Hello and welcome to this WWE Stomping Grounds preview edition of Planet Kayfabe. The PPV where WWE drops ass and takes a shit for the dozens in attendance and the hundreds watching at home. Yeah, the biggest storyline for this event isn't even on the card. It's that half the arena is tarped off and they are practically giving tickets away last minute.
There are a few reasons for that. WWE is cold right now, always a factor. The card is weak and a tough sell. They are coming off a terrible Super Shitshow PPV. Also, the potential main event features Seth Rollins against a weak challenger in Baron Corbin. The gimmick to sell this match is you need to pay to see who the heel will pick as a special guest referee to screw your hero Seth Rollins. Does this make any sense at all? Of course not. Let's get to the card.
*** PRE SHOW ***
Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak (Triple Threat match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
There has been no announced official pre-show match yet as of this writing, but I assume this will be it. I'm picking the champion to retain.
The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Tag team match)
This could easily be a pre-show match, too, but I doubt it will be. It will probably be a fine match. It's really a nothing happening match and it will probably just be an augmented version of what we would typically see on Smackdown. I'm taking the heel team here. KO and Sami pick up a quick cheap win.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet (Singles match for the WWE United States Championship)
If given time, this could be a great match, but I don't see it being put in a position to get to the next level. Joe just got the title back, so I'm picking him to retain even though I wouldn't object to Ricochet getting a good run with the title.
Unfortunately, I see much of this PPV just being a bridge to get us to extreme rules where these two will probably have their "real" match. I can already smell this card having a lot of f*** finishes that will likely piss off the fans who actually are paying to watch this show.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery (Tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
You can pretty much cut and past what I said above. They will probably have a decent match. Maybe some bullshit will happen and the heels will retain to set up another match at the next PPV. Heavy Machinery could use a good win here, but that's not how WWE books their faces. They have to look stupid and lose to the same heel tactics we have seen for decades and act like they are surprised. Heels retain.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans (Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship)
As I've said in previous columns, I like Lacey Evans. Her routine is great. However, she is way too green in the ring for this level of a spotlight. A month ago we already saw her have a bad match with Becky. Then on Raw, we saw her have a bad match with Charlotte. Then we saw her look like shit in the ring with Bayley. These are three of some of WWE's best female workers and none of them could carry her to look like she belongs in a top-level spot.
The sooner this one ends the better because this feud has really cooled down Becky Lynch and over-exposed Lacey as someone thrown in the fire too fast and too soon. Becky retains.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship)
Ahh... Speaking of bad matches we are re-living this shitty feud. Another case of "the sooner it ends; the better" but this is pay-per-view and not every match can just be a short TV pattern match.
I'm picking Bayley to retain. In the past I could see Alexa winning since she is more the WWE type of "diva" that they still very much like, but she has had nagging concussion issues and I doubt they want to put yet another title on someone for another wrestler to have to vacate due to injury which seems to happen often these days. I hope Alexa has a long career ahead of her, but even if I wanted the belt back on her, I would wait a bit on it.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (Singles match)
This is a tough call but since Roman ended Raw with the heat, I think Drew McIntyre picks up the win here. If I had to map it out, I assume that Shane McMahon will distract the referee somehow leading to Roman punching Shane off the apron and then turning around into a Claymore Kick.
Don't worry, Roman Empire, this is all to set up yet another rematch at Extreme Rules, probably a handicap match against both McIntyre and McMahon where Roman will win with Shane doing some ridiculous stunt to fool idiots into thinking he's some good worker like he usually does.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Steel cage match for the WWE Championship)
It seems weird seeing this match for the WWE Championship. WWE has booked Kofi well since Wrestlemania but when I see these names I see two career mid carders that I've seen wrestle each other a thousand times before in meaningless piddly little matches and US/IC title hot potatoing that I have a hard time buying this as some big main event. However, I'm sure the match in a vacuum will be very good.
I'd care about this match even more if it was pretty much anything but a cage match. WWE has killed the cage match gimmick for me. The stipulation is supposed to settle the score and result in a clean finish, but we have seen a lot of hokey cage matches in WWE over the years including the last one a month again with Miz and Shane. I feel like WWE needs to blow up the cage. Just stop having cage matches for at least 3 years and then bring it back when you want to take it seriously.
I'm picking Kofi to retain. I think this one is pretty easy. Dolph is only here because Bryan was out for a bit and Kevin Owens didn't want to go to Saudi Arabia. I'm a fan of Dolph's, but this could be it for him for a while.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin (Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Special guest referee: TBD
Hmm... Special guest referee, "TBD"
T.B.D. -- The Big Dog?
There ya go. Roman Reigns heel turn confirmed.
Who will be Baron's pick for a special guest referee? I doubt it will be a guy like Brock Lesnar. I just don't see him out there seriously calling a match or just simply agreeing to help Baron when nothing here benefits Brock at all. The Brock thing to do would be for him to F-5 both and then cash in the case to become champion, which is possible, but I doubt it.
These two had a bad match at Super Showdown and I'm not looking forward to this match. I've already seen an advertisement for a rematch at Extreme Rules, so that should tell you all you need to know. I'm picking Seth to retain, if things get too gimmicky with the heel ref I can see the fans turning on this something fierce especially if the show has been full of f*** finishes like I've been predicting. Like, we could be looking at last year's Backlash level bad.
As for who will be the referee? Possibly Bobby Lashley since he is a big guy with nothing to do on this card and he's a body WWE likes to have on TV. If it ends up being Bray Wyatt, I will immediately start digging a hole because this new gimmick will be dead on arrival if he is out there like a geek counting pins for an unpopular douche in a suit vest.
There are my WWE Stomping Grounds predictions. Obviously, I'm not predicting some great show. If you think I'm too negative, then I'll be entertained by you defending this shit in the comments section below. Good luck.
One thing on the side I want to touch on WWE sudden obsession with Seth Rollins' and Beck Lynch's relationship. I think WWE constantly throwing their relationship in our faces has hurt them... Unless the plan is to turn them heel, which I would not do right now. Even from the start when it was first made public WWE social media was like "OH MY GOD LOOK WHO BROKE THE INTERNET!!!" when people were just like "oh, cool" because everyone on the internet knew they were a couple. They were even at the Hall of Fame together as dates. It just wasn't made official to the public yet.
For Becky, I don't think playing out her relationship on TV goes with her independent and rebellious persona. What got her over was the sense that she was a woman who couldn't be tamed. Yes, I know that wasn't the whole reason, but its part of it. On Seth's side, there could be some resentment from male fans. The babyface man with a hot, popular girlfriend is a tough sell to endear yourself with the larger male fanbase. I don't think every couple needs to be acknowledged on TV. Shit, even when Triple H legitimately married the owner of the company's daughter in 2003 it was rarely mentioned on TV until Hunter's 2009 feud with Randy Orton.
If you think I'm making something out of nothing pay attention to the reaction next time they are on TV together. Are the fans like "OMG ITS THEM! A REAL COUPLE! SETH AND BECKY! OMG!" No. People are like "cool, good for them, whatever". So, unless a turn is coming I suggest not shoving their real relationship in a kayfabe setting down the fans' throats.
Thanks for reading everyone. Obviously, I have low expectations for Stomping Grounds, but maybe we will be surprised. I doubt it, but maybe. I'll be watching, so I hope I'm wrong and for the fans actually going I hope this is more than just a bridge PPV with a bunch of f*** finishes.
Follow me over on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe. I will be live-tweeting this event and I'll be back on Monday with my review. Take care and God bless, everyone.