by Frank Lucci
It’s almost time for SummerSlam, which means WWE is preparing for the second biggest show of the year, B-PPV’s be damned!
After Great Balls of Fire shone brightly upon the WWE Universe like an actual great ball of fire, WWE has seemingly put about three minutes of effort in per show. Immediately after one of the best PPV’s of the year, WWE has decided to have three foreigner heels on one show, John Cena brought up 9/11 to hype a Flag Match, and decided to run a bastard son angle.
As a reminder to readers, it is 2017. We have not traveled backwards in time, Vince McMahon is just having one of his senior moments. With not a whole lot to look forward to in Battleground, we can at least take comfort in the fact that NXT has been consistently excellent and 205 Live is the second most watchable show WWE puts on during the week. I’m Spaceman Frank and here is my Battleground 2017 predictions.
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
I feel like they began this feud roughly seven weeks ago with a single segment on SmackDown and now we get this match on the preshow. I suppose I should be happy that both men are doing something that vaguely seems important, but really I think they only reason they got this match is because somebody felt sorry for them.
English can be a good heel and Tye can be a good babyface, but WWE seems to think they can just coast on their NXT highlights until they get the random shot to the moon push WWE loves to dole out. Tye wins because he is so unpopular, Google Drive wants to change his name to “Toe.”
Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis
I wish Mike went by his original name Bennett because it is a lot easier to spell. This came about because Zayn kept accidentally interrupting the Kanellis’, before Mike beat Zayn on the SmackDown before Battleground. Both men can probably do better, but in the current state of SmackDown this is about as good as it gets (at least they are not on the preshow). Miracle Mike is the…well not hot but lukewarm newbie and Zayn can make anyone look good so I think Mike gets the win here.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Shinsuke continues to go through all the low tier main event types on SmackDown, setting his sights on the man that almost took him out of the Money in the Bank match. We all know that WWE is gearing up for a match between Nakamura and AJ Styles, which makes me wonder why they decided to throw this match in here. Corbin needs some decent wins to justify his Money in the Bank winner status, but Nakamura also needs some high profile wins if people are going to care about his match with Styles. Perhaps a non finish will happen here, but just for the sake of picking a winner I see Corbin DQ’s himself beating up Shinsuke, giving the King of Strong Style the disqualification win.
The Usos (c) vs. The New Day (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)
After the excellent rap battle between these two groups a few weeks ago, WWE decided “eh, that will do” and given absolutely nothing for these guys to work with after. I want to be excited for this, but after the lame finish at Money in the Bank all I want is for somebody to pin somebody else this time. With no other obvious contenders for the belts besides maybe Breezeango I don’t think this will be the end of this feud. Maybe we get a best of seven rap battle series with the epic conclusion at SummerSlam (beats these guys filling time on the SummerSlam preshow). Usos retain because laziness.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (US Championship Match)
I remember being super excited for the first encounter between these two men, before a meh match and a long delay in a rematch made me forget this was even happening.
Styles won the belt at a Madison Square Garden house show, so whatever payoff I expected to see here has gone up in smoke (maybe WWE is fast tracking the title change to wrap up this feud and have Nakamura challenge for the belt at SummerSlam?).
Anyway, with zero drama to play off of I still got some hope these men deliver a fine match, but until they get in the ring and start wowing me I simply do not have much to go on. AJ Styles wins because babyface champs in WWE are rare these days and WWE needs somebody fans can rally behind.
John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)
Both Rusev and Cena return to restart their “classic” feud from 2015 which saw Rusev lose almost every single match in increasingly sad ways. This cuts right to the stupid gimmick portion of the feud, meaning we do not get Rusev hiring two smaller Bulgarian dudes to act as his Singh Brothers (I wonder what a popular Bulgarian last name is….(looks on Google).
With no Ivanov Brothers to help him, I do not expect Rusev to win here, especially because there are FLAGS and AMERICA and EAGLES AT STAKE, MAGGLE. Cena smashes Rusev and moves on to face another evil heel in Jinder Mahal before the Bulgarian’s body’s even cold, just in time for SummerSlam (mild shock there).
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Lana vs. Natalya vs. Tamina (Fatal Five Way for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Number One Contendership)
Is there a rule that says Naomi cannot defend her belt on consecutive PPV’s?
For the second SmackDown PPV in a row WWE has all the women on the show (minus one or two) all get in the ring and butt heads to see how is getting the next “big” push for the next several weeks. While I think the booking for the ladies is pretty weak, this will probably be the best match on the card if done right. Everyone has a defined role going in, and if not for the fact that we have seen every single one of these women fight every single other women in the division for what seems like a decade I might actually be excited. If anyone has the best chance of winning I would have to say Charlotte, and her vs Naomi would be a good match for the belt in the future.
Please send Asuka to SmackDown ASAP.
Jinder Mahal (c) vs Randy Orton (Punjabi Prison Match for the WWE Championship)
The feud nobody wants yet continues to be sees these two face of in a stupid gimmick match that makes other stupid gimmick matches feel better about themselves. At least the Kennel from Hell match can say to itself “hey, at least people could see what was happening inside me.”
While I do not have the time nor the patience to properly purge myself of the vile I have for this match, I will say this: Mahal looks like a moron for taking away his biggest advantage (interference from the Singh Brothers) by making this a Punjabi Prison match, and Randy looks stupid period.
My best case scenario is that this becomes a comedy of errors.
First House of Horrors, and now a Punjabi Prison. You seem determined to ruin people’s first WWE Championship runs, Mr. Orton.
Jinder wins because I genuinely feel bad for how crappy his title run has been.