It’s time for the biggest party of the year! Or the Biggest Event of the Summer! Or something like that, right? I thought the biggest party of the year was my yearly Memorial Day party. Guess I’m wrong...

Anyhow, SummerSlam is lovingly considered one of the “Big 4” pay-per-views each year, and as such, WWE puts a ton of effort into promoting the show, as well as establishing quality feuds and exciting matches. This year definitely doesn’t look like it’s going to disappoint, either. Let’s run down the matches and offer up some predictions, shall we?

Preshow

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam for the United States Championship

This match was sort of thrown on last minute on Raw this week, after Rob Van Dam won a battle royal to become #1 contender. While I’m glad RVD is getting in the mix for a title pretty quickly (otherwise, why bring him in?) I don’t see him picking up the win here.

Ambrose is doing a wonderful job making the United States Championship seem like it’s the most important title, despite the negligent booking WWE has for all of their secondary titles. I believe WWE realizes the value they have in Ambrose and will be very cautious to keep him with that title until they are ready to pull the trigger and push him to a higher position on the card, either for the WWE Championship or, more likely, the World Heavyweight Championship.

Look for Dean Ambrose to retain, and hold on to the US Title for at least another month or two.

Winner: Dean Ambrose to retain the United States Championship

SummerSlam Main Card

WWE Tag Team Champions The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) vs. Mark Henry & The Big Show for the WWE Tag Team Championships

Ok. This isn’t a match. Yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a last-minute tag match thrown together, featuring The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defending their tag titles against The Big Show & Mark Henry. It’s not an official match yet, but between their open challenge, and the events occurring on both Raw and Smackdown, you can bet it’s going to happen.

So, I’m going on a limb here and calling it an official match.

That being said, this is clearly more of a way to get veterans Big Show and Mark Henry on one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year. The men have name value and because of their size and credentials, pose a reasonable threat to The Shield. However, WWE doesn’t usually keep around two big men as either faces, or heels, at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Show or Henry turn on the other, assisting The Shield in picking up the win and carrying Henry and Show through a feud that will last most of the fall. If I had to pick, I’d put my money on Show hitting Henry with a KO Punch and turning heel.

Winner: The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship

Natalya (w/ The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) vs. Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella & Eva Marie)

I hate that this is a match and the above tag match I predicted isn’t (yet), but Total Divas is doing really well for WWE in the ratings and the ladies do need a match. Since the best female workers in WWE are in a mixed tag match later in the show, I guess we might as well give the stars of Total Divas something.

This is going to be a total fluff match and probably will be nestled between CM Punk/Lesnar and Cena/Bryan. I honestly don’t care who wins, but if I had to pick, I’m going with Brie Bella because she’ll cheat, and it will make for better reality TV.

Winner: Brie Bella

Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & AJ Lee

This match could end up opening the show. All four involved have been doing really good work in the ring lately, even if the promos have been a mixed bag. I’m sure we’ll see some solid in-ring action from all four, but I think Ziggler will really step up and take pride in making Langston look like a million bucks.

Honestly, I think this match could go either way, but Langston needs the victory more than Dolph does, if there’s any serious intent to bring him up the card. AJ and Kaitlyn will be just fine, regardless of who loses here. It’s Langston, out of all four, that needs the push.

Winners: Big E Langston & AJ Lee

Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire Match

Let’s call a spade a spade - this is an Inferno Match, except you don’t have to burn anyone alive to get the victory. They’re using the flames to keep others out, apparently, and the match will be decided via pinfall. Good means of keeping Erick Rowan and Luke Harper out of the match, but honestly, didn’t we escalate this feud rather quickly?

Gimmick matches, especially rarely seen ones like this, should be kept as the final stage of a feud, when things have escalated so far out of control that the only way it can end is if there’s special stipulations keeping Wyatt’s Family out of the ring - a cage, lumberjacks, whatever. We went to rings of fire WAY too quickly.

Regardless...

Kane’s heading off to film See No Evil 2 pretty soon. Hate to say it, but he’s probably going to lose, and he’ll probably end up set on fire in some sort of costume gimmick. Or, he’ll win the match and get the crap beat out of him on Monday so he can take a short vacation.

I’m calling for Bray Wyatt winning this one. The new guy shouldn’t lose his first pay-per-view match anyhow.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

It has come to my attention that so far I’ve picked all heels to win. So, here’s the part where that starts to change.

Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow

For the most part, I’ve been impressed and pleased with the work these two have done with this feud thus far. It’s been silly here and there, with some ridiculousness, but both men are giving it strong effort and handling it well.

From a match perspective, I think it really depends on what they intend on doing with Cody Rhodes long-term here. If he loses another match, he’s back down in the lower mid-card, feuding with nobodies. If he wins, well, he gets some much needed credibility.

Let’s be honest here, Sandow’s character works on so many levels. He’s such a good heel and so brilliant on the mic that even a loss here won’t tarnish him long term. Plus, he has the briefcase, which is an immediate push to the main event, no matter what his standing is that day or week.

Cody needs this win. Let’s give it to him. Sandow will be perfectly fine.

I expect these two to put on a great back and forth match, and both men will turn up the intensity, but Cody picks up the win with the CrossRhodes.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship

Alberto Del Rio has really hit his stride ever since he turned back to a heel and won the World Heavyweight Championship from Dolph Ziggler a couple of months ago. He’s become one of the most hated superstars WWE has and his attack on his compadre, Ricardo Rodriguez, really pushed him over the edge, especially since Ricardo was so beloved by the fans.

So, let’s get this out of the way now, - Ricardo will have something to do with the finish of this match.

I think there’s a really good chance we will see Christian pick up the win here. Christian’s been doing really well lately, putting on great matches and proving he can be a valuable asset to the locker room. But the reason I think we’ll see Christian win is so Del Rio can step up to the WWE Championship tier, and so Christian can begin working with some up-and-coming stars. I’m looking forward to seeing Christian defend the second most important title in WWE, and month after month, knock down challengers while building credentials for the guy to finally take him down. Could it be Dean Ambrose two months from now? How about Damien Sandow at Survivor Series? Antonio Cesaro of Jack Swagger? Or, perhaps it’s the next Paul Heyman guy?

Giving Christian the win here, because both men have bigger things ahead of them.

Winner: Christian to win the World Heavyweight Championship

CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

Here’s the grudge match, here’s the fight of the show! CM Punk and Brock Lesnar is arguably the main event of this pay-per-view and feels just as important as Cena/Bryan. These two are going to pull out all the stops and we will have a brutal match on our hands.

Paul Heyman will definitely be a factor in the match and I feel like Punk is not done with Heyman by a long stretch. However, I’m pretty sure Brock will be taking another break after tonight, and we won’t see him and Punk cross paths for a while.

I’m torn on this one because I don’t think Punk will win, but I don’t think Brock will stick around short-term either. I do suspect that Paul Heyman might have a new henchman show up after the match (Matt Morgan? Makes sense on many levels.) and we will see Heyman continue to deal with Punk.

This match really could go either way. I’m thinking Punk wins - barely - and someone comes out after the match to destroy Punk and leave him lying, setting up the next step in the feud.

Winner: CM Punk

John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship (Triple H as special guest referee)

Way too much McMahon family drama in this match. Way. Too. Much. If you think for a second there won’t be some sort of McMahon interference here, you’re wrong.

Here’s what I expect - a great match, possibly the best one Cena’s had in years, coupled with Vince McMahon causing all sorts of crap. Triple H attempting to call it right down the middle. We will get a visual on John Cena tapping out to the Yes! Lock. We might even get Bryan pulling off the victory. And then, Randy Orton’s music will hit.

It’s pretty clear that Randy Orton will be cashing in the briefcase at Summerslam. It doesn’t matter who he pins. He’ll pin someone and walk away as the WWE Champion. Since this is a prediction article, I’ll make it official - WWE will really screw with the minds of the internet fans and give Daniel Bryan the win here, but Orton cashing in seconds later and he drops it almost as quick as he lost it at Wrestlemania 28.

But, it’s ok. Daniel Bryan is now in the main event scene, and he’s here to stay. We’ll see him feud for this title for the next few months, at least.

As far as Orton goes? Well, I’ll guess he’ll be Vince McMahon’s “Corporate Champion” for the next few months at least.

Winner: Daniel Bryan via tapout, only to lose seconds later to Randy Orton.

It’s gonna be one hell of a show, from top to bottom. Make sure you check out Bill Wentz’s and Daniel Tidd's predictions, and check back tomorrow for Jay Ciaravino’s and Shanna Harris’s picks as well!

We will have LIVE coverage of SummerSlam starting Sunday night and I will be live Tweeting during the show @RingRap. Thanks for reading!