Power of Positivity: How WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Can Exceed Expectations
Most fans have likely barely noticed that WWE Stomping Grounds is set to take place Sunday. The build has been terrible. The card is dominated by rematches that weren't all that great the first time around. It feels like there's nothing worth getting excited about.
However, as The New Day would espouse with their signature power of positivity, negativity is unhealthy. No one wants to go into a massive event with the expectation it will fail. It makes the experience unbearable.
While WWE's latest major pay-per-view could be as bad as it looks, it has a chance to blow away all expectations. A few key factors stand out that would help this WWE event impress even the most skeptical viewer.
This is the most talented roster WWE has ever assembled, even if some of that has been because of a brute force hiring process designed to cripple independent promotions. This is a moment in time when WWE needs to make an impact, mostly as a result of self-inflicted failures.
Certain matches on this card stand out as having the potential to overdeliver. With the right perspective, everyone could go into Stomping Grounds with hope. Let's build on that.
Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston Can Put Indelible Exclamation Mark on Feud
Few wrestlers in WWE right now have been through the wringer more than Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler, and they have done so much of it together. The first time the two wrestled one-on-one on live television was November 23, 2009, on Monday Night Raw.
They have battled many times on Raw and SmackDown. They've also fought at SummerSlam, Night of Champions, Capitol Punishment, Elimination Chamber and Super ShowDown. They have competed at live events, in dark matches and even on Superstars.
They have traded the United States Championship and Intercontinental Championship, as well as battled with multiple partners for the WWE Tag Team Championships. These two have fought each other for everything to get to this point.
Despite their chemistry, few would rank their rivalry among the best of the past decade. The matches run together because of overuse. At times, it felt like they were holding back each other from greater heights.
Their steel cage match at Stomping Grounds can be the contest that changes the discussion about their rivalry. It could allow them both to take that step forward that solidifies their WWE legacies.
No two wrestlers are likely more motivated going into this show than Kofi and Ziggler. They have everything to prove on a card that lacks a clear main event.
Everyone will be talking about Stomping Grounds for years to come if these veterans bring their all and deliver on all the potential they have.
Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre Will Look to Make Up for WrestleMania
Going into WrestleMania 35, several matches stood out as potential show-stealers. Given the story going in and the talent involved, Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre was a dark-horse contender. However, on an overall strong 'Mania card, the two fell short.
In particular, The Big Dog showed his ring rust in his first singles match after several months off. Reigns' return was heavily protected, and he was kept out of the ring as much as possible going into The Showcase of the Immortals. It didn't pay off.
Now, the multiple-time world champion is back in form but still lacks a standout performance. This can be his moment to shine. At the height of his first run in WWE, The Big Dog was heavily criticized, but his in-ring work was consistently outstanding. He always rose to the occasion.
The Scottish Psychopath also has something to prove. While he has had a bevy of solid matches since coming to the main roster, McIntyre has often been kept out of the spotlight as a singles star. His best performances have been as a part of a team.
He can make a resounding statement as a top heel by pushing The Big Dog to his limit. The two have the right styles and obvious talent to deliver a standout performance.
It may all just come down to how much Shane McMahon gets involved. Hopefully The Miz will be able to get Boy Wonder out of the way early to allow these two heavyweights to beat up each other with reckless abandon.
The Women Will Once More Have Something to Prove After Missing Saudi Arabia
Since it has become expected, fewer fans were talking about the exclusion of the female wrestlers at WWE Super ShowDown in early June than for past Saudi Arabia events. However, it was still a relevant issue. WWE may have rushed out Stomping Grounds to make sure the women got a major pay-per-view spotlight.
The two matches on paper are not massively exciting. Fans have seen Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans and Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss before, and neither provided much to get excited about. However, their exclusion in Saudi Arabia and WWE's reluctance to announce a second WWE Evolution has to be great motivation.
The Man's run as champion is in its infancy, while WWE booking has tempered her momentum since WrestleMania. The Lady needs a big performance after falling short in several key spots. The two had solid chemistry in their first outing at Money in the Bank.
All in all, there's potential for them to deliver, and they will certainly bring their best. Lynch has proved her ability to deliver, but Evans has to step up. If she fails, her spotlight will falter quickly.
The Hugger is even fresher to her own title run. After a lackluster Raw Women's Championship run in 2017, this is her second chance, and it starts with the woman that stopped her momentum short the first time around.
Given her recent run of concussions, The Goddess may not get as many chances in the coming years as she has in the past. She needs to be able to prove she's more than a charismatic speaker before WWE moves her back to a managerial or authority role.
All these women have everything to gain and nothing to lose. There's no expectations for them to deliver, but if they do, the division will make a much-needed statement.
205 Live Gets Another Chance to Steal the Show
Casual fans may often forget that 205 Live is still a weekly WWE show. While the brand is getting a slot on PPVs with more regularity, the show has suffered from the loss of its biggest three stars: Ali, Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander.
That does not mean the talent have given up. Some seem more motivated than ever before. The three men competing for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on Sunday will be looking to seize that spotlight.
Tony Nese put on a pair of strong performances with Murphy, but he has since been lacking for credible challengers. Now, arguably the two biggest stars in the division, Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak, are stepping up in a big way.
Those paying attention would not be surprised if these three put on the best performance of the night. However, it would mean a lot for those less informed to see the trio deliver.
Gulak has long awaited a second chance to prove himself after a disappointing SummerSlam match with Alexander. Tozawa's been looking to return to relevance for the first time since Neville took his title in the summer of 2017. Nese wants people to talk about him in the same way they do the big three.
If these guys deliver as they can, some wrestlers are going to start wondering whether they should be working in the cruiserweight division, including Murphy and Alexander, who have barely appeared since their post-WrestleMania main-roster call-ups.