Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown, NXT and AEW Dynamite for Week of August 17

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

Predictions for WWE Raw, SmackDown, NXT and AEW Dynamite for Week of August 17

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    The road to SummerSlam has been paved with ill intentions, and the consequences of those intentions will be felt across WWE programming this week.

    Particularly in the case of Bayley and Sasha Banks, who find themselves faced with the unenviable task of defending their respective SmackDown and Raw Women's Championships against a vengeful Asuka. While their partnership appears as strong as ever, the final stretch before Sunday's pay-per-view could present some cracks in its foundation.

    But that is not the only thing to expect from this week's television.

    Will Mickie James make a triumphant return to the ring Monday? Which two stars will cash their tickets to TakeOver: XXX the night before SummerSlam?

    Over on AEW Dynamite, can Cody successfully defend his TNT Championship once more, this time against The Dark Order's "Exalted One," Mr. Brodie Lee?

    Find out the answer to those questions and more with these predictions for the week to come in wrestling TV.

The Cracks Begin to Form in Bayley and Sasha Banks' Friendship

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    Last week on Raw, Bayley lost a match to Asuka that was set up by Sasha Banks.

    It's not the first time that the best friends have voluntarily offered each other up to battle their foes. With pressure setting in, and the realization that a vengeful Empress of Tomorrow awaits Sunday at SummerSlam, expect the same cracks we saw earlier this year start to form in their friendship.

    Monday's Raw should be our first hint that not everything is well in The Golden Role Models' world.

    With the weight of the world on their shoulders to retain their titles, look for bickering and in-fighting to creep into the act. Maybe even a little panic, especially on the part of Bayley.

    It would, after all, be in-character for her to whine and complain about having to face Asuka Sunday despite having no problem watching her best pal do the same thing countless times over the last month.

    And Asuka will relish in it. Her championship odds will increase as a result and the reign of terror Bayley and Banks have enjoyed over the women's division will begin its steady downward spiral—all on the heels of two competitors whose own egos have placed them in an unenviable situation.

Natalya and Lana Get One over on Mickie James as They Start New Rivalry

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    Mickie James returned to Raw last week and was immediately confronted by Lana and Natalya, who are apparently so close they're dressing like one another now.

    The overbearing heels ruined what should have been a nice homecoming for James, who never did get to make the announcement teased by interviewer Sarah Schreiber.

    This week, James makes her return to the ring against Natalya and, unfortunately for her and her fans, it will not be a successful one.

    The Queen of Harts will win the match as a result of interference from Lana, thus propelling the feud forward and giving it a reason to continue into next week.

    While there are many complaints to be made about the current state of WWE Creative, the red brand has done an admirable job of making use of the talent on its women's roster. Everyone has had something to do, to the point that the company brought James back into the fold to keep Nattie and Lana busy.

    While the feud is significantly down the pecking order in importance, James' is a welcome return and Natalya as the overbearing mean girl alongside The Ravishing Russian is a harmless change that allows her to show off her personality in ways that simply being a third-generation Hart did not.

Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream Cash Tickets to TakeOver: Xxx

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    An injury suffered by Dexter Lumis has created an opening in the ladder match for the NXT North American Championship—an opening the brand will look to fill with two competitors.

    Finn Balor will do battle with Velveteen Dream, while Johnny Gargano battles newcomer Ridge Holland, with the winners of those bouts cashing their tickets to TakeOver: XXX Saturday night on WWE Network.

    On the surface, Balor is a big enough star to win the title Saturday. A recorded message by Timothy Thatcher to him, though, suggests The Prince may have to deal with a distraction that sets him on a collision course with the most technically gifted wrestler on the roster rather than a championship opportunity.

    As for Holland, he has a ton of momentum behind him and clearly has the support of management. And rightfully so. He is a double-tough athlete with a wealth of potential. But it is too early for him to earn his way into a high-profile title match, especially a ladder match in which he has zero experience in his young career.

    Besides, there's no way Gargano misses out on a TakeOver appearance. He is, after all, the most celebrated star in the history of those live-event specials.

    With Balor likely to be distracted by Thatcher, Dream should join former foe Gargano as the final two competitors in what is likely to be a demolition derby of a contest.

Mr. Brodie Lee Wins the TNT Championship

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    He kind of has to, right?

    Another loss for Brodie Lee in a high-profile championship match further enhances the stigma that The Dark Order are a bunch of mask-wearing weirdos posing no real threat to any of the upper-echelon stars in All Elite Wrestling.

    The self-proclaimed "Exalted One" has already lost an AEW Championship match to Jon Moxley. He has done a lot of talking, hyping his faction up and joining them for a big tag team victory two weeks ago. But, to date, The Dark Order has not won anything of real significance since popping up at last year's Double or Nothing.

    That has to change Saturday on Dynamite when he challenges Cody for the TNT Championship.

    While some may argue it is too early for The American Nightmare to lose the title he has so proudly worn since defeating Lance Archer on Memorial Day weekend, such an outcome serves two purposes.

    First, it puts Lee over and gives a heel a championship to run with in a company dominated by babyfaces at the moment; secondly, it continues Cody's slow-burn heel turn.

    We have seen frustration set in of late and his arrogance has been at an all-time high, especially when he squared off with Warhorse and nearly lost the gold. Throw in an expanding entourage and the ingredients are there for the moral compass of AEW to turn full-blown heel.

    Much like we have seen from Superstars in WWE who have encountered The Fiend, what better way to instigate that turn than by having it happen as a result of a loss to the prophetic Lee?

    If that is not the outcome, and Cody rolls through Lee like he has everyone else to date, we have to start questioning whether The Dark Order is really ever supposed to amount to a real threat or if it is the company's answer to the Foot Clan, existing solely to get beat up by the higher-priority babyfaces.

The Latest Hints at Alexa Bliss' Involvement at SummerSlam

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    Since Extreme Rules, Alexa Bliss has been a constant element of the feud between Braun Strowman and The Fiend over the Universal Championship. Friday, WWE Creative will continue to give us an idea of exactly what her role at SummerSlam will be.

    And she will be involved in the monstrous battle. She has to be. The Goddess has been too central to the program to not be.

    We first saw her at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, appearing in the Wyatt Swamp Fight as Sister Abigail. From there, she was abducted by The Fiend, only to show compassion to him and admit she understands the "moth to a flame" mentality.

    Throw in a gorilla press slam that left her in pain and at the feet of The Fiend again this past Friday, and you have every piece of evidence you need to believe she will factor heavily into the SummerSlam main event.

    But is she working alongside Strowman to lure The Fiend, or has she forged a connection with Bray Wyatt's alter ego that will see her turn to the darkest side of her career.