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So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
1. Akira Tozawa vs. Neville (Cruiserweight Championship Pre-show)
While it added a fair bit of flair to the encounter to have a title change on Raw leading into this, what possible purpose would there be in doing that if you didn’t plan to keep the title on Neville for a while longer? Tozawa could just have won the title at Summerslam in front of a lot more attention and that would then be our coronation moment.
Neville remains the only legitimate star of the division. Moments like that on Raw will help develop Tozawa but any feud that Tozawa has will glean practically no attention if it is not against Neville. However, should Neville go into a feud against someone like Gallagher or Rich Swann, people will then be watching because Neville.
2. The Miztourage vs. Jason Jordan & The Hardy Boyz(Pre-show)
The collapse of the Intercontinental title scene is really dragging The Miz down with it. Why is it that only one person in the entire company shows any interest in the title? It’s been more than a year and The Miz is the only person who cares. Ambrose didn’t even care.
This match is the victim of a few things going wrong. The Revival have left the Hardyz without an opponent and the build for Jason Jordan vs. The Miz just hasn’t been worthwhile. The faces won last week so I’m going with the heels this week. It’ll be good for Dallas and Axel to get a win under their belt.
Winner: The Miztourage
3. The New Day vs. The Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Championships Pre-show)
These two teams have been putting on great matches and yet here they are relegates to the pre-show to make room for Big Cass. Great. While the Smackdown tag title scene has been much improved lately, it is all down to a grand total of three teams. Whoever is coming in and attacking Breezango, which now looks like Authors of Pain (but could still be ReDragon) will undoubtedly shape this match. They’re likely to be heels, so New Day go over.
To be fair, this gives us two tag team feuds running at once, which is nothing to laugh at.
Winner: The New Day
4. John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
This match could either make or break Baron Corbin, and I’m not sure a win is going to make him any bigger than a loss would. Corbin’s character isn’t necessarily face or heel, it’s just a brutish brawler who likes to beat people up. Losing the briefcase and then being squashed by Cena could literally turn Corbin into the next Steve Austin.
That said, I’m not sure there’s too much to the rumours that Corbin is in the doghouse. I just think it’s perfectly in character for him to mess up a cash in. It’s also in his character to blame Cena. I’m thinking now is the right time for Cena to get beat up.
Winner: Baron Corbin
5. Naomi vs. Natalya (Smackdown Women‘s Championship)
I’ve been waiting for this match for a while given that the writing has been on the wall since mania. Naomi has been a poor champion and though her entrance keeps her appealing to casual fans Naomi has barely featured in the women’s division that she is supposedly the champion of.
For me, it’s simply Natalya’s time. She’s been built up slowly and surely, including showing that she consistently has Becky Lynch’s number and this should be his coronation, leading to a feud with Lynch before a Carmella cash in. There are a lot of options, including the Carmella cash in, but I really think Natalya deserves the win here.
6. Big Cass vs. Big Show
Big Cass has been better recently. I still don’t care about this match. Enzo has always annoyed me and I’d like to see him go away now. I actually agree with Big Cass completely. The rumour about Enzo turning heel too? Why? What’s the point?
Cass beats Big Show then moves out to something else. Maybe Jason Jordan or another low level face. I don’t know.
Winner: Big Cass
7. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens (US Championship)
This feud needs to end now. Owens needs to go up to the main event and AJ needs to lose the title to someone else fast so that he can also join that main event. Possible future US champions are quite numerous. Gable would be a great US champion. Rusev has already proven to be a good US champion and, of course, Jinder Mahal could drop from the WWE championship level to the US championship level where he would actually feel like he belongs right now.
While almost anything could work, and having Shane McMahon there is supposed to be important, I’m sure, I can see this being a dirty AJ win, allowing Owens to then kill time by throwing Owens against Shane McMahon.
Winner: AJ Styles
8. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
I was always expecting a clear Wyatt win, then Demon King followed by a Balor win to start off Finn Balor’s big push to Brock Lesnar. So the first match was on Raw, so what, the Demon King isn’t losing.
Winner: Finn Balor
9. Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Neither of these guys can afford a loss really, but people said that about the Seth/Joe and Seth/Wyatt feuds and Rollins lost both of them before going into one of the hottest stories in years. It all depends where they go next. So where is Orton going? No idea. Owens? Styles? I just don’t know.
So where is Rusev going? US title scene? Big random feud with Big E for some reason? These two feel very out of place on Smackdown because of how detached they’ve been from all other feuds. Rusev has had one feud since coming back and it’s with someone who just came back himself. Orton has been against Mahal since mania, essentially. These two need to move on and fast.
I really don’t know, but I think Orton got a win most recently so I’m going with Rusev.
10. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Ambrose and Rollins
There is a lot of star power in this match, particular from Rollins and Sheamus. Ambrose’s refusal to market himself has led to WWE putting these guys back together just to make him a draw.
Sheamus and Cesaro have been built huge recently to the level that neither would seem out of place in a feud with Lesnar or Reigns. With the way that the tag team scene on Raw has been diverted recently, having an implodable pairing take the belts might be the best way to move them on without burying Sheamus and Cesaro in the process.
Rollins and Ambrose
11. Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)
Please, please let Mahal finally lose that title. If Nakamura could then carry it to mania to face AJ that would also be great.
Mahal has nowhere to go from here with this title, really. He’s another one who feels separate from the rest of the roster. Dropping the title would allow him to get back involved in proceedings. The absence of a briefcase in play suggests a Nakamura win, even if he has to take down three henchmen to do it.
12. Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks (Raw Women‘s Championship)
Sasha Banks might be a last minute addition, but you have to ask yourself why Bayley was originally scheduled for this match. Having her lose a third straight match against Bliss, when she’s already getting booed, would be a nightmare. So she was supposed to win, right? So with that in mind, what was going to come next? A feud with Sasha.
The impending arrival of Ember Moon says a lot here. She would be an ideal opponent for the Nia Jax/Alexa Bliss axis but it doesn’t work out with a title belt. If Sasha wins, the feud with Bayley can still play out just with the title elsewhere.
Can Bliss get much bigger from beating Sasha? Hell yeah, she can. Will she then be as big as Charlotte Flair? Hell yeah, she will. Bliss has been on the rise since the moment she debuted and she is still far from stopping. It’s time for her to slow down a bit and give other people some time on our screens.
13. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
I’ve been sure since the week after Wrestlemania that Brock Lesnar is carrying this belt all the way to next Wrestlemania where he will then lose it to Roman Reigns. People don’t seem to realise that while this story ends in Reigns taking the belt, a lot of things happen along the way. Samoa Joe’s awesome push was part of this story. The same can be said of Strowman. A lot of other things will happen including The Shield reunion and Wyatt vs. Lesnar with Strowman in his corner.
Most of the coolest stuff this year so far is down to this storyline and I do not want them to divert from course now. Trust the process.
I’ll see you for another live Twitter session during Summerslam 2017.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST MONTH’S PREDICTIONS: WWE BATTLEGROUND 2017 PREDICTIONS – Tom Gets it Wrong: Mahal vs. Orton, Styles vs. Owens, Cena vs. Rusev