Battleground is this Sunday. Once again, it seems like a filler PPV for the WWE. For some of the undercard, it is about tying up loose ends with the brand split. There should be some good wrestling on the card, and the main event is a match people have been waiting to see for two years. Can it live up to the hype? If it was on a bigger show I would say yes. But the story that could have been told wasn’t (thanks Roman Reigns).
On to the preview!
Becky Lynch vs Natalya
-I’ll have some thoughts throughout this about the Draft and how the WWE screwed the pooch on some things. Here is example one. Why are these two women on the same brand? And not only that, both women are pretty much the top two women of the Smackdown women’s division. Are they just going to fight forever like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens?
Anyways, the pull apart brawls these two women have had look good on TV. The crowd will willingly get behind Becky Lynch and if it wasn’t for Sasha Banks, she could probably be the face of the division. I still hope the WWE decides to let the Women’s Champion fight between both shows. Becky deserves a shot at the Title, and the roster isn’t deep enough to support two Titles. I’ve always found Natalya to be overrated. She’s a good hand, but I don’t think she is as good as some make her out to be. Becky needs the win more, so she gets it.
WINNER: Becky Lynch
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs Darren Young
-At least this Darren Young stuff is having some sort of a payoff. Months of stupid backstage skits have lead to Darren Young getting an IC Title this Sunday. Thankfully Bob Backlund finally got a live mic this week. I was waiting for that.
Glad to see that The Miz is back too. I still found it weird that they didn’t take the IC Title off of him when he went to film the latest Marine movie. (Side note, why are they still making Marine movies?) Ever since the WWE paired Maryse with the Miz his act has freshened up a bit. Miz was somebody who was getting stale really quick. But he also has a very punchable face and can be an effective heel.
As far as this match goes, I just can’t see Darren Young winning. He’s a nice little story. But Young isn’t that great of a singles wrestler. He will probably get the Crossface Chicken Wing on Miz but Maryse will distract the ref as Miz is tapping. Young gets up thinking he has won, but Miz catches him with the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: The Miz
United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs Zack Ryder
-How great does Rusev continue to be? He continues to be fun in the ring and also on the mic. The Rusev/Lana pairing may be better now than it was before. And can the fans stop chanting “We Love Lana?” Rusev and Lana aren’t going to address it anymore, and Lana continues to call Rusev her fiancee. They aren’t breaking up again.
I also think the WWE has done a good job of building up Zack Ryder over the last few weeks. Of course, Ryder has been treated as a joke for the last two years so this little push doesn’t change too much. Now if the WWE keeps it up, maybe Ryder could be a solid mid-card act for the Smackdown brand. But I think Rusev retains the Title here, and Ryder goes to tagging with Mojo Rawley and forms the Hype Bros on Smackdown.
Sasha Banks and a Mystery Partner vs Charlotte and Dana Brooke
-The big question here of course is who will Sasha’s mystery partner be. Sasha already said (not on TV) that it wouldn’t be Bayley. Of course that doesn’t mean much in the world of wrestling. Then there is Paige, who also has some history in this feud as she teamed with Sasha earlier in this feud. There’s also the likes of Summer Rae, Naomi and Nia Jax. If Bayley debuts here, it might take away from what will likely be Sasha’s moment at SummerSlam when she wins the Woman’s Title. As much as I’d like it to be Bayley, I don’t think it will be.
So who will Sasha’s partner be? I’m going to go with Paige. I thought about maybe having the choice be Trish Stratus, Lita or Mickie James. But again, I think the WWE goes the safe route here. Sasha gets Charlotte in the Banks Statement and makes her tap out, giving Sasha the chance to fight for the Title at SummerSlam.
WINNERS: Sasha Banks and Mystery Partner (Paige)
Randy Orton On Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel
-I don’t know what to expect here. Paul Heyman apparently isn’t under WWE contract anymore. If he were, I’d suspect we get a Heyman appearance here. Brock Lesnar isn’t advertised to appear on the show so I don’t think he will be there. So I don’t really know what this will accomplish. I’m sure Orton will talk about everything that he has done in the wrestling business and how he will be out to prove he is the dominant predator in the WWE and how this will cement his legacy. That’s about all that I got.
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
-Here is one of the matches where I question what they did at the Draft. First of all, Owens and Zayn remain on the same show. As much as I love seeing them fight, I think they needed to be on separate brands for their own good. You could have kept them separate until the Royal Rumble, or hell have them fight at random points backstage during co-brand PPVs.
Then there is the whole thing of having Kane chokeslam both men. Was that really necessary? What did that accomplish? Kane didn’t need the rub. At least Owens was great in his interview on the Draft Special on the Network. Owens continues to be underutilized.
The WWE continues to hype this match up as the final battle between these two but I have a feeling it won’t be the case. And I believe that even more now since they are on the same brand. This is a tough one for me to call. I’m going to give the win to Sami Zayn. Owens can get some heat back with his mic work and Zayn could use the win to go into a feud with Rusev for the United States Title.
WINNER: Sami Zayn
The New Day vs The Wyatt Family
-I’ve been asking for a more serious side to New Day for the last couple of months. And it looks like we are finally getting it with this feud against the Wyatt Family. Xaiver Woods has gone from the comedy act of the group to the voice of reason. He had a good sit down interview with Michael Cole (seriously, why aren’t these on TV). I’m glad they went with the Woods being scared of/realizing they need to take the Wyatt Family seriously. I was nervous they were going to try and have Bray hypnotize/put a spell on Xaiver.
The Wyatt Family was broken up as a result of the Draft. Braun Strowman is now on RAW, while Bray Wyatt and Erik Rowan are on Smackdown. Rowan had a creepy video on Twitter, with him carrying what looked like a body in a bag on the Wyatt compound. I’m assuming this means another split is in order. I don’t know what Strowman does on his own on RAW. He can’t work a singles match on his own. He might be the next Brodus Clay.
Since the Wyatt Family broke up, I see New Day picking up the win here. This match isn’t for the Tag Team Titles. The New Day are going to carry the Titles into SummerSlam and presumably square off against Enzo and Cass.
WINNERS: New Day
John Cena, Enzo and Cass vs AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
-You would think with all of these six man tags that Battleground is an episode of RAW. The timing of the Draft didn’t help matters. They should have waited until after Battleground to do the actual Draft. It’s just weird doing it before a PPV.
But this six man should be fun. Similar to the Wyatt Family, The Club is getting broken up thanks to the Draft. AJ Styles ended up on Smackdown, while Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows went to RAW. Of course, old friend Finn Balor is on RAW. So Anderson and Gallows may have found a new third man for their group. And that again could set up a possible AJ Styles/Finn Balor match at Mania. But AJ’s mic work continues to improve in the late stages of his career and he’s doing great work right now.
Speaking of great mic work, Enzo Amore is on another level right now. He has the crowd in the palm of his hand every time he is on the mic. Anyone who thought these guys would fail on the main roster can put their worries away. And not only that, teaming with John Cena is a great boost for them. It helps with the fans that they are associated with the top guy in the WWE. And the powers backstage trust them enough to team with Cena. If Enzo were a few inches taller, you could look at him as a future main eventer. But that is what the WWE brass sees in Big Cass.
So who wins? This is another toss-up. Enzo and Cass could use the win in this big moment. Styles could not take the pin and claim he is still undefeated against John Cena. And again, a win for Enzo and Cass gives them momentum towards a Tag Team Title match. I’ll give them the win here.
WINNERS: John Cena, Enzo and Cass
WWE Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins
-The match that everyone has been talking about since The Shield broke up over 2 years ago is finally happening. Of course, the match isn’t exactly happening under the circumstances most thought it would. Many thought it might have happened at this past year’s Wrestlemania. But Seth Rollins got hurt and Dean Ambrose had a match with Brock Lesnar. Then people thought it might happen at SummerSlam this year, which is also when I thought it would happen. But then the WWE decided to do the new brand split and decided to have the match at Battleground instead.
And then of course there is Roman Reigns, fresh off a 30 day suspension for violating the Wellness Policy. I’ve made my opposition to Reigns still being in this match well known. He better be the one taking the pinfall in this match. If he walks out with the Title, my fury will be well known. I hope Washington D.C. doesn’t disappoint with their chants.
Dean Ambrose continues to hold steady as WWE Champion. If he would have been built up better in the previous few months maybe his reign would be better. Seth Rollins continues to be the man as he says. His Roman Reigns “Interview” a few weeks ago was great. And he hasn’t missed a beat in the ring. There is a lot to like about both men right now.
But the question is: Who walks out WWE Champion? No one really knows what is going to happen with the WWE Title. Even though they just did the Draft, there is still talk about only having one Champion at the moment. So who really knows anymore. The WWE needed to plan this Draft better. I think the WWE still wants to do Rollins/Reigns at SummerSlam. So my pick is Seth Rollins winning the WWE Title. And then the first Smackdown post-Draft (which I will be at next week) addresses their Title situation.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
Stick to HTC this weekend for any news updates and live Battleground coverage.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka