Welcome to the Rasslin’ Roundtable! I am your host Rhett Davis and we have some new faces to the Roundtable this PPV! Remember that the People Power is what you, the people, voted on this previous week on The Pulse Polls. Now let’s get started.
WWE Battleground 2013
Battleground Kickoff Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
David Spain: Ziggler vs. a Money in the Bank briefcase holder? The rules dictate that there must be one winner and one loser, but the rules never considered the madness that is this match. Hell, probably Ziggler, seeing as he’s of tertiary importance to a primary storyline. Maybe Triple H’s ability to beat people who should be going over you is something you can inhale if you’re both in the arena at the same time.
Steven Gepp: Wow, Ziggles has been in the dog-house longer than anyone since Bruno Sammartino. But I have noticed the WWE has got into the habit of put an entertaining match on the Kickoff show to sucker any last minute buyers into buying the PPV, so I expect it to be entertaining enough. But the big question is – will Big Show take his place on the Kickoff show panel without bursting into tears every five seconds?
Winner: Sandow (because he’s not Ziggler)
Jeff Heatherly: The question is, who does the company want/need to push more right now?–Dolph is floundering a bit as a face and the world has all but forgotten that Damien’s got the briefcase (which, to be fair, may be the point; it would make a cash-in more surprising). I’ll go with Dolph here, as it might spur Damien to do something “unexpected” later in the show.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Chris Sanders: Once I can get my mind past the notion that Ziggler has been put on the kickoff match, I realize that I’m still irrational about it. As much as I’ve stated that I like Sandow in the past, this match should be quick and completely one-sided. Sure, Sandow is the briefcase bearer but Ziggler should be much higher on the food chain. Maybe I shouldn’t be making a pick in such an irrational state but I’ll go with it.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Rhett Davis: So, to my knowledge, there isn’t even a reason for this matchup. So I guess I’ll say that Sandow wins this one by a hitting Dolph with his briefcase to actually start this feud.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Justin C: Both of these guys could use a win here. Badly. Damien Sandow hasn’t even been on RAW the past couple of weeks. And when he has, he has been getting the “Dolph Ziggler MITB Treatment” of getting jobbed out despite having the briefcase. Dolph Ziggler, meanwhile, is a sinking ship. It looked like he was bound for a big push after winning the World Title. But the WWE, for some reason, doesn’t see Ziggler as a marketable top star. I don’t get it. I think Sandow needs the win here more than Ziggler. And I think the WWE has higher hopes for him at the moment.
Winner: Damien Sandow
People Power: With 74% of the vote, Dolph Ziggler wins the ‘People Power’ vote.
The Tally: Dolph Ziggler – 4
Damien Sandow – 3
Trouble in the World Eater’s Paradise
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
David Spain: With Wyatt both undefeated and still apparently moving upwards and Kofi being…well, Kofi, it seems likely that Wyatt’s getting the win at Battleground. Nothing much seems to suggest that Kingston’s anything other than something for Bray to move past at this stage.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Steven Gepp: Why the hell not. This seems random enough for a PPV. You know, I don’t know why they’re fighting, I don’t care why they’re fighting and really, I don’t hold high hopes for a match of quality here.
Jeff Heatherly: True, the Wyatt Family has sort of plateaued; but their narrative potential is too great to let Kofi be the one to give Bray his first loss.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Chris Sanders: Poor Kofi.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Rhett Davis: Kofi is just a get-me-over opponent these days. He won this past week for the sole reasoning of making him a ‘viable’ threat for Bray Wyatt. Bray Wyatt wins with maybe a distraction by his two goons.
Winner: The Eater of Worlds
Justin C: Bray Wyatt wins this. No need to deliberate.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
People Power: With 88% of the vote, Bray Wyatt wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: Bray Wyatt – 7
Kofi Kingston – 0
Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth
David Spain: Curtis Axel hasn’t been doing much of late besides being a Paul Heyman Guy who isn’t Ryback or Brock Lesnar, but he’s still doing more than R-Truth, and can do more than R-Truth with the belt. A clean win is probably a little much to hope for, but I expect to see Axel retain.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Steven Gepp: Axel has brought it in the ring. Where he is lacking is in the personality department, which is why I keep saying he should channel his grandfather and really go for the grizzled, taciturn, grumpy wrestler Larry ‘The Ax’ was. R-Truth is R-Truth, he’s always been R-Truth, he will always be R-Truth, and so this match will be dull. Maybe technically fine, maybe technically very good. But dull.
Jeff Heatherly: While it does seem that Truth is regaining some prominence of late, I can’t imagine the writers would want to make him an ongoing target of the Paul Heyman Guys. That’s purely CM Punk’s game right now. Curtis keeps the belt one more time, but I’m willing to bet his next challenger finally puts this forgettable reign out of its misery.
Winner and STILL Champion: Curtis Axel
Chris Sanders: For the 2nd PPV in a row, it’s like WWE completely forgets that IC exists until it’s the week of the show. Is it just me or is there an alarmingly increasing number of R-Truth appearances? This is no bueno unless we see a return of R-Heel (or R-Hooch, if you will, because Hooch is craaaazy). Perhaps there is some credence to that weird R-Truth Hell in a Cell poster. Ultimately I honestly don’t care about this match so you know what that means! If you’re actually reading this the post the following in the comments: “Even though he is the superior podcast host, Chris is legitimately sorry for somewhat ruining the Breaking Bad finale for Joel. But to be fair, it’s partly Joel’s fault for taking so long to watch it especially with the internet these days. Still, Chris is sorry and knows that Joel would feel much better if EVERYONE followed us on twitter @CRAttire and subscibed to Classy Ring Attire.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Rhett Davis: I know Axel is boring, I know that the Intercontinental Title isn’t sexy anymore to the WWE, but this just feels like it’s set up to fail. R-Truth hasn’t had a single good match, ever. Axel hasn’t done anything remotely memorable. Good luck is all I have to say. Axel wins to lose it at the next available time. Please?
Winner (and STILL Intercontinental Champion): Curtis Axel
Justin C: This match was added because the WWE knows I’m going to be at the PPV and they want me to watch two of the most boring performers they have. Well I’m just going to find the bathroom and beer stand during this match so take that WWE! Axel’s push may be coming to an end, but I don’t see the point of puttting the IC Title on R-Truth. It may shake things up but I don’t think he necessarily needs it. I’m picking Axel to retian.
Winner: Curtis Axel
People Power: With 72% of the vote, Curtis Axel wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: Curtis Axel – 7
R-Truth – 0
AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella
David Spain: Ah hell. I feel my toes curling as I type this, but Brie Bella’s engagement and apparent imminent sainthood are pointing to her taking the title from a great wrestler who can belt out a solid promo. In return we’ll probably get some more godawful acting from Brie (Big Show’s looked more upset at Daniel Bryan’s beatings) and the title somehow being contested on Total Divas.
Winner: Brie Bella
Steven Gepp: Let’s see, we could have one of the very few of the actually talented Divas in the WWE get a shot here, or one of the ones apparently making a name for herself on a “reality” TV show; further, they could choose the one that happens to be engaged to the current fan favourite star of the company, and whose acting during AJ’s infamous promo showed that she is a singularly appalling “actress” who knows nothing of timing or even acting. Yes, of course they chose the second option. Why did I even bother to pose the conundrum? And for that fact, and that fact alone… I’m out. Sorry. This will be shit.
Winner: AJ (please)
Jeff Heatherly: As I noted in my debut column this week (SHAMELESS PLUG: “Guys and Divas”, Wednesdays at Inside Pulse Wrestling!), AJ is my spirit animal. I think the world of her and I just want her to have everything awesome ever and…yeah. That said, the inclusion of Brie in the Daniel Bryan vs. Corporation 2.0 story is just too tempting to pass up. Plus, when the Divas Championship is in the spotlight, the Divas in general get a little more exposure. I love you, AJ…but there it is.
Winner and NEW Champion: Brie Bella
Chris Sanders: The increasing coverage that the engagement got on WWE is beginning to make me think that Brie might be winning. What would be interesting is if HHH’s regime uses their shenanigans to make sure Brie wins because she’s the Divas champion they want and not AJ. Giving Brie the anti-Daniel Bryan would cause a wrinkle for their on-screen relationship. However, I see it more likely the Regime would embrace AJ as their ideal Divas Champ for the sole reason that she’s a heel and not because it makes sense (which it doesn’t). Although, I’m sure all that fantasy booking will be for nothing and there will just be a straight up-and-down match and remember that they’re filming the next bit of Total Divas so I have a feeling we’ll see a change.
Winner: Brie Bella
Rhett Davis: I’m not looking forward to this match because meh. Brie is passable in the ring, but in all honesty… passable shouldn’t be one of the veteran divas. The rookies should be passable and the top contenders should be awesome or good at least. Brie isn’t. AJ is good, but not awesome. Anyways, AJ will win this hopefully because Brie shouldn’t be the one to take this off of her.
Winner (and STILL Divas Champion): AJ Lee
Justin C: It’s a shame AJ hasn’t been a focal point lately. The focus seems to be shifting to Brie Bella getting involved with the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton program. And if she is going to get involved there, I don’t see the point of putting the Divas Title on Brie. There’s no need for it. AJ retains and we can only hope either Mickie James is brought back or Paige is called up from NXT.
Winner: AJ Lee
People Power: With 64% of the vote, AJ Lee wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: AJ Lee – 4
Brie Bella – 3
The Battle for Job Security
The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
David Spain: Tricky one this. As awesome as the Rhodes tag team will be to see (RhodesDust, anyone?), I can’t exactly match them up well against the Shield. Rollins and Rhodes will be a joy to watch, and I think Rollins will also be great for reacting to some of the Bizarre One’s antics. But Reigns is that game-changing power wrestler, and he’s been looking unstoppable recently. I think the no-jobs thing can easily be handwaved/explained away down the line, and I think the Shield would seriously benefit from this victory. Have Rollins bump for a Bionic Elbow and this could be my favourite match of the show.
Winner: I believe in the Shield.
Steven Gepp: I notice the titles aren’t on the line here, and I also notice Ambrose ‘tain’t on the card, so… I’m thinking Ambrose and Dusty heeeemthelf (if you weeeell) are also inserted into the match, making it 3-on-3, but (and this is going to be a recurring theme in this show) there is no definitive result, resulting in the… RETURN OF WARGAMES! Okay, it’s 3-on-3, it’s only one ring, but it’s at Hell in a Cell, and it adds to that PPV’s name.
Winner: Double DQ
Jeff Heatherly: If this were a month ago and it weren’t this storyline with these stakes (SO MANY QUALIFIERS!), I’d give it to the Shield in a heartbeat; but I just can’t see the logic in not pulling the trigger on Cody’s comeback right now. He’s more over than ever and–while they have a history of failing to do so–the creatives need to strike while the iron is hot.
Winners: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Chris Sanders: I’m not sure how but I see the Rhodes boys coming out on top just because they should cash-in while the story is still somewhat hot. Sure they could stretch it out to Hell in a Cell but it’s not a sure-thing they’ll get a strong reaction then. I still would’ve preferred if Cody clawed his way back on his own but I’m not gonna complain too much if it means more Goldust in the ring.
Winner: Goldy and Rody Chodes
Rhett Davis: This is probably the most interesting storyline on the entire card as I figure the main event will have a ton of controversy surrounding it. However, I don’t see The Shield winning this match. It destroys Goldust and Cody Rhodes’ momentum and will probably take them to a place where they can’t recover from. I say Goldust and Cody Rhodes win this one with maybe HHH adding some stupid handicap stipulation and then restarting the match for them to lose. So we’ll say Golden Rhodes wins the first one with a restart that they lose.
Winners: Golden Rhodes (for first, Shield if restarted)
Justin C: I would have liked to see another week or so build for this match. But given the circumstances, I get why it was only one week. Can’t exactly have Goldust and Cody on the show regularly when they aren’t contracted wrestlers. I expect this to be a solid match and think it might even be the match of the night. Hopefully this has a lot of heat behind. It seems like the crowd is getting behind Cody and Goldust as the underdogs here. There’s only so many times the WWE can “cry wolf” with teasing returns or big moments before the WWE Universe gives up or loses hope with a certain wrestler. I think Cody and Goldust win here and get their jobs back.
Winners: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
People Power: With 74% of the vote, The Rhodes Family wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: The Rhodes Family – 5
The Shield – 1
Double DQ – 1
Out With the Old, In With the New
CM Punk vs. Ryback
David Spain: I think that it’s about time that Punk gets some measure of PPV revenge. True, he beat Axel at Night of Champions, but the match ended with Punk limping away and Heyman with a victory. We know that Ryback can hurt people, despite his lacking PPV record. Short of a return by Brock Lesnar, which I don’t honestly see happening, I’m looking for Punk to get his hand raised.
Winner: CM Punk
Steven Gepp: The wrestling “pool” for the Battleground PPV is how long into the match before a Ryback botch or careless move legitimately injures CM Punk. I got me 4 minutes 30 seconds. Now, the question here is: Can Punk eat another loss? Rumours have stated he’s on his last contract with the company, so are they jobbing him out on the way out? Are we going to get this WHOLE thing being a mammoth swerve and Punk is a Heyman guy after all, and they’ve just been stringing Axel and Ryback along for the ride? Will we see a run-in from some-one else completely unexpected? Will Audrey ever find true happiness? Will Billy-bob play the piano again?
Winner: (and newest ‘Heyman guy’) Matt Morgan
Jeff Heatherly: I love Punk and Heyman, but this story is running on fumes. However, I don’t see them letting this be the final showdown. Ryback wins here through less than legal means, then we get Punk/Ryback II at Hell in a Cell and then…Lesnar/Punk III at Survivor Series?
Chris Sanders: I think we’re reached the point where we can manage to have Punk finally win a PPV match. And who better for Punk to win against than the guy that has a terrible PPV win-loss record? I think Punk can put away Ryback and then gets jumped after the match, hopefully by Brock because I’m clamoring for a second match, and possibly continue the story. I am ready for a significant point in the story to justify it’s continuation because as much as I love the Punk/Heyman verbal beatdowns, we’ve been chewing the fat on this for a while now. Even if we have Punk move on beyond Heyman and do something else only to have Brock attack and rope Punk back in later.
Winner: CM Punk
Rhett Davis: Well Punk has been out done the last two PPVs either by the brute force of Brock Lesnar or the cunning of Paul Heyman. I think this PPV will be no different. Ryback will win by Heyman assistance. Maybe a new Heyman guy, but I doubt it.
Justin C: Similar to the pre-show match, both of these guys need a win here. CM Punk has only won once on PPV in 2013. Ryback hasn’t been pushed that strong since his feud with John Cena. If the WWE has any serious hope to give Ryback a renewed push, then he should get the win here. But if the WWE wants people to think CM Punk will eventually get his hands on Paul Heyman, then he needs the win here. This feud is supposed to last til Survivor Series. You can’t have CM Punk lose all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a gimmick stipulation added here. This is the hardest match for me to predict. If CM Punk is getting back in the WWE Title picture at the end of the year, he needs some wins. I’m going with Punk.
Winner: CM Punk
People Power: With 71% of the vote, CM Punk wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: CM Punk – 4
Ryback – 2
Matt Morgan – 1
World Heavyweight Championship Hardcore Rules Match
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
David Spain: I will never be able to buy RVD as the owner of the big gold belt, even considering how little it means. He really does seem like a placeholder contender, but a victory for Del Rio on Van Dam’s extreme terms might do a lot for the champion: far more than a victory would do for Mr One of a Kind.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Steven Gepp: The hardcore rules match was made so that RVD’s deficiencies in the ring can be hidden and because it’s his kind of match and because they have to stack the odds in favour of the face once in a while. So, of course, the winner is in doubt.
Jeff Heatherly: So, what’s the story with Rob Van Dam? Is he staying? Is his contract up? Who can keep track? Regardless, I give this one to RVD; not just because the reign of Del Rio has been one of the most boring things to come out of this show in years, but because we’re going to need a face champion if–as I predict–Damien’s going to go for the cash-in.
WINNER and NEW Champion (for a few minutes, at least): Rob Van Dam
Chris Sanders: As you may have noticed, I’m not exactly invested into this match, not saying that it won’t be good match because I’m sure it will consdering the ring work these two have displayed lately. Although, after this match, I’m not sure where they’ll go with the WHC title picture considering there’s not a lot of wrestlers with any momentum (even though Zigglers always right there, just saying). I think with this being a Hardcore match, it’ll be a good time for Sandow to cash in which will inheritly include Cody.
Winner: Rob Van Dam.
MitB Cash-in Winner: Damien Sandow
Rhett Davis: I never quite got hooked into this feud. It’s just not very interesting. I’d love to see Dolph come back up, RVD actually do something interesting, or Rey come back to take down the evil Mexican aristocrat. Any of those options seem more interesting that a third matchup between the two. The Hardcore Rules just seems like an addition to suspend your disbelief that RVD isn’t just a get-me-over win for Alberto. So just expect ADR to look badass in this hardcore match as he defeats RVD. Hopefully no heel turn for Ricardo.
Winner (and STILL World Heavyweight Champion): Alberto del Rio
Justin C: This might be close to the LOTN for me. RVD apparently doesn’t have a new contract yet. Do you really think the WWE is going to put the World Title on him? This match should be better than there Night of Champions match. The hardcore aspect of it will allow these two to put on more of a show. RVD has fallen flat since his hyped up return. I expect Del Rio to retian here and possibly have one more match with RVD at Hell in a Cell. I expect a feud with a returning Rey Mysterio just in time for Survivor Series.
Winner: Alberto del Rio
People Power: With 55% of the vote, Alberto del Rio wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: Alberto del Rio – 5
Rob Van Dam – 2
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
David Spain: I figure this one is going to go to the Viper. With his emergence as the old, sociopathic Orton (purses beware), there’s not much attractive in him losing just weeks after Cadencegate. I figure Brie Bella will be involved in a damsel-in-distress scenario, distracting Bryan to give Orton the tainted victory and the belt.
Winner: Randy Orton
Steven Gepp: Although I like where the storyline has been, I don’t think we get resolution here. I reckon we get Bryan carrying Orton along to a great match, and then it all breaks down in Tulsa and we get run-in city. The Shield, The Rhodesians, the entire roster, and we finish with the sort of WCW-like mass brawl with no finish and some doofus continually ringing the bell as though that’s going to restore order as the show goes off the air. All this, so we can have the final blow off in the Helllllll… in a Celllllllllllllllllllllll.
Winner: no result
Jeff Heatherly: No matter who wins, this storyline stays alive after Battleground. There’s too much of a good argument for either Randy or Daniel, and I think the creatives probably feel the same way. I’m going to go a bit untraditional here and say we’re looking at a Double DQ or Double Countout, and then we get our definitive champ at Hell in a Cell.
Chris Sanders: As I stated in this week’s RAGER, I’ve reached the point where I don’t even care who wins. I’m just glad that this is just happening. I do think they’re not quite ready for Bryan to conquer and hold the belt just yet, that’ll come later. As for this match, expect more shenanigans and/or run-in’s that’ll prevent Bryan from winning. Whether that’s Big Show, Shield or some other weird thing with the referees (you really could just put all that on the Vegas spinning wheel and come up with the end of this match). I am still very much interested in Damien Sandow cashing in on the vacant title and eventually be molded into the champion that HHH’s regime wants. However, I know how big of a pipedream that is.
Winner: Randy Orton
Rhett Davis: I was surprised that the last PPV ended without any real controversy in the actual match. Granted after that on Raw they called out the fast count and all of that, but the match essentially went without a lot of controversy. I actually feel like this one will have no controversy and will have Orton beating Bryan using some heel tactics.
Winner (and NEW WWE Champion): Randy Orton
Justin C: This feud has fallen flat in recent weeks. Surprisingly, it has been since Triple H has somewhat left the program for the time being. As I said in the tag team match preview, there are only so many times the WWE can “cry wolf” before fans start to give up on them. I don’t think it has gotten to that point with Daniel Bryan, but you don’t want to take the risk that it does. Even if Bryan loses here and gets the Title at Hell In A Cell, the WWE is still taking a big risk. I think Bryan needs the win here more than Randy Orton does. Orton has been pushed as a serious threat recently and should regain some of his heat in a loss.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
People Power: With 57% of the vote, Randy Orton wins the ‘People Power’ pick.
The Tally: Randy Orton – 4
Double DQ/Countout/Etc – 2
Daniel Bryan – 1
Well thanks for reading and be sure to join us next time for the Pulse Polls and the Rasslin’ Roundtable for Hell in a Cell.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, Battleground, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, goldust, Kofi Kingston, Matt Morgan, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, randy orton, Rob Van Dam, RVD, ryback, The Shield, triple h, WWE, WWE Battleground