WWE SummerSlam 2017: Match-by-match predictions for the show

WWE’s second-biggest weekend of the year is upon us, and while that is usually cause for celebration among wrestling fans, there seems to be something lacking this year.

On paper, SummerSlam has some interesting matches. The Universal title match should live up to its main-event billing and there are other bouts that have at least garnered my intrigue.

However, the usual buzz surrounding SummerSlam doesn’t seem to be there. Maybe it is because there are two pay-per-views per month — one for Raw and one for Smackdown Live — and it prevents fans from building up the needed anticipation for a long period of time.

Whatever the reason, the anticipation just doesn’t seem to be there.

Lack of buzz or not, we still got a bunch of matches to predict for the big show:

WWE Universal championship – Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe

I was ready to predict that Lesnar was going to lose the Universal championship Sunday until I saw the Barclays Center’s tweet about his appearance for Raw the night after.

The tweet was eventually deleted, but we all know that means nothing in today’s age. Fans cannot simply un-see what they already saw.

In case you forgot, the big stipulation surrounding the match is that Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman will leave WWE if he were to lose at SummerSlam.

Regardless of that stipulation, I was picking against Lesnar. SummerSlam just felt like a good time for him to lose the title.

But the Barclays Center’s tweet quickly changed my mind. WWE is not above disregarding a stipulation, as it has done so many times in the past.

Remember when Vince McMahon was supposed to be gone from WWE forever after Fully Loaded 1999? Yeah, I don’t think that stipulation stuck.

But in this specific instance, if Lesnar is slated to appear on Raw the night after SummerSlam, it will be because he is still the Universal champion.

Prediction: Lesnar RETAINS the Universal championship

WWE championship – Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

With Baron Corbin’s Money in the Bank contract out of the way, the road seems to be clear for Nakamura to end Mahal’s reign as champion and begin his own.

Since I am picking Lesnar to retain his title, I believe the other top title will change hands.

Prediction: Nakamura WINS the WWE championship

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

Wrestling fans are almost unanimously picking Cena to win here because … it’s John Cena and he almost always wins.

But fans did the same thing when he faced Nakamura a couple of weeks ago and they all turned out to be wrong.

I think they will be wrong again, as I don’t think Cena will simply hoist Corbin up for an attitude adjustment and beat him like he has done so many others.

As a matter of fact, I don’t even think Corbin pins Cena. I don’t think there will be a finish to this match.

I think Corbin will be so enraged that Cena cost him his Money in the Bank cash-in that he will simply beat the daylights out of Cena and the match will be tossed out.

Prediction: There is no finish

WWE United States championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Shane McMahon is the special guest referee and will obviously play a factor in the outcome of the match.

If there is an Owens-Shane McMahon feud on the horizon then you have to imagine it will begin in earnest at SummerSlam.

If that is that is the case, Styles wins.

Prediction: Styles RETAINS the United States championship

WWE Raw Women’s championship – Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks

This should be a fine match, but I am picking Banks to lose at SummerSlam for the second year in a row, and third time in a row during this particular weekend overall if you count the inaugural NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.

I just don’t see SummerSlam as the time for Bliss to lose the championship yet.

Prediction: Bliss RETAINS the Raw Women’s championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s championship – Naomi (c) vs. Natalya

I believe part of the reason WWE had Corbin cash in before SummerSlam was to clear the way for Carmella to cash in her contract.

I know WWE has strongly hinted at Carmella cashing in at SummerSlam, which usually means that it is not going to happen, but I think it still makes sense for it to happen Sunday.

Before the cash-in, I believe Naomi will retain her title.

Prediction: Naomi RETAINS the Smackdown Women’s championship, but Carmella cashes in Money in the Bank

WWE Raw Tag Team championship – Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

I don’t see two-thirds of The Shield losing on this stage, so I’m going with Ambrose and Rollins.

Prediction: Rollins & Ambrose WIN the Raw Tag Team championships

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

We just saw these two faceoff Monday night, but that was just ordinary Balor.

On Sunday, however, we will see the demonic side of Balor, which I suppose will completely change the complexion of the match.

Since Balor will don the demon paint, I’m going with him to win.

Prediction: Balor def. Wyatt

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

I honestly have no care in the world for this match, but I’m going with Orton to win.

Prediction: Orton def. Rusev

Big Show vs. Big Cass

Even with Enzo Amore being suspended high above the ring in a shark cage I still don’t care to see this match.

I’m going with Big Cass to pick up the victory.

Prediction: Big Cass def. Big Show

Kickoff match – WWE Smackdown Tag Team championship – The New Day (c) vs. The Usos

These teams put on such a great performance at Battleground that I almost feel bad that this has been shoved to the kickoff show.

The optimistic view is that The New Day and The Usos will have plenty of time to put together another instant classic on the kickoff, which might not be the case if they were on the main card.

When it is all said and done, I believe The New Day will hold on to the titles.

Prediction: The New Day RETAINS the Smackdown Tag Team championships

Kickoff match – WWE Cruiserweight championship – Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville

I don’t see a reason to put the title back on Neville so soon, but I would not put it past WWE to do just that and have the rubber match take place on an upcoming episode of 205 Live.

I hope that is not the case, which is why I am going with Tozawa.

Prediction: Tozawa RETAINS the Cruiserweight championship

Kickoff match - The Hardy Boyz & Jason Jordan vs. The Miz, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel

The good guys won on Raw and I think they'll win again Sunday.

Prediction: The Hardy Boyz & Jordan def. The Miz, Dallas & Axel

Vaughn Johnson has a podcast with Nick Piccone called the Straight Shooters on WildfireRadio.com. Check it out here HERE.