Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our preview of the WWE Stomping Grounds pay-per-view. Fans on social media keep holding a pre-roast of the show at Tacoma, Washington. Admittedly, it’s hard to get excited with matches we’ve just seen at Super ShowDown or Money in the Bank. However, we’ll do our best to put lipstick on this pig of a show with how we’d book it.
TONY NESE VS AKIRA TOZAWA VS DREW GULAK
The booking of the Stomping Grounds Cruiserweight Championship match likely hinged on a recent contract WWE struck. Given that Mike Kanellis recently agreed to a lucrative, 5-year deal, he’s a lock for a title reign. Therefore, babyface champ Tony Nese probably retains in this triple-threat match against Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak. It doesn’t make sense for babyface Tozawa to win and drop the belt immediately. Likewise, Gulak becoming a heel champ seems like a poor rivalry for fellow heel, Kanellis.
On the other hand, Gulak seems like the choice to upset Nese if Kanellis’ title run isn’t imminent. In fact, WWE could book it so the title changes hands without Nese losing. Under that scenario, WWE could extend the Nese-Gulak program through Extreme Rules. Nese could claim he never actually lost the title and demand a rematch. So, this match comes down to which scenario seems more likely. I’ll go with WWE trying to make Kanellis happy as quickly as possible. Therefore, I’ll take the champ to retain at Stomping Grounds.
Winner: Cruiserweight Champ Tony Nese
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN VS HEAVY MACHINERY
Eco-Warrior Champ Daniel Bryan walked the line with promos against his Stomping Grounds opponents. He’s said Otis and Tucker are clowns, but they’re capable of being dangerous. However, that’s only when they’re not trying to get a laugh. As usual, most of the WWE Universe loves to hate Bryan and his 7-foot Redwood, Rowan. However, fan disdain doesn’t make Bryan’s sentiments wrong.
Furthermore, The B-Team represents the most distinguished opponents Heavy Machinery have defeated so far. In fact, Otis and Tucker’s biggest battle since their promotion from NXT remains appearing on TV consistently. Most of their matches on the main roster wind up coming against the always popular “local competitors.” Though the squash matches highlight their power, Heavy Machinery hardly seems like championship material. That’s why I don’t expect Otis to caterpillar his way to gold at Stomping Grounds.
Winner: SmackDown Tag Team Champs Daniel Bryan & Rowan
NEW DAY VS KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn stacked more “L’s” in the past two months than the Washington Generals. Given their antics, the New Day compare favorably to the Harlem Globetrotters. However, I expect the laughingstocks to finally get up off the mat and turn things around at Stomping Grounds.
Put simply, Owens and Zayn simply need this victory more than Big E and Xavier Woods. New Day could put on a Curt Hawkins’ like losing streak together and not lose an ounce of popularity. Furthermore, there’s absolutely no stakes on this match. Owens and Zayn gain credibility with a win, while New Day loses nothing. This one looks like a slam dunk for me.
Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
SAMOA JOE VS RICOCHET
Ricochet emerged as one of the biggest winners of the Stomping Grounds go-home show episode of Raw. He defeated Bobby Lashley, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and The Miz in a Fatal 5-Way to earn his title chance. Then, he ducked out on heel champ Samoa Joe’s post-match ambush. Historically, those who do well on the go-home show suffer a terrible fate on the pay-per-view show. So, The One and Only may experience a rough go at the Tacoma Dome.
The United States Champ has failed to impress much on pay-per-views in 2019. Samoa Joe squashed a reportedly injured-at-the-time Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania. Then, Joe suffered what WWE described as a “shattered nose” when Mysterio hit a seated senton at Money in the Bank. Perhaps, that led to the rough finish with Mysterio winning without actually getting Joe’s shoulders on the mat. However, Mysterio soon suffered another injury to then hand the title back to Joe week later. Therefore, Joe seemingly needs to hit a home run soon to keep the belt a bit longer.
Fortunately for Joe, this feels a tad early for a Ricochet run with the belt. However, this match could steal the show if given enough time. As a result, expect Joe’s match to run a bit longer at Stomping Grounds than the past two pay-per-views. Yet, Joe probably keeps his title. In fact, I think WWE uses this match to buy time for Mysterio to come back and beat Joe at SummerSlam.
Winner: United States Champ Samoa Joe
ROMAN REIGNS VS DREW MCINTYRE
Fans of the Scottish Psychopath believe Stomping Grounds may finally bring him a signature pay-per-view win. WWE billed him as a future main event scene champ when he earned his promotion from NXT. However, he’s gained the reputation over the past year of being the heel who gets over on cable TV and puts over others on Sundays. So, the booking of this match depends on whether you believe WWE pulls the trigger on McIntyre contending for a title soon.
As for me, I have my doubts for a few reasons. First, Roman Reigns just lost to Shane McMahon at Super ShowDown two weeks ago. The Big Dog doesn’t exactly stack a bunch of pay-per-view losses. Second, wild card shenanigans aside, McIntyre still exists as a Raw Superstar. So, any impending main event scene push for McIntyre would involve Seth Rollins. However, the Beastslayer already has a long line of heel challengers in Brock Lesnar, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and potentially AJ Styles. So, the timing on a big push for McIntyre in the Raw main event title scene looks off to me.
Furthermore, Reigns continues to get booked through the roof. The only notable setback for Reigns since his return from battling leukemia came against Shane-O-Mac. He seems far more likely for an impending title run in the short term than McIntyre. So, I expect Reigns to get over on McIntyre, just like WrestleMania 35.
Winner: Roman Reigns
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
BAYLEY VS ALEXA BLISS
Welcome to wild card WWE. It’s where the SmackDown Women’s Championship will get defended against a Raw Superstar. Despite a bevy of worthy challengers on the Blue Brand, Bayley once again battles old nemesis, Alexa Bliss. However, The Hugger will not go out like she did in 2017 at Stomping Grounds.
Bayley’s fall from grace as a singles talent all started with getting buried by Bliss. The Goddess took the title off her in her hometown of San Jose at Payback. Then, WWE booked Bayley to look extremely weak in a kendo stick match at Extreme Rules. Unfortunately, it took the ultimate babyface two years to get back into the singles title scene.
However, Bayley looks like she’s back on top to stay for awhile now. She’s getting booked as the babyface champ who outsmarts heel opponents by waiting for them to unravel themselves. Furthermore, she’s proving she needs nothing as drastic as a heel turn as so many called to see from her. She’s back to being a tremendous babyface like she was on NXT.
In addition, Bayley needs to win to continue the storyline between Bliss and Nikki Cross. WWE could book it to where Bliss takes a loss and then Cross tries to avenge her in a gimmick match at Extreme Rules. Given Bliss’ delicate health situation, an Extreme Rules match might not be safe for her. Then, that could lead Cross and Bliss turning on each other down the line.
Therefore, Bayley retaining winds up helping all three performers.
Winner: SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley
RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
BECKY LYNCH VS LACEY EVANS
WWE may feel tempted to throw a curveball here, but it shouldn’t. Lacey Evans owns great command of her character. She cuts great interviews. She succeeds in carrying over her persona on social media. However, she still seems like she’s got plenty to prove in the ring. In fact, her match with Charlotte Flair a few weeks ago is a contender for one of the biggest stinkers this year.
Futhermore, I’m convinced WWE chose the wrong lane for Evans with her character. Though she’s won over some fans with her “Sassy Southern Belle” work, I think her character would hit a home run playing up her past as a marine. The WWE spends plenty of time with functions involving the military. So, I feel Evans would gain much more support quicker with that gimmick. However, that also would likely mean turning her into a babyface character.
One thing is for sure. Becky Lynch should retain against any version of Evans. WWE spent four months building up Lynch’s win over Rousey at WrestleMania. It’s simply too soon to take the belt off her now. Besides, the Extreme Rules card already advertises another Lynch-Evans match. So, it makes more sense for me to keep Evans chasing after the belt. The other way around just screams of the 50-50 booking driving WWE fans nuts these days.
Winner: RAW Women’s Champ Becky Lynch
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP STEEL CAGE MATCH
KOFI KINGSTON VS DOLPH ZIGGLER
Here’s another chance for a WWE curveball. Kofi Kingston retained his WWE Championship with a victory over Ziggler at Super ShowDown. However, Kofi needed a big assist from Xavier Woods to do so. Woods kicked Ziggler in the head from the outside of the ring with the ref’s back turned. As a result, Kingston got the perfect setup for Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Furthermore, SmackDown lacks great main event heels right now. The only other top-shelf heat magnet remains to be Kevin Owens. However, Kingston has already defeated Owens in singles and tag team matches several times the past few months. So, Ziggler represents perhaps the only great candidate from SmackDown to dethrone Kofi before the move to Fox. If not now, Kingston probably holds the belt through October and eats a loss from Brock Lesnar.
Therefore, I will call perhaps the only upset of my predictions here. Give me the Hollywood Heel for the win. Kingston lacks his backup in this one, and I think Ziggler set the stage for a title run. Besides, WWE likes to throw belts at talents reportedly entertaining a departure from the company. Putting a belt on Ziggler likely prevents him from walking away from WWE.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH MYSTERY GUEST REFEREE
SETH ROLLINS VS BARON CORBIN
This feels like the end of the road for Seth Rollins with his Universal Championship. Everyone knows Brock Lesnar will take part in this match, likely as the guest referee. Ironically, WWE teased the Beast-in-the-Bank’s cash in for weeks to hold off only to have him do so unadvertised. However, WWE may get creative in how they get to the ending everyone expects.
Baron Corbin exists as a polarizing figure among fans. Many think he’s the absolute worst and complain he’s often booked in main events. On the other hand, he’s won over more people as his mic work and feel for generating heat have improved. So, it’s plausible WWE gives Corbin an extremely brief title reign before Brock swoops in and takes the belt back.
In fact, I think that scenario benefits all three guys the most. Rollins loses in dirty fashion, so he loses no credibility with fans. Corbin gets to say he won the Universal Championship. Lesnar fulfills Vince McMahon’s wishes and puts us back to the ultimate villain as titleholder. As a result, babyfaces start pursuit of Lesnar again and WWE can potentially get a heel-heel feud between Lesnar and Corbin.
Winner: Baron Corbin/Brock Lesnar cashes in to defeat Corbin
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