It’s time for the first of two WWE PPVs in the month of October as Battleground takes place this Sunday night from Buffalo, New York. To say that anticipation for this event is a little low would be an understatement. There’s not that much excitement in the air when it comes to this event. The WWE product was hot in the summer, but things have cooled off considerably since SummerSlam. Is it because John Cena’s not around? I don’t think that’s the reason.
I think there’s very little attention being placed on the midcard and the two main babyface characters (Daniel Bryan & CM Punk) are in feuds that seem like they will never end. How many Heyman guys will Punk have to go through? Bryan won the WWE Title at SummerSlam and Night of Champions yet he’s not holding the gold, so I think fans are frustrated that no matter what happens things will always change. I know it’s part of the story, but at some point you have to let the babyfaces get some kind of revenge or momentum because otherwise heel Triple H & Stephanie are going to cause viewers to turn off the show. Last month’s event had every title on the line, yet none of them changed hands except for the WWE Title that became vacant.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I apologize in advance for not writing as much as usual in this preview. This has been one of the busiest weeks of my life and I didn’t have the time to write that much.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of my friend Steve Melo.)
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow (Kickoff Match)
What a waste of talent. I’m talking about both guys. They should be doing more. The other thing is they’ve had no interaction to build this up at all, so it comes across as just another match in the WWE midcard that is full of lazy booking these days. Sandow’s been buried more than any Money in the Bank briefcase holder in history and that’s saying something because WWE tends to do that often. I’ll pick Ziggler to win just because it’s better for a babyface to win an opener especially when there really isn’t anything on the line for either guy. Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Intercontinental Championship: Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth
Axel hasn’t had a feud for his championship since he won it. This one was thrown together within the last week. Truth’s just a veteran wrestler for Axel to beat. The crowd knows Truth isn’t a main player anymore and he barely gets a reaction for anything he does. What’s up? Not his career. Axel wins in about seven minutes. The crowd will be dead for it too. Winner: Curtis Axel
Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston
There was no effort put into this story. If the match gets changed to Wyatt, Rowan & Harper vs. The Usos & Kingston as rumors then the heels will win. If it’s a singles match then the heel Wyatt will win. I think it’s silly that they have had nothing for the Wyatt Family to do for months now. Once they took out Kane (so he could go film See No Evil 2) that was it. Nothing else? The job of the creative team is to think of things in a creative way. Do your job. It will be a five minute clean win for Wyatt. Winner: Bray Wyatt
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella
I don’t want to see a title change because I write all the time that AJ deserves a really long reign as champion, but I think Brie’s going to win it. They are really pushing Brie hard as a babyface even though she never did an official. I guess all the Total Divas became babyfaces when AJ did her promo ripping on them last month. The fans don’t really have a reason to root for Brie other than that she’s engaged to Daniel Bryan, which makes her sympathetic…I think. I’d like it better if they built the title change up more, but that’s asking for a lot considering how WWE barely puts effort in for the divas. Winner: Brie Bella – New Divas Champion
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
This is one of the three biggest matches on the show. There’s actually build for a midcard feud! Crazy. Long term, this whole thing is going to benefit Cody Rhodes in a huge way. That’s why I like it so much. My expectation is that the Rhodes Brothers win, which would mean Cody gets his job back and Goldust would be back too. I’m happy for Goldust. He’s worked hard to get back to this level. Since it’s a non-title match it also makes it more likely that The Shield will lose. I expect Dean Ambrose to try to interfere, it won’t work and Dusty Rhodes may hit one of his bionic elbows on Reigns or Rollins leading to Cody hitting his finisher to win the match. If they don’t win the match then this unrealistic story of Cody’s firing will continue to not make sense. Winners: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam (Battleground Hardcore Rules Match)
It’s time for the Ricardo Rodriguez heel turn. I wanted to see it at Night of Champions, but it didn’t happen. I think it’s likely now that there’s a Hardcore stipulation because he could hand Del Rio a weapon or attack RVD from behind with a weapon to cost him the match. The idea behind Hardcore Rules is to put Del Rio at a disadvantage because RVD is the one that is used to Hardcore matches while Del Rio is more of a technical wrestler. It will make it a better match than last month. I’m expecting the turn to happen, for RVD to go on a break for a few months and for Del Rio & Rodriguez to be together again. It would come “out of nowhere” if they did it here. Winner: Alberto Del Rio
CM Punk vs. Ryback
I miss when CM Punk was having the best match on the show or very close to that. This is two PPVs in a row for him where it’s just an average match. I guess we’ve been spoiled by his PPV performances this year. I actually think Ryback is a better performer as a heel because he plays the bully well, but his matches are routine. Plus, we saw this feud last year in different roles. I’m going with Ryback because of how their angle went on Raw with Punk getting the upper hand. Plus, it’s not a smart move to align Ryback with Heyman only for him to lose his first match with the guy. The likely finish will be a scenario where Punk gets his hands on Heyman, which leads to Ryback hitting Punk from behind and finishing him off because Punk lost his focus again. It won’t be the end of the feud, though. It will definitely continue. Winner: Ryback
For the Vacant WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
My feeling is that Daniel Bryan will win here. If you asked me how to book this feud from SummerSlam I would have kept the WWE Title on Orton until at least Survivor Series. Instead they killed the momentum of the feud by having Bryan’s faux title win at Night of Champions and now it’s vacant. I’m not sure where they’re going with this. Hopefully the match is great, so that we can forget about the booking mistakes (or perhaps call them decisions that confuse me) and just focus on how great these two are when they are in the ring together. They’ll get 20 minutes. I expect a great match.
My idea for a finish involves Big Show. I think we might see a scenario where Triple H sends Show out to ringside to cause Bryan to lose only for Show to take a shot at Orton and cost him the match. That would hurt Bryan, though. If Bryan doesn’t win clean it hurts him. He should win clean. Leave the Big Show/Orton angle for after the match. The reason I think the finish will involve Big Show is they have to do something to create a final Orton/Bryan match at Hell in a Cell where Bryan will win the feud as WWE Champion. I’m not sure about his feuds after that (let the rumors swirl), but that’s how I see this situation playing out. I could be way wrong, of course. To end the night, Bryan celebrates with Brie – both of whom are new champions. Winner – New WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
I have low expectations for Battleground. I think the main event could be a great match and I certainly hope it’s better than their average match at Night of Champions. I just think this is a transitional type of PPV meaning that a lot of these stories are going to continue into Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series down the road. In other words, what happens here likely won’t be that memorable or come across like a big deal because WWE hasn’t done a great job in presenting this show as if it matters a lot.
It’s a three match show. If Bryan/Orton, Punk/Ryback and Rhodes Brothers/Shield turn out to be great matches then the show will be considered a success. It’s on the performers in that regard, but also up to creative to give them the time they need and come up with memorable finishes too.
I won’t be watching Battleground live, so my review of the show will get posted on Monday before Raw at some point. It will likely be Monday afternoon.