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WWE Battleground 2016 predictions: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., July 24, 2016) live from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. with its Battleground event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Dean Ambrose defends the WWE championship against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a triple threat main event, and 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.



Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

Geno Mrosko: It's possible they leave the WWE championship with Ambrose on SmackDown and create a new title for Rollins and Reigns to feud over but it's hard to imagine Vince McMahon putting the main title on a brand he's always viewed as secondary. Pick: Rollins

Sean Rueter: Mostly convinced that somehow this is going to lead the creation of a second world title, and, really, it's fitting the Shield bros be at the center of that. Like it or not, they're the stars of the new era. Anyway, after a bunch of noise which ended up not meaning much last week, thinking they pull the trigger on the title change to put the WWE title on Raw, and have Roman Reigns chasing your winner, and new champ... Pick: Seth Rollins

Kyle Decker: It just doesn't feel to me like Dean Ambrose is leaving with a title (which would leave SmackDown without a major title for now.) I think the WWE title goes to Raw and I think it does so around the waist of Rollins. If they want to keep Roman babyface, they absolutely cannot put the title on him immediately returning from a wellness suspension. So instead they'll put it on The Man and move the main title to the main show. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: The Shield triple threat was never going to main event WrestleMania and so I don't understand the criticism that Battleground is not a good PPV for this long-awaited match. I'm pretty sure that Vince is going to keep his WWE Championship on Raw, so that means Rollins or Reigns will win here. Would Vince really let Reigns come back fresh off a 30-day suspension and win the championship in his first televised match back? Of course he would, and it's probably the most interesting path to take. But I think Seth's spot as the first overall draft pick and Roman's subsequent demotion into Round 2 of the draft shows that this is Seth's time right now. Maybe Roman will win it back at SummerSlam. Pick: Seth Rollins

Jason Martin: The lack of immediate confirmation as to what's going to happen with a second World Title makes this an interesting match. Ambrose could use another win, but after the events of SmackDown, I find it difficult to believe he leaves with the title. If Vince is still all in on Roman Reigns, he may want that victory to come at SummerSlam. For that reason, with everything else being equal, I think Seth is the right play here. SmackDown needs a Championship (and this one, considering roster depth), but I don't see Dean walking into Brooklyn as the only top Champion. Match should be excellent, and it will be good to see Roman back in the ring. Pick: Rollins

ReverendKain: Hoo boy. Too many variables to adequately consider without hogging the whole preview post. Go big or go home as they say, however, and so I shall. WWE are already putting so much in Smackdown to make it feel big now that it's live and branded again. John Cena. AJ Styles. Why NOT the WWE Championship? Prediction: Dean Ambrose


The Club vs. John Cena & Enzo & Big Cass

Geno Mrosko: It makes the most sense to put the heels over in anticipation of a rematch at SummerSlam. Pick: The Club

Sean Rueter: Here goes the draft factoring into my thinking again (you should probably just assume that from here on out) - although with this one, what I'd been thinking of as a surefire win for The Club becomes more interesting due to who works where come Monday. It's possible, with Cena on slightly less than full-time schedule, AJ wins their feud to become the top heel on SmackDown. To get to their trilogy fight, Cena needs to win here. Anderson & Gallows probably shouldn't be losing again, but if their Raw-only run does end up including Finn, that's kind of a reboot, anyway. So I think the dissension between the faces was misdirection, and your winners will be... Pick: John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass

Kyle Decker: Originally, I felt that the Club would easily get the win to build them as the established team over the relatively fresh team of Cean and the Realest Guys. Then WWE went and split the Club. It still feels like they're hinting at Cena and Enzo/Cass not functioning on the same page as well and I think the Club will still get the win. Pick: the Club

Cain A. Knight: Cena needs his win back and Vince is probably not interested in having Big Cass take a pin. That would leave Enzo as the potential fall guy for his team, but he already played that role last Monday on Raw. Considering that Styles was separated from his goons in the draft, it seems highly likely that Karl Anderson will eat the pin here. Pick: Enzo, Cena, and Cass

Jason Martin: This is the final night both the heels and the faces in this match will be together, and with the likely plan still being Cena/Styles at SummerSlam, a six-man tag is an easy way to avoid pinning either guy. Especially after Enzo accidentally clocked John and led to the finish in the 12-man tag on Monday, I see Karl Anderson taking the pinfall here, probably from Big Cass, who WWE wants to look strong. Not sure who scores the pin, but Anderson is the one looking at the lights. Should be a fun match with a variety of pacing strategies to keep fans off balance. and I don't anticipate Finn Balor being involved here. Pick: Cena & Enzo & Cass

ReverendKain: Even with the draft splitting both teams, this seems pretty cut and dry. Cena goes over Anderson or Gallows and we move on to Cena/Styles II (god, it feels good to type that) at SummerSlam. Prediction: Big Cass, Enzo, & John Cena


Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Geno Mrosko: They started a story where Owens is mad and things aren't going right for him at the draft, and they can continue that here with his arch nemesis adding to his misfortune. Pick: Zayn

Sean Rueter: Was so sure they'd split these guys up so they could move on after Sunday night, which goes to show you (along with my record in these prediction posts) you shouldn't listen to me. Even with being the higher draft pick, feel like Sami needs this more. But they're probably going to do it again at SummerSlam, anyway. Still, I think they pile chips on KO's shoulder until then. Pick: Sami Zayn

Kyle Decker: With both these men on Raw, they can truly fight forever. Hopefully, this match gives it a bit of a hiatus so we don't overdose on it. Owens won the first and I think he'll win the second. Sami is newer to the roster and even though he dropped in the draft, Owens still has a huge ceiling. Plus, the heel KO could use the win more. A loss is just more for Sami to eventually overcome. Pick: Kevin Owens

Cain A. Knight: Owens already beat Zayn on PPV at Payback, so 50/50 booking would call for a Zayn win here. But Zayn is a smaller dude that Vince probably wants to constantly humiliate, and I highly doubt that this is the end of their feud in 2016. Pick: Kevin Owens

Jason Martin: With both still on the same brand, it may not be the final match, but it seems to be the way they'll break for the foreseeable future. These matches are always good, and this one should be excellent. KO is in the better spot between the two, with Zayn still needing help to solidify himself among the casual fans. But, Owens is someone that should be protected, though neither will be greatly harmed with a loss here. My head tells me the company values Owens more, and because I see other babyface wins on this show, here's one where Fight Owens Fight waves his battle flag at the end. It could definitely go either way. Pick: Owens

ReverendKain: Let us settle this eternal war and then totally ignore each other even though we're on the same show. Sound good to you? Yeeeah... What I really want is this to go to a double count-out when they suddenly "check out" 12 minutes in, like Sam & Ralph, before rebooting as a tag team unit. But since that's unlikely and KO won the last one on PPV... Prediction: Sami Zayn


The Miz vs. Darren Young

Geno Mrosko: The Intercontinental title tour will continue. Pick: Miz

Sean Rueter: It's a moderately encouraging sign for the mid-card they built Young up for this, but there's no way he (or anyone) should take the belt off Miz at the moment. Pick: Miz

Kyle Decker: See the same reasoning for the U.S. title match. Pick: The Miz

Cain A. Knight: What a blah match. I was tempted to pick Darren Young with the idea that WWE might push him until the USA presidential election wraps up in November. But then I saw that Young was drafted to Raw, which already has the US Championship. WWE would have to book Ryder to beat Rusev for that championship if Young is going to win this match. None of that sounds like a good idea to me. Pick: Miz

Jason Martin: If WWE is committed to trying to make the Darren Young experiment work, he needs this victory. His first two weeks back in front of a live audience haven't done much to get him over, and with Backlund by his side, there's no gimmick if he immediately falls on his face as soon as he's in an important match. But, unless we're going to see Zack Ryder beat Rusev, which I absolutely don't expect will happen, there's no way Miz loses the IC Title to the RAW brand. I'm not sure how it ends, but although I could see Young being the right call, I think the IC stays right where it is. This should be an extremely dirty finish. Pick: Miz

ReverendKain: Look, I know I'm a mark for old dudes wrestling, but I really wish it was Mr. Backlund in this one. Bet he and Miz could go three and a half stars easy. But we play the hand we're dealt, and... do we really think they're serious about pushing Darren Young? Nope, Miz is gonna retain this bad boy until somebody SmackDown is gonna build around is challenging for it. Prediction: The Miz


Rusev vs. Zack Ryder

Geno Mrosko: Can't think of a single good reason to do a title change here. Pick: Rusev

Sean Rueter: See my Intercontinental title pick, but swap in Ryder for DY and RuRu for the Awesome One. Pick: Rusev

Kyle Decker: With both midcard title feuds being between between a Raw guy and a SmackDown guy, it feels like it's going to be all or nothing. Either challengers Ryder and Young win or champions Miz and Rusev win. The titles feel more prestigious on the champions and they'll likely keep them where they are. Pick: Rusev

Cain A. Knight: So Cesaro sits on the sidelines while Ryder gets a match on PPV with Rusev? This match is a complete waste of time because Zack Ryder is still impossible to take seriously after his 2012 burial. Pick: Rusev

Jason Martin: If WWE wants to flip the titles, both secondaries have to result in changes, which would put the IC back on RAW and the US (which was always one I associated with SmackDown) back on the Tuesday shows. I cannot imagine a world where Vince McMahon sees Zack Ryder as the guy to stop Rusev when he's building momentum. The feuds have been with second tier guys, but he shouldn't lose the gold, until the right guy is there to beat him. Ryder isn't the right guy, particularly if Mojo Rawley to SmackDown means the Hype Bros could reform. This won't be a strong bout, and it won't go ten minutes. Champ retains. Pick: Rusev

ReverendKain: Like, I really, really want Zack to win. I wrote the preview for this one, you can see it all laid out there. His rise and fall and rise and fall and rise makes me want him to get this opportunity, to win the title and hold it for a good couple months, to get the reign that he should have had back in 2012. But Rusev is a freight train, and Mojo is waiting in the wings to get the Hype Bros going for some desperately needed meat in SmackDown's tag division. So with a heavy heart... Prediction: Rusev


Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks & TBA

Geno Mrosko: This is really just about who Banks' mystery partner will be and we're surely going to be disappointed when it's Nia Jax and not Bayley. Then they'll lose. Pick: Charlotte & Dana

Sean Rueter: For the Sasha'a partner question - we'll either get someone they want to be booed soon anyway like Nia Jax (complete with somehow betraying Banks) or a surprise Legend-type (Lita? Victoria?). For the outcome - another mountain for The Boss to climb on the way to a big night in Brooklyn next month. Pick: Charlotte & Dana Brooke

Kyle Decker: It sure feels like it'll be Bayley for the mystery partner, doesn't it? Especially with returning Naomi, the other most likely possibility, on the SmackDown brand. Despite who it is, I think Sasha gets the pin on Charlotte to set up their SummerSlam title match. Pick: Sasha Banks and Mystery Partner

Cain A. Knight: Sasha needs a win to prove that she is worthy of a championship match at SummerSlam. Paige seems like a reasonable choice for a mystery partner, but it might be better to use this slot for an exciting main roster debut of someone like Nia Jax. Pick: Sasha Banks and her mystery partner

Jason Martin: If it's not Bayley, the fans are going to boo whatever poor woman is put next to Sasha into oblivion. But, is it the right time for the Hugger? She would basically become Sasha's Dana, at least until Banks/Charlotte runs its course, which probably won't happen until after the September PPV. Bayley can exercise a rematch clause with Asuka, but it wouldn't preclude involvement the next night. Looking through the possible partners, I just can't see anyone that makes sense here OTHER than Bayley, and Sasha's kayfabe, "I don't want her to be my partner," makes it more, not less likely. Either way, Sasha has to pin Charlotte in the match, and regardless of partner, that will be the outcome. Pick: Sasha & Bayley

ReverendKain: Does it even really matter who Sasha's partner is? Like, I mean, obviously, some choices are cooler than others, but the whole point here is to set up Sasha's title shot at SummerSlam, so... Prediction: Sasha Banks & a cardboard cutout of Sailor Moon


The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family

Geno Mrosko: The titles aren't on the line and The Wyatt Family are all going their separate ways after this. That means the right call is to give the momentum to the bad guys. Pick: Wyatt Family

Sean Rueter: If they're smart, they'll have the Wyatts win. A loss doesn't really do anything to the champs (especially without the belts up for grabs) and could be a great thing for Bray & Erick Rowan. I doubt they're smart. Pick: The New Day

Kyle Decker: Non-title matches are often a give away. If the New Day were going to overcome, why not put the titles on the line? Bray Wyatt and his fractured family can get one more win as a unit (good luck on your own, Brong Strongman!) and then New Day can return to Raw to feud with the likes of the Club or Enzo and Cass for the titles. Pick: The Wyatt Family

Cain A. Knight: I was going to pick the Wyatt Family here, but then they were split up in the draft. With that in mind I don't really see any benefit in having New Day lose this match. Considering that OgreSnout McBabyPunt is about to be separated from his ineffective cult leader, maybe Strowman will turn babyface and shake his booty with the New Day after this one is over. Pick: New Day

Jason Martin: Titles aren't on the line, and The New Day is over as hell, so there's no reason to put them over here. The feud basically ends on Sunday due to the brand split, and Bray needs some momentum to push him in the right direction as he enters the world of SmackDown Live. This is one where WWE could choose to make Braun Strowman look more like a monster as well. Woods should take the pinfall, and he should take it from Bray Wyatt, though I could also see Kofi doing the favors. The loss won't hurt The New Day whatsoever, so this one feels easy. Pick: Wyatt Family

ReverendKain: The anticlimax of the century, folks. No compound, no stipulation, no titles on the line. But because of that, and because the Wyatts got split in the draft, the outcome seems pretty clear to me. Wyatts win, specifically Strowman gets the pin, and he takes the win to build up his solo resume for the now inevatable singles push while Bray and Erick go wait for Luke to heal up. Prediction: Wyatt Family


Natalya vs. Becky Lynch

Geno Mrosko: If they want to stretch this to SummerSlam, and there's no reason to think they don't, then the heel goes over. Pick: Natalya

Sean Rueter: I'm not even that big a fan, but the Lasskicker has to win here, right? Right? Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: There's little reason Becky shouldn't pick up the win here. She's the female face of SmackDown and she should come out on top of this feud. Then she can befriend someone else and they can betray her. It's the circle of life. Pick: Becky Lynch

Cain A. Knight: Becky and Natalya should be able to deliver a fun match if they aren't screwed over on time. The Lass Kicker is desperate for a win and this seems like a pretty good place to get it. Pick: Becky Lynch

Jason Martin: It's nice to see a second women's feud, and one that should be able to deliver in the ring as well. These two have made the most of fairly limited screen time, and are the pair that will have to hold up the SmackDown brand, as Alexa and Carmella find their footing. Becky doesn't win many big matches, and because it was Nattie who turned, I tend to lean towards the heel. There's no continuation if the babyface triumphs in the first match. Natalya with feet on the ropes or a handful of tights is the easiest way to prolong the story. Becky will win the war, but not this initial battle. If it's a one off, Lynch goes over and feuds with Bliss, but I don't think that'll be the case quite yet. Pick: Natalya

ReverendKain: I mean, no matter what these two kind of have to anchor the SmackDown women's division for a while, right? Alexa Bliss and Carmella are both waiting in the wings, so the question is who do you lead with? And the answer is Alexa Bliss, because who doesn't like a sweet Akira Taue style chokeslam? Ergo, Becky wins, and Bliss/Lynch will be fire. Prediction: Becky Lynch


That's how we see this show playing out, Cagesiders. How about you?

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