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Predicting Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Regardless of how fans feel about the Battleground card as a whole, there is no question that there is plenty of excitement surrounding the WWE Championship main event between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. With the title being held in abeyance by Triple H, it is almost guaranteed that someone will walk out of First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. as the new WWE champion.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Win the WWE Championship?
WWE's on-screen product has been all about Bryan, Orton and their relation to "the corporation" ever since Triple H helped Orton successfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Bryan at SummerSlam. Bryan got revenge at Night of Champions by beating Orton, courtesy of his patented running knee, but Bryan's stay on top was short-lived. Triple H stripped him of the title the next night on Raw due to a fast count from referee Scott Armstrong.
Despite that speed bump, Bryan has been on a major roll. Orton has recovered nicely from the loss at Night of Champions as well. The Viper is once again the vicious character that he was when he led Legacy, and that bodes well for him moving forward.
Since both Bryan and Orton have been built so well, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what might happen at Battleground. That unpredictable result mixed with what is sure to be a great in-ring encounter should make for an excellent all-around match.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The creative team surprised most fans by having Bryan beat Orton at Night of Champions, but it seems likely that they will go in a different direction this time around.
Triple H can only screw Bryan out of the title so many times before it gets old. Orton needs a win over a guy like Bryan to establish himself as a credible top heel as well, and he should get it at Battleground. With that said, it is almost guaranteed that Orton will get help from someone, whether it's Triple H or somebody else. But a win would be huge, regardless.
WWE has been building Big Show in a direction that makes it seem like he's ready to snap on Triple H, but that feels very much like misdirection. Big Show is a leading candidate to help Orton at Battleground, as Triple H can guarantee Big Show safety, which would play well into the angle relating to Big Show's financial situation. Bryan fans may be upset if he falls short yet again, but allowing him to continue chasing the title will be best for him in the long run.
Rumor Mill: Potential WrestleMania Plans for Orton (411mania.com, via Wrestling Observer)
Predicting Rhodes Brothers vs. Rollins and Reigns
As much as Triple H has made life difficult to Bryan in recent weeks, he has been just as hard on the Rhodes family. After firing Cody following a loss to Orton, both Goldust and Dusty Rhodes have attempted to help him get his job back.
It hasn't worked out thus far, but the Rhodes family was invited to Raw by Triple H, and he set up a match pitting Cody and Goldust against The Shield's Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at Battleground.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will the Rhodeses Regain Their Jobs?
If the Rhodes brothers are able to prevail on Sunday, then Cody and Goldust will both receive WWE contracts, and Dusty will get to keep his job with NXT. If Rollins and Reigns win, however, no member of the Rhodes family will be allowed to work in WWE ever again. Leaving the Tag Team Championships out of the equation certainly complicates matters as either team could believably win.
Most seem to be picking the Rhodes brothers because of the career-ending stipulation, although it isn't as if those rulings ever hold up in wrestling. Cody and Goldust could conceivably lose and find their way back into the company. After all, Cody was just fired several weeks ago, and he's already fighting to get his job back. At the same time, having the Rhodes brothers win would open up a world of possibilities from a storyline standpoint, so the creative team can't really go wrong.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
For whatever reason, it feels like either Cody or Goldust may be turning heel at this point.
A turn hasn't really been hinted at, but it would add so many interesting layers to the angle that it would be stupid not to make the move. Cody turning would be more effective since he has been portrayed as the good son who always does the right thing. Screwing over his brother and father in favor of Triple H would be a huge move, and it could lead to the Cody vs. Goldust program that so many fans have clamored for.
Goldust turning is also an option, as Cody would gain a great deal of face support by going against his brother and the WWE's corporate power structure. The turn could happen after Cody and Goldust win, but it would make more sense for one of them to turn on the other during the match.
Whoever shows loyalty to Triple H would likely be awarded a contract, while the other would be left out. The Cody vs. Goldust feud would then occur, with Cody ultimately prevailing and vanquishing Goldust from the company.
Rumor Mill: Vince McMahon Reportedly Wanted Dusty in Match (WrestlingInc.com, via F4WOnline)
Predicting Remainder of Battleground Card
In addition to Bryan vs. Orton and the Rhodes brothers vs. Rollins and Reigns, Battleground offers several other intriguing matchups. Alberto Del Rio will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Rob Van Dam in a Hardcore match, CM Punk will take on Ryback, Divas champion AJ Lee will go at it with Brie Bella, R-Truth will challenge Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship and Dolph Ziggler will face Damien Sandow in the pre-show Kickoff match.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will the Other Matches Play Out?
While the featured matches at Battleground could go either way, there isn't a ton of mystery throughout the remainder of the card. In fact, the only one that is somewhat difficult to predict is Punk vs. Ryback. The result relies largely upon the shelf life of the Punk vs. Paul Heyman feud. It has been one of WWE's top angles since Heyman turned on Punk at Money in the Bank, as Punk has had matches with the likes of Brock Lesnar and Axel. Ryback is next on tap at Battleground.
If this feud is going to continue, then Ryback has to win. He lost to Punk numerous times last year, and he has lost regularly on pay-per-view ever since. Ryback needs a win to regain some credibility, and beating Punk would help enormously. Punk is mired in a bit of a slump in his own right, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him come out on top either. Since it's hard to imagine this angle ending before Survivor Series, though, a Ryback win is the most likely scenario.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As for Del Rio vs. RVD, Del Rio almost has to prevail. Aside from his in-ring work, he has been a failure as world champion. With that said, all signs point to Van Dam taking a break after this match. Look for Del Rio to win with the Cross Armbreaker and then reapply it after the match to put RVD on the shelf.
Despite Brie's increased exposure as of late and her spot on Total Divas, AJ will almost certainly retain her title. It's unfortunate that she doesn't have any competition, but she has done very well individually as champion.
Truth vs. Axel was a late addition to the card following Truth's win over Axel on Raw, and it seems like a platform to give Axel another pay-per-view win. Axel really hasn't done much as Intercontinental champion, but it wouldn't make sense to put it on Truth.
Finally, Ziggler's poorly built match against Sandow is pointing in the direction of a Ziggler victory. Both men are being built terribly as of right now, but the creative team always blows it with the World Heavyweight Championship contract Money in the Bank winners especially. Because of that, "The Showoff" will come away victorious.
Rumor Mill: Rob Van Dam Contract Update (WrestleZone.com, via PWInsider.com)
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Donald Wood: 222.5
2. Mike Chiari: 87.5
3. Michael Cahill: -30
4. Brandon Galvin: -92.5
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