On The Mat – WWE Battleground 2017 Preview
July 23, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

Firstly what a great name for a Pay Per View, Battleground, sounds important and impactful, however, there is one problem with Battleground and it has nothing to do with the name of the event. The problem is Smackdown is a bit shit right now and has been for a few months. It just seems like all the good momentum that Smackdown had going into Wrestlemania has been destroyed in the months since. This is really disappointing and unfortunately I don’t see it being a trend that WWE will be able to fix anytime soon.

The fact that they have given the WWE Championship to a glorified jobber in Jinder Mahal and have made him feud with predictable Randy Orton isn’t helping. But WWE can’t seem to ignite any feud on Smackdown right now as it limps towards Summerslam at the end of August. So can WWE Battleground turn around the fortunes of Smackdown at the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia this Sunday? Let’s find out.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English on the Pre-Show

tye-dillinger-vs-aiden-english

There is so little imagination in this feud, both guys faced each other on the Backlash pre-show back in May and both have done little to nothing since that. This feud has not even continued on TV and there has been zero interaction between either wrestler in the weeks leading up to Battleground. Seen as Tye is the ever popular good guy with the 10 catchphrase expect him to pick up the victory after a tough match up. Hopefully both guys will go onto better things in the weeks ahead and finally get out of the Smackdown mid-card, although I doubt it somehow.

Prediction: Tye Dillinger

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis with Maria Kanellis

sami-zayn-vs-mike-kanellis-with-maria-kanellis

At WWE Money in the Bank, Maria Kanellis came back to WWE accompanied by her husband Mike Bennett now Kanellis, who made his debut appearance for WWE. Just this week on Smackdown Zayn and Mike had a match, which Mike won, setting up a rematch between the two at Battleground. Maria’s return and Mike’s debut has been lacklustre so far and although there ‘power of love’ gimmick is somewhat entertaining I can’t see it going that far. I do however see it going far enough to make them victorious on Sunday as Zayn suffers yet another defeat, whilst remaining as popular as ever.

Prediction: Mike Bennett

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

shinsuke-nakamura-vs-baron-corbin

This feud kicked off with Shinsuke Nakamura making his entrance at the beginning of the Money in the Bank ladder match, Baron Corbin attacked Nakamura which took him out of most of the match. Baron was able to go the distance and won the match and a contract for a WWE Championship match in the process. While cutting a promo backstage, Nakamura was again attacked by Corbin this time using the Money in the Bank briefcase. After that, The Lone Wolf told everyone that he wasn’t scared of Shinsuke and the two of them were put into match to resolve their differences the next week on Smackdown.

However, the match failed to begin as the two stars battled each other at the entrance way, Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan announced that they would have their match at Battleground. The basis of this feud between Nakamura and Corbin has been Corbin attacking Nakamura during his entrances. I know that sounds ridiculous but that’s what we are dealing with on Smackdown at the moment. Expect to see a good match between these two as Nakamura tries to build up some momentum before his rumoured match with AJ Styles at Summerslam. I see Nakamura coming out on top this Sunday, with Corbin being Mr. Money in the Bank, a defeat isn’t going to hurt him too much as he looks to cash in sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

The Usos (c) vs. The New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship

the-usos-c-vs-the-new-day

Arguably the best feud on Smackdown right now, thanks in no small part to the rap battle that both teams faced off in a few weeks ago, where things got quite personal and real to say the least. This feud has progressed to singles matches between both competitors with both teams trading wins over the past two weeks, with Woods defeating Jey and Jimmy defeating Kofi. This feud has involved great back and forth between the two teams and for once in a WWE feud,  we really don’t know who is going to win. With Jimmy picking up a much needed victory for The Usos it really muddies the water for Sunday.

With their title match on Smackdown ending in a count-out victory for The New Day after The Usos walked out on the match. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Usos use heelish tactics to walk out with the titles again on Sunday be it a low blow or using the ropes as leverage. Looking ahead, this feud really deserves to culminate in a big Summerslam showdown, so for that reason I expect The Usos to win on Sunday.

Prediction: The Usos

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Lana in a Fatal 5-Way Elimination match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam

fatal-5-way-elimination-match

After Naomi defeated Lana at Money in the Bank and again on back to back episodes of Smackdown, she confronted Commissioner Shane McMahon about who her next opponent would be. They were then interrupted by Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Lana who all claimed a shot at Naomi’s title. Shane then announced that at Battleground the five would face each other in a fatal five-way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam. Becky and Charlotte would team up to face Tamina and Natalya, who would go onto win due to a distraction from Lana.

The following week Becky and Charlotte faced off with Becky coming out on top, both wrestlers were then attacked by Tamina, Natalya and Lana, who then turned on each other ending in a stare down between Tamina and Lana over their uneasy alliance. If given enough time this could be a great match and verge into match of the night category, with great wrestlers like Becky, Charlotte and Natalya involved this match should be a slugfest. Seen as there is an elimination stipulation, expect to see a surprise or two. I feel that it will come down to a final two of Charlotte and Tamina who seems to be getting some sort of push right now, her alliance with Lana may be enterthe catalyst for her victory on Sunday.

Prediction: Tamina

John Cena vs. Rusev in a Flag match

john-cena-vs-rusev

Firstly the rules of a flag match, a flag match is essentially the WWE’s version of capture the flag. For the match, two flags are placed on opposite turnbuckles and the objective of the match is to retrieve the opponent’s flag and raise it while defending the flag in the wrestler’s corner. Simple right, well the thoughts of a flag match in modern day WWE are somewhat depressing, as it seems like WWE have brought this match back to give John Cena an easy win upon his return and before his big feud at Summerslam. It’s really sad to see Rusev in this match as he has just returned from a long injury layoff and it would have been different to see him return as something other than a foreign heel, but not this time I’m afraid.

The build up for this match has been poor, which is strange considering how good both guys are at promos but it seems to be stuck in the typical America vs. The World craic that WWE loves to get caught up in these days.Fans of yesteryear will remember great ‘Merica fueled feuds between the Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan, but that was the 80’s, it just seems we haven’t really been awarded with an amazing modern day equivalent, at least in terms of the storyline.

We can however expect a well worked match between both guys, who we have seen in the past have very good chemistry. Of course Cena is going to win so they can get the shot of him waving the American flag proudly at the end of the match after vanquishing the foreign baddie. Hopefully there is a character change for Rusev in the next few weeks as he is a wrestler that the fans really want to cheer for.

Prediction: John Cena

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship

aj-styles-c-vs-kevin-owens

With their first match at Backlash being an instant classic, expect this one to go one better on Sunday. Really it’s incredible that a match with this much star power and potential for four-plus star greatness is currently located so far under the radar. The booking and time spent in making this a memorable feud, has simply not been up to par. In fact, the coolest and most important moment of this feud didn’t even happen on television when Styles captured the title at a live event in Madison Square Garden two weeks ago. It was a strange way for the title to change hands, but it has made Kevin Owens the badass heel that we all want him to be.

Since AJ won the title in MSG, the two have been involved in tag team matches against one another with both guys coming out on top once. I can’t see Owens retaining the title this Sunday after losing relatively recently. Expect a barnstorming match on Sunday which will probably steal the show, with AJ coming out on top and both men moving onto something new in the run up to Summerslam. Our hopes lie with AJ vs. Nakamura but that’s just wishful thinking I feel.

Prediction: AJ Styles

Jinder Mahal (c) (with The Singh Brothers) vs. Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Championship

jinder-mahal-c-with-the-singh-brothers-vs-randy-orton

I’ll try my best to explain how this type of match works. The Punjabi Prison match consists of two large steel-reinforced bamboo cages. The inner cage has four doors on each of its sides, with a referee standing by to open them at a wrestler’s request. Each door may only be opened once and is only allowed to remain open for sixty seconds, after which it is padlocked. Should all four doors end up locked before the wrestlers escape, they are forced to climb out over the top, where the bamboo is fashioned into spikes.

Once a wrestler has escaped the first cage, he must climb over and out of the second cage, the first wrestler to have both of their feet touch the arena floor is declared the winner of the match. Thank you Wikipedia for that! Talk about a cluster-f**k of a match, and after the Punjabi Prison appearing on Smackdown this past week it is going to be impossible to see what is going on in this match. Also take into account that this match is limping towards its conclusion after two months of endless boring promos from Jinder with the occasional RKO from Orton I can’t see this match on Sunday doing anything to redeem this feud.

Orton cut a good promo from atop the prison on Smackdown last week which was probably his best work in this feud in a while as he showed a lot of passion and desire to win back the WWE title. Unfortunately for Randy I can’t see him winning on Sunday even though it would put an end to Jinder as champ, which has been uninspiring and boring to say the least. Expect Jinder to retain and face off against a new challenger at Summerslam, maybe a man who is Mr. America and is looking for his record breaking 17th world title, John Cena.

Prediction: Jinder Mahal

The Next WWE Date

Although Smackdown has zero momentum right now, expect a Pay Per View which will probably do better than we expect, as anytime WWE are backed into a corner they usually come out swinging with fantastic shows, just maybe not that Punjabi Prison match. With the biggest party of the summer right around the corner make sure to be on the lookout for our preview of WWE Summerslam, which takes place on August 20th. Until next time, keep it On The Mat!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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On The Mat – WWE Battleground 2017 Preview
July 23, 2017 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

Firstly what a great name for a Pay Per View, Battleground, sounds important and impactful, however, there is one problem with Battleground and it has nothing to do with the name of the event. The problem is Smackdown is a bit shit right now and has been for a few months. It just seems like all the good momentum that Smackdown had going into Wrestlemania has been destroyed in the months since. This is really disappointing and unfortunately I don’t see it being a trend that WWE will be able to fix anytime soon.

The fact that they have given the WWE Championship to a glorified jobber in Jinder Mahal and have made him feud with predictable Randy Orton isn’t helping. But WWE can’t seem to ignite any feud on Smackdown right now as it limps towards Summerslam at the end of August. So can WWE Battleground turn around the fortunes of Smackdown at the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia this Sunday? Let’s find out.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English on the Pre-Show

tye-dillinger-vs-aiden-english

There is so little imagination in this feud, both guys faced each other on the Backlash pre-show back in May and both have done little to nothing since that. This feud has not even continued on TV and there has been zero interaction between either wrestler in the weeks leading up to Battleground. Seen as Tye is the ever popular good guy with the 10 catchphrase expect him to pick up the victory after a tough match up. Hopefully both guys will go onto better things in the weeks ahead and finally get out of the Smackdown mid-card, although I doubt it somehow.

Prediction: Tye Dillinger

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis with Maria Kanellis

sami-zayn-vs-mike-kanellis-with-maria-kanellis

At WWE Money in the Bank, Maria Kanellis came back to WWE accompanied by her husband Mike Bennett now Kanellis, who made his debut appearance for WWE. Just this week on Smackdown Zayn and Mike had a match, which Mike won, setting up a rematch between the two at Battleground. Maria’s return and Mike’s debut has been lacklustre so far and although there ‘power of love’ gimmick is somewhat entertaining I can’t see it going that far. I do however see it going far enough to make them victorious on Sunday as Zayn suffers yet another defeat, whilst remaining as popular as ever.

Prediction: Mike Bennett

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

shinsuke-nakamura-vs-baron-corbin

This feud kicked off with Shinsuke Nakamura making his entrance at the beginning of the Money in the Bank ladder match, Baron Corbin attacked Nakamura which took him out of most of the match. Baron was able to go the distance and won the match and a contract for a WWE Championship match in the process. While cutting a promo backstage, Nakamura was again attacked by Corbin this time using the Money in the Bank briefcase. After that, The Lone Wolf told everyone that he wasn’t scared of Shinsuke and the two of them were put into match to resolve their differences the next week on Smackdown.

However, the match failed to begin as the two stars battled each other at the entrance way, Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan announced that they would have their match at Battleground. The basis of this feud between Nakamura and Corbin has been Corbin attacking Nakamura during his entrances. I know that sounds ridiculous but that’s what we are dealing with on Smackdown at the moment. Expect to see a good match between these two as Nakamura tries to build up some momentum before his rumoured match with AJ Styles at Summerslam. I see Nakamura coming out on top this Sunday, with Corbin being Mr. Money in the Bank, a defeat isn’t going to hurt him too much as he looks to cash in sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

The Usos (c) vs. The New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship

the-usos-c-vs-the-new-day

Arguably the best feud on Smackdown right now, thanks in no small part to the rap battle that both teams faced off in a few weeks ago, where things got quite personal and real to say the least. This feud has progressed to singles matches between both competitors with both teams trading wins over the past two weeks, with Woods defeating Jey and Jimmy defeating Kofi. This feud has involved great back and forth between the two teams and for once in a WWE feud,  we really don’t know who is going to win. With Jimmy picking up a much needed victory for The Usos it really muddies the water for Sunday.

With their title match on Smackdown ending in a count-out victory for The New Day after The Usos walked out on the match. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Usos use heelish tactics to walk out with the titles again on Sunday be it a low blow or using the ropes as leverage. Looking ahead, this feud really deserves to culminate in a big Summerslam showdown, so for that reason I expect The Usos to win on Sunday.

Prediction: The Usos

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Lana in a Fatal 5-Way Elimination match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam

fatal-5-way-elimination-match

After Naomi defeated Lana at Money in the Bank and again on back to back episodes of Smackdown, she confronted Commissioner Shane McMahon about who her next opponent would be. They were then interrupted by Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Lana who all claimed a shot at Naomi’s title. Shane then announced that at Battleground the five would face each other in a fatal five-way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam. Becky and Charlotte would team up to face Tamina and Natalya, who would go onto win due to a distraction from Lana.

The following week Becky and Charlotte faced off with Becky coming out on top, both wrestlers were then attacked by Tamina, Natalya and Lana, who then turned on each other ending in a stare down between Tamina and Lana over their uneasy alliance. If given enough time this could be a great match and verge into match of the night category, with great wrestlers like Becky, Charlotte and Natalya involved this match should be a slugfest. Seen as there is an elimination stipulation, expect to see a surprise or two. I feel that it will come down to a final two of Charlotte and Tamina who seems to be getting some sort of push right now, her alliance with Lana may be enterthe catalyst for her victory on Sunday.

Prediction: Tamina

John Cena vs. Rusev in a Flag match

john-cena-vs-rusev

Firstly the rules of a flag match, a flag match is essentially the WWE’s version of capture the flag. For the match, two flags are placed on opposite turnbuckles and the objective of the match is to retrieve the opponent’s flag and raise it while defending the flag in the wrestler’s corner. Simple right, well the thoughts of a flag match in modern day WWE are somewhat depressing, as it seems like WWE have brought this match back to give John Cena an easy win upon his return and before his big feud at Summerslam. It’s really sad to see Rusev in this match as he has just returned from a long injury layoff and it would have been different to see him return as something other than a foreign heel, but not this time I’m afraid.

The build up for this match has been poor, which is strange considering how good both guys are at promos but it seems to be stuck in the typical America vs. The World craic that WWE loves to get caught up in these days.Fans of yesteryear will remember great ‘Merica fueled feuds between the Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan, but that was the 80’s, it just seems we haven’t really been awarded with an amazing modern day equivalent, at least in terms of the storyline.

We can however expect a well worked match between both guys, who we have seen in the past have very good chemistry. Of course Cena is going to win so they can get the shot of him waving the American flag proudly at the end of the match after vanquishing the foreign baddie. Hopefully there is a character change for Rusev in the next few weeks as he is a wrestler that the fans really want to cheer for.

Prediction: John Cena

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship

aj-styles-c-vs-kevin-owens

With their first match at Backlash being an instant classic, expect this one to go one better on Sunday. Really it’s incredible that a match with this much star power and potential for four-plus star greatness is currently located so far under the radar. The booking and time spent in making this a memorable feud, has simply not been up to par. In fact, the coolest and most important moment of this feud didn’t even happen on television when Styles captured the title at a live event in Madison Square Garden two weeks ago. It was a strange way for the title to change hands, but it has made Kevin Owens the badass heel that we all want him to be.

Since AJ won the title in MSG, the two have been involved in tag team matches against one another with both guys coming out on top once. I can’t see Owens retaining the title this Sunday after losing relatively recently. Expect a barnstorming match on Sunday which will probably steal the show, with AJ coming out on top and both men moving onto something new in the run up to Summerslam. Our hopes lie with AJ vs. Nakamura but that’s just wishful thinking I feel.

Prediction: AJ Styles

Jinder Mahal (c) (with The Singh Brothers) vs. Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Championship

jinder-mahal-c-with-the-singh-brothers-vs-randy-orton

I’ll try my best to explain how this type of match works. The Punjabi Prison match consists of two large steel-reinforced bamboo cages. The inner cage has four doors on each of its sides, with a referee standing by to open them at a wrestler’s request. Each door may only be opened once and is only allowed to remain open for sixty seconds, after which it is padlocked. Should all four doors end up locked before the wrestlers escape, they are forced to climb out over the top, where the bamboo is fashioned into spikes.

Once a wrestler has escaped the first cage, he must climb over and out of the second cage, the first wrestler to have both of their feet touch the arena floor is declared the winner of the match. Thank you Wikipedia for that! Talk about a cluster-f**k of a match, and after the Punjabi Prison appearing on Smackdown this past week it is going to be impossible to see what is going on in this match. Also take into account that this match is limping towards its conclusion after two months of endless boring promos from Jinder with the occasional RKO from Orton I can’t see this match on Sunday doing anything to redeem this feud.

Orton cut a good promo from atop the prison on Smackdown last week which was probably his best work in this feud in a while as he showed a lot of passion and desire to win back the WWE title. Unfortunately for Randy I can’t see him winning on Sunday even though it would put an end to Jinder as champ, which has been uninspiring and boring to say the least. Expect Jinder to retain and face off against a new challenger at Summerslam, maybe a man who is Mr. America and is looking for his record breaking 17th world title, John Cena.

Prediction: Jinder Mahal

The Next WWE Date

Although Smackdown has zero momentum right now, expect a Pay Per View which will probably do better than we expect, as anytime WWE are backed into a corner they usually come out swinging with fantastic shows, just maybe not that Punjabi Prison match. With the biggest party of the summer right around the corner make sure to be on the lookout for our preview of WWE Summerslam, which takes place on August 20th. Until next time, keep it On The Mat!

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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