If you can hold onto your excitement for five minutes, then join us as we preview another WWE B-grade Pay-Per-View.
This time around we’ll be looking at the first-ever Stomping Grounds event, which emanates from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington this Sunday night. As always you can watch the PPV in its entirety, presumably with a pre-show, live on the WWE Network.
In typical form, WWE has done very little to build up any level of anticipation for the show, relying on their fanbase to tune in regardless of how poor the product has been. With the success of AEW’s first PPV, you’d hope this was finally the time to turn things around for the industry leader, but judging by what they’re presenting this Sunday, they’re not quite ready to make a change just yet.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the card.
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TRIPLE THREAT
TONY NEESE (c) vs AKIRA TOZAWA vs DREW GULAK
It’s hard to emotionally invest yourself in a division that is so poorly exposed on WWE television. We can only expect that the inclusion of Tozawa is to allow Gulak to pick up a victory while keeping current champion Tony Neese looking strong.
Prediction: Drew Gulak becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion because let’s face it, WWE loves a babyface challenger.
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
BAYLEY (c) vs ALEXA BLISS
The road back to relevance has been a long one for Bayley, and it’s great to see that the SmackDown writers are finally invested in making her less one-dimensional, moving away from the huger gimmick that worked so well in NXT. On the other hand, Alexa Bliss – who relieved Bayley of her last Women’s title – hasn’t been seen inside the ring all that much since returning from injury but considering her natural ability we doubt there will be much ring rust.
Prediction: The recent altercation on SmackDown Live was some of the best the company has come up with pre-PPV, so we expect a much harder hitting encounter than we’ve seen between these two in the past and a victory for the current champion.
ROMAN REIGNS vs DREW McINTYRE
This is another WWE match that we seem to be seeing an awful lot of these days and with the continuing ‘issues’ between Roman Reigns and Shane McMahon, we don’t see the feud ending any time soon.
Prediction: Reigns defeated McIntyre at WrestleMania so it’s only fitting (and in keeping with the WWE’s 50/50 booking style) that this will be a reverse of that result, probably from outside interference on McMahon’s part setting up the long-awaited blow-off at SummerSlam.
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH
THE NEW DAY vs KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
For better or worse, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have been locked in a feud with top team The New Day for what seems like an eternity. But unlike many other long-term feuds, this one never ceases to be entertaining, and we’ve no doubts that this will be another fun entry in the series.
Prediction: The two Canadian heroes have lost consistently on television so the safe money would be on the same happening here. But this is WWE, where losing in the build to a PPV match usually means you’re getting the win where it counts, so we’re betting on Owens and Zayn this Sunday.
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
SAMOA JOE (c) vs RICOCHET
WWE got so much right when Ricochet made his debut on the main roster, but for reasons unknown, he’s become a bit of an afterthought recently. That’s a huge shame, and further failure to cement him as one of their key players going forward will be a huge mistake. Previous attempts to replace Rey Mysterio with names like Sin Cara have failed horribly, but Ricochet could be that guy, and a run with the gold would be a great way to start him off.
Prediction: We have to assume WWE had plans for the Rey Mysterio run before he went down with injury so we predict they’ll transfer those plans over to Ricochet this weekend.
RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
BECKY LYNCH (c) vs LACEY EVANS
Becky Two Belts marches into Stomping Grounds with just the 1 belt, thanks in no small part to her challenger. Despite the hate, Evans is a passable in-ring talent who’s destined to be a lot better than she currently appears. She’s probably found herself chasing gold far too early in her run, but giver 12 months and we think she’ll be consistently in contention, if not a champion already.
Prediction: As great as Becky was as the woman chasing the belts, it seems far too early to end her run as The Man just yet. We’re predicting either a Lynch win or a no contest finish in this one.
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN (c) vs HEAVY MACHINERY
Whether Vince McMahon and co are serious about elevating the tag team division remains to be seen, but selecting odd couple Daniel Bryan and former Wyatt Family member Rowan as the flag bearers on the blue brand has been a breath of fresh air. Rowan is an underrated big man who shines in his role as the muscle for mega-heel Bryan and acts as his insurance policy against losing those prized tag team titles.
Prediction: The biggest flaw in the plan to make tag team wrestling relevant again is that there are no believable contenders on SmackDown Live. That should tell you everything you need to know about who we’re predicting to walk out as champions this weekend.
SETH ROLLINS (c) vs BARON CORBIN
How did we get here? Having Corbin challenge for the Universal Championship on the Saudi Arabia show was fine, after all no one was really paying attention, but having them fight again on a PPV that’s considered canon seems about as good an idea as having Diesel battle Sid on back-to-back In Your House shows back in the 1990s.
The most intriguing aspect here is who will the special guest referee be? Would Brock Lesnar realistically agree to don the zebra stripes, with his Money in the Bank briefcase casting a massive shadow over the match? We doubt it – but if that’s the case, who else is there?
Prediction: After batling, numerous guest referees – Elias, B Team members, etc – Rollins finally scores a definitive victory over his foe and send him back to the mid-card where he belongs – maybe following an assist from old running buddy Roman Reigns.
Bonus Prediction: Brock Lesnar attempts to cash in, but changes his mind after he’s stared down by two-thirds of The Shield.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP – STEEL CAGE MATCH
KOFI KINGSTON (c) vs DOLPH ZIGGLER
It’s almost impossible for Ziggler and Kingston to have a bad match, and the added bonus of putting them in a steel cage allows them even more of a chance to show why they really are two of the best performers on the WWE roster.
Prediction: Ziggler is a part-time attraction, if that, and there is simply no way he leaves Stomping Grounds with the WWE Championship … but that doesn’t mean Kofi will either.
Bonus Prediction: We predicted a MITB swerve over on our Twitter earlier this month and we’re still going with it for the Stomping Grounds PPV. As much as fans will hate it, we can see Brock Lesnar surprising everyone and crushing Kofi to become the top dog on SmackDown Live.
Is the Stomping Grounds 2019 card strong enough to encourage you to watch? What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments section and don’t forget to tag your favourite @WWE Superstars!
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