The main event is SummerSlam, which takes place Sunday (7 p.m.) at the sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SummerSlam includes six championship matches and several featured feuds.
The main event for SummerSlam features Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, whose paths haven’t crossed since their first year in WWE. Let’s hope Orton’s shoulder has recovered enough to survive a trip to suplex city. The last thing Orton wants after returning from a nearly 9-month absence is to be sidelined for another extended period of time. Opponents have worked on Orton’s shoulder in several matches since his return, so expect the shoulder to be a focal point for Lesnar.
The buildup for this match has been exceptional. Paul Heyman built up Orton, but then said that Lesnar is on another level and will destroy him. Lesnar has been dismissive of Orton, saying the he – along with everyone else – is not in his league. Orton is selling the idea that he only needs to hit one RKO to beat Lesnar.
The Greek God of Wrestling thinks that Orton, while taking a beating, will get in more offense than may expect. He will eventually hit the “RKO out of nowhere” – but Lesnar will kick out. Unless there is an interference or distraction from Bray Wyatt, I think Orton will pull off the upset.
The other big match without a championship involved pits John Cena against A.J. Styles. Like the Lesnar-Orton match, there is intrigue because either wrestler could win. Cena could use a big win. On the other hand, a Styles victory could elevate him to the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Dean Ambrose will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler. A title change isn’t completely out of the question, but Achilles Heel expects Ambrose to retain the championship. As with the Lesnar-Orton match, interference by Wyatt, who has played a role in the Ambrose-Ziggler feud for several weeks, is a possibility.
In what should be an exceptional match, Seth Rollins battles Finn Balor for the WWE Universal Championship, which will be the top title on RAW. Balor’s “Demon King” persona was introduced to the wider WWE audience during this week’s RAW. The Greek God of Wrestling expects Rollins to win, although one could argue that having the title would mean more to Balor in terms of elevating him in the eyes of the fans.
The outcome of the Rollins-Balor match could be affected by the United States Championship match between Rusev and challenger Roman Reigns. If Rusev retains his title, it’s less likely that Rollins will win because then heels would hold RAW’s top two titles. The Greek God of Wrestling fears that Reigns will win. Rusev’s has been terrific as U.S. champion, and it would be a shame to see his momentum derailed.
Achilles heel expects Sasha Banks to retain the WWE Women’s Championship against Charlotte. On the other hand, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are likely to end The New Day’s tag team championship reign one year after they won the titles. New Day is not as good with Xavier Woods replacing the injured Big E. Expect The Miz to find a way to retain the Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews.
The tag team match between the newly formed team of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens and the team of Enzo Amore and Big Cass could go either way. Amore and Big Cass have a future as a team, so they should win – unless we’re going to get the start of Cass getting upset that Amore is costing them victories, feeding into Owens’ accusation that Amore is dead weight holding back Cass.
Cesaro and Sheamus kick off their best-of-seven series in what will definitely be a hard-hitting match. Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi should defeat Natalya, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie, who has yet to have an actual match since joining Smackdown.
With the top five or six matches almost being “can’t miss” in terms of quality, SummerSlam should be an excellent event.
NXT TAKEOVER: One night before SummerSlam, NXT takes over Barclays Center, if you’ll pardon the expression, with NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, which takes place Saturday (8 p.m.) and can be seen WWE Network. Samoa Joe defends the NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event. Joe has a chip on his shoulder because he feels as if he had to jump through hoops to get a title shot while Nakamura has a title shot after only a few months in NXT. A victory by the charismatic Nakamura would pop the crowd, but the Greek God of Wrestling has a feeling that Joe will retain the title in what should be an extremely physical match.
Bayley, who defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship in a match-of-the-year candidate in this event last year, tries to recapture that magic by regaining the women’s title from Asuka at this year’s event. Achilles Heel thinks she gets the job done.
Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa challenge The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) for NXT Tag Team Championship. The belts could change hands, but Achilles Heel thinks Dawson and Wilder will retain, with a tease of discontent between Gargano and Ciampa, building upon Gargano’s win over Ciampa in the Cruiserweight Classic.
Bobby Roode should be victorious in his NXT television in-ring debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas. Ember Moon, a female wrestler also making her NXT debut, will defeat Billy Kay. It’s less certain that Austin Aries will find a way to beat No Way Jose.
The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t know if this year’s show can match last year’s outstanding NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, but this still should be an entertaining event.
HONOR IN VEGAS: The big wrestling weekend kicks off with Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV” pay-per-view on Friday from Las Vegas. The main event features Jay Lethal defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Adam Cole. Lethal, who has been champion for more than a year, had his head shaved by Cole earlier this summer. The winner will face the loser, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito in four corner survival match on Sun., Aug. 27 at “Field of Honor” at MCU Park in Brooklyn. A No. 1 contenders tag team gauntlet match, with the winner receiving a title shot the same night against whoever holds the tag team titles, will also take place in Brooklyn.
The Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship will up for grabs at Death Before Dishonor, with the Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defending the titles in a triple threat match against the team of Michel Elgin and Tanahashi and the team of Naito and Evil. Mark Briscoe will challenge Bobby Fish for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship. There will also be a World Television title No. 1 contenders four-corner survival match involving Lio Rush, Jay White, Kamaitachi and Donovan Dijak.
Other matches at Death Before Dishonor include Dalton Castle vs. IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada in a non-title match, Jay Briscoe vs. Hangman Adam Page, and a six-man tag team match between Chaos (Rocky Romero, Beretta, Toru Yano) and Bullet Club (Yujiro, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa). There will be a television taping in Las Vegas the following day.
RHODES ‘EVOLVES:’ Ring of Honor isn’t the only organization holding a big event on Friday. EVOLVE will host an event in Joppa, Md (8 p.m.), the same night as Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV.” One main event features Timothy Thatcher defending the EVOLVE championship against Matt Riddle in a no holds barred match. The co-main event, and perhaps the most anticipated match, pits Zack Sabre Jr. against Cody Rhodes, who will be making his first in-ring appearance since departing WWE.
Other matches include WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight matches between Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, and T.J. Perkins and Cedric Alexander. All four of those wrestlers won their first-round matches in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. Nese and Alexander turned in strong performances in losing efforts in the second round. Perkins and Gulak will appear in second-round matches Wednesday against Johnny Gargano and Sabre, respectively. The matches have already been taped, but, as you may know, the Greek God of Wrestling despises spoilers.
Rhodes will also be part of an EVOLVE event Saturday (3 p.m.) in Brooklyn, which is where NXT: Takeover takes place later than night and where SummerSlam will take place that Sunday. Rhodes, who will be available for pictures and autographs before the event, will face Chris Hero. Thatcher, if he’s still champion, will defend the EVOLVE Championship against Gulak. Sabre will meet Alexander in a WWE Cruiserweight Classic spotlight match. Drew Galloway and Ethan Carter III, who are building a rivalry in TNA, will be on the same side in a six-man tag team match.
The fact that EVOLVE is billing these matches as WWE cruiserweight spotlight matches, which demonstrates its working relationship with WWE, makes Rhodes’ appearance at this event – in the same city as NXT and SummerSlam – even more intriguing.
CHIKARA BACK IN PHILLY: For those who prefer to remain in the Delaware Valley this weekend, CHIKARA returns to Philadelphia for “No One’s First, and You’re Next” on Sunday (3 p.m.) at The Wrestle Factory. Grand champion Hallowicked leads Team Hallowicked against Team Fire Ant.
The two-out-of-three falls match for the Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team championship) Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr.) and N_R_G (Hype Rockwell and Race Jaxon) has been changed to a double-elimination title match that also includes the teams of the Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch) and Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven . The belts were held up after Los Ice Creams appeared to win the belts in Toronto in a match with a controversial finish.
Other matches include former Grand Champion Princess Kimberlee battling Heidi Lovelace, Eddie Kingston vs. Jakob Hammermeier, The Big Deal (led by the former Hornswoggle) vs. the United Nations in a six-man tag team match, Ophidian vs. Hermit Crab, and Oleg the Usurper vs. the wonderfully named Abonimous Rex, which plays off the genetically created Indominus Rex dinosaur from “Jurassic World.”
If you can’t get to the Wrestle Factory in person, CHIKARA has unveiled Chikaratopia, which is similar to WWE Network. A monthly subscription ($7.99) gives you access to CHIKARA’s video library and live events such as Sunday’s event in Philadelphia.
CRUISERWEIGHTS DELIVER: The Cruiserweight Classic continues to present interesting matches. During Wednesday’s show on WWE Network, Akira Tozawa bested Jack Gallagher in a fascinating contrast of styles. Words can’t do justice Gallagher’s style. Achilles Heel will simply say you should check out the match to see why the fans loved Gallagher.
Briand Kendrick defeated Tony Nese in a terrific match to Tozawa in the quarterfinals. The story is that Kendrick, knowing this may be one of his final shots at glory, wants to win so badly that he will bend the rules to secure a victory. Nese was outstanding as well. Achilles Heel almost felt bad for Noam Gar, whose win over Hoho Lum didn’t measure up to the other two second-round matches on the show.
Kendrick will face Kota Ibushi, coming off his classic victory over Cedric Alexander in the best match of the tournament (so far), in the quarterfinals. Tozawa’s quarterfinal opponent will be Gran Metalik, who defeated Tajiri on last week’s show. Gar, the youngest competitor in the tournament, will be the underdog in the quarterfinal against the winner of next Wednesday’s match between Drew Gulak and Zack Sabre, Jr. Other second-round matches next Wednesday (8 p.m.) will pit Johnny Gargano against T.J. Perkins, and Lince Dorado against Rich Swann.
BAD RELATIONSHIP DAY: Both Alberto Del Rio and Paige were suspended 30 days on Wednesday for a first violation of WWE’ wellness policy. Del Rio and Paige, who were separated by last month’s draft, are having on off-screen relationship.
Paige has been sidelined with an injury. On the other hand, Del Rio has had a pair of high-profile matches against Randy Orton and John Cena the past two weeks on Smackdown and appeared to be putting the failed League of Nations behind him. Del Rio’s match with Cena was particularly good, but now his momentum will be stalled by the suspension.
PIECE OF THE ROCK: Has anyone else noticed that Roman Reigns’ vocal delivery sounds increasingly similar to his cousin, The Rock?
BEARER OF BEARD NEWS: Roman Reigns, who returned from a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy with a full beard, returned to the more familiar goatee on RAW this week. Meanwhile, RAW general manager Mick Foley has died the gray portions of his beard black. Come on, Mick! Leave the gray.