So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
1. Apollo Crews vs. Elias (Pre-show)
As pre-show matches go, this is a perfect example of exactly what we should be seeing. Two talented wrestlers get a chance to showcase what they can do without needing to put through a storyline and without needing to follow anything up. Neither would be on the show without this match and they both could use the exposure.
I have Elias here, mostly because I would say he’s the most promising talent with the best developed character at this time. That could change in future if Crews gets a little more involved in Raw.
2. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
As of Summerslam, I was expecting this to be the match in which, after losing at Summerslam, Balor bust out the paint for the win. Of course a match was then added to the Raw before Summerslam and thus the situation was sped up. If you ask me, what’s happened here is a potential question is being answered in advance.
Balor, despite being out of the UV picture, is still a member of Brock’s 7. He is due a title shot and as best I can see this is coming at TLC in October next month. If he had beaten Wyatt, in the paint, this month then surely he would also use the paint against Lesnar. However, he won’t be winning against Lesnar so that could potentially harm the paint gimmick.
A win for Balor, when man vs man against Wyatt, would mean that Balor goes into Lesnar confident that he don’t need no paint.
Wyatt has been lost in limbo for a while but this is mostly because his push hasn’t really started yet. Big moments are coming for him. These are not them.
Winner: Finn Balor
3. Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Bayley (Raw Women‘s Championship)
Well what a mess this has become.
Both Raw and Smackdown have a tendency to throw a few women together and call it a storyline. Meanwhile, everyone has a storyline running with Alexa Bliss, primarily because Alexa Bliss can essentially write her own storylines. Sadly, nobody has a storyline running with anyone else in this match.
With a lot of these wrestlers there is currently no storyline reason to have them as champion. Nia Jax is heavily rumoured to be winning the title purely so that she can lose it to Asuka but this would be bad booking for a first title reign. It would make far more sense for Alexa Bliss to retain the title and then lose it to Asuka given Bliss’ considerably higher star power.
A move on to Banks or Bayley is unlikely. If Banks were to win the title then there would have been no point in taking it off her after her win at Summerslam. If Bayley were to win then she has no feuds to move in to and she’s had very little exposure. Winning the belt won’t make people change their minds and love her again.
And then there’s Emma. She’s in the match too.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
4. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (Raw Tag Team Championships)
Looking at this one makes me realise just how much we’ve seen Sheamus and Cesaro since the brand split. They’ve been a constant, weekly presence, competing for the titles directly since Wrestlemania and claiming victories over every team to come through with the exception of Rollins and Ambrose. We could be about to see them win back the titles, only for another rematch at the next pay per view but, unlike Smackdown, there are other tag teams waiting in the wings.
Anderson and Gallows and The Revival are both credible contenders to Rollins and Ambrose, meanwhile Jeff Hardy’s injury rules out the only other face contenders for The Bar. With a full Shield reunion expected to take place soon, and Rollins vs. Lesnar coming, I’m confident of a face win.
Winner: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
5. The Miz vs. Jason Jordan (Intercontinental Championship)
At this point The Miz essentially is the Intercontinental Championship division. In the last few weeks the belt has been given a bit of love and it’s starting to feel like people want it again. Jason Jordan actively pursuing it is good even though he’s only doing so because he doesn’t like The Miz.
Is Jordan ready for the title? No. Will that stop WWE from putting the title on him? No. That said, the best way to build sympathy for a baby face just starting out is to line them up against a manipulative, lying, backstabbing heel.
This is the perfect chance for the first seeds to be planted of Miztourage dissension without going all out and having The Miz lose the title. Everybody wins if The Miz wins.
Winner: The Miz
6. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
John Cena is due off to Hollywood again, as usual. Roman Reigns is the top guy in the company.
Winner: Roman Reigns
7. Neville vs. Enzo Amore (Cruiserweight Championship)
As things stand at the moment, I expect Enzo Amore to be the next Cruiserweight Champion. However, I do not expect Enzo Amore to be a face champion when that happens and that is why I can see Neville retaining here.
Since moving to the Cruiserweights, a couple of differences have been brought in for Enzo. Particularly his willingness to cheat to win. Given how much he’s been beaten up recently this character change makes perfect sense and his frustration at repeated losses will undoubtedly result in a full fledged heel turn in the not too distant future. A feud with Neville over a couple of months would certainly add to these developments.
Neville is probably one of the most dominant performers on the roster since moving to the Cruiserweights. Part of this is booking that has avoided making use of the old heel trope that a loss by disqualification will add to your heel alignment. Instead. Neville usually wins by a cheat like a rake to the eye or interfering with the referee so I predict a win for the champion Neville.
8. Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman (Universal Championship)
Nobody’s taking that belt until Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Braun might be a legitimate contender but next month Finn Balor is most likely to be a legitimate contender too. One thing I think they will give Braun though is a kick out of the F5.
Lesnar starts afire, hitting suplexes and wearing Braun down. Finally hits an F5 but Braun kicks out. There begins a period of dominance by Braun involving tables and power clams, but Brock kicks out himself before hitting one more F5 and putting the monster away.
I’d watch that.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
I’ll see you for another live Twitter session during No Mercy 2017.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: WWE SUMMERSLAM 2017 PREDICTIONS – Tom Gets it Wrong: Lesnar vs. Braun vs. Reigns vs. Joe, Nakamura vs. Jinder, Owens vs. Styles