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WWE Battleground 2016: Observer staff preview & predictions

WWE Battleground

With the brand split now official and kicking off this week, tonight's WWE Battleground event is set to be the last "B-show" PPV featuring all WWE talent as separate roster Sunday night events are just some of the changes expected in the future. 

In the main event, SmackDown's WWE Champion Dean Ambrose will face off against Raw's Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. It's been the usual odd WWE booking situation as they had two matches between Rollins and Ambrose this week with Raw ending in a disputed finish, only for the rematch on SmackDown Live to have more conclusive results as Ambrose pinned Rollins clean.

Given that, it'll be interesting to see what happens in tonight's main event as not only is Reigns set to return following his wellness policy violation last month, but also to see if they are doing anything that will lead to the company having two world titles again.

This month's contributors:

WWE Battleground

Sasha Banks & ??? vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke

- Bryan Rose: My gut reaction to this is Bayley, but I believe they have already said it isn't her. So maybe Nia Jax? Doesn't make sense as she's a heel on NXT, but when has that stopped them in the past. Banks wins to set up the SummerSlam match.

Winner: Sasha Banks and ???

- Jeremy Peeples: Given that Sasha ate a beating on Raw, it seems like a given that she and the mystery partner will win. Hopefully, the mystery partner is Bayley - as Becky is seemingly the only other babyface in the division right now and she’s facing Nattie.

Winner: Sasha and the Mystery Partner

- Brian Hoops: Old school mentality was the replacement or surprise partner always got to go over.  

Winner: Sasha and the Mystery Partner

- James Cox: A dirty heel win for Charlotte and Dana Brooke.

Winner: Charlotte & Dana Brooke

- Ryan Frederick: I think the mystery partner is going to end up being Paige. This is obviously building to Charlotte vs. Sasha for the title at Summerslam, and that means Sasha and her mystery partner have to get the win here. Sasha likely submits Dana Brooke just to build to the inevitable conclusion of her finally getting her win over Charlotte in Brooklyn.

Winner: Sasha and the Mystery Partner

- Alan O’Brien: Sasha’s team wins to set up the triumphant return to Brooklyn in August.

Winner: Sasha and the Mystery Partner

- Kyle S. Johnson: I think it’s fairly obvious that Sasha and her mystery partner will win here if the objective is to have her lined up against Charlotte for a championship match at Summerslam. The lingering question is just who her partner will be. Bayley seems to be the optimist’s choice, but it doesn’t make much sense to debut Bayley and steal Sasha’s thunder in a match whose primary objective should be to put Sasha over. 

It could be someone from the past who would give Sasha a rub, like maybe a Trish Stratus or Lita. Or, more likely than not, it’ll just be someone like Paige or Nia Jax or, god forbid, Eva Marie. But here’s an idea: if Sasha’s goal in the match is to neutralize Charlotte and entice her into giving her a championship match, why not pick the one person who would infuriate her the most? What if Sasha’s partner was...Ric Flair? Hey, it’s probably not a worse idea than whatever they’ll come up with.

Winner: Sasha and the Mystery Partner

- Steve Khan: A Banks win obviously sets up a title match. Not sure who her partner will be, and I’m not that interested.

Winner: Sasha Banks & Partner

- Gary Mehaffy: This will be a showcase for whoever shows up as Sasha’s partner, so t’s a definite win for them.

Winner: Sasha & Miss Mystery

WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family

- Bryan Rose: I guess this is the last time we'll see the Wyatts as a until as Braun Strowman is going at it as a singles on Raw. Try and get yourselves hyped over that one. It doesn't really seem to matter as the feud isn't set to continue based on how the brand split went, so maybe Bray should get a win here since he's high up on the Smackdown list of top talent.

Winner: Wyatt Family

- Jeremy Peeples: Since this isn’t for the tag team titles, the Wyatts can win this and not hurt the New Day at all.:They’ve also been building up that the Wyatts are the toughest test yet for the champs, who now have to be serious to survive against them - New Day could easily lose by trying to be silly.

Winner: The Wyatt Family

- Brian Hoops: Wyatt Family was broken up in the draft, making this tag match so stupid if they win. Booking can’t be that bad can it?

Winner: New Day

- James Cox: Wyatts win but I don't know how all this works for them across the brand split. Tag title match at SummerSlam makes sense.

Winner: The Wyatts

- Ryan Frederick: With them breaking up the Wyatt Family in the draft, it makes this result more transparent. They really could use this match to build Wyatt into being a top guy on Smackdown, but I don’t see them beating The New Day. The only way that happens is if Braun Strowman is getting a tag partner on Raw to keep a program going. And, because Strowman is going to fail badly on his own right now.

Winner: The New Day

- Alan O’Brien: Bray is in desperate need of a victory to lend him some much-needed credibility. Unfortunately, given that it’s splitsville for his Family in the wake of the draft, that ain’t gonna happen.

Winner: The New Day

- Kyle S. Johnson: This feels a lot like a storyline match, especially given the tag team titles not being on the line, which makes a Wyatt win seem much more plausible. Xavier Woods has been really great in selling the idea of being entranced by the charm of Bray Wyatt, and I expect that factor to either directly or indirectly give The Wyatts a win and set up a title match -- presumably of the cross-brand variety -- for Summerslam.

Winner: The Wyatt Family

- Steve Khan: The Wyatts just got back, and even though they might be disbanding, I see this continuing. I have to imagine this is leading to a title match, so the Wyatts win here.

Winner: The Wyatt Family

- Gary Mehaffy: If the Wyatts were all on the same brand. I’d go with them, but as they’re (sort of) splitting them up it seems kind of pointless to have them go over. Then again, when has logic ever stopped Vince…….

Winner: The New Day

United States Champion Rusev vs. Zack Ryder for the US title

- Bryan Rose: Seeing Zack Ryder getting a push keeps reminding me of the terrible job they did with him the last time he was US champion. I could maybe see Ryder getting a win and taking the title to Smackdown (same with Darren Young maybe taking the IC title to Raw) but the more logical conclusion is Rusev retaining and remaning a strong champion on Raw, and maybe even THE champion on Raw if Ambrose retains.

Winner: Rusev

- Jeremy Peeples: Ryder has been an underdog, but he’s doomed - Rusev to win.

Winner: Rusev

- Brian Hoops: Rusev crushes people, Zack Ryder is just another “entertainer” in his way.

Winner: Rusev

- James Cox: I bet the Rawley angle never materializes. Rusev will sell for him before the Accolade.

Winner: Rusev

- Ryan Frederick: It would be dumb to take the title off of Rusev in favor of Zack Ryder. Rusev needs to be kept strong here as he could be given a big heel push towards whatever main title ends up on Raw. It only makes sense.

Winner: Rusev

- Alan O’Brien: Rusev destroys Zack to set up Mojo Rawley helping his disconsolate Hype Bro to rediscover his….mojo. I can’t wait.

Winner: Rusev

- Kyle S. Johnson: Good for Zack Ryder for getting another PPV match in 2016.

Winner: Rusev

- Steve Khan: Rusev should win and this should end this feud immediately.

Winner: Rusev

- Gary Mehaffy: Zack loses, leading to Mojo making the save……..uuuggghhh

Winner: Rusev

Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. Darren Young for the I-C title

- Bryan Rose: I like the Darren Young gimmick, but I doubt it's really leading to a serious push. As of right now, I like the Bob Backlund gimmick so at least it's something fun. I don't see him winning this match, though. 

Winner: The Miz

- Jeremy Peeples: D-Young has been getting shockingly big pops and while the Backlund stuff has been more hit than miss with vignettes, it’s working in front of crowds. He’s riding kind of a wave, while Miz is riding no wave - might as well give D-Young the gold.

Winner: Darren Young

- Brian Hoops: Would be a great story, similar to Mikey Whipwreck if Darren Young came out of nowhere to win the IC title. Unfortunately, this writing team is not great at storytelling.

Winner: The Miz

- James Cox: Makes no sense to put the title on the other brand, but if they're going to need to make sure Young has his number before Maryse helps Miz steal the win.

Winner: The Miz

- Ryan Frederick: I really hope Bob Backlund gets involved at some point and puts the Crossface Chickenwing on The Miz. With that being said, the Intercontinental Championship is the only official title on Smackdown at this moment. Darren Young is on Raw. The Miz has to win or it hurts Smackdown more.

Winner: The Miz

- Alan O’Brien: Given that I’m tipping Raw’s Rusev to retain the US title, I’m forced to predict a retention for Smackdown’s Miz here. Two fluke victories, followed by a defeat to The Miz, isn’t exactly making poor ol’ Darren Young great again, is it?

Winner: The Miz

- Kyle S. Johnson: Rusev is not losing the U.S. Championship to Zack Ryder, and so I have a hard time seeing Raw getting yet another title and leaving Smackdown looking somehow even more barren. This is basically a battle to see who can backdoor their way into victory first, and given how much both the champ and challenger have been made to look like hapless buffoons, I wouldn’t be surprised if they both somehow knocked themselves out for a double count-out. I’ll take Miz to retain for another month.

Winner: The Miz

- Steve Khan: Young has no momentum, and losing here wouldn’t help. He shouldn’t win yet either, and being on a different brand throws a wrench into things. Miz should retain, because Miz is somehow a stronger IC champion.

Winner: The Miz

- Gary Mehaffy: I think MIz will retain via shenanigans, and D-Y will get some sort of revenge in the next few weeks….

Winner: The Miz

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

- Bryan Rose: This seems like it's set to be a long term feud on Smackdown. Since it's their first match, let's say Natalya finds a way to win, at least in a way that logically leads to more matches down the line.

Winner: Natalya

- Jeremy Peeples: Becky is looking like the female Sting when it comes to having luck with tag partners - so she shouldn’t lose for the sake of her character not coming off like a dumbass. However, Nattie also shouldn’t lose in her first big heel match - I’ll give Nattie the nod here.

Winner: Nattie

- Brian Hoops: Lynch has been beaten down so much over the last 6 months she needs to win this match clean if she is to regain any credibility.

Winner: Becky Lynch

- James Cox: Becky Lynch. Not sure about Natty as a heel. Lynch needs the win way more.

Winner: Becky Lynch

- Ryan Frederick: With both of these ladies being on Smackdown, it seems like this feud must continue! Becky was the highest woman drafted on Smackdown, and it seems they will build the women’s division on that show around her. She has to win here and needs it more.

Winner: Becky Lynch

- Alan O’Brien: Given that these women are the highest profile female members of the newly-formed Smackdown roster, an obvious Becky Lynch victory no longer seems so obvious. I foresee Natalya winning by nefarious means to extend this feud into Summerslam.

Winner: Natalya

- Kyle S. Johnson: They’ve beaten both of these women like drums in 2016, and the relocation of both women to Smackdown makes this one a bit harder to call. It should be a good match if they get enough time, and it could be a great way to jumpstart whatever plans WWE has for the women on Smackdown. I want to say that Natalya wins here on the basis of the babyface presumably winning the other women’s match, but I’ll take Becky here since she probably needs a win more.

Winner: Becky Lynch

- Steve Khan: Lynch was basically just anointed the face of the women’s division of Smackdown, so she should win.

Winner: Becky Lynch

- Gary Mehaffy: Nattie needs the win, but Becky has more momentum going forward, so I think they’ll go with her.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

- Bryan Rose: This sounds great on paper, and without WWE silliness it could be the best match on the show. Problem is, Kane destroyed them both for zero reason on Smackdown for no real reason other than WWE could do that. So why should I care about it? Seeing as they're on both brands, they could continue this, but I'll go with Owens since he as of right now has a better chance of being in the main event scene on Raw than Zayn.

Winner: Kevin Owens

- Jeremy Peeples: This feud can go on forever and be resumed at any point, so just the result of this one match isn’t going to make it or break it. Either a clean win for Sami or a heelish win by Owens can move things along easily - I’ll go with Sami winning and Owens blaming everyone but himself for the loss.

Winner: Sami Zayn

- Brian Hoops: Kevin Owens should go over here, but cheat as any good heal would do. Winning in a way to build to a bigger, stipulation re-match at SummerSlam would be sense.

Winner: Kevin Owens

- James Cox: I guess they can blow this off or have another rematch at SummerSlam. Sami Zayn has to be favourite here. Could be a great match.

Winner: Sami Zayn

- Ryan Frederick: They keep saying this is the final time these two will fight, but with them both being drafted on Raw, they are destined to do this forever. Kevin Owens needs the win more as he really should be one of the top three focal points on Raw now.

Winner: Kevin Owens

- Alan O’Brien: The tenets of 50/50 booking tell me that Sami Zayn gets his win back here, after Owens won their last PPV encounter clean.

Winner: Sami Zayn

- Kyle S. Johnson: Both of these guys could use a win to propel them to bigger things, but the fact that the main event picture on Raw seems to be occupied by Reigns vs. Rollins for the immediate future means that there are not much bigger things to go around for Summerslam. Because of this, and because it’s not uncommon for WWE to just walk back ideas without thinking twice, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that these two will just do it again next month at Summerslam despite all that talk about this maybe being the last encounter.

Having both guys on the same roster kills the idea of this being the last big blow-off, so I’ll pick Sami to win and set up an Owens rampage the next night on Raw to lead to a stip match at Summerslam -- perhaps of the Loser Leaves Raw variety.

Winner: Sami Zayn

- Steve Khan: I have no idea what their plan is with these two, but Zayn seems due a win.

Winner: Sami Zayn

- Gary Mehaffy: I know that they will be bringing back names from the past to fill out the rosters, but Sami needs to be given some momentum to solidify his position on the card.  Using that logic, Vince usually swerves the fans and goes with the other guy, but I’ll stick with Sami for the win.

Winner: Sami Zayn

John Cena, Enzo Amore, & Big Cass vs. The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, & Luke Gallows)

- Bryan Rose: This might be a fun match, and it will be the last time any of these six team up as everyone's going to different shows. AJ and Cena are probably going to be the big Smackdown main event for SummerSlam, so it makes sense Cena gets the win here to set it up.

Winner: Cena, Cass and Amore

- Jeremy Peeples: Cena and the Certified Gs have been given the hardest push, and The Club is splitting in its current form - so they might as well have the faces win this one.

Winner: Cena and the Certified Gs

- Brian Hoops: Whoever wins, they need to clearly establish direction for matches at SummerSlam. The babyface team going over and the heels laying them out after the match makes sense.

Winner: Cena, Amore and Big Cass

- James Cox: Faces to go over. I'm not sure what the future holds for The Club.

Winners: John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass

- Ryan Frederick: It seems like this match will just build to keeping the programs going, with Cena and Styles on Smackdown, and the two tag teams on Raw. Breaking away Styles from Gallows and Anderson looks like a mistake right now as they were one of the best things going in the WWE right now, and they should be kept strong. Cena losing doesn’t ever hurt him, and Enzo taking the fall won’t hurt him as his charisma and talking are his strong points. Those are the two that could take the fall. Styles, from the looks of it, is going to be the guy on Smackdown. Give him that rub right now.

Winner: The Club

- Alan O’Brien: As this program looks likely to continue in some form on both brands, I’m going for a babyface victory and subsequent heel beatdown here. Given The Club are not continuing in their current form, I can’t see them being given the booking nod.

Winner: Cena, Enzo, & Big Cass

- Kyle S. Johnson: The decision to split up The Club at a time where they seem to just be hitting their stride is a confusing one, but consider the source of the decision. AJ and Cena seem to be the logical choices to square off against one another for the Smackdown title (if that still winds up being a thing), so I could foresee Cena getting a win here to keep that feud going into Summerslam.

Winner: Cena, Enzo, & Big Cass

- Steve Khan: Cena and his team can get a win over the Club and that can easily led to a Cena vs. Styles rematch at SummerSlam.

Winner: John Cena, Enzo, & Big Cass

- Gary Mehaffy: This will lead to Cena and AJ down the road, so I’m thinking that there’ll be a melee leading to a sneaky heel win.

Winner: The Club

WWE Battleground

WWE Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

- Bryan Rose: Seth Rollins seems to be the only real choice here, but then again this is WWE so they can do anything. Rollins makes sense because if they are giving Roman the big win (which will probably happen at SummerSlam) Rollins needs the win to get the title to Raw. I think this will be good, maybe even great, but I wonder if they'll do anything to set up the possibility of a second title. Or maybe Ambrose will win and just have the champion on both brands. Who knows, but I'll stick with my choice!

Winner: Seth Rollins

- Jeremy Peeples: Seth lost on SD, and has been put over as a huge underdog - so he seems the most likely to win this. Dean really shouldn’t just be a one month champion though for long term credibility’s sake though as things like that hurt Roman. People do want Dean to be the guy though, so he can afford a loss.

Winner: Seth Rollins

- Brian Hoops: Can’t imagine how the WWE Universe would turn on Reigns if he was given the title following a suspension the first night back. If they are planning on splitting the title and having a Raw champion and a Smackdown champion, a scenario where both Rollins and Ambrose walking away with at least a claim to the championship makes sense. They have already done the double pin, so maybe they both pin Reigns?

Winner: Ambrose and Rollins are both declared the winners.

- James Cox: Ambrose retains and they do something on Raw with a new belt. Should give us a good indication about how mad Vince is with Reigns.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

- Ryan Frederick: The match that will have the most interesting result. Putting the title back on Roman Reigns as he returns from the suspension is something they would totally do. It’s so obvious that is what will happen that I don’t think it will happen. I also don’t think there will be a disputed finish to split the championships. Dean Ambrose deserves to keep going as the champion, but I don’t see the WWE Championship being on any show other than Raw right now. Seth Rollins walks away with the championship, and we get what the fans don’t want after that- a Roman Reigns chase. Yet again. Stop it, the fans don’t want it (and I actually like Roman.)

Winner: Seth Rollins

- Alan O’Brien: Rollins’ clean loss to Ambrose on Smackdown points to him regaining the belt in a direct reversal of that outcome; leading us nicely into Rollins/Reigns as RAW’s headline match in Brooklyn.

Winner: Seth Rollins

- Kyle S. Johnson: WWE cannot help but book everything Even Steven. It’s like an obsessive compulsive disorder. Dean and Seth wrestled to a draw on Monday, Dean won clean on Tuesday. Giving the belt right back to Roman fresh off of a suspension would be extraordinarily dense, so combining that with this week’s result seems to suggest that Seth will steal a pin from Dean or Roman and force Reigns to chase him into Summerslam. That should be fresh and exciting.

Winner: Seth Rollins

- Steve Khan: I’m hoping Ambrose doesn’t lose, because his reign would’ve gone to waste, and they need him to look good as one of the top guys on SmackDown. Reigns winning seems unlikely, and they could do a schmoz. SmackDown would look like crap of Rollins won outright, so I’ll stick with Ambrose, even though that also seems unlikely.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

- Gary Mehaffy: Is it terrible to say that I don’t really care about the outcome of this match? Realistically I’m for ‘anyone but Reigns’ at this point, but there needs to be a reason, so I see Rollins pinning Reigns after what should be a really good match.

Winner: Seth Rollins

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