WWE is in a very odd place right now. Following the brand split, they had the opportunity to forge ahead with fresh talent in order to create some new stars, but instead they seem content to stick to the status quo and do business as usual. Give Cesaro and Sasha Banks a chance to shine on Smackdown? Nah, lets leave them on Raw with everyone else. Keep the Wyatts and the Club together for a while longer so that they can keep building momentum? Nope, we’re going to split them up, because reasons.
Obviously, it’s a little premature to judge this new era in the WWE because it hasn’t even played out yet. That doesn’t mean that I trust the company to not screw things up, but I’m at least willing to wait and see what happens. For now.
In the meantime, WWE Battleground is the last pay-per-view before the brand extension takes full effect, and my buddy Eric Schreiber is here as my tag team partner to help me sort out what will transpire tonight. Everything that we say will happen is definitely going to happen, unless Eric disagrees with me, in which case anything that I predict is the way that things will go. Maybe. Hit the jump and we’ll see.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Eric: Becky Lynch
This match is quite interesting for several reasons. The first reason being that this could potentially wind up being a potential Smackdown Championship feud between two of the three experienced divas on Smackdown. It offers the potential of a great feud down the line between two talented divas who really haven’t had as much success with Charlotte, Sasha, and Nikki Bella in their way. It is one of two divas matches on the card, but the implications I feel can be longer lasting for developing a divas division on Smackdown. Both can be solid champions and strong faces for their division given the chance. I feel as though Becky Lynch will win this match, however; one, because she was the women’s pick for Shane and therefore I think he’ll give her the thumbs up for his brand, two because she has been the underdog for quite some while and I think it’s time to give her a successful run.
Jesse: Becky Lynch
The last six months have been littered with betrayals and beatdowns for the Lass Kicker. As much as creative seems to like seeing Becky lose, eventually she’s going to need to start going over if they want her to be the no. 2 babyface diva, and the top one on Smackdown. There’s literally no reason for Natalya to win this match, but there’s no reason for a lot of things that happen in WWE and that’s never stopped them before. Take a deep breath, people. There’s still a lot of matches to go.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks & Mystery Partner
Eric: Sasha and Mystery Partner
I would first like to point out that I think Sasha’s mystery partner will in fact be Bayley. They have been teasing that they will bring her up since Wrestlemania, which they did for Balor and he finally made his debut at the draft. There were even signs that Bayley was going to be at the draft (which was a bummer for all those who wanted a hug), but I think this could be the perfect set up for her to make a debut. With that being said, I think Sasha’s team wins. She has been on a role coming back after her concussion and after the Charlotte and Natalya feud, Charlotte needs a new and captivating feud. Sasha has been primed for a title run for a while now and to keep that momentum going she needs this win to set up a Summerslam match and a championship feud.
Jesse: Sasha and Mystery Partner
While I agree with Eric that Sasha will emerge victorious en route to a showdown with Charlotte for the title, I don’t believe that Bayley will be her partner. First off, it’s just too obvious. Not that it’s a bad decision, but in terms of surprise it wouldn’t catch anyone off-guard (though the crowd reaction for Bayley would be outstanding). There’s been rumors of Nia Jax or maybe even Lita, but I’m going with Carmella. Since the brand split won’t officially start until tomorrow, it doesn’t matter that Carmella isn’t on the same show as Sasha. Plus, Bayley doesn’t really need the boost that being aligned with Sasha would give her. I have a feeling that when the Hugger does jump to the main roster, she will do just fine on her own.
(If you’ve read a rumor about who Sasha’s partner will be, don’t be a jerk and spoil it for us, okay? Nobody likes that guy)
Wyatt Family vs. New Day
Eric: Wyatt Family
This match is difficult to predict. It’s one of the angles that I’ve truly loved and enjoyed watching, up until the draft. The New Day is staying together, while Bray and Rowan are going to Smackdown opposite of Strowman. This match doesn’t offer upside for either team because it won’t be able to continue to build after the match. With that being said I think the Wyatts will end up winning this one. Bray has been out of action and just recently came back. He could very well be viewed as one of the top heels on Smackdown’s new era, and could use the heat going forward. In my opinion Braun will be reinventing himself and needs to come off this match very convincing as a potential solo act. Whether he carry’s the team or makes a huge statement, I feel Braun will end up being to focal point of this match.
Jesse: Wyatt Family
The New Day just set a record for longest reigning WWE World Tag Team Champions, but that would be a lot more impressive if they actually defended those titles on a consistent basis. Again, the titles are not on the line here. Maybe that makes more sense considering the Wyatt Family was split up, or maybe those tag titles don’t really mean that much anymore if no one ever wants to try and win them. I have no clue. As for the match itself, the Wyatts have to triumph, right? All we’ve been hearing is how scarred the New Day are from all of the mind games that they’ve endured, but if it doesn’t cost them a big match at a pay-per-view, then what was the point?
John Cena & Enzo and Cass vs. The Club
Eric: The Club
The Club was split, Cena and Enzo/Cass were split with the draft. The upside to this match is seeing Smackdown’s #2 pick beat John Cena. There’s obviously more upsides then just this one, but this one catches my attention. See the draft didn’t make a ton of sense with some picks, so the ones that did make sense need to be reinforced with this PPV. Now this is in no offense to Enzo and Cass because I think they will be one of the most dominant tag teams going forward, but as a collective I need to say the Club wins. This is their first PPV six-man tag match and they have been billed as taking over WWE, both Raw and Smackdown. I also see Finn Balor making an appearance during this match He’s Raw’s #3 pick and not featured on the PPV? I don’t see that happening. I see him making an appearance in order to make a name for himself on the main roster. I say the Club wins.
Jesse: The Club
Regardless of whether Finn interferes or not (if he does then I totally agreed with Eric on that, okay?), I see The Club prevailing in this one. Mainly because of what I think will happen in the main event, which will position John Cena to tie Ric Flair as a 16-time world champion. Excuse me for a moment while I go throw up.
Okay, I’m back. Now about my theory. I’ve been telling Eric for awhile now that Cena and Styles will more than likely go head-to-head once more at SummerSlam for Smackdown’s World Title. If Cena is going to win that match and make all of us question why we still put up with WWE’s current product, then the Club probably needs to go over tonight. It’s that opposite momentum theory that usually winds up being true and if there’s going to be a heel as champion on Raw, then a face needs to be champ on Smackdown in order to balance the product. Of course, this means that Dean Ambrose won’t be the WWE Champion anymore and all of a sudden I’m starting to feel nauseous again. I may actually be rooting for Cena tonight just so that we can avoid all of this. Let’s move on before I get any more depressed.
Rusev vs. Zack Ryder – United States Championship
Eric: Zack Ryder
I have a funny feeling that Ryder gets destroyed during this match, yet he comes out with the US Title. Smackdown is the show for the underdogs ran by Shane and Daniel Bryan. Nothing says underdog like watching Ryder somehow and unlikely beating Rusev. Ryder was an ultimate underdog at Mania and I see him doing so again at Battleground.
Hey, our first title match! It’s also the first time that Eric and I don’t see eye-to-eye, but even the Dudley Boyz weren’t always on the same page as a team. I was as shocked as anyone when Ryder won the Intercontinental Title at Mania and I would be even more shocked if he went over here. Barring major interference, Ryder is going to get crushed. And then crushed some more.
The Miz vs. Darren Young – Intercontinental Championship
Eric: Darren Young
Let’s make Darren Great… Again? I would first like to ask when Darren was all that great in the first place? Not to be rude or anything, but I don’t remember him being all that great, especially after his time in Prime Time Players, or after he was brought back from being fired. With that being said, WWE isn’t afraid to capitalize on mainstream attention or current events. Not to mention that WWE spent money and time and bring in Bob Backland to manage him, which would all be a waste if he didn’t win. Plus Miz as the Intercontinental Champ for this long when WWE can build other talent seems a bit ridiculous. Lastly, if the US title moves to Smackdown then IC title moves to RAW.
Jesse: The Miz
That’s two in a row, Eric. Before you know it, we’re going to split up as a team and start feuding. I have no desire to see Miz keep the Intercontinental belt or for Darren to win it, so this may wind up being my bathroom break match. As far as booking goes, if the US Title is staying on Raw then the Intercontinental Title remains on Smackdown. Simple as that.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Eric: Sami Zayn
I love this raw build up (no pun intended). It feels real with passion, and great story telling. Too bad it won’t end after Battleground. This match had the making of some of those other real life feuds we’ve seen brought on WWE television, like Matt Hardy vs Edge, but unfortunately what it was being built as will no longer be the case. They will still be on the same show, they will still be competing for the same titles and goals, and because the booking hasn’t been great or consistent we will continuously see this match over and over again. I would suggest that the loser gets traded to Smackdown to spice up the match, but what do the fans know. With that being said, it’s hard to see Sami losing to KO twice at a PPV match. Again, I look at the draft rating and see that WWE wants to build Sami as one of the company’s highest faces for the company. Especially for Raw being that they only have Reigns, who is booed like crazy and is coming off a suspension, which seems to have Vince still peeved.
Jesse: Sami Zayn
Supposedly this is the end of Owens and Zayn’s long-standing rivalry, but they are on the same show. I haven’t seen this kind of false advertising since WWE billed The Rock vs. John Cena as “Once in a Lifetime.” Another thing that befuddles me is why KO didn’t wind up on Smackdown, where he would’ve been out of the shadow of guys like Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns and free to stake his claim as the blue brand’s no. 1 bad guy. That obviously won’t happen now and I have no idea what WWE has planned for the Prizefighter following Battleground. If they truly want to blow off this feud though, then Sami has to come out on top. What happens then is anybody’s guess.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. (regrettably) Roman Reigns – WWE Championship
Eric: Seth Rollins
I added the regrettably for Reigns, because it is quite regrettable that Reigns gets to be in the Main Event of Battleground immediately after a suspension. It contradicts what WWE has done to other talent who have been suspended, and yet they so badly wanted this triple threat that they turn a blind eye. Now I’ve also never seen them publically acknowledge a suspension, which can be punishment enough, but still. I want Ambrose to win, because he has been one of the most authentic and entertaining characters to watch in a very long time. I love watching him wrestle because he knows how to wrestle, but he also adds his own twist to each move which is great to see. However, I think Rollins wins the match. He is without a doubt the biggest heel for the company, boarding Edge, where you love to hate him, yet want to see him win (especially against Cena and Reigns). He’s the #1 pick for the flagship show and they’re going to want him to continue to carry the company for a long time going forward, especially with Reigns in the doghouse. This also sets up a Styles vs Cena title match at SummerSlam. Again, I think Ambrose deserves it, but I think Rollins snags it. #UltimateOpportunist2.0
Jesse: Seth Rollins
Once more, my guy Ambrose gets the shaft and I die a little bit more on the inside. I don’t really have an issue with Roman being included in this match (yes he’s getting favorable treatment but has been for a long time, so what’s new?), mainly because we have seen plenty of singles bouts between Dean and Seth lately and this will be a nice change of pace. I do take umbrage to WWE treating Ambrose as a placeholder, though. He clearly is the guy that myself and the majority of fans want to see in Roman’s spot, so why creative continues to stiff arm him is beyond me. Then again, Cesaro isn’t even on this pay-per-view, so maybe the Lunatic Fringe doesn’t have it all that bad.
And I would much rather see Seth as champ than Roman. That goes without saying. I just don’t like that since The Architect is a heel, that means that Smackdown will need a face to carry it’s World Title for a bit. It’s hard to be wrestling fan sometimes.
There you have it. Tune in to Battleground and we’ll see just how smart or foolish Eric and I are.