“Excuse Me! Excuse Me! I said Excuse Me!” Report: Vickie Guerrero leaving WWE

Vickie GuerreroThe ‘wrasslin’ rumor ’round town is that WWE’s Slammy Award-winning “Cougar in charge,” Vickie Guerrero will be leaving the company shortly after WrestleMania 30.  The story appears on Diva-Dirt (Report: Vickie Guerrero Leaving WWE) and various other wrestling sites.  If Guerrero is leaving, the day she does will be bittersweet.  She’s the woman the WWE Universe has loved to hate for the better part of a decade.

Guerrero, who debuted in 2005, has been one of the most clearly defined and polarizing characters in WWE, as well as one of the most prominently featured.  Famous for her dirty tactics (much like her husband, the late Eddie Guerrero), her “Cougar” persona, and her catchphrase “Excuse Me!”, Guerrero can ignite a WWE crowd in ways few performers can.

Over the course of her run, she’s been involved with top talent and has several accomplishments to her credit.  She’s one of a select group of women to hold a victory at WrestleMania [26], she’s been the General Manager of both RAW and Smackdown, and she’s worked high-profile programs with Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, LayCool (Michelle McCool and Layla), AJ Lee, Brad Maddox, and the McMahon family.

In competition she defeated “Santina Marella” to become “Miss WrestleMania,” she’s won a 10-Divas tag team match (WrestleMania 26), and she’s notably pinned Hall of Famer Trish Stratus and WWE’s current it girl and Diva’s Champion, AJ Lee in their respective programs.  The only thing she hasn’t done is become Diva’s Champion herself, which is a surprise given the state of the Diva’s division ca. 2010-2011 and her constant power plays.

Then again, she still could find a way to take the title from AJ Lee and retire as Diva’s Champion (a la Trish Stratus)! My final hope is that WWE gives her time to say farewell to the WWE Universe.  Few women can claim to have had a run in the WWE like Vickie Guerrero – she’s had a great run as a non-wrestling personality – and to that, I can only say Viva la Vickie! 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

DID YOU KNOW?

Bobby James Award Trivia:  Vickie Guerrero is a 2-time Bobby James Award winner.  I named her “Valet of the Year” in 2012.  The same year, she shared “Feud of the Year” with AJ Lee.

Diva Dream Matches: AJ Lee vs. Kharma

The Competitors:

AJ LEE:  Diva’s Champion (current, longest reigning), former RAW General Manager

KHARMA:  2012 Royal Rumble entrant (third woman ever)

Background:

Diva’s Champion AJ Lee and Kharma have had similar, yet vastly different paths to the WWE.  Lee was an indy worker prior to being signed to a developmental contract with WWE and competing on the all Diva’s season of NXT.  Since then, Lee has proven her star-power by moving from the main-event scene outside the women’s division, to re-establishing the women’s divison and restoring prestige to the women’s title.

Kharma on the other hand is a well-documented, world class wrestler.  From her training in Japan and days on the indy circuit to her noteworthy run with TNA Wrestling (as Awesome Kong) and debut in WWE, Kharma has really climbed the mountain of success.  Yet, despite having debuted with WWE, Kharma has yet to conquer the place of the immortals.  An untimely pregnancy and subsequent complications meant her WWE career ended after whirlwind month (in 2011) and a 2012 Royal Rumble entry.

Bleacher Report recently posted a scenario for Kharma’s WWE return.  Inside the article, they mention that Kharma has unfinished business in WWE – namely with The Bella Twins.  But before that feud could resume (presumably), Kharma would need to go through the WWE’s reigning queen, AJ Lee – which would be a perfect program for the upcoming WrestleMania 30!

As Bleacher Report notes, the Diva’s Championship has never been defended at WrestleMania (since it’s creation in 2008!).  Lee has certainly earned the right to be on the card defending her title – and she’s certainly earned the right to defend it against a competitor beyond Total Divas (sorry Nattie!).

AJ vs. Kharma would play out one of two ways, as a David and Goliath contest – or as a squash match (the latter of which would/could destroy everything AJ’s worked for).  Could you imagine AJ applying the Black Widow to Kharma?  How about Kharma sealing AJ’s fate with her signature Implant Buster?

What exactly would this match look like?  I’m not sure, I think AJ (with Tamina Snuka by her side) could stand a chance against a foe like Kharma – but I think the sheer power of Kharma alone would be too great – and I have a feeling AJ wouldn’t be skipping anywhere in the immediate future.

Predicted Winner:  Kharma

Likelihood:  Strong Possibility

Missed Opportunity?:  No, not at all.  In fact, the opportunity is now - this year!  AJ appears to be unstoppable – it’d take someone like Kharma to derail AJ’s little crazy train of terror.  Besides that, the reintroduction of Kharma would only elevate the division further.  There would be fresh possibilities and dynamics.  Kharma’s karma being served to The Bellas…or the possibility of Kharma vs. Natalya…or maybe even the luring of the “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix from retirement…or the main-roster debut of Sara Del Ray.  Anything is possible – but it would require AJ Lee vs. Kharma to be the launchpad – the point of no return.

January 8, 2014 | A Day of Infamy in the WWE

WWE Network 2-24-14For the past week, WWE has been teasing a major announcement.  Fans were all but sure the press conference was about the launch of the WWE Network – this much was evident through the appearance of some of the biggest names in WWE history, people like Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Cena, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  As it turns out, the WWE Network is officially a go beginning February 24, 2014.

For $9.99 per month (with a minimum 6 month commitment), through the WWE App, fans will have access to all 12 live pay-per-views, including WrestleMania 30 – exclusive original and first-run shows and content – encores of RAW, Smackdown, and Main Event – and access to WWE’s extensive video library (including WCW and ECW pay-per-views and shows).  For a full listing of shows and content that will be available on the WWE Network, click here.

Beyond the WWE Network announcement, there is some somber news coming out of the WWE Universe today:

Kaitlyn competed in her last match on WWE Main Event against Diva’s Champion AJ Lee.  The match was reminiscent of last summer’s impressive and memorable championship program that helped re-establish the Diva’s division.  From her days as a “green” NXT hopeful (and eventual season three winner) to her run as champion, Kaitlyn drastically improved her skills in the ring and became a wildly popular member of the WWE’s roster.  The former Diva’s Champion was granted her release on her own “terms.”  Since news broke earlier today, both Kaitlyn and her fiancée took to twitter to tease a huge announcement.  #ThankYouKaitlyn.

UPDATE (1/9/2014):  For what they’re worth, “reports” indicate that Kaitlyn was unhappy with her position in WWE and subsequently requested her release.  Kaitlyn was prominently featured in Diva’s Championship programs on WWE TV from the end of 2011 (against Eve Torres) to late summer/early autumn 2013 (against AJ Lee).  Since her reign as Diva’s Champion ended, Kaitlyn was sparsely used on WWE programming (some could argue the successful launch of Total Divas spelled disaster for the popular “Hybrid Diva” and NXT winner).

UPDATE 3 (1/14/2014):  It has been confirmed that WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young has passed away at the age of 90.

UPDATE 2 (1/9/2014 – 10:30 a.m.): Mike Mooneyham stated that Mae Young has been removed from life-support, but is gravely ill and has not passed away.  Mooneyham stated on twitter that “the source who reported her passing received incorrect information.”

UPDATE (1/9/2014):  According to initial reports, Mae Young was taken off life-support on January 8, current reports indicate that she died in the early hours of January 9.

In other news, after being admitted to a hospital last week (and subsequently being released into hospice), WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young passed away at the age of 90.  Young was a true pioneer of women’s wrestling, known to most recent wrestling fans as an associate of fellow Hall of Famer “The Fabulous Moolah,” Lillian Ellison.  Young debuted in 1939 and helped blaze a trail for lady wrestlers all across the country during World War II.  Since then, Young was a women’s champion in her own right and a WWE ambassador in her later years.

Though Young was never a WWE Women’s or Diva’s Champion, she is regarded highly in the professional wrestling community and recognized for her contributions.  Additionally, Mae Young hold the distinction of being the only professional wrestler to perform in nine different decades – a testament of her devotion, love, and dedication to her sport.  RIP Mae Young.  #NineDecadesOfMae.

The 2013 Bobby-james Awards: Best of the WWE

Welcome to the first installment of the 2013 Bobby-james Awards – the Best of WWE.

Released in conjunction with the WWE Slammy Awards, I have selected the performers, matches, and moments that have been –  how would Triple H or Stephanie McMahon say it again? … right, “best for business,” throughout 2013.  I realize that we have just under one month and a final pay-per-view (TLC, Dec. 15) remaining, but I can assure you, these Superstars, Divas, and moments are, without a doubt, the best of the year. Without any further ado, may I present – the Best of WWE:

DIVA of the Year:  AJ Lee

AJ Lee

Diva of the Year: AJ Lee

AJ Lee reigned over 2012 as the Superstar of the year – she was involved in the main event scene and had one of the highest profiles in the WWE.  It seemed as if she’d reached the top.  This begged the question, “Where does AJ go now?” The answer was obvious:  Into the Diva’s Division full-time. Lee transitioned from being Dolph Ziggler’s valet/girlfriend into a full-time competitor and quickly the Diva’s Champion.

As champion, Lee has contested memorable bouts against former champions Kaitlyn, Natalya, and Brie Bella – she’s delivered a “State of my Mind” address, confronted Stephanie McMahon, been part of the main event scene, dropped a “Pipe Bombshell,” and brought prestige back to the Diva’s Championship.  AJ Lee is establishing her legacy as one of the greatest Diva’s of all time – she’s already well on her way to being recognized as one of the most important.

Runners Up:  Kaitlyn (#2), Brie Bella (#3), Natalya (#4)

Return of the Year:  Goldust 

Cody Rhodes and Goldust - RHODES

WWE Tag Team Champions: Cody Rhodes (left) and Goldust (right)

The “Bizarre One” returned to a huge reception during the 2013 Royal Rumble (as the #8 entrant), but this once-off appearance wasn’t enough.  In late summer, Goldust returned to aid his brother (Cody Rhodes) against The Authority (Triple H/Stephanie McMahon) – a quest that initially seemed bleak, but ultimately led to the formation of RHODES and the capture of the WWE Tag Team Championships.  Now, if WWE could just deliver that rumored brother vs. brother feud and WrestleMania match…

Runners Up:  The Bella Twins (#2), Rob Van Dam (#3), Christian (#4)

Tag Team of the Year:  The Shield 

The Shield: Dean Ambrose (left), Roman Reigns (center), Seth Rollins (right)

The Shield: Dean Ambrose (left), Roman Reigns (center), Seth Rollins (right)

After debuting near the end of 2012, it was a foregone conclusion that The Shield would maintain their dominant status as the best tag team/faction in the WWE.  At Extreme Rules, The Shield proved their dominance and swept up every championship they competed for (Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns for the Tag Team Championships, Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship) and have enjoyed lengthy reigns (note: Ambrose is the only reigning champion for The Shield as of this writing).  Then they aligned themselves and briefly did the bidding for The Authority, before moving into a feud with the “Best in the World,” CM Punk to finish off their 2013.    #BelieveInTheShield

Runners Up:  Rhodes (#2), The Wyatt Family (#3), The Usos (#4)

Rookie of the Year:  Fandango

Fandango vignette

Rookie of the Year: Fandango

“Da-da! Da-da-da-da-dada-da…” #Fandangoing #ChaChaLaLa “Fan-dan-goooooo”

By that first line – and just that line alone – you have an idea of who Fandango is.  Mission accomplished.  He (re)debuted atop the mid-card and defeated Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29.  That catapulted him into the Intercontinental Championship scene, acquired him a permanent valet (Summer Rae), and gave him a more elaborate entrance than he already had.  Did I mention his wildly popular entrance theme (ChaChaLaLa) – or the mass of people “Fandangoing?” Sadly, an ill-timed concussion has put Fandango in a slump – but that doesn’t take away from him being the single most important rookie of the year.

Runners Up:  The Wyatt Family (#2), Curtis Axel (#3), Eva Marie (#4)

Valet of the Year:  Summer Rae

Summer Rae

Fandango and Summer Rae

There has always been an interest in the Fandango girls (after all, this year’s Rookie of the Year is WWE’s version of James Bond) but Summer Rae came to stay, and in the process has made a good name for herself.  Enthusiastically referred to as “Mrs. Fandango” by JBL on commentary, Summer Rae has risen from being the occasional Fandango dancer, to permanent fixture, to a woman with personality and some in-ring skill (as demonstrated by her clashes with Natalya).  I suspect she’ll be a force in the Diva’s Division in the coming years, but for now, the golden-haired beauty is Fandango’s valet – and is she ever good at it.  So good in fact, Summer Rae becomes a trending topic on social media when she’s ringside for a Fandango match.

Runners Up:  Paul Heyman (#2), Zeb Colter (#3), AJ Lee (#4)

Non-Wrestling Personality of the Year:  Stephanie McMahon

Stephanie McMahon

Stephanie McMahon on RAW

The (current) undisputed queen of WWE is a delicious villain.  One half of The Authority, Stephanie McMahon has returned to her “classic” form as a heel.  She’s made life impossible for a list of Superstars and Divas, namely the Big Show, Daniel Bryan, the Rhodes family, Vickie Guerrero, and AJ Lee.  Her summer confrontations with the Diva’s Champion had some clamoring for a would-be epic collision between McMahon and Lee for the strap; and her personal attacks on key stars like Daniel Bryan (remember when she told him he wasn’t an A+ player, he was a B+?), Dusty Rhodes, and the Big Show have proven that when it comes to heel behavior, the McMahons are untouchable.

Runners Up:  Brad Maddox (#2), Vickie Guerrero (#3), John “Bradshaw” Layfield (#4)

Moment of the Year:  AJ Lee’s “Pipe-Bombshell”

AJ Lee speaks to the cast of Total Divas

AJ Lee mocks the cast of Total Divas

WWE moved forward with Total Divas, a scripted reality show.  The show – and it’s Divas – commanded attention on weekly WWE television and the reigning Diva’s Champion was none too happy.  Here is a transcript of the promo she cut, which, to the delight of some wrestling fans, felt laced with animosity – much like CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb” promo in 2011:

“Do you want to know what I see when I look in that ring?  A bunch of cheap, interchangeable, expendable, useless women – women who have turned to reality television because they just weren’t gifted enough to be actresses – and they just weren’t talented enough to be champion.  I have done more in one year than all of you have done in your entire collective careers.  I have saved your Diva’s division, I have shattered glass ceilings, I have broken down doors.  Why?  So a bunch of ungrateful, stiff plastic mannequins can waltz on through without even as much as a thank you?  You guys can’t even go backstage and shake my hand and look me in the eye because you know that I worked my entire life to get here.  I gave my life to this – and you were just handed fifteen minutes of fame.  I didn’t get here because I was cute – or because I came from some famous wrestling family – or because I sucked (beat) up to the right people.  I got here because I am good.  I earned this championship – and no matter how many red carpets you guys wanna walk in your $4,000 ridiculous heels, you will never be able to lace up my Chuck Taylors. You’re all worthless excuses for women – and you will never be able to touch me – and that is reality.” – AJ Lee to the cast of Total Divas, RAW, 8/26/2013

Runners Up:  CM Punk dumps Paul Bearer’s ashes to close RAW (#2), Dolph Ziggler cashes in (#3), The Wyatt Family debut (#4)

Most Improved Wrestler of the Year:  Brie Bella

Brie Bella (left) vs. Natalya (right)

Brie Bella (left) vs. Natalya (right)

When the Bella Twins left WWE – I was excited.  I thought they were bland personalities and mediocre wrestlers that offered nothing to the show.  Then they returned this year – and dare I say, I was actually excited to see Brie and Nikki.  They got scrappy with the Funkadactyls a few times and I had the same feelings – except this time around, they were better heels.  Then Nikki was injured and Brie went solo.  Throughout the summer, Brie’s in-ring improvements (and reported training with Daniel Bryan) were evident in her SummerSlam match against Natalya and her run as number one contender for the Diva’s Championship against AJ Lee.

Brie’s a markedly improved wrestler and is nearing the top of the current crop of Divas.  Should she maintain her level of training, we should see even better matches from Brie next year and possibly a run with the strap (a more meaningful one than her first).

Runners Up:  Seth Rollins (#2), Big E. Langston (#3), Aksana (#4)

Show of the Year:  Total Divas

Total Divas: (left to right) Nikki Bella, Naomi, Natalya, Cameron, Brie Bella

Total Divas: (left to right) Nikki Bella, Naomi, Natalya, Cameron, Brie Bella

WWE has a hit on their hands – E! Total Divas.  The scripted reality show gives fans a look behind the scenes of WWE and what road life is like for the Superstars and Divas.  It’s full of drama, “purple people eaters,” romance, and rivalry. The stories on Total Divas oftentimes work themselves onto regular, weekly programming, and I’d venture to say that on a consistent basis Total Divas offers edgier content (think Attitude era moments) and the action and excitement is better than what you’ll find on RAW and Smackdown!

Initially there was speculation that Total Divas was a vehicle for the Bella Twins, but as season one draws to a close (and knowing that season two has an order), it’s clear that while Brie and Nikki have benefited from the exposure, the other Divas (Natalya and the Funkadactyls) have shined just as bright, if not brighter.  Did I mention a surprise star was born:  Eva Marie and her hashtag #AllRedEverything.

Runners Up:  Post-WrestleMania RAW (#2), SummerSlam (#3), Payback (#4)

Feud of the Year:  Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan (left) stands over a fallen Randy Orton

Daniel Bryan (left) stands over a fallen Randy Orton

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton began at SummerSlam when Triple H crossed Bryan and Orton cashed in his All-Stars Money in the Bank contract moments after Bryan defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship.  It was perfect set-up to make Daniel Bryan more of an underdog than he already is/was.  Why could the smaller guy – the “Yes” master – not just reign supreme over the WWE?  Why did The Authority need a new “face of the WWE?” In the name of what’s best for business, the fall’s most intense feud began and carried through October’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. The WWE Championship changed hands like a hot potato – but in the process, some of the year’s most amazing matches were born and Daniel Bryan’s popularity soared that much more.

Runners Up:  CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar (#2), CM Punk vs. The Undertaker (#3), AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn (#4)

Match of the Year:

Street Fight:  Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (RAW, June 24) – tie

Daniel Bryan makes Randy Orton tap out!

Daniel Bryan makes Randy Orton tap out!

Remember when Daniel Bryan made Randy Orton tap out during their epic street fight this summer?  Me too. It was one of the most intense, hard-hitting matches I can recall seeing in a number of years.  Both men left it all in the ring that night – but that cross-face with the kendo stick takes the cake.  It’s not often we see Randy Orton tap out, let alone in singles competition in the main event of RAW.  This was a huge deal and big push for the already over Daniel Bryan.  It solidified him as a singles star and main event player – and was a precursor to his two WWE Championship reigns and their intense feud.

“The Best vs. The Beast”: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (SummerSlam, August 18) – tie

CM Punk applies the Anaconda Vice to Brock Lesnar

CM Punk applies the Anaconda Vice to Brock Lesnar

I’ve never been a fan of Brock Lesnar personally – but his in-ring work speaks for itself.  He’s one of the most violent and intense people I’ve ever seen compete in a WWE ring.  He’s had a number of memorable matches in his career (though, I hate to say it) against the likes of Triple H and John Cena, but when he came face to face with “The Best in the World” CM Punk – fans were treated to one hell of a no disqualification match.

Built on the feud between Paul Heyman and CM Punk, Lesnar maintained his enforcer status and for once – emerged with a victory.  Punk gave his all – and it just wasn’t enough to overcome a thrashing from “The Beast.” I’ve rarely ordered pay-per-views for just one encounter, but from the start, when this match was made (despite not being a Lesnar fan) I knew it was one I had to see.  This should be one of those encounters people talk about for years to come.

Runners Up:  Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton (RAW, Sept. 2 – #2), NXT Women’s Championship Final: Paige vs. Emma (#3), Tag Team Championship Match: The Shield vs. Rhodes (RAW, October 14 – #4)

Superstar of the Year:  Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan becomes the WWE Champion

Daniel Bryan becomes the WWE Champion

He began the year as a Tag Team Champion (with Kane), worked high profile programs against main event performers John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Stephanie McMahon, and has two credits as WWE Champion.  That’s not counting the insane crowd reactions, features on Total Divas, charity appearances, merchandising, or main events (pay-per-view, RAW, and Smackdown!).  Daniel Bryan was the true face of the WWE in 2013 and had a classic ascension through the ranks.  Given his size and indy background, this is even more significant provided Vince McMahon’s apprehension to “small” champions.

You could call it the “Year of the Beard” or you could simply say “Yes!” Regardless, when you do either, you’ll think of Daniel Bryan and it’d be hard to argue anybody else had a bigger year.

Runners Up:  John Cena (#2), Randy Orton (#3), CM Punk (#4)

There they are – your Best of WWE 2013 selections.  Agree or disagree?  Sound off in the comments section to offer your opinions.

WWE Night of Champions – predictions/results

Night of Champions

QUICK RESULTS:

The Prime Time Players won Tag Team Turmoil

Curtis Axel def. Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship

AJ Lee def. Natalya, Naomi, and Brie Bella to retain the Diva’s Championship

Rob Van Dam def. Alberto Del Rio by DQ; Del Rio retains the Championship

The Miz def. Fandango

Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman def. CM Punk

Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the US Championship

The Shield def. The Prime Time Players to retain the Tag Team Championships

Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton to become the new WWE Champion

(my predictability score – on announced matches – 4.5/7 = 64%)

 

Tonight is the NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS – here are my predictions:

1. KICKOFF MATCH:  Tag Team Turmoil – No. 1 Contendership Match for the Tag Team Championships

The Primetime Players vs. The Usos vs. Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans vs. 3MB

I can’t recall how long it’s been since the WWE had the tag team division looking so unpredictable.  That said, I’m surprised by the absence of the Wyatt Family and with all the recent mini-pushes a lot of these teams are getting – this is by far one of the hardest matches to call.  That said,  I see the No. 1 Contendership going to:

Predicted Winners:  The Prime Time Players

2.  WWE Tag Team Championship Match:  The Shield (c) vs. The Prime Time Players

Since Darren Young’s “outing” the Prime Time Players have been unstoppable and everyone has been questioning how Young’s revelation will effect his career.  People like Jim Ross have said it won’t – and the McMahon family has been supportive (on twitter).  But I say now it’s time for the WWE to put its money where its mouth is.  In order to do that – Darren Young must become a champion!

Additionally, The Shield is involved with all this McMahon family drama – the straps need to be dropped into the active fray – to allow other tag teams to shine.

Predicted Winners:  The Prime Time Players 

3. United States Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

This match has been weakly built over the last couple weeks – but that’s not to say it will be anything shy of amazing.  I just don’t see a title change happening here.  Ziggler brings nothing to the US Championship except a new face to associate with the title (should he win).  Should Ambrose keep his title, he will be affirmed as the top member of The Shield.

Predicted Winner:  Dean Ambrose 

4. CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman (Handicap Elimination Match)

Simply put – It’s not time for Punk to have his revenge.  Heyman has more tricks up his sleeve.

Predicted Winner(s):  Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman 

5.  World Heavyweight Championship Match:  Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

Since returning to WWE, Rob Van Dam has been on a roll.  Tonight, I expect to hear the thunder and the chant of “R-V-D!”

Predicted Winner:  Rob Van Dam

6.  Diva’s Championship Fatal Four Way: AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella vs. Natalya vs. Naomi

You’d think with the mid-season finale of Total Divas airing tonight, alongside Night of Champions, that one of the cast members would be due up for a push.  I say not so fast – this is a big moment for AJ Lee.  She has been the focal point of the division – and the most prominent Diva in the WWE over the last two years.  This is her best title defense to date – and I can’t see her dropping the championship after running amok on commentary and delivering “Pipe Bombshells.” This is WWE’s chance to let AJ shine – and let her words be turned into actions.

Not only that, but this entire season, the “Divas” have been bickering with one another – so don’t expect the Total Divas-allegiance to last too long.

Predicted Winner:  AJ Lee 

7.  WWE Championship Match:  Randy Orton (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

For weeks, Daniel Bryan has been at the center of a one-sided controversy against the McMahon family.  I think it’s too soon for Bryan to come out on top – and I think a likely heel turn (#1,000) from The Big Show will see to that.

Predicted Winner:  Randy Orton

WWE SummerSlam

WWE SummerSlam

QUICK RESULTS:

Rob Van Dam def. Dean Ambrose via DQ (3/5)

Bray Wyatt def. Kane in a Ring of Fire Match (rating: 3.5/5)

Cody Rhodes def. Damien Sandow (4.5/5)

Alberto Del Rio def. Christian to retain the World Championship (rating: 5/5)

Natalya def. Brie Bella in a Total Divas Grudge Match (rating: 3/5)

Brock Lesnar def. CM Punk in a No DQ Match (rating: 5/5)

Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn def. AJ Lee & Big E Langston (rating: 3.5/5)

Daniel Bryan def. John Cena w/ Triple H as guest referee to become the NEW WWE Champion (rating: 4.5/5)

Triple H turns heel; Randy Orton def. Daniel Bryan to become NEW WWE Champion (rating: -/5)

Overall Predictability Rating: 78%

Live from the “City of Angels,” WWE will host its 26th annual SummerSlam pay-per-view event on Sunday, August 18 – and the card is stacked, from the pre-show to the main event.  Here is an up to date match listing and my predictions for the summer’s biggest party.

RVD vs. Ambrose - SummerSlamPre-Show – United States Championship Match:  Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

Since returning to the WWE, Rob Van Dam has been on a roll, though the build-up between RVD and the Shield’s leader, and reigning US Champion, Dean Ambrose has been pretty weak.  Still, RVD didn’t resign with WWE to flirt with the main event and not be at least a mid-card champion.  Even so, RVD doesn’t need the championship like Ambrose does.

Predicted Winner:  Dean Ambrose

Nattie vs. Brie - SummerSlamTotal Divas Grudge Match:  Natalya “Nattie” Neidhart vs. Brie Bella 

Both women are featured on WWE and E!’s hit reality show Total Divas.  Their tension has been teased behind the scenes, and WWE recruited Extra‘s Maria Menounos to compete alongside Nattie against Brie and Total Divas co-star, and rookie Diva, Eva Marie at the SummerSlam Axxess event.  The build to this match has been done through the reality show, backstage vignettes, and where most Diva feuds escalate – on twitter.  That said, Nattie and Brie are both strong workers, so this could be a decent match – with time, and without the involvement of all the other Total Divas who will be ringside.  With a recent victory over Diva’s Champion AJ Lee, Nattie seems poised for a push.

Predicted Winner:  Nattie

Rhodes vs. Sandow - SummerSlamCody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow

The former tag team partners (The Rhodes Scholars) will collide in what should be a potential show-stealing bout!  Rhodes has a wrestling pedigree and Damien Sandow is gold in the ring.  No matter who wins, one thing is certain, wrestling fans aren’t going to lose.  I have to give a slight edge to the Money in the Bank winning Sandow though, as Rhodes has had the upper-hand for most of their brief rivalry – though Rhodes needs this win.

Predicted Winner: Cody Rhodes

Ziggler-Kaitlyn vs. BigE-AJ - SummerSlamMixed Tag Team Match:  Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston & Diva’s Champion AJ Lee

Kaitlyn and the Diva’s Champion AJ Lee have been engaged in a feud built on years worth of personal relationship and months of intense battle over the Diva’s Championship.  This Sunday, AJ Lee is the only common denominator – as she’s been affiliated with all three of the participants.  Dolph is her former beau, Big E is her best friend, and Kaitlyn is her greatest threat.  AJ is by far the most over person in this contest and one of WWE’s biggest, most featured stars – her crowd-reaction is only rivaled by Dolph Ziggler. Still, I can’t see the victory going to the champ – she’ll need a competitor come Night of Champions in September – and this match should either guarantee that it will be Kaitlyn, or the previous match involving Divas should push forward a new number one contender.

Predicted Winners:  Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn

kane vs. bray wyatt - summerslamRing of Fire Match:  Kane vs. Bray Wyatt

Since making their debut, the Wyatt Family has been unstoppable; Kane has been their target.  SummerSlam marks Bray Wyatt’s debut match (under the Wyatt name) and he’s hoping Kane will “follow the buzzards.”  Still, I think the momentum is too great for the veteran star to overcome, even if he has a proven track record in inferno/fire matches.  It should be an exciting contest, but I suspect someone may run the risk of getting burned – so I’m sure there will be a spot where fans react simply with a chant of “holy shit.”

Predicted Winner:  Bray Wyatt

Christian vs. Del Rio - SummerSlamWorld Heavyweight Championship Match:  Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Christian

Since taking the title off Dolph Ziggler, Del Rio has been overly aggressive in the ring.  He’s been a strategic champion, targeting and hammering body parts of his opponents.  Christian, fresh off of an injury return and a “one more match” campaign, will find himself in danger – and his shoulder at risk.  Del Rio isn’t my favorite star, but as a heel, he’s definitely doing his job and proving his worth as a champion, in what I think is his best title run ever.  I don’t see Christian being able to conquer Del Rio, but hey surprises are possible, just unlikely – and I think it’s too soon for Del Rio to be relinquishing the gold.

Predicted Winner:  Alberto Del Rio

Lesnar vs. Punk - SummerSlam“The Best vs. The Beast” Match:  CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman

This match featured two “Paul Heyman guys” and two of WWE’s most underrated, yet popular, established stars.  I’ve been vocal about not supporting Brock Lesnar, I can’t stand the guy – so I hope Punk kicks his teeth down his throat before he makes him tap out with the Anaconda Vice! The wildcard in this match is Paul Heyman himself (and his latest protege, and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel). That said, Punk is going into this as the underdog.  Week after week, Lesnar has battered Punk and Heyman has evaded Punk’s grasp.  At SummerSlam though, I think Punk gets his hands on Heyman and gets the one-up on Lesnar, who seems destined to lose when it counts in his latest WWE run.

Predicted Winner:  “The Best in the World” CM Punk

Cena vs. Bryan - SummerSlamWWE Championship/Special Referee Match:  John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan w/ Triple H as the referee 

It was only a matter of time before WWE’s top two stars collided.  Over the last year, Daniel Bryan has become wildly popular with the WWE Universe.  Heading into the summer, Bryan was rumored to begin a program with champion and company face John Cena.  Cena, who took the strap off of The Rock at WrestleMania 29 is having an incredible year – but a rumored injury and time off – may be the nail in his history-making 11th reign as WWE Champion.  There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Daniel Bryan deserves this opportunity to carry the WWE title and that’s why I think his momentum is unstoppable – the WWE Universe wants this – they’ll be chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” the entire match.

WWE COO Triple H is the factor in this match though.  He’s rumored to be turning heel and that may spell disaster for Daniel Bryan.  Then again, Money in the Bank winner Randy Orton is absent from the card and has been lurking in the shadows of John Cena and Daniel Bryan’s feud – I suspect a cash-in may be in order.

Predicted Winner:  Daniel Bryan

However, I think WWE may take the title off Cena, and then rob Daniel Bryan of his opportunity and the WWE Universe of their desires.  I think a pedigree from Triple H to Daniel Bryan and a cash in by Randy Orton should leave the WWE with their desired heel turns of Triple H and Orton while seguing into their next feud:  Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan.

Predicted Winner:  Randy Orton