clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Battleground 2014 match card preview: AJ Lee vs. Paige

Divas Championship

Paige vs. AJ Lee (c)

It's a tale of two impromptu title matches.  Paige surprised AJ after WrestleMania and ended her record-setting reign in short order.  Lee returned the favor with an unexpected return after Money in the Bank.  Have the two rivals really earned each other's respect as a result?

The Road to Battleground

The Anti-Diva Divas champ had just emerged from her third consecutive pay-per-view (PPV) defense, a hard fought but conclusive victory over Naomi, and seemed to be telling the WWE Universe that she was a little tired of their middling reaction to her title run.  A thunderous reaction to the surprise return of the women she defeated for the belt didn't positively effect her mood, either.

With time to reflect on her less than gracious behavior following the loss, the Brit endeavored to be a better sportswoman when AJ wrestled the first match of her second Divas championship.

At first, AJ didn't seem sure how to take support from the young woman who had usurped her throne just months before.  But Lee also has mellowed a bit in her time away from WWE.  Where once she was Gollum and the butterfly belt was her precious, this time around she's acting more proud than possessive.

Over the course of the short few weeks between her return and their first pre-scheduled showdown, both Divas have allowed a professional friendship to form.  Over the course of the past week, they've served as tag partners and celebrated wins with smiles and handshakes.

Can either woman be trusted, though?

It wasn't that long ago that AJ would do anything to keep her crown...has marriage and a chance to recharge her batteries really changed her so much that she wouldn't be above feigning warmth to get a psychological advantage?

Paige nearly had a meltdown when she has the title taken from her in a mirror image of how she won it - did she really have a change of heart in a matter of days?  Or has her experience growing up in the cutthroat pro wrestling world lead her to a strategem that just might get Lee to lower her guard again?

What's at Stake?

Many, including this writer, had hoped that this match would have been allowed to simmer above a longer build - one that took us at least to SummerSlam.  The reason being that a lot of hopes for a better caliber of booking for women in WWE may depend on how this bout is received.

Intriguing performances from both women have put a lot of minds at ease, though.  Rather than take the safe route of letting AJ pick up where she left off, or quickly turning Paige, a program of some nuance has developed in just three weeks.  Either or both of these Divas could be sincere in their good behavior, or hiding more devious tactics behind their smiles.

Finding out their true characters is only a part of the key to this match delivering on its promise, though.  Both of their previous encounters were seconds long affairs that existing to shock more than impress.  Can they deliver an in-ring performance that supporters and doubters can stack up against a men's contest given the same amount of time?

And how much time will they be given?  Will the backstage powers who aren't interested in a more competitive women's scene give them a "death slot" on the card in between a hot feud like Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match?  Can AJ and Paige overcome a challenge like that and connect with the Tampa audience regardless?

No pressure, ladies.

Who will leave Battleground with the Divas title, and will they leave as a heel or a face?  Find that out, and discuss whether their match and feud can change the game for women in WWE, right her on cSs.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats