Final Picks for Roman Reigns vs. John Cena and SummerSlam 2021 Match Card
WWE regularly moves the goal posts and tells fans to hold on a little longer through monotony and struggling creative until a particular moment when it will all be worth the wait. The next "moment" is set to kick off Saturday when SummerSlam 2021 takes place in Las Vegas.
Have you been struggling to sit through Raw the past few months? Well, how does the return of Goldberg to fight Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship sound?
Are you not interested in SmackDown? What about if John Cena comes back to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship?
A Triple Threat for the Raw Women's Championship with the three women who have been battling it out for the belt over the summer, a WrestleMania 37 rematch between Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks, Edge in a dream bout against Seth Rollins and even RK-Bro's tag team title shot are among the matches on the card.
We'll have to wait and see if the show is a success, but in the meantime, let's offer one final round of predictions and try to guess which Superstars will walk out of Allegiant Stadium victorious.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs. Dominik and Rey Mysterio
The SmackDown Tag Team Championship scene has a few talented pairings, but the overall division has been limping for months. There are only so many times Alpha Academy and Dirty Dawgs can fight Dominik and Rey Mysterio and The Street Profits before nobody cares.
When The Usos finally reformed and were both healthy enough to compete, the new titleholders were a welcome change of pace.
It's highly unlikely the belts will go back to the Mysterios on Saturday, though. That would be resetting things to the previous months instead of moving on to something new.
With Roman Reigns demanding success, it's even less likely that his cousins, Jimmy and Jey Uso, will fail to retain their titles. The gold is too important to the faction's sense of power.
Prediction: The Usos retain.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks
There are two philosophies WWE could be thinking with regards to the SmackDown Women's Championship, but it's unclear which one Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks will follow.
Option A: The company is keeping up its trend of being lazy and figured a rematch was not only easy to pull off but also the biggest as Banks is the biggest female name on the blue brand right now. This is just a rematch for the sake of killing more time and nothing more.
Option B: WWE wants to drag this out even more and figures Belair has held the title long enough that losing it won't hurt her. She can always win it back in the future.
Either way, it's almost a guarantee Banks vs. Belair will happen again at Extreme Rules in September to stretch this out for another month, as that's easy and requires little buildup.
That becomes even easier if the title changes hands, as The EST of WWE would be fired up to get her belt back. Plus, it's not as though Banks is a slouch in any department, so the title would be in safe hands with her as champion.
Both Superstars have their reasons to leave with the gold. It might as well be a coin flip to decide who wins.
Prediction: Banks wins.
United States Championship Match: Sheamus vs. Damian Priest
Earlier this year, Sheamus was on a trajectory to face Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. Several detours later, he finds himself holding the United States title instead but hasn't had the most important run with the belt.
His top challenger for ages was Humberto Carrillo, who was never in serious contention to win, so The Celtic Warrior has had a comfortable run that should come to a halt now that Damian Priest is the No. 1 contender.
The Archer of Infamy has had a fast ascension in WWE. He wasn't in NXT too long before becoming North American champion and moved up to the main roster after that.
So far, he's been successful and is clearly well-liked on the main roster. If he doesn't win the title, it would be among the most shocking results of the night.
Prediction: Priest wins.
WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg
While it's true anything can happen in WWE, you can usually spot patterns from a mile away.
With regard to Goldberg, he's been brought in to lose to Bobby Lashley for two main reasons.
Firstly, he is an established name who could draw a bigger audience by tapping into the older fanbase that has dwindled over the years.
Secondly, he's a supremely dominant Hall of Famer who will add more credibility to The All Mighty when he loses on Saturday night.
Lashley has torn through nearly everyone on the Raw roster. No one has been properly built up as a viable contender without looking for outside challengers like Goldberg. And when Lashley beats him, he'll look absolutely unstoppable.
Prediction: Lashley retains.
Edge vs. Seth Rollins
This match between Edge and Seth Rollins has been in the making since 2014 when The Architect threatened to take out the then-retired The Rated-R Superstar with a Curb Stomp.
Since Edge's return last year, he's crossed paths with Rollins several times and none of them have been friendly. It was bound to reach a point where they locked horns in an official match on a big stage like this.
Whoever gets the win in Las Vegas will depend entirely on which Superstar WWE wants more momentum leaving SummerSlam.
On paper, it makes more sense for that to be Edge. He lost both his previous matches this year and could stand to win another to get back on track.
A win for Rollins isn't out of the realm of possibility, though. The only question is how to follow it up, as it's doubtful he'll be the next challenger for the Universal Championship since WWE rarely does heel vs. heel storylines.
When in doubt, the edge—no pun intended—goes to the Hall of Famer.
Prediction: Edge wins.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Nikki A.S.H. vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley
Transparency is something WWE tries to pretend it's better at than it is. Anyone watching Raw over the past few months knows Nikki A.S.H. does not come close to the level the company views Charlotte Flair at.
Even Rhea Ripley, who is regularly touted as the future of the women's division, hasn't managed to score a clean victory over The Queen in two years.
It's always about Flair, even when she isn't champion.
Knowing Becky Lynch is on the verge of returning and fans continually chant for her during matches involving Flair, WWE will be unable to resist booking her against The Man for the title as soon as possible.
Nikki may be almost a superhero, but she had her fluke Money in the Bank cash-in win, and her time as champion is up.
Prediction: Flair wins.
Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal
Drew McIntyre against Jinder Mahal could have made for a decent short-term WWE Championship feud when the Scot was holding the title. Their time together in 3MB is enough foundation to get something out of that.
Sadly, the two men have struggled to get fans invested with their current storyline. Smashing a motorcycle and wrestling several handicap-match scenarios has felt more generic than exciting.
They're trying, but outside of McIntyre's passion and a few swings of his sword, this has become filler. That's especially true knowing they'll probably still be feuding come Extreme Rules next month when they'll fight in some sort of gimmick match, hopefully involving the sword.
For now, this is a bog-standard affair. With Veer and Shanky banned from ringside, McIntyre should get a measure of revenge against Mahal, even if he doesn't fully get the job done and has to go back to dish out more punishment.
Prediction: McIntyre wins.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: AJ Styles and Omos vs. RK-Bro
The pairing of Randy Orton and Riddle has been one of the most pleasant surprises in WWE this year.
Their odd-couple act (with their own twist to the dynamic) continues to be a hit. Things are red-hot for the unlikely team, so now is the time to capitalize on it and give them the titles.
It's a logical outcome for AJ Styles and Omos, too. The Phenomenal One shouldn't lose to just anyone and Omos is a juggernaut who should be protected, too. But Riddle is hitting a peak in terms of credibility, and Orton is tied with Triple H for second-most titles in WWE behind John Cena.
If RK-Bro isn't able to beat Styles and Omos, who could?
Prediction: Orton and Riddle win the titles.
Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie
The partnership between Eva Marie and Doudrop has been tenuous from the start. It's as if WWE wanted to skip straight to the split on the very first week instead of letting it develop over time.
After Marie slapped her on this past episode of Raw, Doudrop may be willing to cut ties as soon as SummerSlam. That may not even be a conscious decision, as Alexa Bliss has shown the ability to hypnotize her opponents on occasion.
Bliss has been featured regularly for months even when she's had nothing to do, meaning WWE is very fond of this gimmick. That must be particularly true now that Bray Wyatt has left the company.
In the long run, though, none of this matters. There are no stakes attached to this, so if Marie wins, it's just a point in her record book. But unless she's able to convince Doudrop to interfere and help her out, she will hit a snag.
Prediction: Bliss wins.
Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. John Cena
John Cena appears to be having a ton of fun back in WWE, but he's not going to stick around forever. Don't bet on The Summer of Cena stretching into October.
With that in mind, it's hard to imagine the belt will change hands. If The Cenation Leader was a regular member of the roster, it would be a different story and he'd more than likely capture his 17th world title, but this isn't 10 years ago.
The Universal Championship is firmly in The Tribal Chief's possession. Roman Reigns has been one of the most prolific Superstars in WWE history and beat Cena in their last encounter without even having the heel edge and willingness to cheat he does now.
Unless WWE wants to do a rematch where Reigns can win back the belt—assuming Cena has time in his schedule to work more dates—this should be another time when The Head of the Table leaves with the blue strap on his shoulder.
Prediction: Reigns retains.
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.