WWE Battleground will present several fresh matchups despite being sandwiched between two superior pay-per-view franchises in Money in the Bank and SummerSlam.
With so much pressure for both SummerSlam and Night of Champions to deliver for the WWE Network’s bottom line, WWE will need to shake up its roster prior to hammering home key feuds.
In order to keep its buzz during an underwhelming pay-per-view, expect both face and heel turns among notable talents. This will keep the product fresh heading into a pivotal stretch run of pay-per-views.
WWE has already gone in the direction of a face turn for Jack Swagger, who has spent his entire career as a heel.
Swagger has had a long run alongside xenophobic manager Zeb Colter, but Colter’s intolerant rhetoric is now being cheered when directed toward Russians. Loud “Let’s go Swagger” chants filled the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut last week on Raw when Swagger presented the biggest challenge for Rusev to date.
Now seen more as patriotic defenders of the United States than prejudiced antagonists, Swagger and Colter will have the full support of fans in the traditionally right-leaning state of Florida come Battleground.
Former Divas Champion Paige continues to lean toward heel status as part of her ongoing feud with AJ Lee.
Paige’s attempt to back out of Lee’s challenge for the Divas Championship last week was unbecoming of a babyface. Paige continued to play up her newfound role as she sarcastically introduced Lee while going out of her way to remain overly civil.
Paige’s transparent act is just sweetening the pot for an inevitable heel turn. WWE may wait until Battleground to incorporate her change of heart into her match against Lee. Whether Paige uses underhanded tactics to regain her Divas Championship or shows poor sportsmanship following a loss, consider it a surprise if Paige is not a full-on heel by the end of the night.
One surprise would be a double turn of sorts featuring Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt.
Never one to rehash his old material for a long-term period of time, Jericho has remained suspiciously similar to his standard Y2J character during his most recent run. He has spent countless interviews talking about reinventing himself and even hinted at possible changes last week on SmackDown when he said, “I can get a little crazy.”
Wyatt continues to play a heel despite being received as a babyface in live arenas. Thousands of LED cellphone lights are shown throughout crowds during his segments, seemingly in support of the budding star.
On Monday's Raw, Wyatt warned Jericho that his Jerichoholics are now singing a different tune. His thinly veiled threats to steal Jericho’s fanbase were justified as his cellphone support remained more visible than ever.
I kind of am like the Nostradamus of WWE, I predicted that all of those guys will get over, with Cesaro we had a tour of Japan last year and I specifically asked to work with him and with Bray Wyatt when I went to work with NXT I said to put me with that guy.
It’s likely that Jericho’s high regard for Wyatt is the same reason he returned to WWE last week to feud with the Wyatt Family.
Surely Jericho—who said “I’ve always been a creative person” in the aforementioned interview—wouldn’t be inspired to come back to WWE and work with a talent like Wyatt if the plan was for him to default to his stale Y2J shtick.
There has to be something more.
With SummerSlam around the corner, a Jericho-Wyatt match almost seems wasted on a pay-per-view like Battleground.
Perhaps this is just the setup for a grander, more awe-inspiring storyline. A rare double turn is the catalyst necessary to fit the stature of a Jericho-Wyatt rivalry.