
Right now only WWE really knows what the plan is. Logically, Lesnar losing at SummerSlam makes sense for many different reasons. But if he does not, then that's a swerve that will leave everyone wondering what will happen next.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com