Predictions for Every Champion on WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Match CardJune 22, 2019
Predictions for Every Champion on WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Match Card
Not every championship is on the line at WWE Stomping Grounds on Sunday, but most of the main roster's titleholders will be defending their belts in Tacoma, Washington.
Sitting out this pay-per-view will be the intercontinental champion Finn Balor, the women's tag team champions, The IIconics, and the Raw tag team champions, The Revival. 24/7 champion R-Truth, who regained the belt from Drake Maverick at the 205 Live GM's wedding Friday, isn't scheduled to appear, either.
Every other title, though, is up for grabs, and whether they are being contested in a fresh fight, or one of the many rematches on this card, there is always potential for new champions to be crowned.
Let's take a look at all of the titleholders scheduled to defend their belts at Stomping Grounds 2019 and toss out some predictions on which Superstars will be wearing the gold at the end of the night.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery
Daniel Bryan has made it clear that he doesn't dismiss the potential of Heavy Machinery but considers them buffoons who goof off and don't fully apply themselves.
Once they get the ball rolling, though, they might have what it takes to put up a solid fight against the tag team champions, even with someone as large and imposing as Rowan on Bryan's side.
But Otis and Tucker are still largely comedic performers. Their recent victories have helped paint the portrait that they could become the new champions, and it isn't out of the realm of possibility that they accomplish this goal at Stomping Grounds. But it's hard to imagine WWE would rather have them with the gold than a bigger star like Bryan.
On paper, Bryan as a titleholder is more of an attraction for SummerSlam than having Heavy Machinery going into the event as the tag team champions, so that may weigh more heavily on this than anything else. The time may come for Heavy Machinery to become champions, and it may even happen in 2019, but this is their first true shot at the titles. If they come up short, it won't be the end of the world.
Bryan and Rowan will retain here and likely skip Extreme Rules before having a bigger match against a team like The New Day at SummerSlam in August.
Cruiserweight Champion Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Oddly enough, the person who has the biggest influence over the Cruiserweight Championship match isn't even one of the three competitors but Mike Kanellis.
He and wife Maria just re-signed with WWE, so they will be sticking around for the next five years. Part of that negotiation process could have been some sort of guarantee that Kanellis would become the next cruiserweight champion, as he's remained adamant that 205 Live is overlooked, just as he is, and that he is tired of that and ready for a change.
If that is the case and Kanellis is penciled in to be the next in line for the title, logic would dictate that Tony Nese retains the championship here so he can be the babyface who loses it to Kanellis. It wouldn't serve much good to put it on Akira Tozawa just to fulfill that same goal. Nor would it make sense for Drew Gulak to win, as no heel is needed in that equation.
But if Kanellis is not going to be winning the belt anytime soon, Nese's chances of retaining drastically decrease, as Gulak would be the safe bet to dethrone him, and it could well happen here.
Having Gulak beat Tozawa would be an easy way to take the belt off Nese without making him look bad, as well as drag out the Nese vs. Gulak feud a little while longer by allowing room for Nese to get a rematch at Extreme Rules, claiming he himself was never beaten.
This one is a toss-up that depends more on plans for Kanellis rather than storytelling direction. If Nese retains, he's likely gearing up to lose to Kanellis. If Nese is going to lose it to Gulak, he will drop it at this event. Tozawa stands no chance at winning this, though.
United States Champion Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet
Ricochet came out on top of the Fatal 5-Way match to determine a new No. 1 contender to Samoa Joe's United States Championship. The high-flyer escaped the champion's sneak attack from behind thereafter and managed to get the upper hand on The Samoan Submission Machine, but he may not be so lucky Sunday night.
Joe is no slouch. He's spent his career defying gravity in his own right, as his agility far exceeds that typical of someone his size. That means Ricochet's greatest offensive attribute—his speed—won't be as effective as it would be against someone who wrestles a slower, more lumbering style.
The champion will also have the power advantage; he's easily the bigger of the two and should be able to dish out and take more damage. There could be an upset, with Ricochet coming out on top, but the odds aren't in his favor, as Joe has become even more ruthless as of late. For that story to wrap up in a neat package, he has to lose the belt to Rey Mysterio, not Ricochet.
It's still unknown when Mysterio will be cleared to compete, but his injuries could heal fast enough for some revenge to be had at SummerSlam. In that case, Joe has to retain the title here in order to drop it back to Mysterio at a point when the two can settle their unfinished business.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Until any information is discussed on the upcoming Alexa Bliss 365 special that will follow Stomping Grounds, we are still in the dark as to why The Goddess has taken so much time off because of injuries and to what extent her health problems will influence the rest of her career.
All we know is that she has spent more time sitting on the sidelines than wrestling recently, which makes it difficult to believe that she will be given the SmackDown Women's Championship here, particularly as Bayley only won the title at Money in the Bank in May.
Even with Nikki Cross in her corner, Bliss is going to come up short, and depending on how that goes down, Bayley's win could help further the storyline of making Bliss seem like the victim. That way, Cross can step up to the challenge and earn a title opportunity for Extreme Rules, where she will be better suited to have a gimmick match against Bayley because that may be too unsafe for Bliss.
Then, their feud could culminate in a Triple Threat match between the trio once Cross discovers that Bliss has been using her this whole time.
None of that scenario spells a need for Bayley to drop the title. In fact, it almost assures that she will remain champion in order to stay in the title picture. She'll be retaining the belt on Sunday.
Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans
WWE put little effort into setting up the Raw Women's Championship match, as it is just a rematch from Money in the Bank, with no twists or turns spicing things up in the intervening period. Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans have continued their feud simply because WWE wanted it to carry on, not because of any particularly interesting storytelling that pushed their animosity to the next level.
Because this was such a lazy job, it's hard to tell why WWE is dragging it out. Is it because no other decent challengers have been established for The Man to face, meaning Evans is defaulting to stay in that spot until WWE can formulate a new game plan? Or is it because the idea all along was for Evans to take the title but WWE didn't want Lynch to lose both belts as quickly as Money in the Bank?
The latter shouldn't be considered farfetched, as not even Lynch's popularity makes her exempt from CEO Vince McMahon being high enough on Evans to want to have her gain a lot of heat by being the one to beat the fan favorite.
Sadly, this would also be a perfect excuse for the writers to check out for the next month, as the obvious go-to follow-up for this would be a hardcore match of sorts at Extreme Rules, with Lynch trying to win back her title—something much easier to justify than giving Evans a third successive title opportunity if she fails again Sunday.
This all depends on WWE's preferred champion for SummerSlam. If it's Evans, she is a safe bet to steal the title at Stomping Grounds. But if WWE hasn't given up on The Man and she's the woman to build SummerSlam around, there's no need to play hot potato by giving Evans the championship to lose it at Extreme Rules.
When in doubt, go with the champion to retain. But that is not a foregone conclusion, and Lynch's title reign is in serious jeopardy.
WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler's obsession with the feeling that Kofi Kingston's title reign and success should have been his did not stop after his loss at Super ShowDown earlier in June. In fact, that only made things worse, with Ziggler asking for a steel cage to keep Big E and Xavier Woods out of the mix.
That never works for heels, but it tends to have a better success rate for babyfaces who follow the rules. But while that ups the ante for this feud, the result will remain the same, much to Ziggler's chagrin.
The Showoff, as talented as he is, hasn't been operating like a regular member of the roster for quite a while. He spends more of his time working on other projects than getting in the ring, so there's no reason to believe he's returned for a stint that would allow for a WWE Championship reign.
Plus, there's no reason for WWE to stop Kingston's momentum. He's been proving himself to be quite a good champion and someone the crowd hasn't gotten sick of, so keeping the belt on him is the smartest decision going forward.
Just as with the Rollins situation, though, there is a possibility Kingston loses the title at Stomping Grounds, even if he beats Ziggler, because Lesnar's Money in the Bank contract applies to both titles. Wrestling in a steel cage could put the Dreadlocked Dynamo in a vulnerable position, allowing Lesnar to swoop in and ruin everyone's parade.
That could just as easily happen at Extreme Rules, though, which is closer to SummerSlam and easier to book around than having to fill time in the intervening period. So for now, we should assume Kingston retains the championship and moves on to another challenger.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
Just as it was for Super ShowDown, Baron Corbin poses no threat on his own to universal champion Seth Rollins. With the added stipulation that Corbin will be allowed to pick a special guest referee, though, the odds aren't quite as much in the champion's favor.
To help offset that and discourage people from accepting the gig, Rollins has made it a point to attack everyone who even considers helping out Corbin. That isn't going to work, though, as somebody will answer the call, and that person will make all the difference.
Rollins will have an uphill battle, as it will be difficult to circumvent the issues that arise as a result of a biased referee, but he will get the job done. Corbin is the type of wrestler who comes close but doesn't quite land the ultimate prize, and WWE isn't going to trust the ratings to him as champion leading into SummerSlam.
The bigger danger, though, is Brock Lesnar. This could be a perfect scenario to set up enough of a beating for Rollins to come out on top but be too worn out to fight back against The Beast Incarnate.
Then again, Corbin made a major enemy in AJ Styles, who could be ready for action soon and may help even the odds, costing Corbin this match to set up a Street Fight or something similar between the two at Extreme Rules in July.
When push comes to shove, if Rollins is losing the title at Stomping Grounds, it will be to Lesnar, not Corbin. But he will more than likely emerge with the strap still on his shoulder.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.