This year’s Battleground is looking like one of the most interesting PPVs of the year so far on so many different levels. Not only is it the last PPV before the second WWE brand split, but the card is beginning to take shape nicely with so much for even the most casual of fans to get interested in.
Historically, Battleground hasn’t been much to write home about, especially if we’re talking about the awful 2013 one. It’s had a couple of great matches here and there in its three prior editions, but it has ultimately always been a filler show, something to deepen the storylines and rivalries leading up to Summerslam, which is where everybody inevitably wants to be. Battleground is a stepping stone, like the person you date before you find the one you’re going to marry.
As already mentioned, the fact that it’s the last PPV before the WWE brand split makes it doubly interesting. Will we see any big announcements, like the World Heavyweight Championship making a comeback? What about the Intercontinental and US championships, where will they end up? This, along with SummerSlam, could be one of the last cross-brand PPVs that we see for the rest of the year.
That being said, although we’re likely to see a lot of these matches in bigger and better forms for Summerslam, here’s the Battleground 2016 card and our predictions and why it has us so excited.
NOTE: The full card hasn’t been revealed yet, so we’ll add to this as we get it.
Battleground 2016 Card
Sasha Banks and TBD vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke
Just like a few matches on this list, this tag team match is literally only here to provide a building block for a much bigger event at SummerSlam: Sasha Banks finally landing the WWE Women’s Championship. But who is her mystery partner going to be for her Battleground tag match?
It’s Bayley. It’s almost certainly Bayley. If it isn’t the queen of hugs, my colleague Chris is going to need one. Expect a babyface victory that will then be built on leading up to a huge match at SummerSlam, potentially a rematch of the famous NXT fatal four way. If Bayley isn’t called up, Nikki Bella is the next biggest rumour and one that makes sense.
PREDICTION: Bayley/Nikki and Sasha to win it.
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman)
If you’re wondering why this isn’t a Tag Team titles match, remember what’s coming up next month. The Wyatts vs. The New Day is a feud that many would pay good money to see and, for the most part, they’ve pushed it well. That being said, the two stables are talented enough to not have to resort to “unusual” promos and segments like they have been, so let’s hope what happens in the ring isn’t overshadowed by the weirdness outside of it.
PREDICTION: The Wyatt Family to win, and convincingly. They need it more.
Rusev (c) (with Lana) vs. Zack Ryder – United States Championship Match
WWE have tried to push the reset button on Rusev, and it’s more or less worked. They’ve somehow managed to make us forget about the love triangles and, worst of all, The League of Nations, to make Rusev a legitimate hoss again. He’s back to his caricature best. Zack Ryder might just prove to be another stepping stone, especially when you remember that he’s already had the Intercontinental title this year and that WWE hates Zack Ryder.
PREDICTION: Rusev all day.
The Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs. Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) – Intercontinental Championship Match
Unpopular opinion time: The Miz is, and has been for many years, one of the best workers and heels in the company – he’s been a fantastic villain, hamming it up with the IC title when there are other better, more beloved contenders out there. Since the reintroduction of Maryse, who’s been great, by the way, his character has gone up a notch. The challenger to his title, Darren Young, is a shock one, especially considering how long he’s been in the creative wasteland for. With the backing of Bob Backlund, Young could go far, but Battleground might be too soon.
PREDICTION: The Miz to win via shenanigans.
John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows)
This is little more than a building block for the rematch between Styles and Cena at Summerslam. It’s weird and a little forced to see Enzo & Cass align themselves with Cena against The Club, but they might earn themselves the win in the process. Cena hasn’t been more than a whipping boy since his return from a lengthy injury, which is a sentence I never thought I would be able to type, so expect him to build some momentum with a win.
PREDICTION: The babyfaces will take it off a pin from Cena on Anderson. Bit specific?
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Poor Becky Lynch, she doesn’t seem to be able to keep any friends that don’t eventually betray her. The latest Regina George she’s come afoul of is Natalya, for very vague and silly reasons. After the pair’s loss in a tag team match at Money in the Bank, Natalya turned on Lynch to set up what could be a fantastic match at Battleground. Both women are supreme talents that don’t get enough attention, but expect one lass to be kicked more than the other.
PREDICTION: Becky Lynch. She hasn’t managed many big wins since she was promoted to the main show, and she just needs it more.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
This is it: the best match of 2016 so far. Calling it early now might seem foolish, especially when Nakamura v Zayn is so universally adored, but this intense rivalry just has so much more on a storyline level to get invested in. Zayn has more or less always fallen just short of beating his former best friend with Owens being booked as the monster that he is most times they meet.
Even when the crowd was deflated the last time they fought each other on a PPV thanks to a horrific injury to Enzo Amore, the pair gave it their all and managed to get the crowd going again, which is no easy feat. If the scraps they’ve already had at WWE and on the indie circuit are anything to go by, this should be something really special.
PREDICTION: Zayn. The next Daniel Bryan needs to start getting big wins at some point, right?
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins – WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
The Shield Triple Threat we’ve been waiting two years for is finally here. It might have been better placed at Summerslam, but don’t be surprised to see a rematch there, no matter what the outcome is at Battleground 2016.
Believe it or not, Reigns being a stupid bastard might be the best thing that happened to this match. The hatred and animosity between Rollins and Ambrose is always worth watching, which is why it doesn’t need Reigns around to dilute the build-up. They’ve pumped fans up for this match pretty well on their own.
Rollins has shown that he hasn’t lost a step since his return, Reigns is relishing in his tweener role, and Ambrose has proven that he has what it takes to be the face of the company. He’s the best mic talker out of the three but, in my probably controversial opinion, the least entertaining performer. The three of them all contrast and compliment each other’s styles in fascinating ways, so here’s hoping they bring it on the night.
PREDICTION: Ambrose. It’s too early to take it away from him. He will pin Reigns as a big middle finger from Vince, too.
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