Strong Build for Usos vs. Street Profits, McAfee vs. Corbin
Welcome to the Cool Points.
With SummerSlam literally hours away, we are about to witness the first WWE pay-per-view without Vince McMahon sitting at the helm. As you’ve well heard and has been well documented by our WH/LOP columnists, McMahon has retired amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. While much of the card has already been in place, a new era has begun under the regime of Triple H, and it will be interesting to watch that unfold in the coming weeks. For now, it’s SummerSlam.
Last week, I reviewed the Last Man Standing WWE Undisputed Heavyweight Championship match and the Smackdown Women’s Championship match.
In Part 2, we’ll look at the Undisputed Tag Team Championship match and the grudge match between Smackdown commentator and podcaster Pat McAfee and Happy Corbin.
WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship Match- The Usos (c) vs. Street Profits
Special Referee: Jeff Jarrett
For the Usos, the most dominant tag team on Raw and Smackdown of the past year, SummerSlam is an opportunity to squash this feud with Street Profits once and for all. They have proven to be a difficult team to overcome, though we would expect nothing less from the Bloodline, the focal point around which Smackdown operates these days. The Usos have had a number of well-received bouts with Street Profits, the latter team always coming up short when the Tag Titles are on the line. Should we expect the same this time?
I think that depends on a few factors. First, will Jarrett be playing favourites or will he call it down the middle? We know that at Money In The Bank, the referee missed Ford’s shoulder being off the mat. Was that a smart way to book the rematch, or will we see it happen again in favour of Street Profits? If an Uso is pinned but Jarrett misses the shoulder being up, would we get the match restarted, or would that carry the feud to Clash at the Castle? The good chemistry and consistent match quality between these teams would be reasons to carry on the feud, and that wouldn’t be terribly upsetting.
Bloodline: Ascending or Descending?
Second, have we hit the peak of the Bloodline’s success? We are witnessing their peak time as a faction right now. Reigns holds the Universal and WWE Championships; The Usos hold the Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Championships. They are quite the foil to overcome for the other WWE stars on the roster.
Street Profits are celebrated fan favourites. Dawkins and Ford have proven they can hang with the Usos in the ring, and on the mic. With a slowly rising tag team like Viking Raiders easily taking care of the veteran New Day, it would make sense to see how a face team like Street Profits can do against a team significantly bigger and stronger than them.
If the Bloodline is on its descent, the Usos will be the first to lose their championships, which will cause discord with the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns. It would create tension in the faction, which we have seen previously, when Jey Uso and Roman Reigns wrestled in the fall of 2020. That made for some interesting TV, and provided a path for the Bloodline to become even stronger.
If the Usos lose on Saturday, it would allow WWE to decide if they will continue the Undisputed Tag Team Championships, crossing over on both shows. Splitting the titles up would allow the Usos to retain some dominance, while giving opportunities to other tag team challengers to raise their rank and get some TV time.
Prediction: If Reigns retains, I think the Usos lose to give the fans a feel-good moment at SummerSlam, seeing Street Profits finally overcome their rivals. Jarrett will call the match fairly and will be closely watching the shoulders of pinned wrestlers.
Pat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin
When WWE has needed a top drawing heel in the last two years, the type who gets under the skin of his opponents and fans alike, they have consistently turned to Happy/King/Baron Corbin. A quick summary of his showcase PPV matches reveals bouts against Roman Reigns, Big E and Drew McIntyre. Tomorrow, he’s tasked with a different kind of showcase match against current Smackdown commentator Pat McAfee.
At first glance, this would seem like a demotion, since McAfee is not a full-time wrestler, and is still known more for his podcasts and career in the NFL. That image has shifted significantly over the past two years, as McAfee has worked hard to show he has the athleticism, charisma and skill to perform inside the squared circle. Corbin makes this match work because he’s not a “cool” heel (i.e. an ineffective heel). He is good at what he does and that means the crowd will have a very clear hero and villain to support in this match.
McAfee’s Dream Come True
This year’s WrestleMania was the culmination of a childhood dream for McAfee. He had a featured role on the card, defeating rising star Austin Theory. Following that, he was forced into an impromptu match with the CEO of WWE, Mr. Vince McMahon. Never mind for a moment that McMahon is 76 and arguably has no business being in the wrestling ring. This was received as a major moment on the show, as it should be when you’re talking about the owner of a revolutionary wrestling company and one of the most over heels in modern wrestling. And he chose to face off against Pat McAfee.
Yes, it made storyline sense because of McMahon’s ties to Theory, but it wasn’t a scenario that required McMahon to make an in-ring return. I think it speaks more to the fan support that McAfee has garnered because of his personality, work ethic and promotion. He’s a crossover star, finding success in every field of work he has chosen.
By the way, he also got stunnered by Austin, after he made the save, which sent this once-in-a-lifetime moment into the stratosphere of WWE OMG moments.
So, for him to have a place on this year’s SummerSlam card, opposite one of the top heels in WWE today, makes this a must-watch match. Just on that level alone. That’s not even discussing how impressive McAfee’s wrestling ability has been in his matches or how smartly this feud has been booked.
A Well Booked Feud
With McAfee tearing down Corbin on commentary, especially after the Last Laugh Match on the June 17th Smackdown, we saw an instance where wrestlers were actually listening/watching the show acknowledged in story. Corbin, as has been his custom, gets pissed off when he is disrespected by people and attacks McAfee at an opportune moment. Following the Money In The Bank PPV, just after it went off-air, he deep-sixed McAfee by the commentary table. That got social media attention because it was the only place to see what happened.
It sparked a few weeks of back and forth between the wrestlers, wondering if Corbin would answer yes, Corbin taking McAfee’s spot-on commentary one week, and McAfee making a triumphant return to BEGIN the July 15th Smackdown show. Feuds that start shows matter and this feud has been given adequate TV and media attention to make it a must-watch match at SummerSlam.
Prediction: McAfee wins. It’s unlikely that this is a feud that will extend beyond SummerSlam and Corbin has almost consistently taken the loss in his major PPV (Premium Live Event) matches. He won’t be hurt by it. Fans will enjoy seeing Corbin lose, and they will see McAfee dancing on the Smackdown commentary table in victory.
Other SummerSlam Match Predictions
Belair (c) ret. Lynch
Lashley (c) ret. Theory
Judgment Day def. Mysterios
The Miz def. Logan Paul
Liv Morgan (c) ret. Rousey (I’m most on the fence about this one.)
Reigns (c) ret. Lesnar, Theory attempts to cash in but is blocked.
Next week, we’ll look at the fallout from SummerSlam and what’s going on with the Intercontinental Championship.
Here are a few questions to consider from today’s column:
Are the Street Profits going to win and keep both Tag Team Titles, or relinquish one pair of them to go back to titles on both shows, or fall short against the Usos?
Does Pat McAfee entertain you or annoy you?
Please join in the discussion below on those questions or anything else you’d like to share. You can also follow me on Twitter to keep the conversation going there.
Related Links: Strong Build for Smackdown’s SummerSlam Matches- Part 1
Happy Corbin Plans On Spoiling Pat McAfee’s Big Moment At SummerSlam, Talks Playing With Peyton Manning In The NFL
Vince McMahon: The Rise and Fall