The thirty-second edition of WWE’s summer blockbuster makes its second trip to Toronto. There are ten official matches on the card with a few more rumored. The big story in WWE right now is the mystery surrounding the attacks on Roman Reigns. There is no match scheduled for Reigns, which is weird considering he’s the company’s flagship star. We will most likley see some development in angle. Possibly, the identity of the assailant will be revealed within this scheduled action pack night of wrestling.
Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan: Cruiserweight Championship
Squared circle purgatory aka 205 Live hardly gives any of the talented cruiserweights their just due. From a technical standpoint, this could be the best match of the night. It will probably be a mat wrestling affair as opposed to the aerial assault most think of when it comes to cruiserweight action. Unfortunately, it’s likely spot on the pre-show coupled with a poorly featured division will make even fewer people care about the end result. Such a shame.
Winner: Drew Gulak
Bayley vs. Ember Moon: SmackDown Women’s Championship
Two babyfaces going at it in a match where the champion Bayley chose Ember as her opponent. If they are given time, we could have a perfect match on our hands. I have no doubt Ember Moon will hold multiple titles and be the star of the women’s division someday. This Sunday is not that day.
Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt
This is an example of the story being more important than the match itself. Bálor’s role here isn’t to convince the crowd that he can win but to help get over Wyatt’s new masked persona dubbed “The Fiend.” No way Bray loses this one…Yowie Wowie!
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair:
This match was made one week ago. That is hardly enough time to promote a generational match. The arena in Toronto was sold out months in advance, which means there was no need to bring in Trish Stratus for a late ticket sale push. It’s cool that this match is happening. However, it was thrown together at the last minute and doesn’t have the build a generational match deserves. Trish has stated on social media that this is her final match, which means she is expected to lose. However, Trish retained the women’s championship when she retired at Unforgiven in 2006, which also occurred in Toronto. Could lightning strike twice? Unless the plan is to do multiple matches, Charlotte will style and profile her way to victory.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet: U.S. Championship:
Man, this has to be the odds on favorite to win match of the night honors. Hell, it could win match of the year if they are given enough time. It also depends on what the storytelling object is here. The recently reformed stable, The Club, now called The O.C., is a focal point of Monday Night Raw. All three members, Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows, are wearing gold around their waist. Ricochet is exceptionally talented and was being featured as a hot new act until WWE inexplicability slowed things down when he lost the U.S. title to Styles.
Is WWE more concerned with getting over Ricochet as a new star, or, do their priorities lie in establishing The O.C. as a significant threat in WWE? The answer to that question will provide insight as to who wins on Sunday. I can see Ricochet getting a post-match beat down following a victory over the champ. I’m wearing my booking hat and its telling WWE to give this match thirty minutes, have Ricochet go over in what will hopefully be an epic encounter and while thwarting any interference along the way.
I’m an AJ Styles guy. So, you know that it was hard for me to write.
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler:
Ziggler has been insulting legends of the squared for weeks now. He’s mentioned Shawn Michaels and Goldberg by name and this Sunday, Goldberg answers the call. Ziggler is an outstanding worker; however, it’s been clear for a while that WWE has no plans of highlighting him in a prominent role. Fans have caught on to this, which is why many are lukewarm when it comes to anything to do with Ziggler. Goldberg and Undertaker had an atrocious match at Super Showdown in June. Undertaker got his make good match last month. Goldberg gets his on Sunday. While it would be cool to Ziggler superkick Goldberg coming in for the spear, Goldberg running through “The Showoff” is the only way this match should go. It’s what Goldberg does best and it what the fans want.
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens:
Kevin Owens has vowed to quit if he loses to Shane McMahon. It was the only way Shane would agree to the match. The problem is, WWE never follows through on career storylines. This match will be a brawl all that goes all over the place with tons of outside interference. Shane McMahon will do his top rope elbow drop through the announce table and Owens will hit a lot of superkicks. WWE is turning Kevin Owens into Stone Cold Steve Austin 2019 minus the beer. The stunner is his new finishing move, and that is how I see him winning on Sunday.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya: Raw Women’s Championship – Submission Match
Did you know that Natalya has only held the title two times over the eleven years she has been in WWE? Kind of shocking to think about, however, Natalya is often the person who makes people look good rather than being featured as the star. Becky Lynch has been stone-cold since she was the hottest act in the company going into WrestleMania. A feud with an incredibly green Lacey Evans will do that to anyone. The booking of Becky Lynch is getting back on the right track. I expect a pro-Natalya crowd in Toronto on Sunday. Becky could lose the title, thus setting up her chasing Natalya going into the fall.
I would like to see Natalya win this match. It would make for a feel-good moment in what WWE has dubbed “bizzaro land.” Then, all can go back to normal once they are back in the states where Lynch is the hero of the day. From a business perspective, I can’t see Vince making the call for Becky to lose since she is the cover star (with Roman Reigns) of WWE 2K20 video game. Becky is front and center in their multimillion-dollar ad campaign that just started, and she’s the star of the game’s trailer. This will be a good match, the crowd is going to make it better.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton: WWE Championship
Only in professional wrestling can real-life backstage drama to fuel a televised story. In 2009, Randy Orton wrestled Kofi Kingston in a match where Kofi was supposed to take Orton’s new finisher, The Punt. Kofi forgot and stayed in position to receive Orton’s previously established RKO. Orton tried to direct Kofi to get into position for the new move, but Kofi wouldn’t budge. An angry Orton snatched Kofi’s head, drilled him with an RKO and repeatedly called him stupid. Reportedly, Orton, mad over the botch, used his backstage clout to halt Kofi’s push, which is why he hadn’t had a whiff of the main event scene until WrestleMania in April.
Kofi Kingston is amid a feature role that was never meant for him. Ali, the newly minted star who the part was intended for, received a broken orbital bone due to kick from Randy Orton. Ali took time off for surgery, and Kofi was given the spot. Kofi made the absolute best of a great opportunity. I believe Kofi has prospered in the role more than Ali would have. While Ali is talented, Kofi is more popular and has tenue with the audience. Once the unthinkable of Kofi getting the belt became a real possibility, fans vehemently supported the idea. Orton being responsible for Kofi’s newfound fortune is art imitating life, and a better story than any of the writers could have developed.
Last year at this time, neither man was on the card due to injury. What a difference a year makes. Randy Orton can have great matches when he’s motivated. Orton has had some of his finest outings at past SummerSlam events. Kofi hasn’t had a standout performance since his match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. I feel bad for saying that because it implies his reign has been lackluster, when in fact, he’s been booked stronger than most past champions who lose more than they win. Kofi has been a consistently good performer as champion but is due for another marquee match.
SummerSlam is often the time where WrestleMania made champions lose their titles. Randy Orton did it once in 2004. However, I don’t see him doing it again this year. Orton as champion is old news. The fans are still behind Kofi, meaning there is more juice to squeeze out of his current run on top. If both wrestlers have put their tumultuous past behind them, I can easily see them putting on a show-stealing match. Kofi is super talented, and Orton’s ring psychology could be the recipe for something unique. In the end, Orton ultimately falls victim to Trouble in Paradise.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins: Universal Championship
STRAIGHT SAVAGE MODE: I didn’t care about this match going into WrestleMania and I certainly don’t care about it now. WWE is telling the same story going into the same match as they did before. Hell, it even has the same friggin’ hook. “How can Seth Rollins possibly slay the best incarnate?” Give me a break. The only difference this time around is that WrestleMania was expected to be Lesnar’s last night in the company. This time around, Lesanr isn’t leaving anytime soon.
Winner: Brock Lesnar