SummerSlam 2013 predictions

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

With the 26th annual SummerSlam mere days away, WWE fans are buzzing about this year’s summer classic, which will feature not only three huge title matches, but also a Ring of Fire Match, a Mixed Tag Team clash and a much-anticipated battle of “The Best vs. The Beast.”

Who will leave Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center with victories at one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year? Join members of’s editorial staff for match-by-match predictions for Sunday’s massive event, and don’t forget to tune in and catch all the spectacular action, starting with a special hour-long Kickoff, which will stream live Sunday starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam (Kickoff Match)

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: RVD is one of the most decorated Superstars in history, but no amount of experience will help “The Whole Dam Show” when he goes up against The Shield’s Dean Ambrose, a Superstar that arguably embodies the rough-and-tumble spirit of RVD’s old Philadelphia stomping grounds more than anyone else on the roster today. Even without the aid of his fellow Hounds of Justice, the nefarious Ambrose will go to any means necessary to retain his illustrious title. WINNER: Ambrose

John Clapp: This intriguing first-time matchup will start the night off right, but which Superstar will be left holding the stars and stripes when all is said and done? “Mr. Kickoff” isn’t as catchy as “Mr. Pay-Per-View,” but it might be every bit as fitting come Sunday. WINNER: RVD

Alex Giannini: This might actually be the match I’m most looking forward to watching, as it’ll pit the explosive, high-impact move set of RVD against the methodical maneuverings of Dean Ambrose. After failing to claim the Money in the Bank contract, RVD needs to make a big impact soon. This is the match to do it. WINNER: RVD

Anthony Benigno: "Mr. Monday Night" could earn his first U.S. Title at the summer classic, but as long as Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns draw breath, Dean Ambrose ain’t losing. WINNER: Ambrose

Michael Burdick: As effective as United States Champion Dean Ambrose has proven to be on his own, with his Shield cohorts ready to rail the opposition at a moment’s notice, he is virtually unstoppable as titleholder. If only there was a No. 1 contender forged inside the confines of chaos, someone who rose to prominence and thrived in the sheer mayhem of ECW, someone ready for anything and everything. One, wait … WINNER: RVD

RVD: 3, Ambrose: 2

Natalya vs. Brie Bella

James Wortman: The Bella Twins might be the most devious Divas to ever set foot in a WWE ring, and it looks like their “Total Divas” co-star Eva Marie is picking up all of their nasty habits. Fortunately for Natalya, the Hart Dungeon graduate is bringing reinforcements in the form of the ferocious Funkadactyls. If Naomi & Cameron can keep Nikki and her fiery associate from intervening, Natalya should have no problem sealing a Sharpshooter victory. WINNER: Natalya

John Clapp: With all due respect to former Divas Champion Brie Bella, Natalya is on a hot streak, having made AJ Lee tap out on Raw. WWE’s first third-generation Diva is not only one of WWE’s most gifted all-around performers, but she’s also got a personal vendetta serving as motivation. WINNER: Natalya.

Alex Giannini: Natalya is one of the best technical grapplers in the business — and I don’t mean just in the Divas division, either. If Brie cannot avoid “The Queen of Harts’” submissions, this one is game over. WINNER: Natalya

Anthony Benigno: Natalya has quite a bit to prove in her tussle with “Total Divas” co-star Brie Bella, but Eva Marie lurking in the corner could be a potential X-factor. WINNER: Brie

Michael Burdick: When you’re taking on a Bella Twin, you’d better have "Hart" … or, more to the point, Neidhart. Third-generation grappler Natalya will square off with fellow “Total Divas” star Brie Bella this Sunday, and though the power of Twin Magic should never be taken lightly, the pink-and-black attack will once again rise above. WINNER: Natalya

Natalya: 4, Brie: 1

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

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman:  The outcome of this Mixed Tag Team Match is almost as unpredictable as an AJ Lee mood swing, but the real deciding factor in this unorthodox bout could very well be Kaitlyn’s former friend Layla, who has forged a strategic alliance with the Divas Champion. That stunning defection cost Kaitlyn a Divas Title victory that night, and it’s equally likely that Layla will make her presence felt at The Biggest Party of the Summer. WINNERS: Big E & AJ

John Clapp: When the fight’s fair, Kaitlyn has “The Black Widow’s” number. If the Big E/AJ tandem has any hope of winning, it hinges on Langston stepping up to the plate, big time. Unfortunately for them, The Showoff won’t allow that to happen. WINNERS: Dolph & Kaitlyn

Alex Giannini: This is a tough one. The unpredictability of AJ makes this match a toss-up, in my eyes. Still, I think both The Showoff and “The Hybrid Diva” are due, so I’m going with Team Ziggler. WINNERS: Dolph & Kaitlyn

Anthony Benigno: This battle of blondes vs. baddies has long been in the works; look for The Showoff to seal his split from AJ & Big E via a decisive 1-2-3 over his former crew. Oh, also: AJ’s totally getting speared again. WINNERS: Dolph & Kaitlyn

Michael Burdick: I ask ya, who doesn’t like a good Ziggler/Kaitlyn combo? Answer: Divas Champion AJ Lee. And if AJ ain’t happy, Big E Langston ain’t happy, and if Big E ain’t happy … well, everybody better get ready for "The Most Painful Party of the Summer." WINNERS: Big E & AJ

Dolph & Kaitlyn: 3, Big E & AJ: 2

Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: It’s always heartbreaking watching best friends go their separate ways … unless, of course, those friends are Team Rhodes Scholars. Then, it’s downright entertaining. After weeks of sneak attacks and mind games, it will all come down to one match at SummerSlam, and you’ve gotta give the advantage to Rhodes, who’s not only ready to humiliate the haughty “Intellectual Savior of the Masses,” but excel as a singles competitor once again. WINNER: Rhodes

John Clapp: Cody Rhodes has made clear it’s not sour grapes leading him into action — it’s pride. And as any ring observer knows, when a member of the Rhodes family believes his pride is on the line, that’s when he’s most threatening. WINNER: Rhodes

Alex Giannini: As we’ve seen time and again in WWE, fractured friendships lead to rocking rivalries. For his part, Cody’s managed to plant himself firmly under Sandow’s skin, but as he proved at Money in the Bank, the pompous Superstar will do whatever it takes to get a “W.” So, as much as it pains me to say, I’m going with Mr. Money in the Bank. WINNER: Sandow

Anthony Benigno: In this battle of gentleman and scholar, look for the jilted Cody Rhodes to pull out all the stops against Damien Sandow … and look for Mr. Money in the Bank to steal one from him again. WINNER: Sandow

Michael Burdick: The personal battle between Mr. Money in the Bank and former Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes is extremely intriguing — a match that represents the very essence of WWE’s future. And, it’s just one man’s opinion, but there is no way this ends in a pinfall or submission. WINNER: The WWE Universe

Rhodes: 2, Sandow: 2, The WWE Universe: 1

Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (Ring of Fire Match)

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: In many ways, Kane is a creature born of fire, his soul seared by a lifetime of devilish deeds. As for the presence of Bray Wyatt’s soul, well, the jury’s still out on that one, to be honest. The flames surrounding the ring for this Dante-worthy duel will likely prevent the twisted members of The Wyatt Family from entering the fray, but the group’s sinister leader has proven himself fearless. In his first one-on-one encounter in a WWE ring, Wyatt will establish himself as the true monster. Flame-broiled buzzard? Not on the menu. WINNER: Wyatt

John Clapp: Inside the WWE ring, Bray Wyatt is an unknown quantity, making this matchup supremely tough to call. Factor in the bizarre and dangerous environment, and even more questions abound. Nonetheless, Kane has the edge if for no other reason than his wealth of experience. WINNER: Kane

Alex GianniniAlthough Bray Wyatt has yet to compete in WWE, his very presence is disturbing enough to make him a legitimate threat to even The Big Red Monster. That said, Kane will be in the fire — and in his element — in the Ring of Fire Match. WINNER: Kane

Anthony Benigno: This ain’t gonna be a Johnny Cash love song when the monsters of WWE’s past and present collide, but Kane’s been too nice for too long. It’s Bray who’ll conquer in the flames this time. WINNER: Wyatt

Michael Burdick: It has surely been said many times before, but at the risk of being repetitious, let’s say it again: Kane really likes fire. It’s no secret and will certainly serve The Devil’s Favorite Demon well in this match. How does Bray Wyatt feel about fire? I don’t know. No one knows. And perhaps that’s the point. The terrifying head of The Wyatt Family is still a complete and total mystery. It will ultimately be that unknown element that gives him a fiery edge in the ironically chilling SummerSlam slugfest. WINNER: Wyatt

Wyatt: 3, Kane: 2

CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: It was one year ago at SummerSlam that Brock Lesnar nearly ended Triple H’s career in a bout that could only be known as “The Perfect Storm,” and the skies are looking similarly gray for CM Punk. The Best in the World might be the more agile and technically gifted of these two warriors, but The Beast Incarnate has the size advantage and sheer stopping power that will silence even The Voice of the Voiceless. Oh, and if you think Paul Heyman won’t be a factor in this showdown, you haven’t been paying attention. WINNER: Lesnar

John Clapp: CM Punk can hang with The Beast Incarnate way better than either Brock Lesnar or Paul Heyman suspects. Still, the size difference may be insurmountable. Look for Lesnar to show why, when he wants to be, The Best is The Beast. WINNER: Lesnar

Alex Giannini: There’s no way Punk can beat Brock. No. Way. And yet, I just can’t bet against The Second City Saint in a scrap. Though I don’t know how he’ll do it, my money’s on The Best to overcome The Beast. WINNER: Punk

Anthony Benigno: Tough as The Straight Edge Superstar is, it’s hard to imagine him slaying this beast. Still, it’ll take more than Brock and Paul Heyman expect to put the former WWE Champion away. WINNER: Lesnar

Michael Burdick: Brock Lesnar creates pure havoc anytime he gets near a WWE ring. Translation: Things are going to get messy when The Beast Incarnate locks horns with CM Punk. Despite that fact, The Best in the World is The Best in the World because he is The Best in the World. And when the smoke clears, that moniker will still be 100-percent secure. WINNER: Punk

Lesnar: 3, Punk: 2

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: After rolling up Alberto Del Rio for the three-count on the Aug. 9 edition of SmackDown, Christian put The Mexican Aristocrat on notice in a major way. Having severed ties with his sneaky personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, the solitary Del Rio will be wishing he had his friend on his side in Los Angeles, where the “Peeps” will celebrate the emergence of a new World Heavyweight Champion. WINNER: Christian

John Clapp: Even though Christian is perhaps the most perceptive competitor in the locker room and he holds recent victories over The Essence of Excellence, don’t be surprised if Alberto Del Rio ratchets up the intensity in this all-important contest. Simply put, few are better than an aggressive Del Rio. WINNER: Del Rio

Alex Giannini: Christian is one of the wiliest veterans on the roster, but Del Rio’s newfound (or is that, re-found?) mean streak is going to keep the title on the defending champion at The Biggest Party of the Summer. WINNER: Del Rio

Anthony Benigno: Del Rio has fallen twice to Captain Charisma already, which makes a three-peat almost a foregone conclusion. Almost. WINNER: Del Rio

Michael Burdick: In my estimation, Alberto Del Rio is one of the most underrated Superstars to ever win four World Championships. That being said, while ruthless aggression will take you far in WWE, charisma will take you that much further. Christian will not be denied in his mission for ONE … MORE …TRIP to the top of the mountain. WINNER: Christian

Del Rio: 3, Christian: 2

WWE Champion John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan

SummerSlam 2013 predictions

James Wortman: There’s a reason why Daniel Bryan is being recognized as the hottest Superstar in WWE right now, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fur on his face. The real question isn’t whether the mat technician can unseat John Cena as WWE Champion, but whether the scruffy challenger will pin The Champ or make him tap out. The beard is here, and he’s here to stay. WINNER: Bryan

John Clapp: The Champ’s toughness has never been in dispute, but Daniel Bryan’s out to prove he’s good for more than just a “tough fight.” Hubris won’t be John Cena’s downfall, but Bryan’s unparalleled technical savvy will be. Keep your eyes peeled for Bryan to apply a small package when Cena least expects it. WINNER: Bryan

Alex Giannini: Cena has a knack for walking away from huge pay-per-views adorned in championship gold, but Daniel Bryan is, arguably, WWE’s best in-ring performer since Shawn Michaels retired. Sure, Cena’s got the size advantage — and the big-match experience advantage — but I’m going out on a limb on this one. WINNER: Bryan

Anthony Benigno: Sorry Mr. McMahon, but Daniel Bryan takes it. Please don’t fire me. WINNER: Bryan

Michael Burdick: When the bell rings this Sunday, you can forget the facial hair makeovers, the 11 WWE Titles and all of the hype. And when it comes down to the actual match, John Cena has proven himself time and time again as one of most resilient titleholders in history. WINNER: Cena

Bryan: 4, Cena: 1

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