Bleacher Report's WWE Staff Predictions for Stomping Grounds 2019

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

Bleacher Report's WWE Staff Predictions for Stomping Grounds 2019

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    Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler.
    Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler.Credit: WWE.com

    WWE's first Stomping Grounds pay-per-view airs Sunday on WWE Network, and that means it's time for the writers at Bleacher Report to share their predictions for every match on the card.

    Here is a look at the lineup of contributors:

    Each person will answer two questions. Everyone will answer the same question about the universal title bout, but each person will also answer a second question about a different random match.

    Before we get to everyone's thoughts and predictions, let's take a look at the card for Stomping Grounds:

    • Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Universal Championship)
    • Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship, Steel Cage)
    • Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans (Raw Women's Championship)
    • Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (SmackDown Women's Championship)
    • Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
    • Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet (U.S. Championship)
    • Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
    • Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
    • Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa (Cruiserweight Championship)

Graham Matthews

1 of 9

    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    Corbin catches a lot of flack off fans—and sometimes rightfully so because I have yet to see him compete in a main event match that was anywhere close to great—but he is a good heel character at the end of the day. He can hold his own on the mic and always generates great heat from fans, despite being overexposed.

    All things considered, I'd give him a solid 6.5 out of 10 (seven if being generous).

                            

    The New Day vs. Owens and Zayn

    Q: Do you think Zayn will ever win the WWE or Universal Championship?

    With the way he's been booked recently, absolutely not. Based off how he's lost twice a week for nearly a month now, it's safe to say WWE doesn't see Zayn as being world championship material.

    Hey, stranger things have happened (Kofi Kingston was a perennial midcarder before becoming WWE champion), so anything is possible. But at this point, I don't see it ever happening.

Donald Wood

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    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    It may be an unpopular opinion, but Corbin has been better than expected in the role he's been given. He is a dependable in-ring worker who can draw legitimate heat from the WWE Universe as arguably the most hated heel in the company right now.

    While I think he would be better suited as a midcard heel champion fighting against popular up-and-coming Superstars, he has developed well as an antagonizing heel character that has brought out a more aggressive side of Seth Rollins.

    I'll give him a seven out of 10, but I hope he takes the loss Sunday at Stomping Grounds and gets away from the Universal Championship scene.

                          

    Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans

    Q: Evans' promo on Monday had her mention her time in the Marines, and the crowd showed its support. Would Evans benefit from a face turn due to her history, or is she better off as a southern heel? Explain your reasoning.

    The timing of Monday's promo was strange, but it will all make sense if Evans plays by the rules Sunday but still takes the loss to Lynch in gracious fashion, thus kicking off a face turn. The Sassy Southern Belle gimmick just hasn't translated with the fans.

    On the other hand, Evans has a legitimate story as a United States Marine and would be one of the most popular faces in the company if the character embraced her background. With as much as WWE works with the military, Evans could become one of the most marketable Superstars on the roster.

    With the WWE Universe showing their willingness to get behind Evans despite the dastardly deeds of her character against one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, WWE Creative should take the hint and begin Evans' face turn Sunday at Stomping Grounds.

Kevin Berge

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    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    I'd give him a solid six. I think The Lone Wolf is genuinely talented, and he knows how to work a crowd. However, he has failed to play up to his talent far too often. His skills on the microphone are mostly tempered by scripts that feel like overlong diatribes on his lack of likability.

    His in-ring work, though, is where he has failed the most. I wouldn't say Corbin is a bad wrestler, but he's not built to be a main-event guy. He has proved he works well in sprints or multi-man matches where he is not the whole focus, but when he has to control a match, it slows to an unbearable crawl.

                           

    Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler

    Q: This is Kingston's first WWE title reign in his 11-year career. Which other Superstar who has never won a top title in WWE deserves to and why?

    I am going to exclude stars that I still feel have a chance to get to the championship soon, such as Braun Strowman, Andrade and Ali, as they are still getting their feet wet on the main roster.

    In the spirit of Kofi's sudden rise to prominence, I want to address the absolute travesty that is Heath Slater never winning a WWE singles title.

    One of the most genuinely entertaining performers every time he steps into a ring, The One Man Band may not be a star, but he deserves far better than he has gotten over the years. It is a travesty that he has not even gotten a chance to run with the United States or Intercontinental Championship.

    I'd argue that he would blow everyone away if he got the same chance Jinder Mahal got a few years back. He could pull out the ultimate upset and ride it for a month or two as WWE champion before a big heel ruins his fairy-tale dream.

Anthony Mango

4 of 9

    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    I'd give him a seven. By no means is Corbin some Shawn Michaels or Johnny Gargano in the ring, but if five is average, he's above that. Those two extra points are for his storytelling abilities and that he can work a power style without being slow and lumbering.

    His promos are pretty solid, too, and the problem is more about how WWE positions him, rather than anything he does. Corbin isn't a top-of-the-line guy, but he's not given the credit he deserves.

                        

    Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet

    Q: How well do you think WWE has used Ricochet since he was called up from NXT, and should anything about how he is used be changed?

    WWE could always utilize talented Superstars like Ricochet better, but it's important for fans to mitigate their expectations, too. Not everyone should jump straight to the main event scene over the course of a month or so.

    Ricochet was still on the NXT roster leading up to WrestleMania and was featured prominently every week and fighting for all the tag titles, and now, he may win his first midcard belt.

    That's a great step forward, and even if he comes up short, he's exactly where he needs to be right now, which is on the road to becoming a champion by the end of the year.

Mike Chiari

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    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    I would give Corbin a 3. I'll preface this by saying he actually has made some strides and improvements over the past several months, especially on the mic, but there's a lot that still missing. There's a general lack of excitement when he's on the screen, and even though he gets some boos because of how his character is portrayed, I don't feel like fans genuinely care to see him get his comeuppance. They just want him off the television, which doesn't truly make a great heel.

                                         

    Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

    Q: Why do you think McIntyre hasn’t been given many major title shots despite WWE trying to portray him as a top talent?

    I think it's a matter of WWE biding its time and not wanting to put him in the title scene only to have him lose. There's no doubt in my mind that McIntyre will be a world champion in the near future, and it seems like he's being groomed for that spot by working with Roman Reigns and Shane McMahon. WWE is risking waiting too long to pull the trigger on making him a champion, but it has also been careful about protecting him since WrestleMania.

Jeff J

6 of 9

    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    I would say a 7.5. As a heel, he draws classic heat and reactions from the crowd, and his in-ring work has vastly improved. He's not my favorite wrestler by any means, but as a vehicle for storylines and solid performances, Corbin is getting the job done.

                               

    Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery

    Q: Where do you see Otis and Tucker in five years?

    I see them as a comedy act tag team that will win a title or two, but as of now, I don't see long-term success for them.

Erik Beaston

7 of 9

    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    7.5. For a guy who was once a one-dimensional badass, Corbin has developed into a great wrestling heel who knows exactly what buttons to push in order to generate the reaction he wants. From an in-ring perspective, he is a quicker, more agile and simply a better wrestler than the great, Hall of Famer Big Boss Man.

    They wrestle similar styles, but whereas Boss Man often found himself blown up or overwhelmed by smaller, faster workers, Corbin can hang with Superstars of all sizes and styles.

    Because he has been pushed so heavily, and because he does not utilize 17 different styles of suplex, he will never get the recognition or appreciation he has earned.

                                

    Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss

    Q: Do you ever want to see Bayley turn heel? Why or why not?

    No. Bayley, when booked to her fullest potential—as we saw in NXT and are starting to see again on the main roster—is the best babyface in all of pro wrestling. She is inspirational, genuinely likable and the type of character Vince McMahon no longer understands how to utilize.

    She could go heel and freshen things up a bit, but it would probably be bungled, and then there are two characters irreparably damaged.

Chris Mueller

8 of 9

    Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin

    Q: Taking away anything that is outside of his control, how would you grade Corbin as a performer from 1-10 and explain how you came to that conclusion.

    I would put Corbin at a solid seven. He has grown on me as a sycophantic heel who will take any shortcut he can, but I do wish he would return to his Lone Wolf persona at some point. He just needs to spend more time in the midcard scene before getting any more universal title opportunities.

                               

    Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak

    Q: Why do you think WWE continues to ignore the majority of the cruiserweight division on Raw and SmackDown?

    I think WWE is using 205 Live as something of a stepping stone to Raw or SmackDown instead of treating it as its own brand.

    Cedric Alexander, Ali and Buddy Murphy all impressed with their skills and ended up being moved to other brands as a result. They might not be getting as much TV time these days, but it might take a little while before WWE comes up with good ways to use all of them.

Predictions

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    Each person's prediction will be represented by their initials next to the chosen Superstar's name.

    • Reigns (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ) vs. McIntyre (EB, CM, MC)
    • Bayley (GM, KB, AM, JJ, EB, CM, MC) vs. Bliss (DW)
    • Lynch (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ, EB, CM, MC) vs. Evans
    • Rollins (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ, EB, MC) vs. Corbin (CM)
    • Kingston (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ, EB, CM, MC) vs. Ziggler
    • Samoa Joe (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ, EB, MC) vs. Ricochet
    • The New Day (GM, KB, AM) vs. Owens and Zayn (DW, JJ, EB, CM, MC)
    • Nese (GM, AM, JJ, EB) vs. Gulak (DW, KB, CM, MC) vs. Tozawa
    • Bryan and Rowan (GM, DW, KB, AM, JJ, EB, MC) vs. Heavy Machinery (CM)
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