The Teacher: Well, Doc, I have to tell you; this is shaping up to be a pretty good show all the way around. Looking over the matches as they stand today (Thursday), there is only one that I could absolutely care less about, and that one is likely going to be on the pre-show, which I won’t be watching anyway. I’m excited for Sunday night!
Doc Manson: Good to be here, Teach. How’s it going, internet? I think you’ve pretty much laid out the big picture. I’m expecting a good show. All of the matches have something to catch my interest, with a few highlights with potential for match of night. In my mind, Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose could be one hell of a match up, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Intercontinental Battle Royal turns out.
Starting at the bottom of the card, how are you digging the build to Rusev vs. Jack Swagger?
T: I think, for the first time since his debut some months ago, Rusev has a PPV match that he might not completely dominate. Jack Swagger has looked like someone who can match The Pride of Russia’s intensity and ground game. While I don’t see Swagger coming out on top Sunday night, I do think he’ll push Rusev to a point we haven’t seen yet. Your thoughts?
DM: Man, this is the first time since his debut some years ago that I am excited by the prospect of seeing Jack Swagger on a PPV. This guys has the looks, he has the athletic ability. You’re right in that he is going to be able to push Rusev in a physical manner that he has only encountered once before, when Rusev faced off against Big E. Not to steal anyone’s lines, but this one is going to be a slobberknocker, folks.
I don’t see Swagger winning the match, but the audience has been behind him and Zeb Colter in a big, bad way. No matter what happens, I think this rivalry lasts until SummerSlam.
T: Two quick points before we move on. Number one: I think people starting liking Swagger more as soon as he stopped opening his mouth so wide on television. When he smiles and jaws with the crowd, he looks like a doofus. Now, he just looks mean.
Two: I think this Sunday, Swagger breaks out of The Accolade.
OK, let’s move on to our Diva’s championship match. I still can’t make heads or tails out of the storyline leading into it, but Paige and AJ Lee face off this Sunday. Where do you see this one going, Doc?
DM: Can’t make heads or tails out of it? Finally, let me take you to school, Teach. It’s simple, Paige won the Diva’s title, AJ won it back. Paige wants that title so bad, she can taste it. So far, these two ladies have been civil to each other, but when they meet inside the squared circle and that gold is on the line, we are going to see one hell of a fight. Both AJ and Paige can bring it between the ropes, and they both want to walk into SummerSlam with a title to defend.
That said, AJ retains, and Paige gets a new outlook on life.
T: This likely ends with some sort of shady finish, leading to a rematch come August. Your prediction fits in well there if Paige winds up getting frustrated and hitting AJ with a steel chair.
You don’t often see women wrestlers using steel chairs, come to think of it.
DM: Next up, the Usos vs. The Wyatt Family in a 2 out of 3 falls match. The Usos have been able to retain their titles so far in this feud, but I think their reign might soon be at an end.
T: To quote my favorite member of the Wyatt’s, “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeahhhh!” Besides the main event, I think this is the easiest one to call. The Wyatt’s win the first fall, The Usos come back to win the second, and then Harper and Rowan take the titles.
DM: Alternatively, Usos leave as tag champs, but drop the belts the next night of RAW. Not sure when or how, but the Wyatts taking those belts is going to fuel the entire tag team division for the foreseeable future.
T: You say that like there is such thing as a tag team division right now, but perhaps that is a discussion for a later date.
Moving along in Sunday’s Battleground card, we come to the returning Ayatollah of Rock-and-Roll-ah, Chris Jericho battling the poster-child himself of Battleground, Bray Wyatt.
I don’t want to make it sound like this PPV is just going to be SummerSlam part 1, but I don’t see this feud ending come Sunday.
DM: That’s ok with me. I’ve been longing to see some good, multi-part feuds. Concerning the match in question, I don’t think there’s any question that Bray Wyatt picks up the victory over Jericho. When’s the last time Y2J won a match? Plus, you can’t tell me there isn’t some ring rust that is going to come into play here.
T: At last, something we can argue about! I think that for the exact reason you just mentioned, Chris Jericho is going to walk away with the W this Sunday. He hasn’t won a match in quite some time, so Bray Wyatt isn’t going to pick up a huge amount of momentum by defeating him this quickly.
Jericho’s got decades of experience going for him, so he can more than accommodate being slightly behind the 8-Ball in the ring.
DM: You’re right, Jericho is a hell of a competitor. But you forgot about Bray’s ace in the hole; Harper and Rowan aren’t going to let Jericho sneak one over Daddy Wyatt.
T: One of these days, their interference is going to backfire. Perhaps it will be at Battleground.
Since we’re already disagreeing, let’s keep it going. I have to imagine you and I both have differing favorites for the Battle Royal to determine the new Intercontinental Champion.
DM: There’s twenty guys in there competing to be the next IC champ, but only one of ‘em gets to walk away with the title. You can’t just brute force your way through 20 guys, you need to have strategy. My pick goes to the guy that knows Battle Royals. Our next IC champion? The winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Cesaro!
T: Hey, didn’t you just write a blog entry in which you gave Cesaro some suggestions on how to do just that? *cheap plug*
DM: Down at the Lab Works, I talked all about the last year of Cesaro’s career. His recent frustrations are about to work out in his favor.
T: Well, that’s all fine and dandy for you. While I would like to pick one of my favorites (and, coincidentally, the subject of my latest Classroom Chatter), The Miz, I can’t do it.
I just. . . .I just got to Bo-lieve!
DM: I can’t bo-lieve you would choose that guy to come out on top in this match. I know he’s undefeated right now, but no one really counts a loss in a Battle Royal in the books. Bo might want that title, but somehow I don’t think he’d know what to do with it once he got his little mitts on it.
T: You said it yourself that strategy is a key to winning a Battle Royal. I could easily see Bo Dallas concocting a plan to lead himself to victory. It might involve himself begging, pleading and at one point hiding under the ring in the hopes that his opponents forget about him, but in the end, I’m saying Bo Dallas is your new Intercontinental Champion!
What role do you see Bad News Barrett playing at Battleground? He’s supposed to be in attendance to crown the new IC Champion, but somehow I sense there will be more to it than that.
DM: Bad News Barrett is injured, he’s going to be a non-factor on Sunday night. There will be bad blood brewing when he has to hand over his championship, and that will only fuel his eventual return.
What about Sheamus? Can the US champ unite the titles?
T: Well, sure, I mean he “could” come out with the victory. I just don’t like the idea of unifying all the belts. I’m still of the belief that there should be two World champions. WWE has too much talent to be minimizing gold. Having only one ‘second-tier’ belt means that there will likely only be one or two contenders, so you wind up dealing with more and more overexposure.
Last point on this match. Can you give me a scenario. . . Any scenario. . . Where Heath Slater wins the Intercontinental title?
DM: All of the other 19 competitors suffer simultaneous strokes.
T: Yeahhh. . . I still don’t think he’d win.
OK, time for the match that is most likely to steal the Battleground show, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. The one-time Shield brothers have been at each others’ throats since Rollins became The Authority’s plan B. Ambrose has seized every opportunity to stop “The Architect” from cashing in his MITB briefcase. This Sunday, they face each other in singles competition.
What say you, Doctor?
DM: I want to see the biggest fight of the night. I already believe that Ambrose desperately wants to put Rollins in his place. This one ends up going all over the arena, and the only thing I know for sure is that Seth Rollins leaves the winner, but is in no condition to cash in his MITB briefcase later on in the night.
T: Funny you mention it going all over the arena, because I think there’s going to be some sort of stipulation added to this match. Falls Count Anywhere would be my guess.
DM: Anything that let’s these two guys just beat the holy hell out of one another. I know Kane and Orton are tied up in the main event, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a run-in that enables Rollins to pick up the win.
T: I hate that I agree with you. When will Dean Ambrose stop getting the shaft? How did he irritate so many people that he seemingly can’t catch a break? He is a gold mine waiting to be tapped into, and I don’t know what the WWE is waiting for!
OK, main event time. I can’t help feeling like this is super anti-climatic. Fatal Four Way for the WWE title. Champion John Cena defends against Randy Orton, Kane and Roman Reigns. On RAW last week, we heard not only of a possible plan B, but a mysterious plan C (though as we discussed on The RAW Response this week, we both know exactly what plan C will be).
Be bold, Doc. Be daring. Tell me who the NEW WWE Champion will be come Sunday.
DM: You say, be bold. You say, be daring. I say, John Cena wins!
If Plan C is Lesnar, and it’s going to be Lesnar vs. the current champ at SummerSlam, then John Cena HAS to be that current champion.
T: No doubt. I can’t imagine another set of circumstances that result in anyone but Cena retaining his title. Now, Roman Reigns is going to look good. Very very good. I imagine he’ll kick out of just about everybody’s finisher by the time the match is over. But there’s no stopping Plan C from happening, most likely this coming Monday on RAW.
Before we bid our fans a fond farewell, Doctor Manson, answer me this. You’ve said, rightfully so mind you, that Ambrose and Rollins will likely be the Match of the Night. But, who will be your MVP? What single superstar steals the spotlight on Sunday?
DM: I’ve examined the data, and the conclusions are clear: Heath Slater with the 450 Splash off of El Torito’s shoulders.
T: Ummm. . . I think you’ve got the wrong set of figures, Doc.
DM: Hey, you’re right. This chart was upside down. The MVP of the night? Gotta be my boy, Cesaro. He’s going to be cleaning the ring with those other fools, and you can never count out the King of Swing.
T: Good choice. I’ll actually go ahead and make a bold prediction, taking Cesaro’s former partner and All-American American, Jack Swagger. While he won’t be victorious, I think Swagger winds up becoming even more of a superstar through defeat. He’ll dominate Rusev for most of the match, be the first WWE superstar to ever break out of The Accolade, and work his Oklahoman way into our hearts with his efforts.
There we are, folks. The data has been compiled and the lesson has ended.
Enjoy Battleground this Sunday!