Now you guys know how much WWE loves their new PPV concepts.
Come June 23, the Superstars of Raw and Smackdown will compete at the newly introduced Stomping Grounds (not to be confused with WWE’s Breaking Ground show, by the way). Fresh off the heels of an expectedly lackluster Super ShowDown event, Stomping Grounds will feature a collection of rematches from that show. Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin will do battle for the Universal Championship once again, as well as Kofi Kingston defending his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler for the second time (this time in a Steel Cage). A wealth of other title matches fill out the card for this second WWE PPV showcase.
Now let’s break down every one of those announced matches for the first ever WWE Stomping Grounds.
Tony Nese (c) vs. Drew Gulak vs Akira Tozawa (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Tony Nese has got quite the challenge on his hands. He’s competed in plenty of one-on-one title defenses lately, but now he has to fight for his Cruiserweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match. Drew Gulak and Akira Tozawa are the two other men who’ll battle it out for the ultimate prize from 205 Live. Honestly, Nese’s title run hasn’t exactly set the world on fire – its been pretty decent at best. But he hasn’t had a truly terrible match yet – he’s just incapable of stinking out the joint.
I’m still saddened by Buddy Murphy’s epic title reign coming to an end, but I understand that the man had to move on to the next phase of his career. Nese, Gulak, and Tozawa will certainly leave it all in the ring and maintain the high standard of title defenses the former champ was known for. I’ve noticed a trend where the current Cruiserweight Champion usually gets a lengthy title run – Nese captured the belt in April, which means he still has some time left to solidify his reign. Nese definitely isn’t letting go of the Cruiserweight title here.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: The eco-friendly (yet extremely disliked) SmackDown tag team champions have been called out on numerous occasions. And the rival duo that’s been egging them on the most is Otis and Tucker of Heavy Machinery. The former NXT powerhouses have successfully transitioned to the main roster and demolished all sorts of unlucky jobbers and B-/C-level challengers. After ducking Heavy Machinery for far too long, Daniel Bryan and Rowan will finally deal with their most passionate aggressors.
This is a fresh matchup that I’m sure will be a fun watch. Bryan always manages to get the best out of anyone he faces, plus Rowan has stepped up his game in a few areas. Otis and Tucker are always fun to watch, so I’m expecting a better than average contest between these teams. I think it’s a bit too early for Heavy Machinery to grab the gold here though, which is why I think some sort of disqualification finish will come into play. Bryan and Rowan will eventually walk away from the ring and eat a loss due to a countout victory. And of course, they’ll retain the titles while Heavy Machinery is granted an empty victory. That ending will be the catalyst for a continued feud and an expected rematch down the line.
The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Predictions & Winners: You just can’t keep Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn apart for too long. Even when there’s supposed to be a brand split in place, both men find a way to come back to each other. And they’re usually doing one of two things – trying to destroy each other during another hotly contested feud or banding together to take down a threat they simply deem as inferior. This time, it’s the latter. Fresh off the heels of a successful recuperation period after surgery, Big E is back to fight alongside Xavier Woods. And this time, they’re out for revenge as they defend their stable’s honor against the duo that’s been antagonizing them the most.
Now it would make a lot of sense for Owens and Zayn to go over here. They’d make for a great cross brand force that could wreak havoc across both shows. The convoluted Wildcard rule could work in their favor and give them a reason to dominate both main shows. But I just can’t see the powers that be going that route. Since one of the members of the New Day is the current WWE Champion, the other members of that group need to look just as strong as him. Which makes me think that Big E and Xavier will triumph over Owens and Zayn to continue the summer of happiness brought on by Kingston’s WWE Championship reign.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet (WWE United States Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Now this matchup really piques my interest! The powerhouse, submission-based killer known as Samoa Joe has always gelled well with high-flyers. And this time, he’s going to defend his US Championship against one of the very best top-rope daredevil’s in wrestling today, Ricochet. After claiming the right to become #1 contender to the title by winning a Fatal-5 Way Elimination Match, the young upstart now has a chance to claim singles gold. And after failing to win the tag team titles from either brand alongside Aleister Black, Ricochet has a second chance at championship redemption.
With such a fresh pairing in place for a major championship, this one has the potential to be something truly special. With enough time, Joe and Ricochet can easily take match of the night honors on a show that’s not packed with a lot of category contenders. Ricochet will definitely give Joe problems early on with his slippery maneuvers, but Joe will eventually get his hands on his smaller foe and brutalize him. The pendulum will swing in both men’s favors as time goes on, but Ricochet will ultimately prevail. Placing Ricochet in such a prominent title match and awarding him that title sounds like a win-win situation. Since WWE tends to shake things up within its title scenes, I envision a shocking title change here.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: This whole “Wildcard” roster rule has really screwed things up, if you ask me. Instead of keeping both brands truly separate and allowing lower to midcard talents to flourish on either show, WWE has decided to throw their best talents on both shows without any rhyme or reason. All of that mass confusion has led to this – Alexa Bliss (a Raw Superstar) is vying for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Confused yet? Yeah, I’m scratching my head too. Bliss’ overall health and ability to work has been in doubt these past few months, but I figure she’ll get the OK to compete here.
So Bayley’s the reigning women’s champion over on the Blue Brand. Her MITB victory and successful cash-in on the same night breathed some much needed life into her character. But I gotta be honest with you guys – Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley evokes dreadful memories of their terrible 2017 feud. The matches they competed in then were an afterthought and the less said about their “This is Your Life” segment, the better. I hope this is a one and done rivalry – these two don’t really have the best chemistry and I have no desire to see this go any longer. Bayley’s SD Women’s title run just got going, so I see her getting some revenge on her most hated foe with a victory here.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Predictions & Winner: I’m still trying to wrap my head around Roman Reigns’ recent loss to Shane McMahon at Super ShowDown. WWE’s chosen one actually got pinned by the company’s current “Best in the World,” a man who’s been getting wins over roster members who could have dealt without such embarrassing losses. Having Reigns beat Shane instead and leading straight into Drew McIntyre assaulting Reigns soon after would have gotten us to this matchup just as easily as the result we ultimately got. WWE’s booking has been even more confusing as of late, but let’s speak less about that and more about this WrestleMania 35 rematch.
So when both men went to war at ‘Mania 35, their bout left a lot to be desired. Instead of getting a hotly contested bout between two powerhouses, we got a pretty lackluster affair that wouldn’t look out of place on an episode of Raw. There’s still hope for Reigns and McIntyre to deliver a worthwhile bar-burner of a match on PPV. And I personally hope that quality match goes down at this show. Since Reigns has already gotten the better of McIntyre on numerous occasions, I can see WWE throwing McIntyre a bone here and letting him get a big win over the “Big Dog.”
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Count me all the way in for this Money in the Bank rematch. I was a little hesitant going into their first meeting since Lacey Evans isn’t exactly known for being an amazing wrestler. But to my surprise, she did a fine job against the current Raw Women’s Champion and showed everyone just how much of a marquee Superstar she’s going to be. Becky Lynch’s neverending feud with Charlotte simply bores me to no end – my interest clearly lies in “The Man” vs. WWE’s resident “Sassy Southern Belle.” This second meeting between these two should be even better than the initial meeting that proceeded it.
While Stomping Grounds is clearly a B-level WWE PPV, it’s also the first iteration of the show as a whole. WWE’s all about making history and most of those history making moments have had something to do with the ladies lately. I get the feeling that Becky “One Belt” is going to lose that moniker here. Here’s my big prediction – Lacey is going to soundly defeat Becky and have a major accolade placed near her name. WWE definitely wants this blurb in their next Encyclopedia – “At the first-ever WWE Stomping Grounds, Lacey Evans won her first women’s championship by defeating Becky Lynch.”
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: You know what’s pretty wild? Kofi Kingston actually cheated to win against Dolph Ziggler at Super ShowDown. During a moment of confusion during Kofi and Ziggler’s WWE Championship match, Xavier Woods got some revenge on Ziggler by kicking him while the ref wasn’t looking. A dazed Ziggler turned right around into a Trouble in Paradise from Kofi that downed him for the win. Sure, Ziggler did attack Woods beforehand. But at the end of the day, one of WWE’s biggest babyfaces and current WWE Champion used heel tactics to retain his title. WWE’s head-scratching booking rears its ugly head once again.
Due to Ziggler’s logical reasoning, he’s gotten himself a rematch. And this time, he’ll get that second chance inside a Steel Cage. Both of these guys tend to compete in some pretty good matches (I actually enjoyed their Super ShowDown matchup). So I’m pretty sure they’ll deliver another entertaining matchup within the confines of a Steel Cage. Honestly though, Ziggler is just a summer season stepping stone for Ziggler. Kingston is clearly going over here and heading towards his next warm body opponent to beat in July. Once August rolls around, I think Kofi will come up against his biggest challenge yet at SummerSlam…
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin (WWE Universal Championship; Special Guest Referee to be Announced)
Predictions & Winner: Ugh…did we really need to do this again? I was no fan of their Super ShowDown show opener and the silly way in which Baron Corbin lost. It was clearly set up to protect Corbin but in actuality, it made him look like a complete goof. Instead of getting in a low blow on Seth Rollins while the ref was busy putting away the steel chair Corbin brought in, Corbin chose to argue with the ref. Oh and question – why would you inch so close to disqualifying yourself from a title match if you care about winning the title so much in the first place?
Anyways, we’re here…again. I figured they’d add some sort of special stipulation to this rematch (a No DQ match makes way too much sense here, right?). But it’s sadly going to be another regular matchup. This one’s so easy to call – Rollins is clearly going to retain his Universal Championship. There’s no way that Corbin of all people will be the one to end Rollins’ title reign, especially since its just begun. Let’s get passed this and hope that Rollins has a more interesting foe at the July PPV…