As Summerslam approaches, there’s nothing better than the “prequel” Pay-Per-View event Battleground. However, it’s sometimes difficult to produce a quality show leading up to a marquee Pay-Per-View event.
WWE is coming off of two very solid Pay-Per-View events from Payback and Money In The Bank (MITB) and it has a lot of work to do leading up to Summerslam with Battleground. We also can’t forget about the WWE Network exclusive Elimination Chamber, which set up MITB much nicer than Payback.
Battleground will ultimately be an event that sets up a number of different feuds and altercations that will culminate at Summerslam – The Wrestlemania of the summer. It’d be nice to see another Network exclusive event prior to Summerslam but it looks like the heat will have to build during the two weekly shows.
For the prediction part of our article, we have special friend and guest “Harleysville Heat” Alec. He’s a long time friend and diehard WWE fan with some excellent insight and knowledge that all professional wrestling fans can appreciate.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
The 2015 MITB ladder match was captivating – Not one of the best but booked well with the talent involved. The WWE was booking Reigns hard to win this match, setting up a potential showdown in which Roman Reigns could use the contract to get revenge on Seth Rollins for robbing him of his title opportunity at Wrestlemania. A perfect scenario could have played out with Reigns winning the MITB contract and Dean Ambrose beating Rollins later in the show to become the new world champion.
Queue Roman Reigns intro music. He comes out of the crowd, cashes in his freshly won MITB contract to become the new world champion. A new heel is born while at the same time putting the title on Reigns. Unfortunately those plans were dashed with the arrival of Bray Wyatt during the MITB ladder match where he spoiled Reigns’ victory.
Bray’s booking has been as confusing as it was a year ago at Summerslam when he faced Chris Jericho. It would appear WWE just doesn’t know how to book him and continues to struggle with putting him into matches. Wyatt is constantly preaching to potentials “disciples” to follow him and they just never do. The feud between Reigns and Wyatt just doesn’t hold water and has just been more of the same leading into Battleground. Wyatt has mocked Reigns from the jumbo tron week after week, playing mind games and while talking in riddles.
Brent’s Prediction: WWE is high on Reigns but is looking to cool him off a bit as they try to once again find an organic moment for his character to reach the top. This booking with Wyatt has be a short term affair with Reigns coming out on top. Their match at Battleground is a toss up with either Wyatt stealing a win with mischievous tactics or Reigns winning via DQ – No one wins clean, leading to a re-match at Summerslam.
Alec’s Prediction: Oh no Wyatt. You done did it now. You don’t bring family into this here. Now you’re gonna get Superman Punched, Superman Kicked, Superman…Stunnered? Who knows. Either way, Wyatt continues his record of L’s, but possibly sets up a rematch down the road. Thankfully, relegating Reigns to the mid-card has made his character refreshing, so when the inevitable title run comes, it’ll feel earned. Then we’ll all be rooting for Superman Slams. Ha! Another one.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Randy Orton has been floating around at the top of the heap for quite some time. He’s been a sort of a “third man in the mix” for a lot of main events with no real expectations for pulling off a win. The guy is one hell of a performer but since his split from the Authority and stepping away as the face of the company, Orton has been in top tier limbo.
Sheamus falls into a similar mix but is one step down from Orton. When his character was a heel, he had some great feuds with John Cena and other top talent. After flipping to a baby face, Sheamus’ character has been a little closer to the mid card. However, after transforming himself back to a heel and winning the MITB contract, it’s all assured Sheamus will once again be on the rise.
This feud feels like filler – An opportunity to book two of the best guys in the company and not let fans forget about them in the background. Orton is one of the best in ring guys in the business where Sheamus has the ability to put on a good match with him. Their feud has some history but not a heavy storyline like some of the other carded matches.
Brent’s Prediction: Historically MITB winners go on terrible droughts when they have the briefcase. The thinking has to be that they really don’t need to win because at the drop of a hat, they will be WWE Champion. The MITB contract allows the WWE to focus on building the opponent rather than the guy with the briefcase. This one either has Orton winning clean or Sheamus losing via DQ or count out.
Alec’s Prediction: Did you remember Sheamus won MITB? Congrats! I think I’d blocked it from my memory. Although heel Sheamus is a billion times more fun than Face Sheamus so maybe it ain’t so bad. On the heels of that win, there’s no chance Orton goes over on him. Sheamus FTW.
Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz
WWE had a plan when it threw the Intercontinental championship on Daniel Bryan. They were trying to add legitimacy to mid-card talent while at the same time making the Intercontinental title a desirable prize. Think John Cena with the United States Championship.
However with the unfortunate setback of Bryan’s health, that plan was quickly thrown out the window. You can’t blame the WWE for taking a shot at Ryback though, one of it’s marquee big men. His first title run has been good – Merely lacking a strong contender to challenge him for the title.
The initial push for a Big Show / Ryback showdown proved to be promising. The inclusion of The Miz has somewhat muddied the waters though. It’s difficult to see where The Miz falls lately as his in ring presence has fallen to a small supporting role. The build up to this match has been more confusing than anything, which could see a similar outcome at Battleground.
Brent’s Prediction: With triple threat rules, anything can happen. It would appear Ryback is the easy favorite to retain here but Big Show is due for a title run. It feels like it’s been years since Show held any title other than the tag team championship. It’d be a shocker if the Miz won but could make sense as he too hasn’t had a memorable run in quite awhile. At the end of the day, Ryback beats the odds and retains, either feuding one of these two at Summerslam or moving on to another opponent.
Alec’s Prediction: This is a match. That is happening. The question is, though, if a match happens and nobody sees it, did it really happen? Thank God the Miz is involved here (your mileage may vary) but my prediction is a Ryback victory. Snoooozzzzzeeee
The Prime Time Players vs. The New Day
It’s been a entertaining to see Titus O’Neil and Darren Young have a title run together. Originally formed back in April 2012, the Prime Time Players had a short run together before reforming in February 2015 to culminate in their current push as the WWE Tag Team Champions.
On the other side is the continuously entertaining New Day, who have enjoyed a decent push as a strong heel stable. What has made them unique to other groups in the past is the ability of all three members to be “champion”. While having their own recent run as Tag Team Champions, each member would take a turn teaming with the other during title defenses.
This MITB rematch should be a good one as the Prime Time Players continue their run and the New Day seeks to get their gold back. At this point, it’s unknown which members of the New Day will take part in the match but it would make sense to feature the more top tier talents in Kofi Kingston & Big E.
Brent’s Prediction: Although the Prime Time Players just won the titles, it wouldn’t be a shocker to see the New Day take them back. This is a feud that could see a another rematch at Summerslam. For that to happen, it would make sense for the New Day to win. Plus, add the strength of the New Day as a heel stable to the mix – It’s always easier to add other baby face pairings together to fight for the championship.
Alec’s Prediction: Can Mark Henry just be part of the Prime Time Players permanently now? Maybe he can just come out for the Millions of Dollars Dance every time. Damn that was fun. For now, let’s all do the Millions of Dollars Dance because they’re gettin’ the belts back in this one and all is right with the world. New Day Rocks!
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Michael Cole has been calling this the “rubber match” for weeks and it has the ability to steal the show. John Cena is the proverbial super hero where Kevin Owens is the villainous foil. This third match is sure to be their last and finest.
Owens shocked the world when he beat Cena in their first match back at Elimination Chamber but Cena would even things out with his win at MITB. Both non-title matches and both epic in proportion leading to this third fight.
Cena’s run as United States Champion has been awesome. The match quality he has produced along with his open challenges each week on RAW have been equally good, pushing the young talent to perform while showing he’s a true “fighting” champion. Owens on the other hand has gotten a tremendous push, rising through the NXT ranks to challenge Cena from the get-go.
Brent’s Prediction: This will undoubtedly be another epic fight with the potential to surpass their previous two matches. These two will go 15-20 minutes with a number of close calls and kick outs after finishing moves. At the end of the night, Owens comes out the winner. Cena is too big a character and will most likely once again see himself in the main event moving forward, especially with Summerslam right around the corner. Owens will go on to feud someone like Cesaro or another up and coming NXT talent.
Alec’s Prediction: Cesaro’s still a part of this feud right? Could he, would he, might he possibly interfere somehow? Either way, we’re all winners with Owens/Cena 3. Owens pulls it off and Cena’s tremendously fun Open Challenge ends as he rides off to do something else, possibly to film Trainwreck 2.
Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar
When Brock Lesnar appeared on the 6/15 episode of RAW it was a shocker. After Wrestlemania and the fanfare he received in the match against Roman Reigns, it was clear Lesnar was making a turn as a baby face. His banishment by the Authority the following night paved the way for his eventual return to take his revenge, assumed to be at Summerslam.
In the weeks leading up to Battleground, the Authority has been pushing Seth Rollins to man up against Lesnar. With Rollins forced to take on Lesnar by himself after the injuries inflicted upon J & J Security and Kane, it would appear Rollins is going to need a miracle to come out on top. Lesnar’s track record has been one of him demolishing his opponents – Opponents who have appeared bigger than him in the past (Triple H, Undertaker, John Cena, and Roman Reigns).
It’s wasn’t completely unimaginable that a Lesnar / Rollins rematch was in the works – It’s just surprising that it’s happening at Battleground. Summerslam appeared to be the more appropriate venue for these two to meet in the squared circle. WWE will continue to book Lesnar strongly but it’ll be interesting to see if they have Rollins drop the title so soon and put it back on to a part time guy like Lesnar again.
Brent’s Prediction: It’s very unlikely Lesnar walks out the WWE champ. Or he absolutely steam rolls Rollins and takes the title back without blinking an eye. If it proves to be the latter then the WWE has virtually buried Rollins moving forward. A face turn could happen for Rollins but they’ve been building him as the top heel for weeks. To virtually undo overnight that would be foolish. Something tricky has to happen to interfere and make this a short lived feud.
Alec’s Prediction: What’s gonna happen!? Suplex City? Domination a la the Cena match? Rollins heroically overcoming the odds and putting on a good showing? Could Rollins give us a Rocky I type defeat where he just goes the distance and that’s considered a win? Thankfully, Kane isn’t around to interfere, unless he crutches down to the ring and messes around, but this should be a tremendous match. Lesnar gets the W and it’s off to Summerslam we go.
WWE Battleground is live Sunday, July 19 on the WWE Network and Pay-Per-View.