In the midst of the return of the brand extension and this past week’s draft, its quite possible that you’ll be surprised by the news that WWE has a pay-per-view this coming Sunday.
WWE Battleground has the distinction of being the last pay-per-view before things split off into the world of brand-specific pay-per-views, with the rosters reuniting for the “big four” shows. Such as next month’s SummerSlam…
WWE Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
The Verizon Center in Washington DC will play host to Roman’s first televised appearance since returning from a 30-day wellness suspension. This match has some more intrigue added to it, given that we’ve got a massive question mark over what’s going to happen to the WWE titles.
On the surface, you’d fully expect Seth (or perhaps, Roman) to regain the title. But they’d need to do a disputed finish in order to give a reason for a second World’s title (unless they really do want to go down the Triple H route of just creating a new belt out of thin air). A lot of the matches here are pick ‘ems, but given how much they’ve steered Raw towards being the A show, I can’t see Dean keeping the WWE title for Smackdown. So I’ll toss a coin for my prediction: Seth Rollins
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Darren Young
A Smackdown vs. Raw match here, as much as they’ve spent time building up Darren Young, I have a feeling that the draft has disrupted their plans here. Miz has held the belt for over 100 days, and if Young wins the belt, then Rusev will have to drop the US title to ensure there’s no imbalance. Sorry Darren, but Bob Backlund hasn’t yet made you great again… Prediction: The Miz.
United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Zack Ryder
As before, they’re either going to swap both secondary titles or none of them. Rusev has been on a tear on Raw, whilst Ryder has Mojo Rawley and a Hype Bros revival waiting for him on Smackdown. It’s sad to see how quickly Ryder’s fallen since his WrestleMania moment, but it’s not a surprise given how he’s been treated historically… Prediction: Rusev.
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
This was billed as a match to end their never-ending feud, and had they been drafted to opposing brands, you could have bought it. But they’re both on Raw, so I’m having a hard time believing that they’ll never face each other in any way for a while. If this really is the end of the feud, I would have to go with Kevin Owens getting a win, but that opens up the question of “what next?”… so I’m going to go with Sami Zayn, with one eye on a future US title feud. And regardless of what they’re saying, these guys will be fighting forever… Prediction: Sami Zayn.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Another feud which could feasibly continue after they landed on Smackdown, this match between former friends could well determine either the next contender for Charlotte, or the Smackdown women’s champion, depending on where they decide to go with the women’s division. Like a lot of things right now, things are up in the air because of the brand split, but Becky being the first woman drafted on Smackdown signifies that (at least as on July 19) they had plans for her. As opposed to, say, Natalya, who came a little lower down the pecking order. If they continue with the storyline, then Natalya’s winning, but this really depends on what’s going on with the women’s titles. I’ll toss a coin for this… Prediction: Becky Lynch.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and ?
How the mighty have fallen – Dana Brooke was one of the last to be drafted, far below Charlotte and Sasha, as all three went onto Raw. The storyline here is that Sasha’s got to beat Charlotte and Dana to get a title shot because… reasons. Sasha’s got a mystery partner, and everyone’s tagging this as being Bayley, especially because she wasn’t picked from NXT in the draft. However, I’ve got a nagging feeling that they’re going to keep this as a Raw match, which means that by elimination, it’s probably going to be the debuting Nia Jax. Yes, I’d prefer it be Bayley too… but regardless of her partner, Sasha’s winning this. Prediction: Sasha Banks and ?
John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
As luck would have it, the draft ensured that this match can easily spin off into two separate feuds, with AJ Styles and John Cena likely to have an on-off, TV-only feud on SmackDown, whilst Enzo and Cass can go up against the remnants of the Club on Raw. That being said, this match has been somewhat one-sided, with the Club making light work of John Cena on numerous occasions. If Cena weren’t winding down his schedule, I’d have said that he’s getting his win back, but I can see the Club taking the win here before everyone goes their separate ways. Prediction: The Club
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan & Braun Strowman)
Well, the brand split sure messed up this storyline, didn’t it? This was looking promising before the draft came in to split up the Wyatts, and no, the tag titles aren’t going to be on the line. Bray will be reinventing himself as a singles competitor on the blue brand after Sunday, whilst Messrs Rowan and Strowman will be repackaged as standalone acts. Hey, it means the wine-maker Rowan returns, right? With that in mind, I cannot see the Wyatts getting a win before their leader breaks free… Prediction: The New Day.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
This has been added to the pre-show, and I fully expect at least one more match to join them. The Usos have really been hurt by their association with Roman Reigns, and have been kept well away from TV since Roman Reigns’ suspension. Both teams were drafted to SmackDown, so this could be a potential feud in the future, but they really need to rebuild the Usos… and I have a feeling this will be where that rebuilding starts. Prediction: The Usos.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website, BackBodyDrop.com, or on Twitter @theianhamilton