Greetings Chinlock readers! You have just stumbled upon my new column, Calling the Shots, in which I put on my smarty pants and try to predict how the WWE’s monthly pay-per-view will play out.
A little background: I’d be lying if I claimed to be a lifelong wrestling fan. I took a 10 year hiatus beginning around the time the attitude era was in full swing. That being said, my younger days were filled with fond memories of Royal Rumbles and Wrestlemanias. And now, with a little coaxing from Chinlock co-creator Justin Cousineau, I’m back in the game, cheering heels and booing babyfaces.
About the column: I tend to analyze things to the nth degree. Using my MBA background, I tend to look at trends and variables to deduce possible outcomes using logic and reasoning. That being said, it is very likely that I’ll make a bad call either due to unreleased information (For all I know Ziggler could be performing on two broken ankles, for example) or just typical WWE bamboozling.
And now, without further ado, let’s call the shots for Battleground 2014:
- The Usos vs The Wyatt’s
As much as I like the Usos and their high-flying antics, I do believe that a title-drop to the Wyatts is in order. While they may have started their careers in the WWE as Bray’s “hired goons,” Rowan and Harper have quickly made a name for themselves with great matches and career-ending spots (like Harper’s out-of-the-ring-onto-two-tables superplex from a few months ago). The Usos have had a good run but it would be criminal to deny the Wyatts the credit that they are due. Furthermore, with Goldust and Stardust gaining serious momentum (thus up-heaving their breakup storyline once again), they need a heel team to go after for the belt. The “freaks vs. monsters” match-up pretty much writes itself. Plus, the Wyatts winning would give Bray even more momentum in his “changing the world” promos, and more Bray Wyatt is never a bad thing.
What I predict will happen: Harper and Rowan double-powerbomb both Usos and pin for the win.
What I wish would happen: Harper and Rowan both throw their 300-plus frames over the top ropes and hit the Usos with their own finisher.
- Rusev vs. Swagger
Rusev has been jobbing WWE superstars for a few months now, including Big E at MITB. So the questions really comes down to whether or not his reign of terror ends at Battlegrounds (a tier-2 PPV) or Summerslam (second only to The Grandaddy of them All in terms of importance). Initially I was voting Swagger on this one, but now I’m thinking Rusev will walk away with this one too. That being said, I can’t think of a better storyline for either character, and Swagger could really use the push/babyface turn. So I’m thinking that Rusev will get the win but they’ll have a “bigger and better” rematch in a month’s time.
What I predict will happen: Rusev crush yankee man!
What I wish would happen: Given that Rusev is basically pulling the same tactics that the Iron Sheik epitomized decades ago (including the Camel Clutch finisher), I’d love to see creative run with the parallels and have Swagger walk to the ring to “I am a real American” and pull off his best Hogan impression. Honestly how awesome/hilarious would that be?
- Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
I was lucky enough to attend the Kingston house show a few weekends ago with the Chinlock crew and saw both of these athletes live, and they absolutely tore down the house. One way or another, I am predicting a possible best-of-the-night entrant from these two. I’m giving the nudge to Ambrose on this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if The Authority interferes again and steal the win for Rollins.
What I predict will happen: Despite the odds Ambrose steals the win.
What I wish would happen: Not only does Ambrose steal the win; he also steals the Money in the Bank Contract from ringside and walks out the door with it. Now that would make for an interesting story going in to Summerslam.
- Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
Here’s the problem when you are Bray Wyatt: When your character is so good that the audience loves you win or lose, it’s makes for real easy decisions for creative. Some Superstars need to win to stay relevant (cough Cena cough cough), so it’s a no-brainer for writers to throw Bray to the wolves and let him get trampled for the sake of the other athletes. This isn’t really fair to Bray, who is a big-time star talent who deserves an even bigger push. This is where Jericho comes in. He’s an all-time great, and even if he isn’t in his physical prime his natural charisma can carry him through a match. Jericho is a consummate professional who undoubtedly understands his place here and will do his up-most to make Bray look great for his big Summerslam match-up (my guess being The Wyatts vs. Evolution, but that’s pure speculation).
What I predict will happen: Jericho goes heels-to-Jesus and makes Bray look damn-good in the process.
What I wish would happen: Bray brings the lights down and the match’s finale is lit by the “sea of lights” from his earlier promos. I just think it would look cool. Also Bray breaks out of the Walls of Jericho by doing his upside down spider walk thing.
- Paige vs. AJ Lee
The back and forth between Paige and AJ has been a weird one. AJ drops the belt super-quick after Mania, then wins it back in similar fashion 3 months later on her first appearance back on RAW. In the interim, Paige has been doing good work validating the WWE women’s bracket by putting on and winning some quality matches. From a business standpoint, Paige needs the win (and the belt) more than AJ does. Between her past history with the company and the love-affair the fans are still having with the husband (the still-absent and much-missed CM Punk), the fans will always pop for AJ. Meanwhile, Paige is definitely coming in to her own but needs the validation of knocking AJ off to show that she’s a real contender and valid champion. So I think Paige will take the belt home with her on Sunday.
What I predict will happen: Both women will put on a great show but Paige will be put over in the end.
What I would love to see happen: CM Punk makes an appearance, what else?
- Cena vs. Reigns vs. Kane vs. Orton
Let’s be honest here, this one is pretty well a forgone conclusion. With rumblings of Lesnar finally making good on his Undertaker-heat at Summerslam, it’s unlikely that he will be facing anyone other than good ol’ Johnny Jorts. Cena was handed the belt at MITB for a reason, and it definitely wasn’t to play hot-potato with the championship belt. When it comes to selling a Lesnar match, the importance is placed less on in-ring talent and more on cutting promos since Paul Heyman hasn’t had time to teach his pet bear how to make human sounds yet. So, Kane and Reigns are out, since their mic skills are pretty mediocre (Despite taking pretty much everything from The Shield, Reigns clearly didn’t acquire any of Ambrose’s promo-cutting powers). That leaves Orton, who makes for a really good heel-champ, and Cena, who despite my constant booing is a legitimately gifted talker. Given that Lesnar as a babyface is highly unlikely, Cena gets the nudge hoping that his face on the poster will sell those remaining 500,000 subscribers for the WWE Network.
What I predict will happen: The Authority will double-team Reigns, have a falling out, and Cena will capitalize for the win.
What I would love to see happen: Money in the Bank cash-in? Honestly this one seems so cut-and-dry I really can’t see it going any other way.
- 20-man Battle Royal
By definition this one is a bit of a toss-up. Like the U.S. championship match which preceded it, the Battle Royal system makes it nearly impossible to determine exactly who will take home the belt, especially with the limited storyline. That being said, through the process of elimination we can deduce a few frontrunners. Cesaro is a reasonable choice, since creative has been trying to strap the rockets to him for a good while now. Having him break away from both Zeb and Heyman can be taken as an indicator that he’s headed to bigger and better things. If only he could pick up his promo game, though. The Miz is also getting a serious push, which worries me considerably. Finally, everyone’s favorite underdog Dolph Ziggler could finally be given a real chance to shine. This guy puts on great matches night after night no matter who is in the ring with him. What better way to showcase his talent than by giving him a mid-tier belt and a perfect excuse to match-up with any of the B-listers at any time?
What I predict will happen: Either Cesaro, the Miz, or (hopefully) Ziggler will take home the gold.
What I would love to see happen: Sandow wrestle the entire match in his Vince McMansandow
So there are my picks for Battleground! Whether I’m right or wrong, the only thing that sure is that we’ll find out the truth on Sunday. Until then, feel free to comment on how right/wrong/smart/stupid or just all-around handsome I am.
Enjoy the show!