WWE Battleground 2013: GSM's Pick, Preview and Potential for Each Match
In mere hours, on Sunday night, WWE will present its first annual Battleground pay-per-view event, live from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo at 8 p.m. ET.
This will be the second of three events to be held within a two-month span, meaning that the buyrate of the show isn't expected to be strong. This especially rings true when you factor in the build (or lack thereof) it has received in recent weeks, leading viewers to believe this event is not worth watching.
The main event will see Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan do battle over the WWE Championship. Bryan has captured the gold on the past two pay-per-views, so will it be third time's the charm for the bearded grappler on Sunday night?
Rob Van Dam will receive one last chance at the World Heavyweight Championship in a Hardcore match against Alberto Del Rio. Will RVD finally prove his worth against Del Rio, or will the unstoppable reign of the Mexican aristocrat continue?
CM Punk will look to exact revenge on his former friend Paul Heyman by taking on Ryback at the event. Will Punk receive the retribution he has been longing for, or will Ryback score his first-ever victory over the Voice of the Voiceless?
Here, I will provide my personal preview, prediction and potential of every match on the advertised card.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow (Kickoff Match)
Preview: Dolph Ziggler had been battling Dean Ambrose over the United States Championship for a brief while but didn't find himself back in contention soon after. Damien Sandow also hasn't done anything of note as of late and has found himself in a match on the Kickoff show against Ziggler that was made official the Sept. 30 edition of Raw.
Prediction: The Kickoff show is usually utilized for top-tier talents in an attempt to get fans to tune in and purchase the actual pay-per-view. While Ziggler and Sandow are certainly notable names, they haven't feuded at all going into the event, so fans don't have an incentive to care about who wins.
Worse yet, both competitors are in desperate need of victories at the moment, so it is hard to choose a winner here. There is a chance Sandow might cash in (or at least attempt to) his Money in the Bank briefcase later on in the show, which would mean Ziggler goes over here.
Potential: To my knowledge, this will be the first time these two have clashed in one-on-one action, which is certainly exciting. Sandow is capable of having a solid match for sure, and Ziggler is always looking to steal the show. That being said, look for this bout to potentially be one of the best of the night.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
Preview: On the Sept. 30 edition of Raw, Kofi Kingston soundly defeated Fandango. After the match, The Wyatt Family made a shocking appearance at the top of the stage with Bray proclaiming that "they will all fall." The same situation occurred four days later on SmackDown, which led to SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero making a match official between the two at Battleground.
Prediction: While I am glad that The Wyatt Family finally has some direction, I am stunned that it is currently involving Kingston. Of course, this feud will probably be short-lived, but this feels like a step down for Wyatt more than anything else.
He has already defeated the likes of Kane and Dolph Ziggler in the past, so what threat does Kingston pose to Wyatt? Don't get me wrong, I want Kingston to succeed in WWE, but there is no doubt in my mind that he comes up short in defeating Wyatt.
Potential: Wyatt's matches have proven to be either hit or miss thus far, but I think he is simply waiting for the right opponent. I think Kingston can be the guy who can bring Wyatt to a decent matchup, so I expect this to be a solid outing for both competitors.
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth (Intercontinental Championship)
Preview: A few weeks back, Stephanie McMahon scolded R-Truth by claiming she couldn't remember the last time he was involved in a title match, to which Truth took offense. He asked to compete against Curtis Axel on the Sept. 30 edition of Raw and emerged victorious after Axel got distracted by CM Punk's blaring entrance music. In doing so, Truth earned himself a shot at the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground.
Prediction: I honestly couldn't care less about Truth at the moment, as he lost all of my interest when he turned back face nearly two years ago. Regardless, a video that was recently released on WWE's YouTube channel did a nice job of making this match for Truth feel important and gave the impression that he will be winning on Sunday.
While some people may not think he is the most exciting Superstar on the roster today, Axel has been a great champion over the past four months with successful title defenses against the likes of Wade Barrett, The Miz, Kofi Kingston and Chris Jericho. I still think there is no reason to take the title off of Axel, but I see Truth winning the belt at the event.
Potential: Their latest match on Raw was nothing noteworthy, and I expect this contest to be much of the same. As previously stated, the WWE Universe doesn't have much of an incentive to care about either individual at the moment, but they are still capable of having a rather decent match.
AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)
Preview: AJ Lee has remained a permanent fixture in the Divas division since capturing the Divas Championship at June's Payback pay-per-view. Although she was unsuccessful in winning the gold at Night of Champions, Brie Bella has since earned another shot at the belt against AJ at Battleground. As a newly turned babyface and fiance of Daniel Bryan, Brie looks to capture her third Divas title on Sunday night.
Prediction: AJ has been the best thing to happen to the division in a long, long time, which is why I don't want her to drop the strap any time soon. She has been doing a terrific job as champion, and there is still a long list of fresh faces for her to contend against.
Brie, on the other hand, isn't a great wrestler and should be nowhere near the title, but I can understand why she is, given her on-air relationship with Bryan. This feud has only just begun, so I see the powers that be (Triple H and company) finding someway to cost Bella the belt on this show.
Potential: I can't remember the last time Brie had a good match with anyone (if ever), but I feel AJ could definitely carry her to an exceptional contest. I don't expect them to get much time, but if they keep it short and sweet, then it shouldn't be much of a train wreck.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns
Preview: On the Labor Day edition of Raw, Cody Rhodes was "fired" from WWE at the hands of Triple H after losing a match to Randy Orton. The following week, Goldust did his best to try to win Cody's career back against Orton but ultimately came up short. On the subsequent episode of Raw, Dusty Rhodes was unceremoniously knocked out by Big Show at the orders of Stephanie McMahon.
The McMahons made a business proposition to the Rhodes family this past week on Raw by saying that if they defeat Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at Battleground, then Cody and Goldust will be rehired. If they fail to win, however, not only will Cody and Goldust be out of a job, but Dusty will be, too. Moments after accepting the challenge, the Rhodes family was viciously attacked by The Shield.
Prediction: Needless to say, this storyline has been the most consistently intriguing angle on WWE television for the past month. I look forward to this match more than any other on this show and have hope that it will not disappoint.
Some say that Cody will turn on Goldust and align with The Administration to get his job back, but I believe that is a bit far-fetched. That said, I predict the Rhodes brothers emerge victorious here and regain their spots on the WWE roster.
Preview: This will mark the first time Goldust and Cody have ever teamed up, so that alone makes this match worth watching. They have yet to collide with The Shield in any form or fashion up to this point, so the chemistry between the two tandems remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it should be a suspenseful bout with a lot of emotion involved.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
Preview: Although he came close to finally giving Paul Heyman the beating he desperately deserved, CM Punk was unfortunately successful at Night of Champions following the interference of Ryback. Although this wouldn't be the first time Punk and Ryback crossed paths, the bad blood between the two has never been as apparent as it has been in recent weeks. If Punk can manage to defeat Ryback at the event, then he might very well get his hands on Heyman once and for all.
Prediction: This is a lose-lose situation for both Superstars, as both Ryback and Punk haven't emerged victorious on pay-per-view in months. Punk beating Ryback here would end their feud prematurely, so the better option is for The Big Guy to go over here. Sure, Punk will take yet another loss to one of Heyman's henchmen, but that will make his eventual victory mean that much more.
Preview: Punk and Ryback have had some entertaining matches in the past, but none of them were held under the rules of a standard singles match. However, I still strongly believe they can have a solid match together, especially with the roles reversed this time around. Punk playing the underdog against the powerhouse Ryback will make for an interesting dynamic to say the least.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam in a Hardcore Match (World Heavyweight Title)
Preview: One night removed from SummerSlam, Rob Van Dam set his sights on Alberto Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship. The two finally met with the title up for grabs at Night of Champions, but Del Rio resorting to his typical underhanded tactics caused the match to end in disqualification.
However, RVD has since earned another shot at the title at Battleground, but this time in a Hardcore rules match. Will RVD thrive in an environment he made famous, or will Del Rio find a way to regain the gold yet again?
Prediction: It has been reported that RVD is due to take time off sometime in the near future, which would mean that a title run would be out of the cards. I wouldn't be surprised to see this rivalry stretch until the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, where it could culminate in a Hell in a Cell match, meaning that RVD would have to win the title on this show. Regardless of whether Damien Sandow cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase or not, RVD will defeat Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Potential: As disliked as he may be at times, there is no denying Del Rio can flat out go in the ring, and his recent matches with RVD and others are pure proof of that. He and RVD had a pretty good matchup at Night of Champions, but it was rather obvious they were holding back a bit. Thus, I expect this encounter to be much more enjoyable and for the competitors to utilize the extreme environment in a great way.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
Preview: Moments after capturing his first WWE Championship from John Cena at SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan had his title stolen from him at the hands of Randy Orton and his ally, Triple H. Bryan got the better of Orton at Night of Champions by beating him to regain the WWE title but was stripped of the strap the next night on Raw, causing the belt to be held in abeyance. While both competitors are determined to win back the prestigious prize, only one of them will be WWE champion after Battleground.
Prediction: After winning the WWE Championship on two straight pay-per-views and having it taken from him shortly thereafter, it would be a mistake to have Bryan beat Orton once again on this show. I definitely don't see this feud ending this early, and I expect these two to clash in a Hell in a Cell match over the title in a few weeks. While I am not exactly sure how, Orton will regain the gold on Sunday.
Potential: Bryan and Orton had a series of excellent matches early on in the summer season, but their Night of Champions match didn't exceed my expectations. That isn't to say it was a bad match, but it wasn't what I expected it to be. Here's hoping their match on this show will be just as good (if not better) than their no-disqualification match from late June.
Read more prediction pieces for past WWE pay-per-views here.
Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.