The biggest show of the summer is just days away when SummerSlam lands in Detroit on Saturday. One of WWE’s traditional “Big Four” pay-per-views, SummerSlam set the table for the fall, and even winter, seasons.
The 2023 edition of SummerSlam features many big matches, though none will have the fans as invested as the “Tribal Combat” match for the undisputed WWE universal championship between champion Roman Reigns and his cousin, Jey Uso. This match has been years in the making, with Uso first feuding with Reigns before joining his cousin in The Bloodline, helping carry Reigns to a historic title reign before the group split up.
At Money in the Bank, Uso became the first man to pin Reigns in more than three years when he and twin brother Jimmy defeated Reigns and Solo Sikoa. Now, Uso looks to fully destroy Reigns by ending a title reign that began more than 1060 days ago.
Elsewhere on the card, Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes look to settle their feud as the two have each scored a win over the other in their last two meetings. Plus, Seth Rollins puts his world heavyweight championship on the line in a rematch with Finn Balor from Money in the Bank. On the women’s side, champion Auska puts her title on the line when she takes on both Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat match.
The rest of the card is also sure to deliver high thrills. Look no further than the matchup between social media star Logan Paul and Ricochet. The two delivered an epic moment at WrestleMania when they collided midair and have continued to feud since. Now, Paul faces another freak athlete as he also hopes to finish his match in time to catch his brother, Jake Paul, box against Nate Diaz later in the night from Dallas.
There are four title matches total set for the show, along with many other important clashes.
Let’s take a look at who the CBS Sports experts believe will win every match on the SummerSlam card.
2023 WWE SummerSlam viewing information
Date: Saturday, Aug. 5
Location: Ford Field — Detroit
Start time: 8 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at 7 p.m.)
Watch live: Peacock
2023 WWE SummerSlam predictions
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso (Tribal Combat)
This is yet another “good spot” for Reigns to drop the title. And, yet, there’s basically no expectation that Uso will go over. To be fair, outside of the epic Bloodline story, there’s never really been a point where either Uso would be seen as a singles star that could carry the world titles. WWE has passed on many other big moments that would have been a fitting end to the title reign and it seems certain they’ll do so again on Saturday. The “Tribal Combat” rules in play give a lot of cheap ways to allow Reigns to retain, which has been the story of his time as champion. Pick: Roman Reigns wins — Brent Brookhouse
They’ve done it. They’ve crushed my spirit. Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle. Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber. Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania. No deserving contender has yet dethroned Reigns. One can make the argument that it was all leading to Jey Uso, as it should, but I’d wager that WWE will settle with his tag team win at Money in the Bank as his big moment. There’s still a Reigns vs. Solo Sikoa feud to explore and Rhodes’ redemption story. At this point, I don’t expect anyone to take the undisputed title off Reigns until WrestleMania. Pick: Roman Reigns wins — Shakiel Mahjouri
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
Rhodes needs the win far more than Lesnar here, and it’s hard to imagine that isn’t going to be what happens. Lesnar can be plugged into whatever match or situation for the rest of his life and it will be accepted by the fans without hesitation. Rhodes was built to his WrestleMania title shot with his tale of redemption and need to “finish the story” by winning the title his father never held and then came up short. If he loses this feud with Lesnar, it sends a really dark message about his future in WWE. Pick: Cody Rhodes wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)
World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor
There’s a sense that WWE doesn’t see Balor as a world champion at this stage in his career. That could change, of course, under the right circumstances. Rollins is over with the fans and still fairly early into his run with the title. For Balor, the story seems more about Judgment Day and his simmering jealousy over Damian Priest holding the Money in the Bank contract, not to mention both Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley holding championships. That story moves on just fine — and even better — without Balor holding the title. Pick: Seth Rollins wins — Brookhouse
The SummerSlam outcomes seem mostly predictable, so I’ll take Balor usurping Rollins as my upset pick. Judgement Day has remarkably overcome a long and critically-panned start to become one of the most diverse acts on the roster. Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio are champions and Damian Priest holds the Money in the Bank briefcase. It’s time for Balor to complete the circle, particularly after losing to Rollins at Money in the Bank. Some will complain that Rollins deserves a longer stint as champion. That’s fine, but SmackDown is already contending with a long-reigning and dominant champion. Perhaps Raw’s title scene could benefit from some hot potato-ing. Pick: Finn Balor wins — Mahjouri
WWE Women’s Championship — Asuka (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair
Asuka has been largely a secondary presence in the drama between Belair and Flair, but that suggests she’ll overcome her distracted foes. Asuka’s reign is still very fresh and she should be given the opportunity to run with it. Belair is coming off a very long reign as champion and Flair’s momentum is practically non-existent. Expect the champion to retain. Pick: Asuka wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)
Ricochet vs. Logan Paul
Ricochet is a perfect opponent for Paul. Paul has put in a lot of great work in his limited time in the ring, but he has lost his biggest matches. A special attraction isn’t much of an attraction when they don’t score wins. Ricochet is a walking highlight reel, making him a good opponent for a spotfest against Paul, but Ricochet also loses nothing if he eats a pin. He will always have his spot as a guy who can come in and deliver a few thrills, but he’s never going to be a major champion on the main roster. Pick: Logan Paul wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)
Intercontinental Championship — Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
McIntyre returning and confronting Gunther was exciting because it meant fans were in for another hard-hitting classic during Gunther’s impressive reign as intercontinental champion. That doesn’t mean McIntyre will get the win, however, especially considering how close Gunther is to breaking Honky Tonk Man’s record for longest reign with the intercontinental title. It’s probably as simple as looking at that record to determine the winner. Pick: Gunther wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)
Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler (MMA Rules)
Rousey and Baszler are close friends despite their strained storyline relationship. It always feels like Rousey is teetering on a break or exit. This could be a great moment to establish Baszler — the more consistent presence — as a main event player, as Rousey does her friend a favor heading out the door. Pick: Shayna Baszler wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)
SummerSlam Battle Royal
WWE really should strike while the iron is hot. Knight is arguably the most over act on the roster and has been defeated at every significant turn. There was enough for him to sink his teeth into despite losing the Money in the Bank ladder match, but falling short in the U.S. Invitational has left him without a clear direction. A win on Saturday is little more than a lateral step, but hopefully, it’s the time creative needs to give him something juicy. Pick: LA Knight wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)