Welcome to WNZ’s latest pay-per-view predictions feature with Marc Middleton and Colin Hunter. Here’s how we think the first-ever Battleground pay-per-view will unfold, and why. Let us know what you think and post your own predictions below.
Pre-show Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
Marc: The recent string of losses for both Sandow and Ziggler really is a shame. The fact that they’re on the pre-show isn’t good either. I think we have a good chance of seeing Sandow cash in. Maybe they give him some last minute momentum by going over Ziggler.
Colin: How telling that two of the most talented, entertaining performers on the card have been relegated to the pre-show, while a slew of unoriginal rematches fill up the main card. Ziggler seems to have been demoted in the past couple of months – the interweb is full of theories as to why – and this match seems to be the proof that he has made enemies in high places. That doesn’t diminish his ability to have a great match, and Sandow is no slouch in that regard either, but this match won’t be given the time or prominence it deserves. The fans still love Ziggler, so a victory for him should get the crowd suitably pumped up for the main card. Since Sandow retains the Money in the Bank briefcase no matter what, his credibility won’t suffer if he gets pinned clean. Will Sandow channel his rage into a cash-in later in the card? Stranger things have happened. Winner: Dolph Ziggler.
WWE Divas Title Match: Brie Bella vs. AJ Lee
Colin: Whether we like it or not, Total Divas has become an established “brand” of WWE, and we can expect to see plenty of tie-ins between the in-ring action and the behind-the-scenes “reality” TV. It’s often hard to tell which is more scripted anyway. The upshot is that Battleground could make a perfect opportunity to put the Divas Championship on Brie Bella, since it would make nice fodder for Total Divas (surely sparking a sibling rivalry and much cattiness). Expect her to claim the championship early in the show, then return to the ring to celebrate alongside Daniel Bryan after he beats Randy Orton for a (temporary) title reign. Bryan and Bella will smooch onscreen, the crowd will go bananas, and the Total Divas cameras will be waiting to capture every “real” moment after they walk back through the curtain.
Marc: I agree, Total Divas is a hit and I predict we will get that feel-good moment for the next round of episodes. You will find many fans who think AJ should hold the title for much longer than she has but I think we get a title change here.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
Marc: I have been waiting for The Wyatt Family to explode, as have many fans. Hopefully this is the beginning of of Bray Wyatt’s big singles push. If WWE doesn’t do something with the Wyatts soon, fans could end up losing interest. It would be a shame to see an act with so much potential be wasted. Bray gets the win, hopefully in sick and twisted fashion.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel
Colin: When R-Truth repeatedly hollers “What’s up,” a reasonable reply might be that his stock in WWE is what’s up. After many months of unremarkable jobbing, he has been gaining momentum lately, scoring a few notable wins and generally working his way back into the collective consciousness of the WWE Universe. Good for him; L’il Jimmy must be proud. As R-Truth’s fortunes have risen, however, Curtis Axel’s have fallen. After a much-ballyhooed debut as a new “Paul Heyman Guy,” Axel has failed to captivate crowds (partly because he has imperfectly filled perfect shoes, partly because he has been mis-promoted). The upshot is that we’ve got two middle-of-the-road performers in a barely promoted match for a mostly irrelevant championship. Who wins? In the long run, it probably won’t matter. But since Axel still probably has some untapped potential carrying a belt that his father once wore so well, it’s safe to say he’ll keep it. Winner: Axel.
Marc: It’s too bad WWE doesn’t put more into the Intercontinental Title. Hopefully we don’t see a title change here but hopefully WWE does something with the title soon. Axel retains here.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Colin: A few things seem absolutely certain about this unusual showdown, which is arguably the most interesting match on the card. First, we will see an atomic elbow at some point from Dusty – and hopefully that’ll be the extent of his “wrestling.” Second, at least one member of The Shield will be “singing soprano,” as Bobby Heenan would have said, after suffering a Shattered Dreams at the hands (well, foot) Goldust. Third, if Dusty removes his shirt, thousands of repulsed fans will demand refunds. Then there are the variables, which far outnumber the certainties. Will the Rhodes boys function cohesively as a team, or will old family rifts already begin to manifest themselves, teasing an eventual showdown between Goldust and Cody? Will The Shield be able to maintain what’s left of their credibility after suffering defeat to an unemployed mid-carder and his middle-aged brother whose best days are a decade in the past (although Goldust has, as fans like to chant, still “got it”)? Will Dusty’s ticker survive the excitement? It will be fun to see the Rhodes clan together in action, but the long-term repercussions of this match seem hazy. Since the tag titles are not on the line for this one, The Shield can lose this match without sacrificing all their clout. Only time will tell if this is just a novelty one-off match or if WWE’s creative gurus are setting the wheels in motion for a Rhodes family saga. Here’s hoping that the Rhodes brothers form a somewhat strained long-term team, managed by the American Dream, only to have old resentments and jealousies drive a wedge between them. Winner: The Rhodes Brothers.
Marc: Several months ago I could have cared less about a Cody Rhodes storyline but this one has been exciting, something fresh for WWE TV. If the reports are true that Goldust is here through WrestleMania XXX then we have a lot more to look forward to. The Shield had been dominant since day one and a loss here won’t hurt them. I think we will see Dusty Rhodes and Dean Ambrose clash at ringside. Maybe an appearance by Triple H? Either way, Goldust and Cody get the win and save everyone’s jobs. It would be cool to see a Rhodes tag team title run leading to a break up and brother vs. brother at WrestleMania XXX.
Ryback vs. CM Punk
Colin: Like so many matches on the Battleground card, this one feels like a holding pattern. It will resolve nothing, and settle no score. Whatever happens here, it will only be a pre-cursor to a bigger match at the next pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell. One can safely assume that Paul Heyman – or a Paul Heyman guy – will interfere at some point, wielding a kendo stick or some other non-domestic object. A loss for Punk under such unfair circumstances does nothing to diminish his appeal with the crowd. Expect Ryback to claim this victory, by hook or by crook, setting up a return match inside the cage at Hell in a Cell. The cell will “prevent” Heyman or anyone else from interfering, even though the cell has been historically terrible at actually thwarting intruders or escapees. Winner: Ryback.
Marc: This one feels like another throw-away match but both guys could use a pay-per-view win. Like Colin said, a loss for Punk here won’t hurt him. Ryback takes the win, Punk ends at Hell In a Cell and hopefully moves on to something better. It will be interesting to see, as always, what Paul Heyman has up his sleeve for the Battleground pay-per-view.
World Heavyweight Title Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
Colin: Rob Van Dam has drastically exceeded my expectations since his return, performing at a level far beyond what he was delivering during the end of his TNA tenure. The creative forces behind WWE, however, seem reluctant to really let RVD excel during what is likely his last “run” with the company. After returning to a huge ovation at Money in the Bank and pulling off some stellar matches, Van Dam has been underutilized and poorly booked. An anti-climactic victory by disqualification at Night of Champions showed that RVD momentum is really starting to wane. Will the WWE brass give him an overdue boost with a clean, hard-fought victory over Del Rio? It’s possible. Will Damien Sandow then dash to the ring, briefcase in hand, to claim his yet-unclaimed Championship? That’s possible too. It’s certainly the most interesting scenario, but given that Battleground is a generally uninteresting filler pay-per-view, it seems unlikely. Expect this feud to remain in a holding pattern, perhaps with Ricardo Rodriguez getting badly beaten (or accidentally bungling something to cost RVD the match), which will marginally heighten the stakes for their next confrontation. Winner: Del Rio.
Marc: I agree on RVD coming back and just being awesome. It’s like that bad stint in TNA never happened. RVD could keep an exciting World Title run going but if the reports of him leaving for 90 days are true, then I’m afraid we won’t get to see that. I could see Ricardo helping RVD win the title, Del Rio coming back and laying RVD out, then Sandow cashing in. There’s also potential for Ricardo to turn on RVD and go back with Del Rio but Ricardo may be joining a returning Rey Mysterio soon. I’ll go out on a limb and say RVD wins the title but Sandow cashes in.
WWE Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Colin: There’s little doubt that this will be a compelling, dynamic match. Both these men know how to build an in-ring narrative that takes fans on a roller coaster ride of gradual climbs, breakneck plummets and plenty of twists and turns. We know these two have solid in-ring chemistry because, like practically all of the matches on the Battleground card, we’ve seen this one before. The big question is whether this is just another pit-stop on a long-term journey, or whether this feud will reach some kind of culmination Sunday. Here’s a likely (albeit unsatisfying) scenario. Bryan wins after the disgruntled Big Show clobbers Orton with a knockout punch when the bumped referee is down – a stern message to the WWE brass that the giant will no longer do what’s “best for business.” The event goes off the air as Bryan celebrates in the ring with new fiancée Brie Bella, who has claimed the Divas Championship early in the show, amid a cacophony of fans chanting “Yes!” The following night on Raw, Bryan is once again stripped of the championship due to the outside interference. Have we seen it before? Yes. Will some disgruntled fans demand refunds? Dumb ones, maybe. Will an even bigger audience buy Hell in a Cell to see Bryan finally claim the Championship in a “no disqualifications, referee’s-decision-is-final” showdown? Almost certainly. Bryan is best as the scrappy underdog, perpetually on the hunt for a prize just beyond his grasp. It makes some sense for him to keep chasing the championship that keeps getting yanked out of his hands. Your winner, and champion for roughly 21 hours, Daniel Bryan.
Marc: This should be an awesome match, like always, but I don’t want to see it again at Hell In a Cell. I’d like to see the Orton vs. Bryan feud end at Battleground. Bryan vs. Triple H and Orton vs. Big Show could work for Hell In a Cell. Going back to the whole “feel good moment” stuff, I see Bryan winning the WWE Title and closing the show with new Divas Champion Brie Bella. It’ll look good on Total Divas. Maybe Big Show helps Bryan get the win. It could be safe to say that Bryan gets stripped of the title on RAW the next night but what if he keeps the title and Triple H goes after it? There’s potential for several different main event angles coming out of this match. But Bryan leaves Battleground as the new WWE Champion.
• Sandow vs. Ziggler
• AJ vs. Bella
• Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
• Axel vs. Truth
• Rollins & Reigns vs. Cody & Goldust
• Ryback vs. Punk
• Del Rio vs. RVD
Colin: Del Rio
• Bryan vs. Orton
Remember to join us later for live coverage of WWE Battleground.
Post your predictions and thoughts on the card below!