Predicting Who Will Hold Each Championship at WWE SummerSlam 2022April 17, 2022
Predicting Who Will Hold Each Championship at WWE SummerSlam 2022
The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 38 have already been checked off for 2022, but the next of the Big Four WWE pay-per-views will be on the horizon soon, with SummerSlam heading our way July 30.
As 'Mania usually proves, holding a championship is one of the best ways to get booked on the card, so anyone who doesn't want to miss The Biggest Party of the Summer should have gold on their mind.
However, there are still more than three months to go. Not every champion holding a title will be able to retain their belt before then, but holding gold also puts a target on your back.
Judging by how things are playing out, combined with some educated guesswork, let's gaze into our crystal ball and try to predict which Superstars will be holding titles heading into SummerSlam this year.
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
Only a fool would expect anyone but Roman Reigns to still hold the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Shy of being injured and forced to relinquish the titles, nothing is going to stop The Tribal Chief from staying on top for the foreseeable future.
At the very least, he'll hold the Universal Championship. WWE could split the titles sometime before July 30 to allow the WWE title to be more present on Raw, while keeping The Tribal Chief as the top draw on SmackDown.
It remains to be seen how his unified title defenses will be approached and if he and WWE can keep up with the travel schedule and creative demands of booking him on two shows a week for the benefit of the broadcasters.
If Reigns does lose one of the belts, Cody Rhodes is a solid a pick to win it. But it's more than likely that WWE will still be riding high with The Head of the Table as the dual champion with no one else measuring up to take either belt from him.
Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championship
It's starting to look like RK-Bro won't be Raw tag team champions much longer now that The Usos have a mission from their cousin, Reigns, to unify the tag team belts like he did with the world titles.
Since this division has often been overlooked by WWE and there is a precedent WWE the Women's Tag Team Championships being co-branded, it's looking ever more likely the same will happen to the men's division.
Having one set of titles defended on both Raw and SmackDown allows WWE Creative to play around with swapping Superstars. It allows for more variety in contenders, too, and only one story needs to be created at any given time.
That seems too tempting for WWE to pass up. The Bloodline will look stronger than ever if they hold as many titles as possible, so expect The Usos to not only retain the SmackDown titles until SummerSlam but also pick up the Raw belts along the way.
Raw Women's Championship
It would be ridiculous for WWE to book Bianca Belair two years in a row to win a title at WrestleMania and drop it at SummerSlam. The major criticism of her first run was that she didn't have longer to sink her teeth into being champion.
Hopefully, WWE has learned its lesson and will keep the title in her possession beyond SummerSlam.
She'll have some bumps along the way with Sonya Deville, a likely rematch with Becky Lynch and possibly a feud with a heel Rhea Ripley, but The EST of WWE should still be Raw women's champion come July 30.
That will be against one of her toughest opponents before the WWE draft shakes up the roster in early fall and allows for fresher opponents on the Road to WrestleMania 39.
SmackDown Women's Championship
There is no way WWE signed Ronda Rousey to a sizable contract just to bring her back as a part-time performer who wins the Royal Rumble, fails at WrestleMania and makes sporadic appearances here and there.
Her rematch with Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania Backlash on May 8 will be when she captures the SmackDown Women's Championship. It's an I Quit match and her entire gimmick is The Baddest Woman on the Planet. She won't be tapping out and begging for mercy.
Once Rousey wins the title, it will be a while before she loses it. WWE has shown with Brock Lesnar and even The Baddest Woman of the Planet herself that a title run can be stretched out for months with only a few defenses.
A rematch with Flair at Hell in a Cell takes her to June 5, with SummerSlam less than two months beyond then, which is enough time to set up another challenger.
SummerSlam would be the earliest time Rousey would drop the title but not before then.
United States Championship
Be it scoring a pinfall or just getting the better of him in a fight, Theory has scored numerous wins over Finn Balor in recent months.
It's become such a theme that even while the Irishman was feuding with Damian Priest, Theory winning the United States Championship felt guaranteed.
This should come to pass on this upcoming episode of WWE Raw, when the belt is finally on the line.
Strangely, Theory getting his first name removed is a good sign for his future. That means WWE is invested in him enough to care about how fans would react to hearing the name "Austin" on a regular basis again.
After being associated with both McMahon and Stone Cold at WrestleMania 38, Theory has been prominently featured and shouldn't just fade into obscurity. A great way to ensure that doesn't happen is if he's holding a title.
And since Balor comes off as a transitional champion just meant to get it off Priest and do nothing else with it, now is the time to give the belt to Theory.
Ricochet has not been positioned as a great intercontinental champion. Despite being the No. 2 babyface on SmackDown, being left off the card for WrestleMania while holding a title doesn't bode well for his future.
Had he been at least given a decent storyline for his match against Los Lotharios on the blue brand, it might not have come off so bad. But since this pseudo-feud was rushed in one night just for the sake of doing "something" with the belt that week speaks volumes.
Since Ricochet isn't strong on the mic, WWE can sideline him but it's an issue that is magnified as a champion. It's harder to tell stories with people who don't cut lots of promos.
There is no doubt The One and Only will be dropping the belt sometime before SummerSlam. It's easier to book feuds when a heel is champion, as the story defaults to how they cheat to retain and the fans lust for a babyface to dethrone them.
Gunther is the favorite at the moment. He is clearly on a destructive path, and we know from his time in NXT UK that he can hold a title for a long time. Sooner or later, he'll swat Ricochet out of the sky and win the gold.
Giving him this championship keeps him away from the world title and would make for a huge match down the road against Drew McIntyre for the Intercontinental Championship, possibly at WrestleMania 39.
Women's Tag Team Championship
After a dozen champions had been crowned, the average title reign length for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship is around 95 days. So, Sasha Banks and Naomi are only two weeks into their run and still have a while left to go.
History has shown that the women's tag team champions are often Superstars who WWE Creative has nothing else in mind for.
Banks and Naomi are babyfaces who would be out of their element facing Bianca Belair or Ronda Rousey. Even if Flair retained the SmackDown Women's Championship, both have feuded with The Queen enough to render another rivalry less than thrilling.
For the coming months, The Boss and The Glow will continue to beat teams like Liv for Brutality, Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. and others until WWE is ready to split them for singles purposes. But that won't happen until after SummerSlam.
Heaven help anyone who tries to figure out what WWE has in store for the 24/7 Championship, as it has been clear from the start that this title means nothing to the company.
Considering how little thought goes into even the biggest angles these days, there is no way WWE plans ahead for this belt.
Lately, the title has revolved around Tamina hunting down Dana Brooke, while Akira Tozawa and Reggie are entangled in romances and R-Truth pops up as the fifth wheel. More focus is being put on the relationships than the titles, and the forthcoming double wedding illustrates that.
That will inevitably be a disaster. Several title changes will probably happen during the ceremony, and WWE will have moved on well past this storyline come the summer.
All that is certain is that the title will stay on Raw as it is more associated with the USA Network, and it won't be wasted on big names such as AJ Styles, Seth Rollins or Bobby Lashley.
R-Truth is as safe of a bet as any, since the 24/7 belt is his baby, but for the sake of variety, a dark-horse pick would be Ezekiel, who seems poised to be the next comedic focal point of the show.
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.