WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., July 19, 2015) live from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri with its Battleground event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show featuring R-Truth vs. King Barrett leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.
Set for the card: Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE world heavyweight championship, John Cena vs. Kevin Owens for the United States title, and so much more!
Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.
Let's get to it.
WWE BATTLEGROUND 2015 PREDICTIONS
Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar
The General: I'm inclined to believe the rumors that a major angle will play out in this match and it will lead to Rollins retaining the title. I'm not sure Vince McMahon will beat Lesnar clean with anyone other than Undertaker at this point, and it sure looks like we could be headed for that very match at SummerSlam. This should be a fantastic match but the finish is likely going to leave us wanting. I'll say Lesnar wins but by disqualification. Pick: Lesnar
Sean Rueter: Spoilers, rumors and fantasy booking - oh my! Lots of strands to follow trying to unravel this one, but at its core, what you need to know is this. WWE has shown no indication they want to plan their championship scene around Brock's available dates again any time soon. One way or another, that means The Arhitect retains. If he looks like a chump and possibly loses the match, well, that just fits in with the rest of his run, doesn't it? Pick: Lesnar wins, Rollins retains
Keith Harris: This will go like most of Rollins' title matches on pay-per-view during his reign as champion. He gets his ass kicked all over the ring, but squirms away to live another day with his gold in tow thanks to interference from a somewhat surprising source. Pick: Seth Rollins
Bill Hanstock: It seems like Undertaker may get involved in this one, but regardless of my deep and abiding love for meatbeast Brock Lesnar, I really, really, REALLY want Rollins to find a way to beat him clean and retain, just to shock the world.
Cain A. Knight: Seth's championship reign isn't really working out. It's clear that Lesnar should win the belt, but WWE will probably keep the title on Rollins because for some bewildering reason they are dying to run future PPV matches pitting Rollins against TheDemonKane. So how exactly is Rollins going to escape this match without being victimized by Brock? Seth is going to need significant help to do it, and I'm willing to believe the major rumor spreading about who is going to return and ruin Brock's night. It's not hard to believe that rumor when you consider that Lesnar really has no viable opponents for SummerSlam outside of the typical roster of part-time legends. Pick: Seth Rollins
Joshua Gagnon: If you follow rumors, I'm going against the grain with this pick. WWE is losing ground, and needs to start making big moves to get people's attention again. Rollins had commendable title run, but he just doesn't grab eyes like Brock Lesnar does. Put the title back on the big man to boost interest on the road to SummerSlam. Pick: Brock Lesnar
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
The General: Yet another encounter between these two and once again I have no Earthly idea which way WWE is going to book it. The timing feels right for Owens to win the title and the story they've told is begging for that ending. But Cena's success over the past few months makes you wonder if they won't get cold feet when it comes time to pull the trigger. Pick: Cena
Sean Rueter: Pretty much impossible for me to take off my mark glasses and try to look at this one objectively. I'm terrified of KO taking another loss in short order, especially since Creative has already used the "keep him strong with a post-loss attack" trick. But I also don't really want this era of the reign of Cena to end any time soon. The feud will probably continue on to SummerSlam, so whoever wins here will probably lose there. I'll go with the outcome that gives me both the things I want...more open challenges, with the start of the reign of Owens next month. Pick: John Cena
Keith Harris: The title should change hands here, but I doubt WWE is bold enough to book a main roster title holder to lose to the NXT Champion the night before SummerSlam. However, expect another finish that keeps Owens looking strong in defeat and continues the program going. Pick: John Cena
Bill Hanstock: Rusev and Cesaro interject themselves at the end of a tremendous match and we get an ULTRA MEGA BLOWOFF at SummerSlam. That prediction seems like a trend on this show, but I still have extremely high hopes for this match and the main event.
Cain A. Knight: Kevin Owens absolutely needs to beat Cena for the title, but they might hold off one more month before finally pulling the trigger. Owens has interfered in most of Cena's matches on Raw because he wants to make sure that guys like Cesaro and Rusev don't take the championship from Cena. Considering that Rusev and Cesaro have nothing booked for Battleground, I think those guys will return the favor and ruin the ending of this match. Yeah, that kind of nonsense doesn't belong on PPV. But past history suggests that WWE doesn't really consider Battleground a major event anyway. It's more like the SummerSlam Kickoff show. They'll save the title change for SummerSlam. Pick: Kevin Owens by DQ
Joshua Gagnon: Even though he doesn't have the gimmick, all hail King Owens! This entire feud has been the best thing on WWE TV and I can't wait to see what these two can do a third time around. As much as I appreciate what Cena has done for the U.S. Title, I think it's time to hand it over to Owens. KO is no doubt a worthy champion, and it allows Cena to make his way back to the main event scene. The booking has been so good both Cesaro and Rusev could become next in line for Owens. U.S. Title feuds are awesome again! Pick: Kevin Owens
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
The General: I'm guessing they have bigger plans for Reigns at SummerSlam than they do for Wyatt, so he goes over. The only question is how much they bother to protect Bray. My guess is not much. Pick: Reigns
Sean Rueter: Is this the rare program that will only run one PPV cycle? If the potential distraction for Brock that's being whispered about comes to pass, an Authority-backed former member of The Shield will still be holding the WWE title. Since the other Hound of Justice is probably out of championship opportunities and/or doesn't have the backing of the right folks backstage, the Big Dog seems likely to get another chance to claim the prize that alluded him at WrestleMania soon. Can't see him doing that after losing here. Pick: Roman Reigns
Keith Harris: With this feud rumoured to rumble on into WrestleMania next year, it's unlikely that Reigns will get revenge so soon for being screwed out of the Money in the Bank briefcase and for Wyatt's wicked mind games. Expect a loss for The Big Dog that is designed to engender sympathy and soften the rebellion to his mega push from WWE's hardcore fanbase. Pick: Bray Wyatt
Bill Hanstock: I have a hard time imagining they'll stretch this feud out until SummerSlam, so I'll say that Reigns wins and Wyatt goes on to try and creep someone else out, once again to no avail.
Cain A. Knight: There is potential for this story between Roman and Bray to go down a dark and intriguing path over the next couple of months. But there is also the chance that WWE does something stupid with it like booking a ladder match at SummerSlam with custody papers hanging in the balance. I think the only way Reigns will lose this match is if Ambrose turns on him. Ultimately this feud seems like a step down for Roman, and so I think Vince is going to abandon the story and find something more meaningful for Reigns at SummerSlam. Pick: Roman Reigns
Joshua Gagnon: This feud has been all about the mind games, and it's been pretty fun to watch. My hope is Wyatt is given the win here to continue their feud towards SummerSlam. Bray has been slowly building his credibility back up and a clean loss here just perpetuates that he's all talk and can't back it up. Give him a win here, and then let Reigns win on the bigger show. Pick: Bray Wyatt
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
The General: I can't remember a match I've cared less about. Pick: Orton
Sean Rueter: Hmmm. Does the "Mr. Money in the Bank gets booked like a chump until his cash-in" rule apply when Mr. Money in the Bank has shown zero interest in cashing in? The swerve of giving The Celtic Warrior the briefcase sort of dictates that he stays out the WWE championship picture, since he has no real attachment to that scene (and since he'd be a heel threatening to screw over another heel) - meaning they probably want to keep him as threatening as possible for when they do decide to put him in the title hunt? WWE logic makes me think crazy things. Ah well, it's not like they're ever going to capitalize on Orton's great character work and 15 minutes of pop culture fame anyway. Pick: Sheamus
Keith Harris: Following Money In The Bank booking tradition, the holder of the briefcase will lose, because he can afford to, as one day long into the future he'll backdoor his way into a World Championship reign. When that day passes, WWE management will then wonder why their new champ can't draw in the position. Pick: Randy Orton
Bill Hanstock: More than any other match on the card, this finish doesn't matter. I'll guess that Sheamus wins, to keep Mr. Money in the Bank strong, but either man going over would mean the same thing (nothing).
Cain A. Knight: WWE should probably start the show with this match. If it is placed anywhere else on the card then it will present a golden opportunity for the fans to cool down, use the restroom, and get any miscellaneous chants out of their system. The audience at home already knows how the first 10 minutes of this match will play out, and they give no shits about how the last 5 minutes will go. The fans in the live arena might care a little bit more than that because Randy Orton is the hometown boy. A lot of heels will be winning on this card, so I think WWE will throw the hometown crowd a bone here. Pick: Randy Orton
Joshua Gagnon: The Celtic Warrior should win this, but we all know how Money in the Bank winners are usually treated. It wouldn't surprise me if Sheamus, Orton, or a DQ occurred this Sunday. Can't say I care too much either. Pick: Randy Orton
Prime Time Players vs. The New Day
The General: I'm not sure we won't see Mark Henry make an appearance to even the odds and help Titus O'Neil and Darren Young continue their recent run of success. New Day is the better act but they're heels who can do just fine without the titles. Pick: PTP
Sean Rueter: I'm positive that the belts never should have been taken off of New Day to begin with, so figure out other ways to make millions of dollars off of Titus O'Neil & Darren Young. Otherwise I'll need more than just Clap Therapy. Pick: The New Day
Keith Harris: Clearly, the team who should be champions are the challengers, as they were a hot act in the role, while the PTP are just kinda there. I believe WWE have recognised their mistake and will rectify the injustice at Battleground. Pick: The New Day
Bill Hanstock: Prime Time Players retain just to keep them from having a lame-duck reign. I expect this match to be fun and the feud to continue, but PTP has got this one.
Cain A. Knight: This is the easiest match on the card to predict. The Prime Time Players won the tag straps a month ago because Father's Day was on the horizon and Titus was receiving mainstream acclaim for being a good father. So now it is time to hit the reset button and pretend like the last month of television never happened. The New Day desperately need to win this match anyway because they've lost a ton of momentum in the blink of an eye. Pick: New Day
Joshua Gagnon: With so many injuries in the tag division they are in a bit of a holding pattern. It seems logical to just keep the titles on the PTP to continue building up their status within the division. New Day is holding their own with crowds, and winning back the titles isn't really necessary to me. Wouldn't mind another team running in and causing a DQ, mix things up a little. Pick: Prime Time Players
R-Truth vs. King Barrett
The General: Bow down to the ... oh, whatever. Pick: Truth
Sean Rueter: My main prediction is that these guys will have a match on the pre-show for SummerSlam. Pick: King Barrett
Keith Harris: Even though Barrett would benefit greatly from ditching the lame King gimmick, I believe WWE are completely bereft of better ideas for him, so he'll vanquish Vince McMahon's beloved minstrel. Pick: King Barrett
Bill Hanstock: I think R-Truth wins this one. If Truth really is heading towards retirement, what a way to finish up his run: as King What's Up. I've been enjoying his antics, so I'm all-in. Bonus points if he wins the actual crown, then declines it to stick with his own paper crown and plunger.
Cain A. Knight: I have no idea why they continue to waste time on destroying Wade Barrett's career. Being buried under a pile of chairs by John Cena doesn't sound so bad these days, huh? Pick: R-Truth
Joshua Gagnon: This is just getting silly now. How many times are these two going to be on the Kickoff Show? Barrett has done absolutely nothing with the king gimmick, and at this point I have no idea what his future holds. Since creative has made a mockery of the king, might as well keep going and give the crown and plunger to R-Truth. At least he's entertaining. Pick: R-Truth
Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?