411 PPV Roundtable Preview: WWE Battleground 2013
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.05.2013
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton face off for the vacant WWE Title as WWE presents Battleground on PPV! Plus Alberto Del Rio defends the World Title against RVD, CM Punk takes on Ryback and more! Check out the full roundtable preview and join us for LIVE coverage on Sunday night!
This Sunday, it's WWE's newest (name of a) PPV, WWE Battleground! In the undercard, the Divas and Intercontinental titles will be on the line, plus Cody Rhodes and Goldust will try to win gainful re-employment in WWE as they face off with two members of The Shield! And in the main events, CM Punk tries to tear through latest Heyman Guy Ryback in his continuing quest to get revenge on his former friend. Meanwhile, Alberto Del Rio defends the World Title against RVD, in Van Dam's favourite environment: a hardcore match. Plus, the vacant WWE Title will be awarded to one of either Daniel Bryan or Randy Orton, as both men look to come out victorious and prove once and for all that they are the face of WWE!
Here's the 411 Staff with their thoughts on the upcoming PPV!
Dino Zucconi, Smart Marks
Justin Watry, Ask 411 Wrestling
James Wright, The Heel Report
Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight
Sean Garmer, Top 5 Video Games
Paul Lapointe, Participant
Jack Bramma, Ring Crew Reviews
Dolph Ziggler vs Damien Sandow PreShow Warmup Match
Dino Zucconi: It's nice of WWE to kick off the preshow with a battle between two guys who are basically in the exact same position, treading water as they have not yet broken through to the main event. Now, while one is clearly on his way there in Sandow, the Ziggler case is bit more concerning to me. Wrestling's Second Best DZ was on the high of a lifetime following WrestleMania, only for an errant Jack Swagger kick to completely derail the train. Can he bounce back? Can Sandow shake the curse of the briefcase and pick up a win before he ultimately cashes in? I wanted to get cute and go double count out or double dq since neither guy has been allowed to really win an important match in quite a while, but...
Winner: Damien Sandow. He needs SOMETHING to brag about, and beating the last guy to cash in successfully isn't the worst way to go about it.
Justin Watry: Not a bad little match here. The real shame in it all is that these two are involved in a 'little match' during October 2013. Both men are beyond that point. Even something in the mid-card (like an actual feud) would be fine right now. I am sure the match will be fine. As for a winner? The Money in the Bank briefcase winners usually do not win a lot.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
James Wright: This match annoys me slightly, not because of the lack of build, in fact I think that the Kick-Off match should be just two guys, not booked, who can go out there and have a great match to showcase how the sheer spectacle of wrestling is entertaining, let alone with the story element of a standing rivalry added to the situation. No here the issue I have is with the whole 'not booked' side of things when concerning Dolph Ziggler, why the hell is he not booked on the main show?! Sure I know there are rumours that he is in 'the doghouse' for saying certain things, but really not to book him on the show after him being one of the focuses of this Corporation 2.0 storyline is just strange to me.
Also really he deserves another shot at Ambrose for the US title, sure if he is in 'the doghouse' then have him lose, but have the damn match! Having Rollins & Reigns going against the Rhodes brothers would have been fine as they are the tag team champions and that should be a big enough challenge, and possibly lead to them being no. 1 contenders at some point if they do in fact win.
This problem aside however it should be a good match between the former and present Mr. Money in the Bank, and if Ziggler is being punished here then he will probably end up losing, but then again Sandow is Mr. Money in the Bank and we all know what that means, so this should be a pretty even contest, both men could really use a relatively high profile, if mostly meaningless, win here so whatever happens someone will benefit, and the other man will just slip further and further in a downwards spiral. What's best for business? Well I think since Sandow has the case, Ziggler needs the win way more, despite whatever backstage problems are supposedly taking place, so I am going to go with the Zig Zag man.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Michael Weyer: A nice way to open the show, these two should be a compelling pairing. I agree it shouldn't be put on the preshow, both guys should be put on the main card with Ziggler going higher by far. The match itself should be pretty good, both guys going hard so I'll go for Ziggler for the win here and hopefully he gets more to do in the coming months.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Sean Garmer: I still don't understand why Ambrose vs. Ziggler 3 couldn't have been here, especially since Ambrose is doing nothing on the PPV but being in Rollins and Reigns corner. Ziggler will win because Sandow has to keep going with the MITB losing streak. This should be a good match, but I wish they would have kept with the theme of having the pre-show match actually mean something.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Paul Lapointe: Hey, it's a battle of the Briefcase! Hey, it's a Sandow sighting...kidding aside tho, he has been absent the past few weeks minus tweets that have meant nothing like the time since he won the case to begin with. Now it is a common theme the MITB winners tend to tread water and go on losing streaks for short stretches following their original victory and Sandow is no exception and maybe now they realize he needs to at least be visible for people to take the milk chocolate case man seriously. It's easy enough to start here I suppose. My fantasy booking that keeps both parties both advancing is a rather simple formula. Sandow gives a speech saying he was formulating a plan of nefarious means the last few weeks and is then interrupted by Zig Zag who gets face heat. They have a 8 minute match that breaks down with a distraction of ref bump and Dean Ambrose trounces down and takes out Ziggler leading to a Sandow Victory. Damien gets a win over someone above him and gets at least a little bit more credible, it continues the Ambrose/Ziggler program that seems to be continuing anyhow and then sets up an end result for later in the show.
Jack Bramma: Dolph's stock has hit a peak and crested since getting a concussion earlier in the year, turning face, and breaking off from AJ and Big E. He seemed to be in line for one of the lockeroom leaders spots pitted against the Shield and the new McMahon-Helmsley regime, but that also hasn't panned out either since Dolph sis apparently still in the doghouse. Sandow is another guy headed nowhere and fast even if he has a briefcase. It's endlessly frustrating that the WWE will seem to give a guy an opportunity with a belt or briefcase or hot debut and then lose interest and both of these guys are prime examples.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston
Dino Zucconi: This should be a fun match, with the mix of Bray's power and Kofi's speed combining to create something fun. I make no bones about it, I'm expecting a rather solid Bray Wyatt win. However, I think it'll be done in match that shows that there is more to this guy than just mind games and group assaults. I look for Kofi to get his moments in this, but in the end, he's counting the lights. Maybe Kane gets involved here, but I'm going to hedge my bets on him staying out a bit longer.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Justin Watry: This match is official? I do not read spoilers, so let's just assume Bray Wyatt will be wrestling Kofi Kingston on Sunday night. Again, I am sure the match will be fine. The entire WWE roster is fairly talented inside the squared circle and can always deliver. However, the outcome should not be much of a question.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
James Wright: This match has quickly developed from out of nowhere and is actually a pretty interesting pairing. I am guessing that Kingston will be fed to Wyatt as he continues on his slow build, however at the same time Kofi seems to be in the midst of yet another minor push, and he specializes in pulling off surprise victories at these times. But I highly doubt that Wyatt will still be involved with Kingston going into Hell in a Cell, so despite his minor push I can't see Kingston taking down the Southern cult leader right now.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Michael Weyer: A late addition but it should be a great fight all the same. Kofi is a good guy to give the rub to Wyatt, over with crowds and energetic and Bray should be given a good chance to show his stuff against him. Expect some high-flying and hard-hitting moves as they'll want to stand out and expect Bray to get the win to continue his push with more to come.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Sean Garmer: Nice to see WWE actually figured out that Bray needs to do things in the ring, not just cut creepy promos. Just wish they would have taken a few more weeks to build this up and make it mean something. This looks and feels tacked on to add filler to the PPV. Kofi might be the best person to get a decent match out of Bray, but this should be quick and predictable.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Paul Lapointe: Rest be the weary said the wicked sheep led to slaughter. Oh poor, poor Kofi let the prophet sayeth the words of truth and warning and let its beleaguered listeners doubt and whisper until their fears and murmurs are taken aback by the reckoning of the rambling warnings and the astute observations of a man above them. The buzzards circle the wagons and the wagons carriage the people away from the truth and the truth be a scary thing but it must still be true. The steps to salvation are palpable the beatings a means to the inevitable end that is to come when the buzzards need there nourishment. The words are but hollow till action brings meaning and one by one will the shepherd make a flock and the flock be bloody and broken and may then, people listen. As foretold by Sister Abigail with a delicate kiss and laugh all the same, R.I.P Kofi for your warning is upon you and the rest of the WWE, the harbinger has arrived and he has lost patience with his congregation for it is now a battleground of broken bones and bodies to be prone, follow the buzzards.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Jack Bramma: Kofi was another in a round of midcard faces in the 11-on-3 tag that could have and still could be positioned into a larger role in the DB/Coporation feud. I can't say that I'm that disappointed that he's not getting that push or hasn't so far, but I don't particularly want to see Bray Wyatt's time wasted on Kofi either. After having an mildly entertaining 2-week feud with Curtis Axel, Kofi moved on to jobbing against ADR then squashing Fandango. Bray, on the other hand, defeated Kane two months ago and hasn't had a feud or direction since other than explaining the origins of Sister Abigail and threatening Kofi twice. I'll admit, it could be worse: he could be jobbing already.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
CM Punk vs Ryback
Dino Zucconi: After wasting the last four to five months being a crybaby bully, Ryback finally has a renewed focus. Even better, he's going after the guy that really initiated his downfall in the first place, CM Punk. If Punk hadn't cheated balls to survive Hell in a Cell last year, perhaps Ryback's not so angry today. I really appreciated the addition of Ryback to Heyman's group, because Curtis Axel just isn't at a level where I can see him believably competing with Punk yet. Ryback, on the other hand? Yeah, this works. And with Ryback winning Heyman's heart, he may look to impress Heyman by not just winning the match, but by hurting CM Punk.
Winner: CM Punk via some sort of DQ/Ref Stoppage due to too much Ryback violence.
Justin Watry: My, oh my. What a difference a year makes, huh? Ryback was on a roll and winning every single match. CM Punk was the reigning WWE Champion and just a month away from surpassing a full year holding the belt. Now, Punk has lost just about every single PPV match in 2013, while Ryback has not fared much better. Oh yeah, and both switched (face/heel) roles with Paul Heyman jumping ship as well. Long story short, the end game is still seeing Punk destroy Heyman. That can wait another month or so. Survivor Series? Sure.
James Wright: It's interesting that this is their second time around of going at one another and it is only now that they are having a straight one-on-one match and not for the title. I really think that being in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE title hurt their first encounter last time and things didn't get any better from there. This time the two are simply having a straight one-on-one match with nothing really on the line, apart from the vague threat of Punk getting his hands on Heyman for like two seconds if he takes out Ryback. I'd imagine there will be a lot of outside factors coming into play here, but also that Punk and Heyman will hopefully make it so that these factors are more compelling than confusing, also so far Ryback has shown that when working with great in-ring guys, he is able to fulfill his end of the bargain. Will it be a show-stealer? Probably not, but it should be a solid affair, if one with no real stakes.
Winner: C.M. Punk
Michael Weyer: Their first encounter wasn't that great but Ryback looks more focused now and the build to this has been good. Punk is able to get a fun battle out of anyone and he should be able to carry Ryback along here. I expect a terrific fight, plenty of cheating to go around and Punk holding the crowd in excitement as they go at it. Tempting to say Ryback but I'll give it to Punk instead and should give him a nice boost amid the various hijinks in the main event scene.
Winner: CM Punk
Sean Garmer: Their first slew of matches last year was when RyBack was just mainly facing jobbers and hadn't been dealing with main players for very long. RyBack has grown as a character and as a wrestler in that time. Daniel Bryan got a pretty good match out of RyBack twice this year, so I would hope CM Punk gets the time to do the same on this PPV. I almost expect more shenanigans to lead to another Hell in a Cell match between the two later this month. I mean it would make for a nice story for RyBack and Punk should WWE decide to use it.
Winner: CM Punk (Via DQ)
Paul Lapointe: Though I find the parade of Paul Heyman promos both appealing and well done this feud is a never ending stall tactic. I wish I could say with each passing day Heyman trying to find a new "Guy" to thwart Punk is a neat idea its meant for now to distract Punk out of the main event scene which is fine and gives them more time to work together but eventually Heyman needs his comeuppance. Will it be at Battleground? Heck no, it will be at HITC most likely and with that it begs the question is it this match or the main event that gets a screwy ending? I think two is not better than one in this scenario and it ends with Heyman sacrificing himself for his new guy en route to Ryback getting the victory. This then sets up the cage match to which Heyman will get stuck in have no escape and his inferior beast is put down in front of him like a dog. Plus a loss does not hurt Punk in the least as to these two guys it's all about the payoff, which coming from these two should be a good one.
Jack Bramma: The blowoff to this has to be Punk/Lesnar 2 with Punk going over at Mania, right? I know the reasons that doesn't seem likely (already did the same basic outline with Trips, Lesnar's buzz is with either Rock or Taker at Mania, Punk's WM date is supposed to be with Orton, etc.) but I just can't see a different destination especially after Punk and Lesnar tore down the house at SS. Moving on from Axel/Punk was the best thing possible since Axel has a hard enough time putting away Miz and Truth and Punk is on another stratosphere from him that it just wasn't gelling no matter how much Punk and Heyman are on the mic. For the first time since Payback and Jericho, Ryback has an honest to God FEUD and an interesting development for his credit, so I'm all for it. These two had a decent HITC match and a very solid TLC match, but I think it'll work even better with the heel/face roles reversed. Punk hasn't really won anything yet other than a couple nothing pinfalls over Axel, so it's time he gets some retribution.
Winner: CM Punk
Cody Rhodes and Goldust w/Dusty Rhodes vs Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns If The Rhodes Lose, They Must Leave All WWE Forever
Dino Zucconi: I've really enjoyed this feud. Sure, sometimes it seems like Dusty can't help but make things about himself and that gets a bit annoying, but I still mark out like a little kid when I hear the "AMERRRRRICAAAAAAAAAN.... DREEEEEEEEEEEEAM" music kick up. I haven't bet against the Shield yet, but I think, this once, I'm going to do it. I just don't want to see what kind of roundabout shenanigans we have to go through to get Cody Rhodes back on TV if they lose this match. You can easily have enough extracurriculars go down that the Shield can eat a loss in a somewhat unfair manner, and everything will be right with the world. I guess it'd be funny if Goldust turned, and that eventually led to the WrestleMania match with Cody, but that ain't happening. I'm probably wrong, but I'll do it anyways. Long live the Common Men!
Winner: Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Justin Watry: Eh. I am torn here. The Shield are always an easy pick to win on pay-per-view. However, can Cody Rhodes and Goldust really lose here? What would happen then? Both men are off television...again? Nothing would change. While it is unwise to predict The Shield to lose, I am going to just that. Give Cody and Goldust their jobs back. Have Dusty Rhodes celebrate with them (no shocking heel turn please!). Then have Triple H make their lives miserable. If we get the Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes match for WrestleMania XXX to end this story line, so be it. Goldust turning on Cody in a few months would be compelling...
Winner: Cody Rhodes and Goldust
James Wright: Now if you want a match with some stakes then this is it. I have to believe that the Rhodes brothers will be winning here, there needs to be a big win for the 'good guys' to balance out whatever shenanigans will take place in the main event. Of course even if the Rhodes lose it is more than possible for Cody to make his return sooner rather than later despite the stipulation, but let's believe for now that HHH actually wants to stick by his own plans and make it seem like his character really does have this power, which I suppose he indeed does. I am expecting a quality outing here with a couple of hot tags, hopefully ending with Cody getting the Cross-Rhodes, probably on Rollins, and picking up the win for his team.
Winner: The Rhodes Brothers
Michael Weyer: Most everyone is picking the Rhodes Brothers here and it seems obvious as they want the big win. But historically, the heels dominate in these types of matches and there's still plenty of momentum to go with the Shield. No, I'll go against the grain and pick Cody and Dustin to lose. Which, of course, will be the perfect excuse for a new masked tag team to come onto the scene for revenge, a classic you just can't resist even today.
Winners: The Shield
Sean Garmer: I hope this is given time to tell the story it needs to tell and let everyone shine. This has the potential to steal the show if they don't try to add unnecessary overbooking or try to give Rhodes' some cheap win. I would like to see Dusty have a game changing moment here that turns the tide because everyone sees him as a weak link because of his age. That being said, there is too much put against The Rhodes Family for them not to win here. The stipulation is too conclusive with another PPV coming quickly to come up with some convoluted way to give Goldust and Cody another shot at "employment."
Winners: Rhodes Family
Paul Lapointe: I love this angle as it has been booked so far. And this match serves almost three feuds at the same time. The Rhodes/Regime feud, Ziggler/Ambrose and helps with the forthcoming match between the Shield and the Uso's as well. If booked the way I have predicted it ends up well for all parties. Harkening back to the pre-show, Ambrose again jumps the rail and attacks Dusty Rhodes leading to Goldust after getting Ricky Mortoned for a while to hop over and protect his good ole papa. This leaves Cody alone with the shield as the ref tries to get Ambrose out of dodge and allows Dolph Ziggler to blindside the shield himself eliminating the handicap and distracting Rollins long enough for CrossRhodes to hit its mark and get the Rhodes's the victory. So the fam get their job back, Ziggler pisses off Ambrose some more and adds heat to their beef, the Shield actually look weak heading into a soon to be title clash with the Uso's and sets up a HITC six man for the following PPV with the Rhodes Family and Zig Zag Vs The Shield. It's like playing connect the dots.
Winner: The Common Men
Jack Bramma: This has been a great feud that has honestly passed DB/Orton for me in terms of personal interest and entertainment. I'll be glad when/if DB moves on from Orton to finally get his hands on Triple H, but until then, Orton feels like a placeholder for DB and The Rhodes/Shield/Corporation angle is the best thing going. I'll grant though that Orton, after having great matches with Cody, Goldust, and Miz, has been a huge part in making me feel sympathy for the Rhodes so credit goes to him so much so that it feels like he should be a part of the match and the comeuppance for the heels in some way. The Shield are just henchman – effective, awesome wrestling, henchmen, but henchmen in the story. The real climax will come when the Rhodes get their hands on upper management or at least their primary wrestling antagonist – Orton. Until then, I could see this going either way but I'll go with more temporary relief for the faces.
Dino Zucconi: This should be another solid enough outing, though I don't think it will do much for either guy in the long run. Axel needs a big win, and they just won't give it to him yet. He can continue beating the mid card guys until the cows come home, but if they won't pull the trigger when it matters most, the fans will figure it out. R-Truth has a habit of winning the secondary titles in matches you didn't think he would, but I feel that he's in this match simply to keep Axel's stock from falling.
Winner: And STILL Intercontinental Champion, Curtis Axel.
Justin Watry: Do I really have to waste time with this? A part of me wants to pick R-Truth, just so Curtis Axel can be scolded by Paul Heyman and sent on his way. The other part of me is still waiting for Matt Morgan to come in and start kicking guys' heads off. All of that would be intriguing. You know what isn't intriguing? Curtis Axel. Either way, he will likely win and continue on as IC Champion.
Winner: Curtis Axel
James Wright: Honestly who cares, but you know what, screw Axel and his IC title run, it has been a nothing reign. I say give the title to Truth, get it back into circulation and give the 'good guys' another win for the night.
Winner: R-Truth (New Champion)
Michael Weyer: Axel is still fighting to get truly over but they're doing their best. This is pretty much a filler match for Axel, just killing time out as no one sees Truth getting the belt so Axel retains to continue his run.
Winner and STILL IC Champion: Curtis Axel
Sean Garmer: This screams filler match so you know what that means right… We get 15 minutes between two guys the crowd doesn't care about to kill time. Axel needs all the wins he can get right now since he is the third wheel in the Punk vs. Heyman feud. Truth has been doing nothing for a while and no one will care if he wins the title off Axel or anyone for that matter. Axel should retain.
Winner and STILL Intercontinental CHAMPION: Curtis Axel
Paul Lapointe: Hey it's the we have no program for you so lose a non-title match and win the re-match ppv bout, yi-pee. Axel is treading water as IC champion and needs wins and at least the E is putting him on PPV to get exposure for these wins as on TV they may just change the channel. Now that he has been bitched out by Punk for months at least after this PPV he can maybe do something of note, that note of course is to not feud with Truth or I fear maybe a Santino program coming...haha. Never the less, a technically sound but uneventful match with no heat that will get Axel a W and maybe a solid finisher as he just seems to pick one at random every night. The perfectplex, the neckbreaker with no name, who knows.
Jack Bramma: I like Truth and could write hundreds of words about how the WWE squandered some of his (and Miz's) heat during the Post-Summer Fall of Punk. While not the biggest tragedy during that fall, Awesome Truth, despite getting a few marquee tag matches, were rendered meaningless in the Triple H/Kevin Nash/Johnny Ace/Rock/Cena/Punk/ADR booking orgy. Truth hasn't recovered since. In a misguided attempt to push him recently, the WWE put him and several other guys on DB's side against the McMahon-Helmsleys and then put him over Axel. While not a terrible idea, the crowd still doesn't have much reason to care about Truth and jobbing Axel to Truth doesn't elevate Truth, it buries Axel and the IC belt or just puts a little more dirt on it. They probably should just get it over with and put the belt on Truth to give the lockerroom angle a little more credibility but who knows.
Dino Zucconi: The former and current loves of Daniel Bryan look to go at it here as AJ continues her quest of destroying the Total Divas cast. AJ is awesome, Brie is all right. I'm pretty sure I'm picking correctly on this one.
Winner: And STILL Divas Champion, AJ Lee
Justin Watry: Wait a minute! The trustworthy 'dirt sheets' told me AJ Lee was losing at Night of Champions to conclude the Total Divas season. What happened? Uh oh. Something must have gone wrong. Maybe I should call the cable providers and ask them. With that being said, Brie Bella is now being included in the main event picture with Daniel Bryan. Does she need to be champion for that story line? Could Brie carry a title with or without Bryan getting one as well? I don't know. Could go either way really...
Winner: AJ Lee
James Wright: Oh Jesus, this is the match I was dreading last month and now it is here! What is strange is that for a couple of weeks it really seemed like Natalya was going to be the one challenging for the title, and all of a sudden it is Brie Bella. Now the possibility of having her and Bryan as face champions is slightly interesting, but not enough to actually give her the title when she will add little to the belt, plus I have no faith in Bryan winning here so why should Brie? What's more I don't think there has been enough personal issues between the two in terms of Bryan being AJ's ex and Brie being his new fiancée, I think you could get a lot more mileage out of that, and what with Orton's backstage segments with the Bellas I imagine they could have a good couple of mixed tag matches leading up to Hell in a Cell, so I think Brie should lose here, and maybe pick up the title next month, which is when Bryan is rumoured to win the belt for real.
Winner: AJ Lee
Michael Weyer: For the first time in a very long time, WWE's women's division is tons better than TNA's which is amazing. Lee is winning me over as the champ, nice style and improving in the ring. Brie may have the push of the reality show but AJ is intent on dominating all comers and that's too good to give up on now. Given enough time, this can be a fun battle so AJ should win to keep the good momentum for the division going.
Winner and STILL Divas Champion: AJ Lee
Sean Garmer: I know the story is that AJ is taking on all comers and beating them. However, since they threw out Natalya like a sack of Potatoes after they found out she was boring on commentary. I'd like to see this feud continue to Hell in a Cell and maybe get a future husband and wife dual title win. Have AJ win here by some Tamina interference and Brie then wins at HIAC so that her and Bryan could hug at the end of HIAC both being champion.
Fantasy booking aside, Brie is distracted with Bryan and with Tamina at ringside for AJ it doesn't make sense for Brie to win here and cut the "dominant champion" story that they are having AJ go through short. The match might actually be good with Brie improving and AJ being the only complete diva they have in the division right now.
Winner and STILL DIVAS CHAMPION: AJ Lee
Paul Lapointe: With the right build storyline wise this could be a good program with the Daniel Bryan announcement recently be unveiled. But as it stands this is a buffer match that will move each lady in separate directions. AJ vows to destroy all the total diva's and Natalya seems to be that centre piece at the moment so expect each one to fall like dominoes until they eventually meet at HITC. Brie on the other hand will move into a more prominent role with Mr. Yes Man and the main event scene to which I believe a rift between the Bella's may finally happen on television, one heel and one face. So Tamina attacks Nikki and distracts Brie en route to the Black Widow and she taps out. This is followed by a backstage segment later showing Brie being comforted by DBryan saying she failed in her bid for the title for a possible foreshadowing of Bryan's potential title loss later in the evening.
Winner: AJ Lee
Jack Bramma: Brie has somehow been positioned as the face here, mainly because of her status with DB, so the Fed will probably elevate her a bit.
Dino Zucconi: I didn't think WWE could get me interested in an RVD title match in 2013, but they did it. This has been an underrated little feud on the Smackdown side of things, with RVD and Del Rio having a decent little chemistry together. I don't see RVD taking the gold here, though, and that's pretty much the only reason you're reading this little entry, isn't it? Sorry, dudes.
Winner: And STILL World Champion, Alberto Del Rio
Justin Watry: Is this where Ricardo Rodriguez turns on RVD and joins back up with Del Rio? While the logic would not really work, I do not think RVD and Ricardo fit together. The added stipulation of Hardcore Rules does make this much more appealing though. Since that seems to favor RVD, that tells me he won't win. Let ADR roll on as champ and start thinking of who will beat him for the strap. The Road to WrestleMania is not far off.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
James Wright: This is another match that slightly annoys me, only because the whole Hardcore Rules stipulation, while a welcome addition, feels like it was really tacked on for no good reason. I'm still pretty confused as to what the point of this PPV was since Hell in a Cell is a couple of weeks away and besides this match there are no real stipulations to set this PPV apart and it's not like any of these rivalries were dying for 'PPV quality' matches two weeks before another chance to do the same. I'm hoping that here the Hardcore stipulation is an excuse to let Sandow win the World title, have Del Rio lose and then take out RVD so he can take his break and have Sandow get his title win, hopefully leading to a multi-man match at Hell in a Cell since Del Rio vs. Sandow doesn't exactly scream money-maker to me.
Winner: RVD (New champion - followed by a MitB cash-in)
Michael Weyer: I know most are saying RVD's time, give him a run with the belt but Vince McMahon has a long memory and no doubt still recalls what happened the last time he tried that. It's his style of match so only makes sense Del Rio will manage to retain, no doubt after Ricardo turns on RVD to help him out. Expect a bit of a messy match but still watchable but no title change this time out.
Winner and STILL World Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Sean Garmer: Whether RVD's contract is up or if he is on a 90 day break I don't think it changes the outcome. WWE seems to want someone young or "of the future" to dispossess Del Rio of the World Title. At least with Hardcore Rules we might get a pretty good match out of this feud. The stipulation also leads me to think we might finally see a Sandow cash-in here too, but the question being asked is for this match, so that means…
Winner and STILL WORLD CHAMPION: Alberto Del Rio
Paul Lapointe: Hey it's that guy taking a 3 month hiatus who was on Superstars the other day, hey RVD. Anyway, most people know Rob is taking a breather in a week or two so unless the cash in happens, which it shouldn't he loses here. It's hardcore so I see Ricardo probably taking a Van Daminator by accident somehow or he is taken out. This leads to RVD taking his eye off the ball just long enough to be blindsided for the loss. Then the vicious side of ADR comes out and he mauls RVD giving him enough reason to take a three month hiatus until Royal Rumble. Who feuds with ADR next? It's a toss-up.
Jack Bramma: In an unexpected but pleasant surprise, since coming back, RVD has impressed and shown that he came back to work. He's not coasting or half-assing it at all like some others in his position would be prone to do. I had some reservations, but since coming back, RVD has had a string of good to great matches with Orton, Ambrose, ADR, Jericho and even some decent matches with Fandango and Ryback. I haven't been this pleasantly surprised with a vet's return since Jeff Hardy came back to the WWE in 2006. All that being said, this feud hasn't exactly lit the world on fire. RVD's on Mount Perpetually Over and his string of strong performances recently will continue garnering him strong pops and ADR is a maniac who armbars jobbers back to midcard purgatory and I love him for it. But no one cares. I haven't seen a great performer get this consistent and sustained of a push with TV time, victories, belt, etc. and the crowd not care at all and yet such is Del Rio's fate for the time being. Everyone knows at some point that Ricardo has to turn on RVD to go back with ADR and that RVD's contract situation prevents him from winning the belt so might as well get a move on.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton WWE Championship
Dino Zucconi: I'm definitely interested to see what happens at the conclusion of this match, as there are a couple ways I see it going- Orton cheats to win, or Bryan wins and is again screwed out of the title. Maybe they don't want to piss of cable companies again, so maybe it's a simple Orton win. Personally, I think it's time to just let Bryan be the friggin champ, but what do I know? I'm just a dumb internet fan.
Winner: And NEW WWE Champion... Randy Orton
Justin Watry: The obvious selection is Randy Orton wins. However, the obvious answer last month was Randy Orton as well. We all saw how that went. Plus, these two can only face each other so many times. I suspect it ends at Heck on a Deck. Thus, what would the best course be for the next three weeks? Bryan as champ fending off the heels? Or the face chasing Orton to get back "his" title belt? Both scenarios are fine, but my pick is Mr. RKO! If this thing is going to work out long-term for the Yes Man, he can't be a three-time champ within a six week stretch.
Winner: Randy Orton
James Wright: Will Daniel Bryan get yet another short reign as the WWE champion? This time perhaps lasting two weeks until Hell in a Cell? It is certainly possible, but this time I am hoping that is not the case. To be fair if Orton gets the belt here and Bryan gets it at Hell in a Cell that won't be all that much of a chase, so I'm not even sure if that is ideal. Honestly what I would like to see here is a ridiculously dusty finish where neither man gets the belt and it is still held up, and it stays that way until Survivor Series, where there is a traditional match up where its team Orton vs. team Bryan and the surviving team claims the belt for their captain, that way you could have HHH ask if the locker room will really fight for Bryan, can he be a locker room leader? And you could easily book it so that it ends up with Bryan vs. the whole of Team Orton, so probably the Shield, Big Show and Orton, and beats all of them to come out with the title, now that to me would be a big enough pay off for the whole Bryan angle, even if he only remains champion for like a couple of months after that. So that being said I am going to go out on a limb and say that there will be no winner here.
Winner: No contest/Draw/Double count-out
Michael Weyer: WWE is intent on continuing this for a while, knowing the money is in the chase right now. Yes, Bryan winning would be terrific but I don't see it happening now. Nope, Orton manages to cheat his way to victory to set up one final, odds-stacked-against-him battle against Bryan at Survivor Series where Bryan finally wins it. Right now, just a set-up for that as Orton gets it but under circumstances enough to warrant the rematch to finally close it out.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Randy Orton
Sean Garmer: Here we are again; WWE has booked itself in a hole and has the ability to go with logic to get itself out of it. Will WWE go with the same result of the past two PPV's just pull a surprise again? I sure hope not. Quite simply, WWE runs the risk of people not caring about their PPV's and shows. Unless you screw over Bryan and have it be corrected on the PPV itself, I think you run into making what you think is "unpredictable" seem predictable. It doesn't matter how many ways you concoct the same finish, it is still the same finish. Orton needs to win period. It doesn't have to be decisive, it can certainly be nefarious means or overbooking, but good lord let him win.
Winner and NEW WWE CHAMPION: Randy Orton
Paul Lapointe: The big question mark on the night. Do they give Bryan the title again and then screw him? Actually screw him and have Orton again win the title? Or find a way to screw the audience and leave it a no contest somehow so we have to buy HITC? I believe they expect this PPV to sell low and for it to be a pull for HITC in the end as we all should see the writing on the wall that Orton Vs Bryan is ending in the Cell before the full fledge HHH Vs The Roster Part Deux takes full effect for SS. Plus the WWE creative team even came up with a new word for Vacant in Abeyance to add to the WWE drinking game and I do not think the WWE braintrust would do that without wanting us to get more drunk while watching Raw. Plus Vince is coming back now to boost ratings on Mondays according to some so a screw job ending could bring him out to wonder whether HHH really does know what is best for business leaving the title in limbo. Plus Show is breaking down and is not booked, this flip flop title twister game is not good for prestige and the conspiracy about Best For Business needs to eke out a few flaws so I see overbook central WWE style. It could be fun as I can't fathom to guess how it really ends up, other than HHH walking out with the WWE title saying it's his, leaving once again a pissed off giant, a seething Viper and again, a disappointed Daniel Bryan.
Winner: WWE Creative!
Jack Bramma: Even if the booking has soured me a bit on the prospects of getting a satisfying conclusion here, the renewed mean streak from Orton has made him more interesting than he has been in months. He's had great match after great match wither Christian, RVD, Cody, Goldust, and Miz of all people and seems uncharacteristically motivated for a guy who gets most excited pounding the mat for his finisher. Even though the show has been on a hot streak in certain ways and very compelling, one of the biggest missteps is the inconsistency of Daniel Bryan's effectiveness as a top face and the show's lack of confidence in him as that top face. Coming out of Summerslam, it seemed like the WWE could do little wrong and reforming the Corporation around Trips as the new Vince to Orton's Rock and the Shield's Bossman/Shamrock/Test/Stooges was a great idea rife with possibilities. I was even OK with making DB eat shit for week after week after week mainly due to being outnumbered. In singles mtaches and in some beatdowns with the Shield, DB held his own and even had the advantage until Show or Orton interfered, so I'm fine with all that. But the fast count helped no one and now Bryan has gone from the lockerroom leader who beat Cena clean as a sheet to someone that needs Big Show's sympathy and his girlfriend to make Orton stop being such a bully like it's Revenge of the Nerds. DB probably comes out ahead tonight but his fate as a lame duck champ/top face has already been sealed until Superman Cena comes back.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Dino Zucconi: This looks to be the very definition of a placeholder card, outside of the Rhodes/Shield and Bryan/Orton matches. I won't be ordering the show, but that's not so much an indictment of the event itself. I think this could be a pretty entertaining card, with some really good matches taking place. We could also see the reign of Daniel Bryan start properly here as well. I'm thinking we won't, but I don't think ordering this show would be the worst thing in the world, either.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy.
Justin Watry: My prediction is WWE delivers a near record low pay-per-view buy rate. That is my official prediction. As for myself, I will tell you what. All of YOU can decide my TV viewing for Sunday night. If everyone else is buying this show legally, I will as well. If not, I will happily watch old tapes of Big Brother for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours on end.
Buy/No Buy: The choice is yours folks...
James Wright: While there are a couple of decent matches on the card it will probably be no better than Night of Champions and that really wasn't worth the money if you are paying. So going by the idea that I am recommending this to someone who will be paying the whole fee themselves I am going to say; no way brother!
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Michael Weyer: It looks okay but nothing spectacular. Punk/Ryback can be good and the main event promising but this is still a mostly filler PPV show to set up Survivor Series so I'd say best to just skip it out and save for the bigger card next month.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Sean Garmer: This has a better card than Night of Champions, but it also has the filler PPV status of NOC too. RVD vs. Del Rio is better on this PPV, the main event should have more time on this PPV, CM Punk vs. RyBack could be good, and Rhodes Family vs. Shield should give us some emotion. Hell, Brie vs. AJ could be decent too. But RAW this week made me feel like even WWE doesn't care about this PPV, so why should I invest $60 in it?
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Paul Lapointe: It's a throwaway angle-enhancing PPV with matches meant to lead to the payoff of multiple feuds that will not end on this night. Cobbled together with two matches announced the show before the big show and you have fill in time here PPV (Raw) but we have no commericals. It could be fun and surprising, it can go exactly as I expect in this marky fantasy booked internet of ours or it can swerve us all. Will it? I cannot say with confidence this PPV will surprise me all that much minus the main event and it's not enough for me to pony up cash for it. I like where the booking is going and it's going to the next PPV and SS and those PPV's if booked properly and built well I will pony up those dollar dolla bills.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Jack Bramma: A solid card on paper but one that feels like a pitstop on the way to bigger matches and more satisfying conclusions later. It's prime time for the faces to get some wins tonight, but who knows.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
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