Daniel Bryan versus Randy Orton, for the vacant WWE Title. And the Rhodes Family versus The Shield-Rhodes Family jobs on the line.
These two matches, assuming they are booked smart? Should be brutal, violent, well-told stories that thrill the fans and leave us both satisfied and wanting more. These two by themselves may be worth the price of admission, and that says nothing of the rest of the card-we’ll look at those in a moment.
First, the WWE Title match. As Stephanie said shortly after Daniel Bryan was stripped, she wanted the old vicious Randy Orton back. After this week’s RAW? Mission accomplished. The violent mean streak Orton had exhibited during his prior runs as a heel is coming back-not quite to the level where he is putting wrestlers on the shelf week after week due to his punts to the head-but close. The attack on Bryan, accentuated by Bryan’s new fiancee watching the worst of it up close? Just a master stroke in terms of getting Orton that much more heat. If WWE is smart (and considering that as of this moment, there are only 5 announced matches for the PPV, plus a 6th on the kickoff show), they let this one go 30 minutes or more. No doubt Bryan can last this long, and I have a hunch Orton should be able to as well-and both ought to be able to produce a compelling story throughout.
Almost lost in the action is how Hunter and Stephanie have allowed the newly enraged Viper to go at The American Dragon on his own the past couple weeks, while they turn their attention to the Rhodes family. Which, of course, leads me to the second match.
The Shield are a known entity at this point. Rollins and Reigns have been tag champs for a bit now. We know what to expect. Lots of energy, lots of power, no mercy. Cody Rhodes, even, is a known entity. OK, he’s had a bit of time off of TV, but aside from that, his most recent work against Sandow and his last RAW match against Orton were very good. But Golddust? Sure, his special match against Orton reminded many of the talents that Dustin has. But he hasn’t performed regularly in a WWE ring in a while. And it’s not exactly like the brothers have been a tag team on a regular basis either. But, when its your family pride-and jobs-on the line, I tend to ignore things like tag team cohesion. From what I’ve read on wwe.com, this one is a non-title match, which makes some sense and offers then a bit of flexibility on the ending-they can technically allow the Rhodes’ to win, via DQ perhaps, but not give them a pinfall victory over the reigning tag champions. Which, honestly, is how I see this playing out. Whether there is other outside interference in the works remains to be seen (we know HBK is coming, just a matter of how and when, but I doubt the where is in Buffalo). But I see a Rhodes tainted victory in this one, with some dispute over whether they should be re-hired due to the nature of the victory. Can’t just let them win clean, can they?
As for the rest of the card? I expect another match or two to be added possibly, but things are looking pretty solid right now:
AJ Lee versus Brie Bella for the Divas title-Brie is going to get more attention now, specifically because of things at the end of RAW. I don’t expect it to translate into a Diva’s title win for her just yet, however.
RVD vs ADR for the WHC-Making this one a hardcore rules match, for a hardcore superstar like RVD? Sure sets the table for a good chance of a victory for RVD here. Also, especially since Sandow is in the kickoff match, it leaves the door open for a cash-in. WWE seems to have backed off on the heavy hinting at a cash-in since the weeks leading up to Night of Champions, but until he cashes in, the leather-clad briefcase looms large.
Punk vs Ryback-Punk got a good bit of revenge on RAW, which makes me wonder how bad the beating will be for him on Sunday night. It’s really just the first match in the Punk/Ryback program, assuming WWE makes this a multi-PPV opportunity. What would make things interesting is if Big E became involved in things as well, and then became the 3rd full time Paul Heyman Guy. With just one PPV between Battleground and Survivor Series, this could be setting up for the November PPV.
And, not to be forgotten, Damien Sandow versus Dolph Ziggler. On the pre-show. Seems like another slight of Dolph, but I think both wrestlers are capable of putting on a great match on the kickoff.
All in all, Battleground has a few matches that could be true standouts. I would not be surprised to see another match added once Smackdown airs (maybe an R-Truth/Axel match for the IC belt?), but the matches announced should be solid and have good buildup to them. Barring something unexpected, the lineup as it stands should be fun to watch.