To fill out the field for the Battleground Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal, WWE will turn to a bizarre tag team and wrestlers taken from the bottom of the card.
In pursuit of the intercontinental belt, look for Stardust and Goldust, along with little-used Superstars like Sin Cara, to join the fray. Their participation (or lack thereof) in recent Battle Royals, how much WWE has spotlighted them lately and what they can bring to the match signals who the company will add.
A crash into the security barricade left Bad News Barrett with an injured shoulder that required surgery.
That's bad news for him but a huge opportunity for a host of other wrestlers. The now-vacant intercontinental title is up for grabs at the upcoming pay-per-view.
As of this writing, the confirmed entrants for the Battle Royal are as follows:
- Dolph Ziggler
- Damien Sandow
- The Great Khali
- Rob Van Dam
- Kofi Kingston
- Big E
- Curtis Axel
- Alberto Del Rio
- Bo Dallas
That's makes 13 wrestlers ready for battle. WWE has historically had an even number in these types of matches, making 20, 30 or 40 warriors compete in the ring at the same time.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 was billed as featuring 30 men, although there were actually 31 participants. On May 5, WWE crowned a new titleholder for the United States Championship in a 20-man Battle Royal.
It's more likely WWE mirrors the second of those two contests at Battleground.
The 30-man format isn't necessary here. It was meant to be bigger to match WrestleMania's importance. With so many recent releases and injuries, getting that many Superstars in there would be tough anyway.
Rusev and Jack Swagger would make smart entrants, but their recent collisions hint at a one-on-one contest, not getting lost in the Battle Royal shuffle.
If there are just seven more spots available, that keeps a number of role players out of action.
Most Likely to Miss Out
- Adam Rose
- Big Show
- David Otunga
- Mark Henry
The World's Largest Athlete hasn't been around lately and won't be available for Battle Royal action at Battleground. As reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t SEScoops), Big Show took time off from WWE to film Vendetta.
Henry has come and gone lately. He was a part of the U.S. title Battle Royal but little else in the last few months.
That's mostly due to his age and being banged up.
@BustedOpenRadio what up boy's?I've not been healthy in sometime just gutting it out.No pund intended. I will be back an all will be right.— TheMarkHenry (@TheMarkHenry) June 12, 2014
If he's ready to go, WWE will probably toss him in. Mark him down as the biggest "maybe" on this list.
The reasons the other three Superstars on this list aren't likely to compete on July 20 is more about their standing with the company.
Fans haven't seen Otunga since WWE needed 30 men to fill out a Battle Royal. If it doesn't make the match that large, Otunga is a safe bet to stay home. He hasn't appeared on WWE television in 2014.
Since his partner's injury, WWE has made little use of Diego of Los Matadores. A loss to Dallas on the July 4 SmackDown is essentially all fans have seen of him lately.
He'll probably remain on the bench as the Battle Royal already has comic relief to push around in Damien Sandow.
Rose is more likely to sit in the doghouse than step between the ropes. Backstage word is that WWE officials have soured on him.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t PWMania) reported that Vince McMahon was not sold on Rose, Paige and Dallas.
Rose, though, reportedly got buried backstage by producer Kevin Dunn. F4WOnline (h/t PWMania) later added that Rose's match at Money in the Bank against Sandow was his one pay-per-view chance.
Fans' lack of reaction to that bout reportedly made things worse for him with the folks in charge.
He has faded from TV lately, seemingly confirming his sinking position. He'd be a fun addition to the Battle Royal, but count on him giving way to other Superstars.
Last Ones In
- Titus O'Neil
- Sin Cara
- Xavier Woods
- Zack Ryder
The men that were apart of the U.S. title Battle Royal back in May provide a glimpse at what to expect at Battleground.
Ryder, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, O'Neil, Sin Cara and Woods all competed in that match. They were all part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal as well.
Even with as little as WWE calls Woods, Ryder and Sin Cara's name, this points to them getting the nod again on July 20. At this stage in their careers, they're apparently Battle Royal filler and that's it.
They can serve as those who make early exits, allowing other combatants to not look weak.
O'Neil has consistently been on WWE Superstars, something that Diego and Otunga can't claim. That doesn't make him a top contender; instead, it just puts him above the bottom rungs and allows him to slide into this upcoming match.
His minor feud with Big E could be addressed here as the powerhouse has little else going for him now that Rusev has his eyes set on Swagger.
R-Truth's association with Woods ups the chance for him to enter the Battle Royal. It adds a minor subplot to the bout, as those two will be able to work together early on.
As for Stardust and Goldust, the thinness of the tag team division sends them into battle with all these other Superstars.
Their current rivals Axel and Ryback are already in the match. The Usos are entangled with The Wyatt Family. That leaves few options for WWE in how it showcases a team getting a lot of screen time even if ring time isn't plentiful.
The latest backstage segments with the team seem destined to further introduce Rhodes' new persona. Having him and his brother bring their antics to Battleground will do that as well.
They remain the two of most prominent options left for a match that Barrett will likely be watching with a sneer.