WWE SummerSlam 2018: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2018

WWE SummerSlam 2018: B/R Expert Match Picks, Predictions and Analysis

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    Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey.
    Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey.Credit: WWE.com

    WrestleMania may be the most important weekend of the year for WWE, but SummerSlam is billed as the Biggest Party of the Summer because it's just as huge as 'Mania, and this year's card certainly gives fans a lot to look forward to. 

    Here is a rundown of SummerSlam 2018, according to WWE.com:

    • The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan
    • Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor
    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships)
    • Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
    • Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship)
    • Dolph Ziggler (with Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Championship)
    • Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy (United States Championship)
    • Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line)
    • Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Women's Championship)
    • Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey (Raw Women's Championship)
    • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)
    • Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)

    Bleacher Report's lineup of writers will analyze some of the biggest feuds and provide predictions for all of the matches. Our group is made up of the following:

    The format for this month's prediction panel is a little different than usual due to the size of the pay-per-view. Each writer will have their own slide to answer questions and make predictions instead of having a slide devoted to each match.

Anthony Mango

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    Question: Would it have helped if WWE had licensed footage from TNA/Impact Wrestling to establish a long history between Styles and Samoa Joe or is it better left as a storyline confined to WWE?

    Answer: Given the story they've wanted to tell with this feud, setting up a proper backstory of their relationship over the years could have been greatly helped with some footage for context.

    It's hard to translate Impact Wrestling material, as it's completely unfamiliar to people who only watch WWE, but seeing the two of them interact when they're clearly younger would at least show that this isn't completely fabricated and that they do have a history together.

    Then again, this didn't have to be this type of feud and could have been purely a situation where Joe was gunning for the title and Styles was simply standing in the way of that goal.

                           

    Q: If Charlotte or Lynch were to turn heel in this match, who would be the best choice for the turn and why?

    A: Flair has already had a long time as a heel on the main roster, but Lynch has mostly been a babyface. Neither one of them should turn, but if it's a necessity, Lynch could get more out of it, whereas Flair would just revert to what she's already done in the past.

    At least in that scenario, a feud between Flair and Lynch would be different, with Flair being the sympathetic one instead of the obnoxious queen that lorded over the division for so many months on Monday Night Raw. All in all, though, it's better for both to remain babyface and for someone like Asuka to turn heel, instead.

                                

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): The B-Team
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: The Miz
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Almas and Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): The Bludgeon Brothers
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Alexander
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Rollins
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Nakamura
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Owens
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): Lynch
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Rousey
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Joe
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Reigns

Kevin Berge

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    Q: As a fan, who do you want to see win The Miz vs. Bryan most and why?

    A: As a fan, I want to see Bryan make Miz pay for everything he has done over the years. This story has been simple and effective because it's easy to see it as The Beard's true return to form. He has spent the time since his return at WrestleMania tuning up for this match.

    If he loses now, it would be heartbreaking even if that also works as a storytelling moment. I don't know how any fan could be actively rooting for The A-Lister to win even if he's at the peak of his career and deserves a WWE Championship reign soon.

                              

    Q: What would be a more satisfying conclusion to SummerSlam, Strowman cashing in or Owens cashing in? Why?

    A: Strowman's time should be now, especially cashing in on either of the two men who have defined his rise to prominence. The Monster Among Men is a star who has earned the right to be a champion, especially after multiple wasted WrestleManias.

    KO had his time and was somewhat forgettable as champion. He's been treated mostly as a joke in his rivalry with Strowman and would likely be treated even worse as champion now. Fans need a dominant WWE universal champion who will always be around and can win clean.

                              

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): B-Team
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: Miz
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Almas and Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): Bludgeon Brothers
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Gulak
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Ziggler
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Nakamura
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Strowman
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): No clear decision after Charlotte and Lynch make Carmella tap at the same time.
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Rousey
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Styles
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Reigns wins, but Strowman cashes in and takes the title.

Chris Roling

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    Q: If Rousey wins the title, do you think fans will turn on her if she is a part-time champion like Lesnar? Why or why not?

    A: I can't see fans turning on Rousey anytime soon. WWE has its problems with characters at times, but Rousey's story of really wanting to pursue this dream writes itself.

    I can't see her taking on a part-time role despite being green (using the term loosely here anyway), but if she is, fans probably won't mind. It might be a nice change of pace for the title anyway.

                                

    Q: How would you grade the state of the tag team division on SmackDown and what can WWE do to improve it following SummerSlam?

    A: I don't hate the SmackDown division by any means, but I'd be lying if I said I was entertained by The Bludgeon Brothers. I think it's a solid B+ right now just based on potential.

    Jimmy and Jey Uso are still running around as legitimate threats, and Sanity can take the top spot rather easily, which is where I'd like to see the division go next.

                         

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): The B-Team
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: Bryan
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Almas and Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): The New Day
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Alexander
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Rollins
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Hardy
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Strowman
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): Lynch
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Bliss
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Styles
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Lesnar

Erik Beaston

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    Q: Based on recent crowd responses, how do you think Reigns winning the title will go over in Brooklyn?

    A: Even if Reigns had been completely cheered in the build to SummerSlam, the reaction in Brooklyn would have been primarily negative, if only because of the predictability of his win.

    Even if the outcome makes total sense given the build to the match, the most vocal of today's fans have this hate-hate relationship with predictable conclusions.

    Thus, they would have turned on the outcome, booed the victory and reverted to the tired anti-Reigns tweets and rants that haven't been cool since 2015.

                                 

    Q: After all the recent show-stealing performances produced on 205 Live, why do you think the cruiserweight title match was moved to the pre-show?

    A: For all of the hard work Triple H and his crew have done to reinvigorate the 205 Live brand, I have zero doubts that Vince McMahon still sees the cruiserweight division as a sideshow of sorts. The title has not been defended on a traditional pay-per-view since Enzo Amore defeated Kalisto at Survivor Series last November and at a live special since The Greatest Royal Rumble.

    While Alexander and Gulak will make the most of their minutes and may have one of the best matches of the night, there is definitely a ceiling on them and the brand as a whole, thanks to antiquated preconceptions by those even higher up the chain of command than Triple H.

                              

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): The Revival
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: Bryan
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Almas and Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): The Bludgeon Brothers
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Gulak
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Ziggler
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Nakamura
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Owens
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): Carmella
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Rousey
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Styles
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Reigns

Graham Matthews

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    Q: What would be the best way to end Ziggler vs. Rollins to set up a storyline leading into the next PPV?

    A: Considering Dean Ambrose just recently returned to Raw to reunite with Rollins and agree to be in his corner at SummerSlam, it would be silly for Rollins to not beat Ziggler at this point. Lest we forget Rollins has already lost to Ziggler multiples times in the past two months, so he is due for a win over him eventually.

    That said, the only way Rollins loses is if Ambrose costs him the match and turns on him. That feud is inevitable, but it doesn't need to happen as soon as Sunday, so in the meantime, putting the Intercontinental Championship back on Rollins would make the most sense.

                                

    Q: Who would be the best opponent for each Superstar to feud with once Hardy vs. Nakamura is over?

    A: Orton vs. Hardy would be a logical feud for the fall, but if he isn't around, Hardy vs. Almas would be a ton of fun. Almas needs a few credible victories, anyway, and I'm sure they'd have excellent in-ring chemistry together.

    As for Nakamura, what about Bryan? Sure, that is a WrestleMania-worthy match, but there aren't too many babyfaces on SmackDown Live he could be programmed with at the moment aside from maybe Rusev, which is a possibility as well.

                             

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): B-Team
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: Miz
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Rusev and Lana
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): New Day
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Alexander
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Rollins
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Nakamura
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Strowman
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): Carmella
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Rousey
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Joe
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Reigns

Chris Mueller

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    (My questions were submitted by Graham Matthews.)

    Q: Should The B-Team continue to build momentum with a win on Sunday or is it high time they dropped the tag titles to a tandem that could actually elevate the Raw tag team division?

    A: This is a tough one as I am a fan of both Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. They have been great in this role, but being long-term champions doesn't seem like a viable option. Maybe they can play hot potato with the belts for a little while, but this match needs to end with The Revival winning the tag titles. They have been sorely underused since being called up and need a boost.

                             

    Q: What's next for both Corbin and Balor after SummerSlam, and could a victory here potentially earn them a Universal Championship shot coming out of the pay-per-view?

    A: I don't think winning this match would lead to a title shot, but it would certainly give us a good idea of who WWE plans on pushing following the PPV.

    Corbin will continue in his same spot after SummerSlam, but Balor will likely be built back up into a potential challenger for the universal champion, especially if Reigns walks out with the title.

                            

    Predictions

    • The B-Team vs. The Revival (Raw Tag Team Championships): The Revival
    • The Miz vs. Bryan: Bryan
    • Corbin vs. Balor: Balor
    • Rusev and Lana vs.  Almas and Vega: Almas and Vega
    • The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day (SD Tag Team Championships): The New Day
    • Alexander vs. Gulak (Cruiserweight Championship): Gulak
    • Ziggler (with McIntyre) vs. Rollins (Intercontinental Championship): Ziggler
    • Nakamura vs. Hardy (U.S. Championship): Nakamura
    • Strowman vs. Owens (Money in the Bank contract is on the line): Strowman
    • Carmella vs. Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair (SD Women's Championship): Lynch
    • Bliss vs. Rousey (Raw Women's Championship): Rousey
    • Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): Styles
    • Lesnar vs. Reigns (Universal Championship): Reigns

    What are your SummerSlam predictions?