SummerSlam takes place Sunday August 11, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto with a capacity of 19,000 to 20,000 people. There are ten matches announced for the event (including the Kickoff Show) and one of the previously announced matches was moved to this past week's SmackDown (Aleister Black vs. Sami Zayn) leaving room for intrigue and anticipation as to what may happen at this year's event. SummerSlam 2018 had 13 total matches (including the Kickoff Show) which is making fans ask the question "what is going to happen at SummerSlam?" Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker, The Revival, The Usos (not allowed in Canada), Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre, Cesaro, The Miz, and many more Superstars are not scheduled for a match yet on one of the top 3 most important shows of the year.
This year's card feels even lighter than its number of matches suggest due to the fact that there will likely be two squash matches on the main card. SummerSlam will almost certainly have a match or two added on top of at least one big surprise. This type of booking is incredibly curious because it is contrary to traditional promotion for an event this large.
SummerSlam has had some major events that didn't include wrestling in the past, most notably the wedding of The Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth. Roman Reigns, the face of SmackDown on FOX and coverboy of WWE 2K20, has no advertised match but if you've been following RAW & SmackDown, you know that Roman will be a big part of SummerSlam. Rumors have swirled about Daniel Bryan and Buddy Murphy feuding with The Big Dog and Drew McIntyre is out there as well. This could be the most surprising and shocking SummerSlam yet.
Below is a preview of the matches on the card complete with predictions based on recent booking. In the comments below, please share your predictions for the show and what you think of the build to this show. Are you excited? Confused? Nonplussed?
Oney Lorcan vs Drew Gulak
After finally defeating Ariya Daivari in an "Anything Goes" match on the July 9th episode of 205 Live, Oney Lorcan elevated himself to another level on the 205 Live roster. Known for his hard-hitting tag team work in NXT with Danny Burch, Lorcan has begun to stand out recently due to his almost unintelligible rage-filled promos and his Twitter account. There's plenty of video on the internet to show how great of a wrestler Lorcan (who wrestled on the indies as Biff Busick) is but his ascent on WWE programming has been fun to watch as well. Lorcan earned this opportunity by winning a six-pack challenge match on this past week's episode of 205 Live.
Gulak has also risen to a new level in WWE. The company has put out images of him training other main roster Superstars at the Performance Center and has had Gulak return to NXT for matches against KUSHIDA & Matt Riddle. Gulak has moved away from his campaign against high-flyers and his power point presentations to a more serious presentation as a grappler. Gulak recently had a fantastic match with Isaiah "Swerve Scott (formerly ACH on the indies) from NXT on the July 23rd episode of 205 Live. It seems like WWE really believes in Gulak and that this is only the beginning of his run as champion.
Lorcan and Gulak have faced each other quite a bit on the independent scene and their chemistry together is well-documented on YouTube. This match will be shorter than their previous matches on the indies, but this should serve both men well as they continue to introduce themselves to a global audience. Lorcan's still on the rise as a singles star and will have a great showing in a match that will likely be close to 50-50 until Gulak is able to catch him in his new finnishing move: The Cyclone Crash - a Torture Rack into a neckbreaker.
Drew Gulak via pinfall
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler was originally advertised to face The Miz at SummerSlam but Ziggler kept taking digs at Goldberg every time he had a segment with The Miz. It's been widely reported that Goldberg was disappointed with his match against the Undertaker at Super Showdown. A match against the super-athletic Ziggler will give Goldberg his best chance at redemption. Ziggler will make Goldberg look stronger than he has in a long time. Hopefully Goldberg lets Ziggler get in some offense here, but expect this match to be the classic Goldberg squash match that Goldberg fans have loved since 1998. After getting hit with Sweet Chin Music by Shawn Michaels on RAW, it feels like Ziggler won't go out cleanly here. This match can end without a clean finish and everyone will still go home happy as long as Dolph gets his butt whipped. Ziggler either will escape and lose to Goldberg via countout or Goldberg will beat him so badly that he won't be able to get back in the ring to finish the match.
An added bit of drama to this feud has been Matthew Riddle's taunting of Goldberg through his social media accounts. Riddle is advertised to be at the arena for WWE Watchalong for the event. Expect Riddle to have plenty to say about Goldberg and his wrestling ability (or lack thereof) on Watchalong. One has to wonder: what will happen if the two meet face to face in Toronto?
Goldberg via countout
Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus
As reported in the Toronto Sun this will be Trish Stratus' retirement match. In true wrestling fashion, she's coming out of retirement to "retire one more time". Stratus (43) is revered as one of the greatest female WWE Superstars of all time while Charlotte Flair is already surpassing her predecessors in her short career. These two should have a hard-hitting match that will be one of the most physical matches of Trish Stratus' career. As motivated as Stratus is to win this match, tradition says that you leave wrestling on your back looking up at the lights and that's what will happen Sunday for Trish Stratus as Charlotte Flair adds another line to her already impressive resume.
Charlotte Flair via pinfall
AJ Styles (c) vs Ricochet
United States Championship
Although we've seen these two face each other three times now (twice on RAW & once at Extreme Rules) in the past 6 weeks, this still could be the match of the night. AJ Styles is one of the best in-ring competitors in the world and Ricochet is being looked at as a future top star of WWE. The O.C. has looked dominant this month and they don't look like they're going to stop anytime soon. AJ defeated Ricochet with a Phenomenal Forearm in their first meeting, Ricochet won with a roll-up in their second meeting, and AJ defeated Ricochet with a Styles Clash from the second rope at Extreme Rules.
Ricochet's 630 Senton is his only established finishing move in WWE, if he's going to win here with The O.C. on the outside he's going to have to unveil a new finishing move that he can hit quicker than his 630 Senton. Ricochet also has to find a way to inject more emotion in his matches to become the sympathetic hero he has the potential to be. Ricochet has room to grow and a loss here will not stop that growth. The only thing that can stop Ricochet's ascent to the main event scene of WWE is complacency.
AJ Styles via pinfall
Finn Balor vs "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
It's been reported for over a month now that Finn Balor is taking time off from WWE after SummerSlam. He's recently become engaged to his girlfriend and is looking to heal up his body and mind after being one of WWE's most consistent performers of the past two years. "The Fiend" recently has been using Mankind's "Mandible Claw" on WWE Legends and it looks like this will be Finn Balor's fate as well. Some expect this match to be a squash in favor of "The Fiend" but it might be more interesting if Balor is able to stagger Wyatt with some offense before finally succumbing to the power of this new evil incarnation of Wyatt. Speculation about The Fiend's next target is running wild as this is the most exciting supernatural character in wrestling since The Wyatt Family debuted. How far will WWE go with The Fiend and how can they keep him terrifying? With extra space on the SummerSlam card, will we see The Fiend more than once on the show? We'll all be watching with great anticipation as the first match from this new character unfolds.
The Fiend via TKO
Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon
If Owens loses, he has to quit WWE
Kevin Owens is getting his shot to be a good guy on WWE programming. For the past month he's been verbally dressing down Shane McMahon, Drew McIntyre, and WWE programming in general acting as the voice of the fans. He's made the Stone Cold Stunner his new finisher to emphasize his connection to the most famous blue collar hero from the past. While Roman Reigns has all the polish of a WWE champion similar to The Rock in the late 90s, Kevin Owens has all the tools to be the blue collar alternative to Reigns.
Owens has to win here and there is little to suggest that he won't. Drew McIntyre and maybe even The Revival will interfere in this match, but Owens is gaining steam and he has tremendous potential in this new role on WWE programming. Expect Owens to bust out his most athletic moves to wow the SummerSlam audience as he defeats Shane McMahon here. Shane's future on-screen is a big question mark with Eric Bischoff taking over behind the scenes, but it's unlikely that Shane will go away completely. The SummerSlam before WrestleMania XIV was a big moment for Stone Cold Steve Austin and a victory at this year's SummerSlam could work similar magic for Kevin Owens as a hero.
Kevin Owens via pinfall
Bayley (c) vs Ember Moon
SmackDown Women's Championship
Since successfully cashing in her Money In The Bank contract on Charlotte Flair after Charlotte won the SmackDown Women's Championship at Money In The Bank, Bayley has managed to pin Lacey Evans, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, & Sarah Logan. Bayley has looked stronger than ever as SmackDown Women's Champion. Her matches have looked crisp and she's wrestling with more of a swagger than she has since her time in NXT. Ember Moon picked up big wins over Mandy Rose and Charlotte Flair in July to solidify herself as the number one contender for the SmackDown Women's Championship. Bayley is starting to show some heel tendencies, especially after delivering a Bayley to Belly on a weakened Moon after she was pinned by Alexa Bliss this past week on SmackDown.
We've never seen these two women wrestle one-on-one on a WWE event, so this fresh matchup should provide some excitement. These two mostly tagged together and have only been on opposite teams in the Mixed Match Challenge and in a couple of six-woman tag matches. Ember Moon's Eclipse finishing move is one of the coolest finishers you'll see in wrestling. Hopefully this feud can continue with Ember Moon showing some more aggression in a loss here. There has been a tendency to portray female heroes on SmackDown as bland as the male heroes have been portrayed but with some tweaks to their working style and showing some more toughness, Ember Moon and Bayley could elevate themselves to the level that Becky & Charlotte occupy. Bayley's time at the top isn't done yet as she's destined to face Charlotte Flair once again sooner than later and this newfound aggression could serve her well.
Bayley via pinfall
Kofi Kingston (c) vs Randy Orton
This match is a decade in the making. In 2009, Kofi Kingston was on the rise feuding with Randy Orton. He closed RAW with a Boom Drop on Orton through a table while the entire Madison Square Garden chanted his name. One botch by Kofi in a match in 2010 on RAW in a Triple Threat with Orton & John Cena that muddied the finish, resulted in Randy Orton berating Kofi loudly on live TV and thus ending Kofi's push.
This match feels more real than anything on the entire card. The emotions and reality behind it are very linked with these performers' lives and the story they're telling on TV. As much hype as some of the other matches on this card have been given, this match is some classic wrestling storytelling that WWE is playing perfectly. These two men work incredibly well together and have so much to work with in this match. This will bring more emotion out of Kofi than we've seen yet and that will make this match feel almost as big if not bigger than his title match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. Kofi needs this win to exorcise the biggest demon from his past: Randy Orton. His WWE title reign is now longer than any single reign by Roman Reigns, Ric Flair, Batista, & Shawn Michaels amongst others. In this reign, Kofi has pinned AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, and Shinsuke Nakamura. A win over Randy Orton at SummerSlam will be an exclamation point on the statement that Kofi has made with this run as WWE Champion. Hopefully we'll get more matches between these two, but this writer is thrilled for this match-up. Take the time to watch the great video WWE put together for this feud. WWE's storytelling has been spotty at best recently, but this story is an example of how great it can be when it's done right.
Kofi Kingston via pinfall
Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship in the opening match at WrestleMania 35 and has had a less than stellar run since then. He had a fantastic match with AJ Styles at Money In The Bank but was booked against Baron Corbin for the next two months, one of which paired him with his real-life girlfriend (Becky Lynch) in a mixed tag team match against Corbin & Lacey Evans at Extreme Rules. Dave Meltzer even loathed the lack of chemistry between Corbin & Rollins, Tweeting "It does take unique talent to keep Seth Rollins from having a [3-star] match." This horrible feud coupled with Rollins' missteps on Twitter have cooled the WWE Universe on The Beastslayer. Rollins has given heartfelt promos recently and has answered the call every match he wrestles but it's just not connecting as well right now.
Brock Lesnar has been terrorizing Seth Rollins since he cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on Rollins at Extreme Rules. He beat Rollins so badly on the July 29th episode of RAW that Rollins was coughing up blood on television. Rollins returned this past week on RAW with tape around his ribs and a limp. Lesnar beat Rollins up more and left him in a heap.
If Rollins wins this match, it just feels like a repeat of WrestleMania 35 as a do-over because we need to forget about that terrible Baron Corbin feud. It's hard to believe that Rollins could beat Lesnar while being this injured. If WWE expects us to believe it, Rollins will have to resort to the only way anyone has been able to defeat Brock Lesnar in the past five years: hit him in the groin. Lesnar's only true weak point is his groin and that is Rollins' only hope of winning this match. It should be noted that Brock Lesnar (6-3 at SummerSlam) has had the biggest and most terrifying victories of his career at SummerSlam over The Rock, John Cena, & Randy Orton amongst others. Although it's very possible that Rollins could win this match, SummerSlam is Brock's show. Lesnar wins.
Brock Lesnar via pinfall
Becky Lynch (c) vs Natalya
RAW Women's Championship
Becky Lynch recently received high praise from Stone Cold Steve Austin who called her run for the past 18 months "one of the best runs in the history of wrestling, male or female". Lynch recently joined Roman Reigns to be the face of the WWE 2K20 video game and Allison Brie from Netflix's GLOW on the cover of ESPN Magazine. Her star is still rising and her run as champ isn't coming to an end at SummerSlam. Natalya is one of the best wrestlers on the entire WWE women's roster and has helped get almost every single female star over in WWE.
Becky is already quite over, but a match in Toronto in front of a crowd that will be decidedly pro-Natalya will give these two women an opportunity to showcase a style of women's wrestling on a grand stage with a crowd that will get hot for this match. Expect plenty of physical references to Bret Hart's matches with Steve Austin and Owen Hart. Natalya still has plenty to give as a Superstar, but she won't be winning the championship here. Becky will tap Natalya out with the Dis-Arm-Her. With some space available on the show for more action, it's natural to wonder if Ronda Rousey might make a surprise appearance to set up that singles match with Becky that we've always wanted. Is it time yet?
Becky Lynch via submission