WWE Stomping Grounds 2019: Full Match Card Breakdown, Bold Predictions and More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

WWE Stomping Grounds 2019: Full Match Card Breakdown, Bold Predictions and More

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    Will WWE Stomping Grounds exceed fans' low expectations?
    Will WWE Stomping Grounds exceed fans' low expectations?Credit: WWE.com

    Coming off the disaster that was Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 8, anticipation isn't exactly at an all-time high heading into WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, on Sunday.

    It doesn't help that a majority of the card consists of rematches from Super ShowDown and Money in the Bank, most of which fans didn't ask for. Raw and SmackDown Live have been duller than dishwater lately, but a well-received event such as Stomping Grounds could put the promotion back on track heading into the summer season.

    Although Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin for the Universal Championship doesn't have much buzz around it, the reveal of the mystery special guest referee could be interesting, especially if it's a returning star. Either way, expect Rollins to carry Corbin to another quality contest.

    The other top match at Stomping Grounds will see Kofi Kingston defend his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler inside a steel cage. Those two never cease to deliver whenever they are in the ring together, so their latest clash should be nothing short of stellar.

    The rest of the lineup also has promise, but it's imperative WWE makes the right booking decisions and ensures the event goes off without a hitch. If not, this show will continue the disappointing recent trend of underwhelming programming.

    Let's break down the full card for Stomping Grounds and offer a few bold predictions along the way.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Between Raw and SmackDown Live, WWE's tag team division is a shambles. Both brands' tag team champions are absent from programming more often than not, which is especially a shame when it involves Daniel Bryan considering how talented he is.

    Bryan and Rowan haven't been given much to sink their teeth into as SmackDown tag team champions. If nothing else, they have finally settled into their first feud with Heavy Machinery, who have largely been overlooked since coming up to the main roster in January.

    Heavy Machinery have won two meaningless matches on SmackDown, meaning they are hardly worthy of taking the titles off Bryan and Rowan. It would make more sense for them to remain in chase mode for a little while before beating them for the straps down the road.

    In the meantime, Heavy Machinery would benefit from taking the champs to the limit at Stomping Grounds. If they don't look strong in defeat on Sunday, WWE could well have another team challenge Bryan and Rowan for the gold following Sunday.

    With enough time and investment from the crowd, this contest could be a blast.

    Prediction: Bryan and Rowan retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Buddy Murphy (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Tony Nese has been quite the fighting champion since beating Buddy Murphy for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania 35. He has already knocked off the likes of Murphy, Ariya Daivari and Ligero during his reign, though this Triple Threat match at Stomping Grounds will no doubt be his toughest test to date.

    Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak have been hot on the heels of the cruiserweight champ for weeks and have proved themselves to be worthy contenders. After winning a Street Fight versus Mike Kanellis and then a Fatal 5-Way, Tozawa was ambushed and defeated by Gulak on the June 4 episode of 205 Live.

    Although both men have claims to the championship and could well walk out with the gold Sunday, it's too soon for Nese to be dropping the strap. There are still plenty of opponents Nese has yet to work with (Oney Lorcan and Humberto Carrillo come to mind), and there's thus no need for Gulak or Tozawa to unseat him as champion at this point in time.

    This match is slated to be a part of the main card for Stomping Grounds. Let's hope it stays that way, as these three are more than capable of stealing the show and getting the crowd invested in the action, even if they haven't been following the feud on 205 Live.

    Despite having the odds stacked against him, Nese will find a way to win and retain his title.

    Prediction: Nese retains the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

The New Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Although the SmackDown Tag Team Championships will up for grabs at Stomping Grounds, the Raw Tag Team Championships won't, even though this title-free tag team match is set to take place between The New Day and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

    Owens betrayed New Day in April after originally teasing he would join the group, but he has done nothing of note since. In fact, he's lost far more often than he's won since, with his last televised pinfall victory in singles action happening on the Oct. 1 episode of Raw.

    His foe-turned-friend Sami Zayn hasn't been much better off. He, too, has lost a lot lately and is hardly considered a threat to Big E and Xavier Woods.

    Seeing as there aren't any stakes, fans don't have any incentive to care about this contest. It doesn't matter who wins, but it's fairly obvious the babyfaces will once again emerge victorious.

    To make this match more interesting, Owens and Zayn should tease tension throughout the bout and go their separate ways afterward. They are on opposite shows, so it would be unnecessary for the them to feud with each other coming out of this.

    Prediction: New Day win.

Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans (Raw Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Lacey Evans has been in hot pursuit of Becky Lynch's Raw Women's Championship since the post-WrestleMania Raw. Their feud was fairly entertaining in the beginning but lost steam after Lynch beat Evans to retain her title in a mediocre match at Money in the Bank.

    In the past two months, Evans hasn't done anything to convince viewers she is deserving of another shot at the strap. She pinned SmackDown women's champion Bayley in tag team action on the June 10 edition of Raw, but that's about it.

    From a storyline standpoint, Lynch is facing Evans again at Stomping Grounds because she blames Evans for her loss of the SmackDown Women's Championship at Money in the Bank. In reality, WWE didn't have any other opponent for Lynch lined up and opted to drag out their rivalry a little longer.

    Evans arguably isn't ready for a run with the Raw women's title, but that won't stop WWE from giving her the belt so soon—if only to prolong the program. Lynch beating Evans for a second time Sunday before moving on to a fresh challenger would be the best-case scenario, but this title is more likely to change hands than any other.

    Expect Evans to become the Raw women's champion at Stomping Grounds, much to the dismay of the audience.

    Prediction: Evans wins the Raw Women's Championship.

Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet (United States Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    For many members of the WWE Universe, Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet for the United States Championship is the most anticipated match at Stomping Grounds, and it isn't even close.

    Rey Mysterio beat Joe to become champ at Money in the Bank but was forced to forfeit the belt back to Joe soon after because of injury. A Fatal 5-Way was then held on Raw to determine a new No. 1 contender, a match that Ricochet won.

    Ricochet is the best possible opponent for Joe. He's been riding a wave of momentum for weeks and should end up with the star-spangled prize around his waist eventually.

    It's more of a question of whether WWE should pull the trigger on a title change at Stomping Grounds. Considering Joe only regained the gold earlier in June, it wouldn't mean anything for him to drop it this soon.

    The One and Only would benefit from chasing the championship in the coming months and stacking up more wins before beating The Samoan Submission Machine. It's possible this bout ends in a non-finish to protect both men, but either way, Joe will walk out with his title reign still intact.

    Prediction: Joe retains the United States Championship.

Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (SmackDown Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    If you feel like you have seen Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss before, that's because you probably have. They feuded over the Raw Women's Championship for the better part of 2017, and Bliss came out on top almost every time.

    At Stomping Grounds, they will rekindle their rivalry when they face off for the SmackDown Women's Championship. The story has been different this time around, with Bliss trying to turn Nikki Cross against Bayley so she will have someone in her corner at the pay-per-view.

    That increases Bliss odds of taking home the title, but it would be a dumb decision by WWE to relieve Bayley of the title one month after she won it. Her character has been in the midst of a resurgence, and she can do wonders for SmackDown women's division in the next few months as the champion.

    Bliss, on the other hand, has held gold before several times in WWE and does not need another reign anytime soon. She has a good thing going with Cross that doesn't need a title attached to it to be relevant.

    Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose and Ember Moon would all be compelling challengers for Bayley post-Stomping Grounds. Besides, where is the logic in putting the SmackDown championship on a Raw wrestler?

    Prediction: Bayley retains the SmackDown Women's Championship.

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There was a time when Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre was an intriguing match on paper, but after their WrestleMania 35 encounter fell flat, fans have largely lost interest. The feud wore out its welcome months ago, and as a result, Sunday's rematch at Stomping Grounds is being met with apathy.

    McIntyre, in particular, has cooled off significantly since WrestleMania because of his alliance with Shane McMahon. Shane beating Reigns at Super ShowDown when McIntyre couldn't at 'Mania speaks volumes about McIntyre's credibility level.

    Granted, that may not be the case Sunday, but it's hard to believe Reigns would lose for a second straight pay-per-view. It should be a better match than what Reigns and Shane had in Saudi Arabia, but the outcome isn't going to do either man any favors.

    Presumably, the endgame for this angle is Reigns giving Shane his comeuppance in a one-on-one match at Extreme Rules or SummerSlam. Therefore, McIntyre winning here, as big of a boost as it would provide for The Scottish Psychopath, wouldn't make much sense.

    All signs point to Reigns overcoming every obstacle Shane puts in front of him from here on out so he can re-enter the WWE Championship picture by the close of the summer.

    Prediction: Reigns wins.

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (Steel Cage Match for WWE Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Dolph Ziggler emerged as a WWE Championship contender out of nowhere in May, claiming that it should have been him winning the prestigious prize at WrestleMania 35 instead of Kofi Kingston. Sadly, the program peaked at that point and hasn't recovered.

    While nothing they have said in their promos has given fans any reason to be excited for their upcoming encounter, their clash at Super ShowDown proved that their in-ring chemistry is still as strong as it was eight years ago. It was a good match for what it was, but it was clear they could do better.

    Kingston's victory that night was slightly tainted because of the outside interference from Xavier Woods, but the steel cage should eliminate any chance of that happening again when they meet at Stomping Grounds. A decisive win for Kingston should put this rivalry to rest once and for all and allow him to move on to a fresh feud.

    It is definitely possible for Ziggler to clinch the championship to maintain their program, but Kingston deserves to drop the title to a higher-profile opponent under better circumstances. This is merely filler for him before he finds someone he can do his best work with (preferably a strong heel and not Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn for the umpteenth time).

    Unless Ziggler has an ally we don't know about who will help him even the odds against New Day, Kingston retaining his title here is virtually a guarantee.

    Prediction: Kingston retains the WWE Championship.

Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Universal Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    At Super ShowDown, Seth Rollins beat Baron Corbin as clean as a whistle to maintain possession of the Universal Championship. Therefore, there should be no reason for a rematch at Stomping Grounds. Yet we're getting another match between them anyway because apparently there isn't anyone else waiting in the wings to challenge Rollins.

    The biggest question heading into this main event matchup is the identity of the special guest referee. From Elias to EC3 to Eric Young, several Superstars were teased on Raw, but all of them turned down the offer when they realized Rollins would make life miserable for them if they accepted.

    The only option that would make sense is Brock Lesnar considering how he has come close to cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Rollins for weeks. It would be strange to see him in that position, but perhaps his logic is that it would be easier to help Corbin capture the championship and then cash in the contract on him as opposed to taking it away from Rollins.

    Lesnar regaining the gold on Sunday would be the worst possible booking decision WWE could make, but Corbin defeating Rollins for the title and holding on to it isn't out of the question. It isn't an ideal outcome, but it would be very much like WWE to want to end the event on a cliffhanger that will leave viewers wanting to find out what happens next on Raw.

    If Corbin's referee reveal turns out to be as big as he claims, it will be near impossible for Rollins to reign supreme at Stomping Grounds. The Lone Wolf's plan to steal the strap will finally come to fruition.

    Prediction: Corbin wins the Universal Championship.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.