With eight matches on tap, and essentially a three hour program, fans can hope there will be little to no filler at Battleground. There are matches rooted in feuds that have received heightened attention and build, making them rather interesting to see in both their execution and fan reaction. There is the return of the Punjabi Prison match, which has raised questions, as the previous two weren’t very successful due to the performances involved.
We also have a flag match which rekindles an old rivalry between Cena and Rusev, a five-way match to determine the new number one contender for the Smackdown Live Women’s title, and a one-on-one match that hasn’t happened before, making for some interesting potential results. Here are our predictions for Smackdown Live‘s WWE Battleground pay per view.
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
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This match was announced on WWE.com, and various means of social media were quickly used to help promote it. While fans of Dillinger (like myself) are pleased to see his involvement in this pay-per-view, I don’t really see the purpose of the match itself. They have had a number of matches against one another on Smackdown Live, which has generally resulted in Dillinger coming out on top.
With that said, both men are good workers and we can anticipate they will do their best to provide a solid opening match to help warm up the crowd. We anticipate Dillinger being victorious over English once again. A win could help elevate the Perfect 10 and hopefully lead to his being used in other programs. He certainly needs to be booked better, and this exposure could help ensure that.
Predicted Winner: Tye Dillinger
Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis
These two have had their issues with one another because Zayn has “accidentally” been in the wrong place at the wrong time on more than one occasion. Zayn has pointed out that each time he attempts to go to the ring, he is held up by the power of Maria and Mike’s love. These two really didn’t get a chance to show what they could do in their match on Smackdown Live, so this will allow them another opportunity to showcase their talents.
During their first match fans witnessed how Maria won’t hesitate to protect her husband, even if that means getting into the ring and standing between him and his opponent. A scenario that could play out is Zayn being victorious as a result of a disqualification. However, though Zayn would be the winner that doesn’t mean Mike and Maria won’t use the power of love in their favor. To help continue the feud, however, a victory by the heel would make sense.
Predicted Winner: Mike Kanellis
Smackdown Live Women’s Five Way Elimination
Lana vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Tamina vs. Natalya
This match appears to be another means of simply recreating the Money in the Bank ladder match, but with a different stipulation. The only other change is that Lana has been added in what has been Carmella’s role. In any event, the idea is that the winner of the match will walk away as the new number one contender for Naomi’s Smackdown Live women’s title, and will face Naomi at Summerslam next month.
We believe that there are two possible winners of this match-up: either Becky Lynch or Charlotte will win. This creates a unique opportunity for a face versus face match at SummerSlam, with the heel Carmella a looming threat to cash in at any moment. The other possibility is a continuation of the narrative of Lana being given opportunities without actually earning them, leaving her the last women standing. However, if we must pick one winner, we will go with the face.
Predicted Winner: Charlotte
United States Championship
AJ Styles v.s Kevin Owens
The new face of America and the old face come together, and this championship match promises to be one of the most exciting matches on the card. Styles’ rather surprising win at Madison Square Garden against Kevin Owens means not only is the motivation for a rematch quite high, but the level of angst being brought to the match is also quite high. There were rumors that Owens’ loss at the house show may have been motivated by an upcoming change to his character’s direction since the brand was already filled with several anti-American characters. Having a heel play the role of representative of America even though Canadian may have been redundant.
We speculate that AJ Styles will walk away as the winner of the match. Having won the title, the only sure way to solidify that win as not just a one off, or a quick way to help move Owens’ character, would be to validate it with another win. Owens may once again resume his prizefighter character, and that would become the motivating factor for pursuing Styles for the championship.
Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
One of the more interesting match ups is the one between the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura and the Lone Wolf Baron Corbin. The match up is unique because it puts Corbin against a prominent character on the brand, and also gets Nakamura involved in a pay-per-view, allowing him to move into greater prominence in the process.
As the Money in the Bank winner, Corbin has the chance to cash in his contract at any time. However, this time we don’t foresee Corbin winning the match. In fact, a win wouldn’t help him, while a loss doesn’t necessarily hurt him. A win isn’t necessary as he already has the contract that he could use at any point. So it seems all but a certainty Nakamura will walk away with the win.
What we would anticipate is that after a long battle between the two, Nakamura will finish Corbin off with the Kinshasa. The match will ultimately be beneficial for both competitors, but it is Nakamura that will come out victorious, though he may still face a post match beat down by the Lone Wolf.
Predicted Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. The New Day
After arriving on Smackdown Live, the New Day almost immediately assumed the role as the top contenders for the tag team championship. These two teams they have had their share of battles in every way, shape or form, whether it was in the ring or as part of a rap battle. This time around, the Usos and New Day are primed to have a solid match. The first time the two teams met at Money in the Bank, we witnessed the Usos taking the low road by deliberately getting themselves counted out. It was a highly contested match but ultimately ended when the Usos felt they were in jeopardy of losing.
As their feud continues at Battleground, it is unlikely they would have the New Day winning the titles, as that appears not to be necessary. So, we predict a win for the Usos, either in a way that is not clean or after infuriating their opponents so much it leads to the New Day being disqualified. This isn’t to say that New Day won’t win the titles at some point, but we don’t anticipate that it will be at Battleground.
Predicted Winner: The Usos
John Cena vs. Rusev
A country’s flag is a symbol of freedom and patriotism. John Cena and Rusev’s upcoming match is a return to an earlier feud, which was also based on allegiance to their respective countries. They are no stranger to one another, and this match presents an opportunity to use both notable characters as part of the Smackdown Live pay-per-view.
However, abruptly booking this match seems somewhat counter-productive, unless it is intended to lead toward a WWE championship opportunity. It was quickly put together, despite both men being absent from WWE programming, albeit for very different reasons. Cena’s absence has been primarily because he was away for other commitments, while Rusev was away recovering from an injury.
We anticipate Cena walking away victorious, but that doesn’t mean he will walk away from the match unscathed. Cena is a free agent who is free to compete on both brands, while Rusev is specifically part of the Smackdown Live roster. We anticipate the Bulgarian Brute beating down Cena after the match. So while Cena will walk away with a victory, he won’t walk away without assistance.
Predicted Winner: John Cena
Punjabi Prison WWE Championship Match
Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton
This is only the third ever Punjabi Prison Match, so clearly the match is rare, and it represents a unique twist to put on this feud. We aren’t sure where the program will go after this match ends, and nothing leads us to believe it will continue. However, the match is sure to be a rather physical one, as the level of intensity between both Mahal and Orton will be brought to a whole new level. Animosity has developed after things became personal when Orton’s father was dragged into the conflict.
We would anticipate that, despite Orton’s best efforts, he will not walk away victorious. Often when someone is so bent on getting revenge they leave themselves open to make mistakes. This prediction wouldn’t have seemed reasonable a few years ago, but certainly is today. We anticipate that Mahal will walk away victorious in a match that further cements his reign as WWE champion.
Predicted Winner: Jinder Mahal