You can most certainly expect an evening of destruction and carnage at WWE’s Battleground!
Hell, if Roman Reigns can attempt vehicular homicide at Great Balls of Fire, then it’s anything goes at this point.
Speaking of balls being on fire, we did pretty well with the prediction at Money in the Bank and GBOF. So let’s keep our junk burning and continue that winning momentum into SmackDown’s Battleground pay-per-view (July 23rd – The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia).
There are potentially some great matches scheduled for this event, but then there is the WWE’s feeble attempt at milking an American audience’s antagonism towards foreign nations.
Look, it’s professional wrestling so I’m not surprised, but I find that kind of storytelling cheap and uncreative. However, let’s not forget that a McMahon currently sits in the White House so maybe the Trump administration would love it if the WWE could try and drum up some distracting patriotism during a low period in American History?
Crazy Alex Jones type conspiracies aside, anytime you have AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Shinsuke Nakamura on a card, you know you will probably get your money’s worth. It also doesn’t hurt to have John Cena return from his Hollywood hiatus to give the card that extra bump of intrigue and eyeballs.
Cena will be fighting for America in what is being billed as a “Flag Match” against the evil Bulgarian Rusev. What did the peaceful country of Bulgaria ever do to the States? I think Americans still associate him to his previous Russian gimmick. Regardless, that match will have a lot of flags waving and USA chants from fans.
That same angle is kind of playing out between WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton. This is the third time the evil brown guy from Canada – sorry, India – will be facing Randy Orton in the squared circle and let’s hope it’s the last. Their matches have been snooze fest city but with the Punjabi Prison stipulation being added to the mix, maybe their third attempt at entertainment will be successful.
Clearly, the marquee match of the night will be for the United States Championship between surprise champ AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. In a weird twist, Styles took the belt from Owens at an untelevised house show in Madison Square Garden which is something that rarely happens. So now the former champ will be looking to exact some revenge in what I hope is a match that tears the house down.
So will America stand tall against the evil atrocities of India and Bulgaria? Let’s firmly plant our flag in the ground and predict WWE Battleground!
WWE BATTLEGROUND 2017: ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
NB: one or two more matches may be added over the next week as the card is subject to change.
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, Punjabi Prison Match)
No matter how mediocre this feud has been, it just keeps on going. Randy Orton has lost the previous two matches (mostly due to Mahal and his Singh Brother cronies) and apparently, he gets a third chance to get his WWE Championship back. This time around, the action will take place in a Punjabi Prison match. It’s like the traditional cage match but made with bamboo, where the winner has to either climb over two different set of walls or they can have a referee unlock a couple of different doors. This is also a convenient way to keep the Singh brothers from interfering…or will it? Muahahaha!
The odds right now have Mahal as the favorite to retain his title. I feel all this match is going to accomplish is setting up Mahal vs. Cena at SummerSlam. The WWE would also probably love to play up Captain America vs. the evil brown guy angle because racism is so hot right now, right?
It’s been ten years since the WWE had a Punjabi Prison Match which featured a very slow moving and beat up Great Khali, so the bar is set pretty low. Just having a mobile Mahal and Orton will make this match better than it’s predecessor. I just feel sorry for the live audience who will have to watch the match on screen due to how hard it will be to see the action inside of the ring.
“The (Modern Day) Maharaja” is probably going to win via something nefarious because he’s a heel. Of course, anything is possible, and Orton could win, but if the plan is to have Mahal be a big part of SummerSlam, it would be better to keep the title around his waist until Cena takes it.
Predicted winner (and odds): Jinder Mahal (1/2)
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day (SmackDown Tag Team Titles)
This is a tough one to call, but it should be as close as their Rap Battle was. For the record, the WWE edited out the best parts of that rap segment, and in my mind, the Usos won. But you can decide for yourself in the video above.
Lethal rap bars aside, it’s been refreshing to have The Usos with the tag titles and I’m really digging their new gangster personas. In my opinion, it’s great to see a heel team have a good run with the belts, but are the Twins on borrowed time?
At Money in the Bank (June 18th) The Usos actually lost via count out to The New Day. Apparently, Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso didn’t feel the match was going the way they wanted, so they pretty much took their belts and went home. You can’t lose the titles via count out so they took the loss but still retained their tag championships.
As I write this there is no stipulation on this rematch so there is a chance the Usos could just do the same thing as they did at MITB. But something tells me this will be a close match with some sort of swerve. I know many people would love to see The New Day, who holds the record for the longest reigning tag team champs in WWE history, go on another run. But it would make sense for the WWE to hold off a bit longer.
Not sure if this feud will continue or maybe another tag-team gets involved like the criminally underused and extremely talented American Alpha?
In what should be an entertaining match, I see the Usos hanging onto the belts a bit longer heading into a big showdown at SummerSlam.
Predicted winner (and odds): The Usos (7/13)
John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)
Welcome back, John Cena. The man is now officially on a part-time schedule and probably not that far away from retirement. But “Big Match John” still has a run in him and that will probably end up being another title reign at some point this year.
With time running out, you know the WWE would love to anoint Cena as the greatest of all time, and they can do so by giving him his 17th world title reign. If he gets it, it would be the most in professional wrestling history. Currently, Cena sits tied at 16 with Hall of Famer “The Nature Boy” Rick Flair. Look for that big moment to likely happen soon’ish. Maybe SummerSlam?
In the meantime, Cena is involved in a flag match with another Superstar who makes his return to the ring. Rusev has been on the shelf for months seemingly because the WWE had no idea what to do with him. Well, it’s clear they still don’t know. That’s a damn shame because “The Bulgarian Brute” is extremely talented but is stuck in this “I’m an evil foreigner from Bulgaria” schtick and honestly, it does nothing for him anymore.
But that gimmick sure comes in handy when it’s “Captain America” Cena vs. “Not American” Rusev in a cheap novelty Flag Match. This is the type of match the WWE likes to pull out to tug on those patriotic heart strings. To be honest, there has never been a good flag match. The rules of this bout have varied at times, but at Battleground all a competitor needs to do is grab his flag from the corner.
Poor Rusev, because he isn’t going to win this match. Cena is not going to lose here cause ‘Murica’ doesn’t lose.
Predicted winner (and odds): John Cena (1/4)
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin won the Money in the Bank briefcase that he can cash in at any time for an instant title shot. For now, he is feuding with Nakamura, but history is not on Corbin’s side. Most MITB winners usually go on losing streaks leading up to their surprise cash-in.
This match has potential as Nakamura is such a great character who brings a certain skill set with his strong style of wrestling. Corbin, however, is a big man who mostly uses a limited amount of power moves. I don’t see this being a technically sound match, but it could have some entertainment value.
I know they want to build Corbin into a big star, but it really shouldn’t be at Nakamura’s expense. Shinsuke is extremely over with the fans so it’s best to elevate Nakamura from midcard status sooner than later.
The odds on this match are close because it’s hard to predict what the WWE writers will do here. I could see either man winning, but for now, I’m going with the history of MITB winners and Nakamura’s popularity rating.
There is a chance this feud continues into SummerSlam, so a Corbin win is not out of the question. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there is no real clear cut winner in order to keep both men strong. Maybe a disqualification? Something weird will happen.
Predicted winner (and odds): Shinsuke Nakamura (9/11)
United States Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens
At first, this match was looking like it was going to happen, then it was rumored it wasn’t, and now it appears it is. However, my job is to tell you what will happen and I smell something juicy here.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer first reported that Owens surprisingly lost the US Title to Styles at a house show in MSG due to a possible injury that would require the Canadian to be taken off TV. Later Meltzer shot down his own rumor and explained his sources said there is no injury and that the surprise title change was a last minute booking decision made by the head honchos.
So that’s all great news because in my mind this is the most anticipated bout of the evening as both guys should be able to put on one of the best matches of the year if given the time.
This should be an easy match for me to predict but the Owens heel factor keeps me from guaranteeing anything.
AJ Styles cut a good promo about how the USA Title should mean something and that he was going to be the one to make it great again. So is it in the best interest of the WWE to play musical chairs with the championship? Why has Styles claimed the title in a surprising fashion only to have it change hands again a couple weeks later? On the other hand, I have a tough time believing that this match will end in a clean finish which usually plays right into the nefarious doings of Kevin Owens.
For now, I’m going to take AJ Styles as the logical choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some sort of twist to this match. What I do expect though is some exciting head-to-head action between these two talented athletes.
Predicted winner (and odds): AJ Styles (2/3)
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Lana vs. Natalya vs. Tamina (Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match to Determine the #1 Contender for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam)
So this will determine who will face WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Naomi at SummerSlam. I will imagine the powers that be will want a big name, so that pretty much eliminates everyone that isn’t named Charlotte or Becky Lynch.
Charlotte and Naomi have already faced each other, and although you could make a strong argument for her to win here, and go on to be a Triple Crown winner at SummerSlam, I don’t think it’s time to pull that trigger. Lately, Charlotte has struggled in the ring as she tries to get used to playing a face. It actually requires her to have a completely different move set that isn’t so heel’ish and it appears she is still trying to find her groove.
I feel the right move here is to go with a fresher matchup, and that would be Becky Lynch vs. Naomi. At first, it could be face vs. face going into SummerSlam followed by Lynch winning the title and a possible heel turn.
Here are the odds on who could come out with the win in their Fatal 5-Way.
SmackDown Women’s #1 Contender Fatal 5-Way Odds
- Becky Lynch: 1/1
- Charlotte Flair: 3/2
- Natalya: 19/1
- Lana: 25/1
- Tamina: 100/1
Predicted winner: Becky Lynch