WWE presents their first SmackDown exclusive Battleground event on Sunday night, live from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Wells Fargo Arena was famous for being the place where Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble back in 2015 and was booed out of the building.
Philadelphia has a die-hard wrestling crowd and one that isn't shy when it comes to telling wrestlers how they feel about their performances, which WWE have already learned so many times.
Battleground is being built around two huge matches: one being for the WWE Championship inside The Punjabi Prison between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton, and the other seeing the return to pay-per-view for John Cena as he battles Rusev in a Flag match.
The show is the final event before SummerSlam next month, so it will be interesting to see what shape many storylines take heading into "The Biggest Party of the Summer." Here are 10 of the boldest predictions ahead of the event.
10. The Show Will Not Sell-Out
Last year's Battleground saw the highly anticipated Triple Threat match between all three members of The Shield. This made the show appealing to the WWE Universe. This year the build up has centred around Jinder Mahal and a return match that the fans didn't really enjoy all that much the first time around.
WWE reportedly had to drop the price of many tickets in hopes that the arena will at least be half packed and in full voice on Sunday night. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that WWE has been struggling ever since Jinder became WWE Champion. It is now becoming even more apparent that he just doesn't fit as the face of the brand.
9. Tamina Will Become The Number One Contender For The Women's Championship
Another multi-woman match takes place at Battleground on Sunday night with five women fighting it out to become the #1 Contender to the SmackDown Women's Championship, which has been held by Naomi since WrestleMania.
Naomi and Miss Money in the Bank, Carmella are the only two women on the SmackDown roster who are not included in the match since Lana, Tamina, Charlotte, Natalya, and Becky Lynch will all be fighting it out for a chance to meet Naomi at SummerSlam. Tamina and Naomi are family and it seems that the daughter of Jimmy Snuka has Lana on her side as well, which could become interesting if Tamina is pushed towards the title. The other women on the roster could create a much bigger feud if Charlotte turns heel, so Tamina could be free to fight Naomi in just over a month's time, which could be the best option for SmackDown right now.
8. The Fashion Police Will Be On The Card
Tyler Breeze and Fandango haven't officially been given a match on the card for this weekend's Battleground event. But The Fashion Police are teasing that they could be part of proceedings.
Breeze and Fandango are still trying to figure out who destroyed their office and this could lead to a match against a mystery opponent on Sunday night. The Ascension were the men who stepped up to the duo last month but it could be someone different this Sunday, with speculation suggesting that a new Tag Team could be called up from NXT or that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan could be reformed and make a long awaited return. Either way, it will be interesting to see who steps up on this weekend.
7. AJ Styles Will Defeat Kevin Owens
It was a huge shock last week when AJ Styles defeated "The New Face of America" Kevin Owens at a WWE Live Event at Madison Square Garden. At this point, Owens will do anything to get that title back.
AJ has never needed a title to remain relevant. Much like Bray Wyatt, he doesn't need a title to prove he's good at what he does. But now that he has one, he definitely won't be giving it up easy. AJ and Owens have a lengthy history and if AJ retaining his title it allows this feud to continue heading into SummerSlam.
6. Tye Dillinger Will Defeat Aiden English
Aiden English is struggling to keep his head above water on the SmackDown roster right now. Tye Dillinger is pretty much in the same position but he has already defeated Aiden Engish on a Kickoff Show once, so it won't be hard for him to do it again.
Dillinger was a huge star in NXT and he needs to find a way to pick that up on the main roster. English was a star when he was alongside Simon Gotch and ever since The Vaudevillians were split, English has taken a talent enhancement position on the Blue Brand. It will be interesting to see these two combine and create a tag team like Cesaro and Sheamus have over on Raw since both men are struggling when it comes to their singles careers, but the result here can only really go one way.
5. The Usos Will Retain Their Tag Team Championships
The Usos and The New Day have locked horns ever since the history making trio made their way over to SmackDown Live a few weeks ago. Their rap battle definitely turned a few heads and even though The Usos won via count out back at Money in the Bank, they are still considered underdogs going into this match.
The New Day will always have an extra man they can use to their advantage, but with SummerSlam on the horizon, it feels like The Usos could have another trick up their sleeves and be able to retain their championships once again. This would set up what could be a stipulated match between the two teams at SummerSlam. This feud has so much potential, WWE just need to allow it to slowly build.
4. Baron Corbin Will Defeat Shinsuke Nakamura
The feud between Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura over the past few weeks has reached boiling point now. One man needs to come out on top on Sunday night. Corbin is Mr. Money in the Bank and his feud with Nakamura is allowing him to gain the credibility that he needs to make that step up to the WWE Championship picture. Nakamura is doing a fantastic job of making Corbin look like a star.
Sunday night needs to see Corbin walk out as the winner over Nakamura if he wants to be seen as a worthy Mr. Money in the Bank when it comes to stepping up to challenge Jinder Mahal or Randy Orton in the near future.
3. Rusev Will Defeat John Cena
Battleground is famed for being one of John Cena's favourite pay-per-view events. So it comes as no surprise that the 16-time World Champion has made his return to compete at and reignite the feud he once had with Rusev.
John Cena came out on top in the feud he had with Rusev a few years ago but it is finally time for Rusev to step up and for John Cena to put the Bulgarian star over. Rusev needs Cena to give him this boost and a Flag match it could easily be done without anyone looking like they have been buried or like they look weak. Moving forward this could be a huge feud for both men once again, but Rusev really needs to come out on top this weekend.
2. Jinder Mahal Will Retain The WWE Championship
Jinder Mahal was given the WWE Championship in what was seen as a split decision by the WWE Universe. Some saw this as a positive move for the championship and some saw him as not worthy of the belt. Since he took the biggest title in WWE the company has had issues with ticket sales and with SmackDown ratings. But they are reluctant to take the belt from Jinder just yet.
There are rumors that suggest that John Cena will be the one to take the title away from Jinder, but it is hoped that this isn't the case. What is known is that even though it's rare that a star competes in their own match and wins, Jinder could be walking out with the title on Sunday night, since The Singh Brothers are still seen as a huge advantage.
1. Baron Corbin Will Cash In His Money In The Bank Contract
If Baron Corbin is able to defeat Nakamura on Sunday night, then Jinder should definitely be looking over his shoulder for more than just Randy Orton. The Punjabi Prison match could take it out of Jinder and if Corbin thinks he's weakened then he will try to take advantage.
If WWE are reluctant to admit that they were wrong with Jinder as WWE Champion, then a cash-in would be a great way to cover their tracks as well. It would also be a great way to get the WWE Universe talking about Battleground, because the event right now seems to be building to be one of the most underwhelming of the year. This could be WWE's chance to save it.
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