WWE Battleground 2013: Rhodes Family vs. the Shield Will Steal the Show
The Rhodes Family vs. The Shield will be the match at WWE Battleground 2013 that halts our breath and churns our gut more than any other bout on the card.
This high-stakes tag match will outshine CM Punk's continued quest for revenge, Daniel Bryan's journey to the WWE Championship and the rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship. The narrative leading into it is just too compelling to not steal the show at the pay-per-view.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins take on Cody Rhodes and Goldust with Dusty Rhodes in his sons' corner. Per the orders of Stephanie McMahon, should the Rhodes family lose, Cody and Goldust will never work for WWE again.
Dusty will lose his job as NXT trainer as well.
Though the match was only announced on Monday's Raw, it's a story that has been building over the last month. The impending climax is the kind of theater that makes being a wrestling fan rewarding.
Triple H triggered the saga when he put Cody's job on the line a month ago.
Goldust had an opportunity the next week to get his brother's job back; he just had to defeat Orton. As impressive as "The Bizarre One" looked, he eventually fell to Orton as Cody did.
McMahon followed that up the next week by ordering Big Show to knock Dusty out. The Rhodes brothers sneaked in the following week and attacked The Shield, who serve as symbols of the McMahon's abuse of power.
Here's where the patience WWE has shown in telling this story pays off.
Winning and losing in the Rhodes family vs. The Shield match means far more than it does in the typical WWE match. Even Bryan and Orton's battle for the company's ultimate prize doesn't feel as significant as this clash.
This is more than a match about titles; it's a family fighting for its livelihood.
Sure it seems like Cody and Goldust will prevail, but nothing is ever sure in WWE. Paul Heyman pinned Punk a few weeks ago, for example.
Each time Reigns or Rollins get a two-count, the audience will tighten up. A kick-out means survival and a three-count means catastrophe.
Some of the best, most moving matches in WWE history have relied on these types of high stakes.
Team Alliance banged heads with Team WWF at Survivor Series 2001 with control of the company at stake. For Cactus Jack at No Way Out 2000, losing to Triple H meant facing forced retirement. Flair put his career on the line as well when he took on Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV.
Most fans could see the outcome of the Flair/Michaels coming, but it was still an emotional ride.
Each time Flair got the upper hand, there was a spark of hope that maybe he could pull it out one last time. Every pin attempt by Michaels felt more significant as a legend's career would end once the referee's hand hit the mat for the third time.
This is what will power The Shield vs. Cody and Goldust.
Even an average performance wrestling wise will be an engrossing experience. Don't expect average from these men, though.
Goldust looked awesome in his return match against Orton. He was clearly still in great shape and reminded us that under all the gold face paint and bizarre antics, he's a fantastic storyteller in the ring.
Cody was on fire before he left.
He looked every bit like a main event in a recent bout against Alberto Del Rio on Main Event, against Chris Jericho in June and in the world title Money in the Bank ladder match. He's busy scaling the mountain to the top of WWE, and this match gives him the ultimate opportunity to beef up his resume even further.
Pair those two men against The Shield and greatness is bound to occur. Reigns and Rollins have been a part of a growing list of standout matches since debuting in 2012.
Reigns' intensity and Rollins' electric, manic style will be a fun contrast with what both the Rhodes brothers bring to the table.
If The Shield perform as well as it did when it faced Orton and Bryan at Payback or The Usos at Money in the Bank, the emotions of the match will carry that performance into classic status.
Great wrestling isn't necessarily enough to nestle into the audience's memory forever; an unforgettable story is what Superstars can achieve. That's what gives the Rhodes' match so much potential.
We've seen Bryan and Orton several times over, Punk and Ryback had a rivalry just last year and Del Rio and Van Dam is no longer a fresh matchup. The Rhodes family and The Shield offer an alternative to the list of rematches on the card.
The match infuses emotion into the ring and provides a climax to a story that has seen WWE storytelling at its best.
Regardless of who wins WWE's championships on Oct. 6, the headlines will feature three men named Rhodes.
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