From the Podium

It's rare these days that WWE puts together a strong PPV card, but McMahon has booked a solid line-up for this Sunday. Summerslam is the second biggest event of the year behind Wrestlemania and is famous for big title matches and climactic storylines culminating. This year's Summerslam is the strongest I have seen since the 2002 edition. And so now I will give you my expert analysis of the matches and predict the winners. For those of you who want to be surprised by the results of the PPV, continue reading at your own risk.


1. Kane v. Finlay

This match was added to the PPV at the Smackdown tapings this past Tuesday. I knew one more match was coming but I'm surprised it was not MVP v. Matt Hardy. Anyway, undercard matches are almost always harder to predict. Both Kane and Finlay have been in a PPV drought as of late so both are due for a win. The winner will most likely be in a more high profile feud leading to next month's Unforgiven. Finlay seems to be languishing at the mid-card level right now, in need of a win, and Kane will always be over as a veteran, plus at least a couple of heels need to win at the event.

WINNER: Finlay


2. Rey Mysterio v. Chavo Guerrero

Returning superstars almost invariably get a win in their return match. The Rey-Chavo feud will probably continue for a while though. I could see Chavo gaining the win from a cheap shot behind the ref's back or an unseen foot on the ropes in this match, but Mysterio is a big fan favorite and his homecoming will likely be a happy one.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio


3. Diva Battle Royal

This is easily the most up in the air match. The only question is which diva does the WWE want to push? Women's champion Candice Michelle is a face so expect her next opponent to be a heel, and someone already on the RAW roster.

WINNER: Beth Phoenix


4. I.C. Title Triple Threat: Umaga v. Mr. Kennedy v. Carlito

This is a very strong match for the middle of the card. Any of these superstars is good enough to be intercontinental champion, but are some of them too over for that? I expect Carlito's rivalry with John Cena to continue after Summerslam, so he's not going to win this match. Mr. Kennedy, the illegitimate son of Mr. McMahon, is going to be pushed significantly in the coming months so an I.C. title reign is not out of the question. And then there's Umaga, who is surprisingly getting over as a face. This is a tough call, almost a coin flip. I expect Kennedy and Umaga to work a program together in the next month as speculation about Kennedy being Vince's son continues, so for now I think he'll be the one who is not involved in the pinfall in this triple threat.

WINNER: still intercontinental champion Umaga


5. ECW Championship: John Morrison v. C.M. Punk

This match is being hyped as the potential show stealer. I have no doubt that these two will put on a classic performance in the ring. C.M. Punk is definitely being groomed to be a champion and a lot of fans expect him to win the title this Sunday. But it is my opinion that when a champion, especially a heel champ, is really getting over, he should retain the title to further the fans' dislike for him. The fans will not be happy with the results of this match as I highly doubt we'll see a clean finish. It's a classic formula for two superstars to have a great match only for it to end with a cheap shot pin or a disqualification. Nothing will be settled after the match and their program will continue to headline ECW.

WINNER: still ECW champion John Morrison


6. World Heavyweight Championship: The Great Khali v. Batista

You don't have to be a genius to know that Khali cannot draw as the champ. He got the belt simply because Edge unexpectedly went down with an injury. Khali is a legitimate main eventer on Smackdown now, but he can't draw like Batista. Even with his limited charisma, people will pay to see the Animal, but won't pay to see the punjabi frankenstein. At least one world title will change hands at Summerslam, and this is the most likely one.

WINNER: new world heavyweight champion Batista


7. Triple H v. King Booker

This is a squash if I've ever seen one. Seriously, is there anyone in the world that actually expects Booker to win this match? Get real. Triple H's return was saved for the PPV to boost the buyrate so there's no way of him returning by jobbing. Expect the crowd to be very into this match, solidly behind Triple H, who will win in dominant fashion and begin his run back to the main event at Wrestlemania.

WINNER: Triple H


8. WWE Championship: John Cena v. Randy Orton

Summerslam's buyrate is entirely contingent on the main event. Recent years have featured main event feuds that were already stale like Cena-Edge from last year, or matches not utilizing the top superstars and focusing on other guys. But this year is a blockbuster. One on one title matches between superstars who have not fought before are huge sellers. Cena-Orton is the best Summerslam main event since Austin-Undertaker back in 1998, the peak of the Attitude Era. The crowd will be divided between Cena lovers and Cena haters, and a splicing of genuine Orton fans. A lot of people see Cena's 11 month title reign as being truly at risk for the first time because his opponent is someone who can actually work as a champion. But to determine the winner, you have to look ahead to what will happen after Summerslam. If Orton wins then his program with Cena would need to continue, essentially doing nothing to shake-up the rivalries for Unforgiven and leaving Triple H without a strong opponent. Everyone knows that HHH is going to work with Orton very soon, and their rivalry will be strong enough to be over without the WWE title being at stake. On the other side of things, Cena as champion can legitimize guys like Carlito and Kennedy as main eventers by working programs with them, but once Cena loses the belt his credibility goes way down. Despite recent rumors that Kennedy will face HHH at Wrestlemania, don't count on it. HHH-Cena at WM24 is the money match that everyone wants to see and can garner hype not seen since Rock-Austin. What would be the point of putting Orton so over by beating Cena only to tear it all down by having him drop the title to Triple H in the fall, and in the process taking the sizzle out of an epic HHH-Cena confrontation? The future booking reveals the victor in this match. Furthermore, Orton getting the better of Cena in the last couple weeks is historically a dead give away that he will lose the PPV match.

WINNER: still WWE champion John Cena


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