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Spaceman Frank’s WWE Battleground Predictions

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.

 

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Spaceman Frank’s WWE Battleground 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

WWE Battleground 2016 is the first Pay-Per-View in the brand split 2.0 and the event promises to be…interesting, to say the least.

By booking every matchup before the draft, what was once considered a dream card is now a jumbled mess. With many opponents now on different brands, the WWE has given off the impression that they don’t know what they’re doing with the new rosters – which is definitely not where they want to be going into SummerSlam. There are no bad matches on the card, per se, but the company has given fans little reason to care. Spaceman Frank is here to sort out the mess and predict the results of Battleground 2016.

The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund (Intercontinental Championship match)

Darren Young has finally returned to television with the ageless Bob Backlund as his manager by winning a battle royal in baffling fashion to earn his shot at The Miz’ Intercontinental Championship and if he wins, the title will be moving from SmackDown Live to Raw.

After a series of great title defenses from The Miz featuring some of WWE’s top talent, Young is a step down  by default. Unless the WWE plans on swapping the Intercontinental and United States Championships to different shows, there’s no reason for The Miz to cut short his great run as a d-bag champ.

Rusev (c) w/ Lana vs. Zack Ryder (United States Championship match)

The build has been slightly better for this match than the Intercontinental Championship match, with Rusev being a bully by accepting Ryders challenge after a sneak attack on the Long Island native. But once again, unless the titles are switching shows there is no way Rusev loses to the guy he has squashed repeatedly.

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

The two new SmackDown! Divas are set to settle their differences at Battleground and the booking has mirrored the Zayn/Owens feud sans the massive amount of history and several match of the year candidates to back them up.

Build aside, if these two operate at their full potential they should be able to pull of a great match; although it’s bittersweet to settle a feud like this without a title involved. Natalya wins because she is overdue to win a feud after her series with Charlotte and can now cheat to go full-heel on the loveable Lass Kicker.

The New Day (c) vs. The Wyatt Family

This match (which is not for the Tag Team Championships) has been all about The Wyatts scaring Xavier Woods as well as the audience with their Final Deletion ripoff. The New Day survived the draft intact, while The Wyatts will split with Bray and Erick Rowan on Smackdown and powerhouse Braun Strowman on Raw (no word on my boy Luke Harper).

Since The New Day are still champs, they will win this match so they can stay strong while the WWE finds them a new team for them to feud with but not face for the titles.

Sasha Banks and TBD vs. Charlotte (c) and Dana Brooke

This showcase for the Raw women’s division has some buzz around it as people speculate who will be the mystery partner for Banks. Many are clamoring for Bailey to make her long awaited jump to the main roster, but it wouldn’t make sense for her to make her debut without being drafted beforehand.

I see the recently called up Nia Jax forming a team with Banks to give the newcomer a big boost right out the gate. Indeed, Banks and Jax will win the match so both can be contenders for Charlotte’s championship – whenever she gets around to defending it, that is.

John Cena, Enzo and Cass vs. The Club

The battle of divided teams sees Cena giving the rub to Enzo and Cass before he retreats to Smackdown Live versus The Club, who will be without A.J. Styles on Raw (although their New Japan pal and original Bullet Club leader Finn Balor will be waiting in the wings for them on Monday nights).

I see this match as a way to set up two different matches for SummerSlam: the most likely rematch between Cena and Styles and the logical Enzo and Cass vs.The Club. Since this is a tag match featuring Cena, I see him getting the win for his team by jobbing out one of the members of the Club (looking at you, Anderson) before a big beatdown to  set up the future matches.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

The alleged “final match” between these bitter rivals is set to be one of the best matches of the night and is easily one of the best built matches on the card as well. However, the WWE still managed to throw a few wrenches into this feud by having both men on the same show post-draft, meaning it is highly unlikely this is the actual “last match” for these two.

On a minor note, having this be a plain old singles match like the one they had at Payback instead of a No-DQ stipulation means this lacks the finality required for this feud. Since Zayn was drafted much higher than Owens and he has generally been on the losing end of the feud he will win out in the (so-called) end.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship match)

The dream match that has been derailed by poor booking and suspensions has an extra wrinkle with the brand split. Ambrose is the sole SmackDown! competitor and as the champ, he seems to have an advantage over the other two wrestlers. Rollins meanwhile, has been doing fantastic in his role of the scorned former champion who resents the so-called cheater Ambrose. In addition, he successfully navigated the Reigns dilemma by addressing it and trashing Reigns as only Rollins can.

The big problem here is the rumors that Rollins will win the title and feud with Reigns, who fans have turned against even more due to his suspension. Ambrose deserves a real shot with the belt and with Raw in need of a top championship this match will end with a screwball finish that leaves Ambrose as champ for the blue brand so Rollins and Reigns can have a separate feud for a new heavyweight championship on Raw.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Fantasy Draft

 

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by Frank Lucci

The WWE has finally released the rules for the WWE draft scheduled for the first edition of SmackDown! Live on July 19th, 2016. Long story short: Raw gets the first pick, Raw gets three picks for every two SmackDown! gets (due to the Monday show being an hour longer), tag teams count as one unit unless a GM wants just one member and each show gets 3 NXT picks.

Going with the assumed format of Raw/Smackdown/Raw/Smackdown/Raw/Raw for the order, here is Spaceman Frank’s mock WWE Draft with some explanations/fantasy booking to boot.

Author’s Note: I wrote this before the edition of Raw before the draft, so i’m assuming Dean Ambrose is still champ because please don’t take that away from us WWE I beg you! Also i’m assuming that the televised portion of the draft will be around 15 picks for Smackdown and 20 for Raw, but depending on how thing go it may be much shorter. Here’s to hoping they do a Network Special after Smackdown continuing the draft.

  1. Raw: Brock Lesnar – Since Brock is labeled officially eligible and he is coming off his (controversial) win at UFC 200 over Mark Hunt, Stephanie McMahon comes out and says, “Lesnar duh blah blah blah best for business” while JBL creams his pants yelling random facts about something possibly related to Lesnar that happened at least 30 years ago.
  1. SmackDown!: John Cena – Good guy Shane picks “The Face That Runs the Place.” Although working a lighter schedule, he’s still one of the most popular guys on the roster and can help work with the up and coming guys in a role similar to The Undertaker on the original brand split in 2005.
  1. Raw: Seth Rollins – Steph picks another “best for business” type person so JBL can shoot his load again. Even if he doesn’t win the WWE Championship at Battleground Rollins will most likely be in the running for whatever top title Raw gets heading into SummerSlam.
  1. SmackDown!: Dean Ambrose – The WWE Champion (hopefully) comes in at number four and gives a promo about how with Rollins now on a different show, he’s going to make sure he tears him to pieces at Battleground (because, you know, that’s still happening).
  1. Raw: Roman Reigns – With the other two members of The Shield drafted, Stephanie uses her first of two picks to grab Roman Reigns because the WWE loves symmetry like this; if only so Jerry Lawler has an easy to remember factoid to say between shotgunning cans of Mountain Dew Kickstart. Raw’s evil commissioner does the obvious “Oh nooooo somebody isn’t here, womp, womp” speech that Rollins has been doing before reminding us that Reigns beat her and her husband up at WrestleMania and vows to make his life hell. Or Reigns finally turns heel (but probably the first thing).

6. Raw: Charlotte – In order to push the Divas Revolution, Stephanie IMMEDIATELY does a 180 and turns face for a good minute or so. With her so-called “free pick,” she drafts Women’s Champion Charlotte. This would A) make the women look as important than the men, seeing as she is drafted before the Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Champions, B) keep the whole Stephanie as women’s division advocate thing going and C) give much needed variety and content for the three-hour Raw so that they, you know, actually make those three hours entertaining.

  1. SmackDown!: A.J. Styles – I’m tempted to say at this point that Shane panics and picks another champion for his show, but since he already has the WWE Champ (and no heels so far) he goes with Styles. We see him celebrating with The Club backstage as all three are like, “Woo, we’re going to Smackdown!”
  1. Raw: Randy Orton – The last of the “God Tier” people on the roster, Stephanie picks her old champ from The Authority days (hopefully The Draft doesn’t bring this angle back and lets it die the quick death it deserves). This leaves Orton on the same roster as Lesnar, his SummerSlam opponent.
  1. SmackDown!: Rusev  Shane locks up his second singles champion to give The Blue Brand their championships. Rusev seems more like a SmackDown! guy over the flashier Miz and would be a good workhorse for Tuesday nights. Also, Lana goes to SmackDown! in the non-televised portion of the draft because the WWE already learned their lesson on splitting them up.
  1. Raw: The Miz – The Miz comes out and starts lashing out about what a travesty it is that he fell to number ten. He thinks he should have been number one and gives a big shouty promo about Hollywood A-List yadda yadda yadda.

11. Raw: The New Day – Stephanie figures she might as well lock up the last champions and picks The New Day. However, The Tag Titles will be defended on both shows, but the current champs will call Raw their home base. Similar thoughts to having the women on Raw for The New Day: they can eat up part of the three hours while making it actually worth watching.

12. SmackDown!: Samoa Joe – With all the champions and upper tier people chosen, Shane chooses at this time to continue his whole “New Era” schtick and makes the first NXT selection in Joe to a huge pop. Cut to the locker room and everyone has crapped their pants over potentially being a victim of Joe’s wrath. The camera lingers on A.J. Styles’ reaction because of their history (that WWE kinda-sorta acknowledges).

13. Raw: Bray Wyatt – Steph goes monster for monster with her brother and (rather nervously) picks Bray Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds comes out and creepily smiles at her to further freak her out as Triple H steps up to Wyatt, playing on their Royal Rumble interaction and maybe teasing a match in the future?

14. SmackDown!: Kevin Owens – KO gets drafted, does his KO thing by insulting everyone, tells Shane he’s glad all his daredevil antics left at least a few of his brain cells working and leaves.

15. Raw: Sasha Banks – Somebody reminds Steph that Charlotte needs somebody to wrestle on Raw and picks The Boss, because we all know the inevitable match between the two is coming at SummerSlam.

16. Raw: Finn Balor – Balor goes to Raw to another big pop to the crowd. Steph makes fun of Shane for stealing what would (presumably) be one of the cornerstones of his “New Era.” Backstace, The Club is happy for their boy finally being called up to the main roster.

17. SmackDown!: Cesaro – The Swiss Superman goes here because something, something, SmackDown! will be a wrestling show while JBL shrieks, “UPPERCUT PARTY MAGGLE” for no reason.

18. Raw: Sheamus – “Oh yeah, Sheamus is still a thing.”- Stephanie McMahon moments before drafting The Celtic Warrior.

19. SmackDown!: Sami Zayn – KO comes back out to flip out on Shane. He demands to be traded to Raw rather than have to deal with Zayn after their Battleground match. Things get heated and eventually an army of referees have to hold back KO from Zayn and Shane (I’m so excited for their match I have to stand in front of the fridge to cool down).

20. Raw: The Big Show – The Big Show literally eats a pick here before shuffling off to the back.

21. Raw: Chris Jericho – I’m tempted to put Jericho on SmackDown! as he seems more focused on working with younger guys, but given his part-time status and the fact that Cena already can fill that role more regularly he will be on Raw.

22. SmackDown!: Enzo and Cass – These two are constantly rumored for being split up in the draft, but considering people only take about four of the WWE tag teams seriously they need to stick together. The two act much like The New Day do on Raw: delivering fun promos and eating up time.

23. Raw: The Usos – At this point I see a run on tag teams to help fill in the rosters. The Usos stay on the show with their cousin because family and such.

24. Smackdown: Kalisto – I’m not sure if this counts as a tag team split, since Kalisto and Sin Cara are listed as singles competitors instead of the team they usually are. Nonetheless, Kalisto goes to Tuesdays just in case they start the Cruiserweight division up again.

25. Raw: Becky Lynch – I see Raw using these extra picks as a way to emphasize the women’s division while still making them feel tacked on. The Lass Kicker (side note: please give her a new nickname. I love Lynch, but there ‘s no way I go out in public with “Lass Kicker” written on my chest. Don’t need people thinking I hit women)  goes to Raw to continue her role as “early 90’s Sting” to the ladies.

26. Raw: The Club – A.J. is super upset his boys are leaving and they have a big bro hug. It’s a touching moment…interrupted by Finn Balor. The Club and Balor immediately partake in an even bigger bro hug and start “Too Sweet-ing” each other and go away laughing. This leaves Styles with a bit of sympathy for his inevitable babyface return and plants the seeds of a Balor heel turn with The Club.

27. SmackDown!: The Wyatt Family – I know all the Wyatts are listed as individual competitors but hear me out. Shane, realizing Raw has way more superstars than SmackDown!, makes a bold move and drafts Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and Luke Harper. Rowan and Strowman come out followed by Harper, who at this point should be healed up enough from his knee injury to at least make an appearance. Harper goes on a tear and declares they don’t need Bray Wyatt and the three of them can take on anybody in the WWE. Honestly, I feel like the Wyatt Family is toxic for everyone involved due to their horrendous booking. Bray has his family eat loses for him on free TV while he loses nearly every Pay Per View feud he has. Time to split them up and let Bray run wild on Raw while Harper guides Rowan and Strowman in the tag team division. Everyone wins…hopefully.

28. Raw: Dolph Ziggler– My how Ziggler has fallen. Hopefully with the split roster he can get back on track.

29. Smackdown: Alberto Del Rio– See Dolph Ziggler.

30. Raw: Nikki Bella – With the show running out of top picks, Stephanie picks the former Divas Champion, who comes out looking classy with or without a neck brace. She reminds everyone that she is now officially the longest running Diva’s champ of all time thanks to the title being retired and that the only reason Charlotte beat her was because her neck wasn’t 100 percent. Even if Nikki does not return immediately they should address her status during the draft.

31. Raw: Darren Young – I would have had Young getting drafted off camera, but since he’s challenging for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground he will probably show up here with Bob Backlund screaming inaudibly behind him.

32. SmackDown!: Zack Ryder – Same story as Darren Young, only for the United States title.

33. Raw: Nia Jax – With her second NXT pick Steph strengthens her women’s division with Jax, who (along with Balor) is frequently rumored for a call up.

34. SmackDown!: American Alpha – Shane uses his final (televised) pick on the hot NXT tag team, just in case you forgot that Shane and GM Daniel Bryan love you and want you to be happy.

35. Raw: Paige – Just to hammer home the Divas, here is Paige going to Raw.

As for the rest of the roster, here is where I see them going; along with the final NXT picks.

Raw: Baron Corbin, Demon Kane, Jack Swagger, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Golden Truth, Shining Stars, The Vaudevillians, the rest of the women and Mojo Rawley (NXT call up).

SmackDown!: Apollo Crews, Mark Henry, Neville, Breezango, The Social Outcasts, The Ascension, The Dudley Boyz, Hideo Itami (NXT call up).