WWE SummerSlam 2018 Preview

By: Brad Shepard

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Biggest Event of the Summer is coming this Sunday, on August 19th, as WWE’s 31st SummerSlam event emanates live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The show is stacked, with six hours of matches, including a musical performance.  The Kickoff Show begins at 5:00 PM ET and the main card begins at 7:00 PM ET, exclusively on PPV and the WWE Network.

Immediately following SummerSlam, BarnBurner will host a review show on its Fired Up network, available on 44 different platforms.

 

Kickoff Show

 

Rusev & Lana vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega (Kickoff Match)

Rusev, who was in the WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules, now finds himself on the Kickoff Show of WWE’s second biggest show of the year.

Almas and Vega are new to the main roster and need the credibility of a win versus a popular mid-card act.  For that reason, Almas and Vega need to win.

 

Raw Tag Team Champions The B-Team vs. The Revival (Kickoff Match)

The Revival have been one of the bigger main roster disappointments of those who have been promoted out of the NXT system.  A win, even on the Kickoff Show, would be a big momentum boost for them.

The B Team have worked themselves nicely into a niche mid-card comedy act, but they aren’t an act I would like to see have a lengthy title run.

The Revival need a convincing, clean win.

 

WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak (Kickoff Match)

Perhaps no match going into SummerSlam has less momentum than this one.

Alexander’s title reign has little to no buzz or momentum and Gulak sans his PowerPoint gimmick likely isn’t the next Cruiserweight to set the division on fire. 

Alexander needs to drop the title, but to someone other than Gulak – such as Mustafa Ali or Lio Rush.

 

Main Card

 

Elias to perform his greatest song at SummerSlam

Elias is one of the only larger-than-life characters in WWE and needs a marquee win.  He’ll be performing a song at SummerSlam instead, which should be entertaining, of course.  Who will interrupt Elias?  Only time will tell.

 

SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day

The Bludgeon Brothers title run has practically killed the Smackdown Live tag team division.  The same division that once thrived during the New Day and Usos rivalry.

The Bludgeon Brothers need to drop the tag team titles, but there are teams that need that rub more than New Day.

 

Finn Bálor vs. Constable Baron Corbin

Although this match is running the risk of too much exposure, Balor and Corbin have great chemistry in the ring and have done a nice job promoting their rivalry on social media.

Corbin is the answer to WWE’s need for a big, heel contender for the Universal Championship and for that reason, he should win.

 

United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy

Hardy is banged up and I think there’s plenty of business left to do with Shinsuke as the heel, squaring off against the babyfaces of Smackdown Down Live.  Nakamura is far more entertaining in the land of sports entertainment as a heel than a face.  I’d like to see him retain and move on to another feud.

 

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz

This is arguably the most anticipated match on the show – eight years in the making.  A natural story that tells itself.  Don’t expect a technical masterpiece, that’s not what this match is designed to be.  I expect a great story to be told in the ring.

 

SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat Match)

Carmella may be the champion but the big story being told is the jealousy among friends, Becky Lynch and Charlotte.

That jealousy could be furthered if Carmella loses her championship to Becky or Charlotte, which feels like the right move.

 

Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

This is arguably be the best match on the card, from an in-ring standpoint.  The added dynamic of Dean Ambrose should add intrigue to something we’ve already seen.

If Rollins beat Ziggler, WWE risks playing hot potato with the title, which is why Ziggler should retain.

 

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

This is a mismatch on paper, but Strowman’s monster character doesn’t need the Money in the Bank briefcase.

The briefcase gimmick better suits Owens, but a loss for Strowman makes his original briefcase win pointless.

 

Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey

This is another mismatch on paper.  This isn’t a match I would book unless Rousey was designed to win and go over strong.  As we move closer to the Evolution, it makes perfect sense to have the biggest star in the women’s division as champion.

 

WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

WWE’s second biggest show of the year features a WWE Championship match between two former Impact Wrestling stars.  For Samoa Joe, this would be the biggest win of his career, and for Styles, the continuation of a historic championship reign on Smackdown Live.  If Joe leaves SummerSlam as champion, he doesn’t have babyface contenders that are over enough to challenge him.  For that reason, now, Styles should retain.

 

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

This is arguably the most interesting match on the card, if only to see the finish.  In the context of the story, the only logical result is Roman Reigns winning.  However, with Lesnar’s final appearance for some time coming on the Raw after SummerSlam, nothing is guaranteed.  Especially with the Money in the Bank briefcase in play.