WWE SummerSlam 2013 Preview: Brock Lesnar faces CM Punk

Brock Lesnar returns to WWE on Sunday, facing CM Punk at WWE SummerSlam. - SLAM! Wrestling

It's "The Best vs. The Beast" as former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar returns to WWE to face CM Punk in a featured match at SummerSlam on Sunday.

It's The Best vs. The Beast and WWE might never be the same.

Former UFC heavyweight champion "The Beast" Brock Lesnar makes his return to the squared circle for the first time in several months Sunday when he faces "The Best in the World" CM Punk at WWE SummerSlam at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET, PPV).

The Lesnar-Punk match is one of seven bouts on the show. Now let's take a look at SummerSlam, a WWE pay-per-view tradition since 1988, from top to bottom.

Grudge Match: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk

What's at stake: As manager Paul Heyman's hired gun, Lesnar stepped up and took out Heyman's former protege CM Punk after Punk jilted Heyman. Heyman officially turned on Punk at last month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, shoving him off a ladder during the Money in the Bank ladder match.

Punk has vowed revenge since, but has continually run into "The Beast" Lesnar, who has torn Punk apart every step of the way, laying him out multiple times.

With Punk so hellbent on revenge against Heyman, he often has overlooked Lesnar. Make no mistake, this will be a fight. Punk, who trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is good friends with Rener Gracie and often wears a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu sweatshirt to the ring, has to use his speed to take it to Lesnar.

Lesnar has had mixed success since his return to WWE in April 2012. Lesnar was defeated by John Cena in his initial effort before knocking off Triple H at SummerSlam 2012. Triple H got the best of Lesnar in the rematch at WrestleMania 29 in April before Lesnar won the rubber match inside a steel cage in May at Extreme Rules.

Punk held the WWE Championship for 434 straight days before dropping it to The Rock in January. He went on a sabbatical from April-June before returning to defeat Chris Jericho in June at Payback. His attention has now turned to Lesnar.

Prediction: This is a tough one. With Punk having gotten the worse of nearly every exchange between the two, one would expect Punk to get his revenge here, especially with Lesnar likely not returning until 2014 after this show. I'm going to go with Punk to hit Lesnar with everything AND the kitchen sink to pick up the win here. This should be a good one.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 10

WWE Championship: (c) John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan

What's at stake: Raw general manager Brad Maddox allowed Cena to choose his opponent for this show and he chose Bryan, the perpetual underdog. Bryan is red-hot, beating everybody in sight, with the crowd behind him more than nearly anybody in recent years. With Bryan, it feels like a real grassroots effort. This should be the best match on the show, with Bryan admitting this is the biggest match of his career.

One X factor here is that WWE COO Triple H will be the special guest referee for this match. Will he play favorites? Will he have an impact on the outcome? Time will tell.

Prediction: Rumor has it that Cena's elbow is in worse shape than anyone's letting on and he might need some time off. Then there's also the possibility (heavily teased) of Randy Orton cashing in his Money in the Bank championship opportunity. Bryan's big buildup and rise to stardom during the past few months will be almost for naught if he doesn't beat Cena on Sunday. I'm going with Bryan to win, and then wrestling fans everywhere will pray Orton slips and falls on a banana peel backstage.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 10

World Heavyweight Championship: (c) Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian

What's at stake: Christian has bested Del Rio every step of the way on the road to SummerSlam, including beating Del Rio in a one-on-one match a few weeks back on Smackdown. Christian has been on fire since returning from a long injury absence earlier this summer. He's a two-time World Heavyweight Champion is, as he says, is just looking for one more match. Del Rio recaptured the title back in June and will look to hang on to it here.

Prediction: Del Rio viciously attacked his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez a few weeks ago. Rodriguez has been absent since. Will he play a factor in this match? Christian is on a good run, but Del Rio will find a way to retain the championship here.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 6

Ring of Fire Match: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt

What's at stake: With fire surrounding the ring, no one can get in, and no one can get out in this grudge match. Wyatt bursted on the scene earlier this summer and made Kane his first victim, as he, along with his associates Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, attacked Kane to knock him out of the Money in the Bank ladder match last month. After a few more beatdowns at the hands of the Wyatt Family, Kane is out for revenge here.

Prediction: This will be Wyatt's first match, so it makes no sense for him to lose. Wyatt takes this one.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): Well, it's a ring of fire match. The heat check has to be a 10 here, right?

Mixed Tag Team Grudge Match: Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & AJ

What's at stake: Ziggler, Langston and AJ used to be a three-person power couple before Ziggler and AJ hit the splits. Kaitlyn and AJ used to be best friends before AJ went crazy last year and have been at each other's throats since, particularly feuding over the WWE Divas Championship this summer, which AJ currently holds. This could be a pretty good match if given time. Langston is going to be the next big star in WWE and Ziggler is great.

Prediction: There's some weird moo between Langston and AJ now, so I think a miscommunication there will help Ziggler and Kaitlyn pick up a much-needed big win.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 5

Grudge Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow

What's at stake: Former tag team partners square off here. It's not quite the Mega Powers - Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage - exploding at WrestleMania V, but Rhodes and Sandow, perennial challengers for the tag team titles at Team Rhodes Scholars during the last year, had a nice run together before Sandow shoved Rhodes off the ladder last month to win the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank contract. Rhodes has gained some measure of revenge since, chucking Sandow's briefcase and contract in the Gulf of Mexico. Now the two will face off here.

Prediction: Rhodes needs a win badly. Since Sandow is the one with an almost-guaranteed World Heavyweight Championship win in his back pocket, it'll be Rhodes coming out on top in this one.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 3

United States Championship: (c) Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam

What's at stake: This will be the match on the one-hour kickoff show to be broadcasted at 7 p.m. ET. RVD won the opportunity to face Ambrose by winning a battle royal this past week on Raw. RVD has been very popular since returning to the company full-time last month (his last run ended in June 2007). It will be interesting to see how these two mesh together in the ring. They'll be given some time and can have a good match. Worth watching the pre-show for.

Prediction: Winning the United States Championship doesn't serve RVD a whole lot of good, so I'm going with Ambrose to retain his championship and pick up a big win in the process.

Heat check (10 for must-see, 1 for snack time): 6

This year's SummerSlam is a big show with two sure-fire awesome matches in Lesnar/Punk and Cena/Bryan. On top of that, a strong supporting card, which should also be solid to very good inside the ring, makes this a must-order show for wrestling fans and casual fans alike.

However, if you choose not to order it (or even if you do), I'll be here Sunday night for live play-by-play and discussion of the show.

Also, please note, per Kid Nate, if you comment just to complain about a WWE post being on an MMA website, you will be warned, then banned.

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