On July 24th, 2016, the WWE will air Battleground, the next PPV event, live from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on the WWE Network. As of now, the WWE has only one match announced for the PPV in the dream match between all three members of The Shield for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. And despite that match being under speculation, there are still a few matches that are likely to occur on the PPV. A rematch between AJ Styles and John Cena seems imminent as well as a rematch between Titus O’Neil and Rusev, however, there are a lot more matches that the WWE would need to make in order to fill up the card.
The Tag Team Champions, The New Day, would have surpassed the record held by Brian Kendrick and Paul London by then, and would be primed and ready to put over another tag team and lose the belts. The Intercontinental Championship, which was absent on the Money in the Bank PPV, needs to be defended at this PPV, the number one contender for the Women’s Championship needs to be determined, and a whole bunch of lower card matches need to be made to fill the card up.
So to give my perspective on how everything should go down, the following article will discuss the 15 Steps the WWE should take to make the Battleground PPV a good one.
15. Keep Golden Truth/Breezango Off the Main Card
This should really go without saying considering how no one really cares about this, but if the addition of the match between Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler at MITB was proof of anything, it’s that the WWE isn’t above putting nothing matches on the main card. The buildup that lead to the Golden Truth angle was unfortunately the longest built storyline the WWE had done up until that point, yet no one cares.
This feud doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as neither team seems to be benefiting from this. Tyler Breeze and Fandango, though on television more, have not looked any more credible than they had in previous months nor have R-Truth and Goldust gained a lot of crowd support. And since the WWE is clearly committed to this for some reason, then they need to keep this on the pre-show. At the end of the day, their matches won’t matter, so it may as well take place on the part of the show that doesn’t matter as well.
14. Tone Down the McMahon Segments
We can all see this coming before The Brand Split even takes place. With the way Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon interact in all of the backstage segments, it’s a no brainer that the WWE will still have these interactions continue as often as they can. Whether in their attempts to sign other wrestlers to their brand or to tease a potential Triple H-Shane McMahon match, their interactions will continue in some form.
So with that in mind, the best thing the WWE can do is to minimize how much Shane and Stephanie interact on the show. While they are important to the show and do make a lot of decisions relating to how the TV shows and PPVs will turn out, they are just authority figures who rarely get involved in the physical aspect of things. And since the physical aspect is crucial to the show, then maybe the WWE should avoid over-saturating the PPV with McMahons for the umpteenth time.
13. Make The Dudley Boyz Great Again
When looking at the current tag team division, there are a significant amount of interesting teams on the show. Whether it’s the comedic side coming from The New Day or Enzo & Cass or whether it’s the gimmickier side coming from The Breezango or The Vaudevillians, there are plenty of teams in the tag team division today. However, one Hall of Fame worthy team currently in the tag team division that has been significantly diminished since their return has been The Dudley Boyz.
Both Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley have made huge names for themselves in both WWE and ECW with their hardcore wrestling style and the fact that they have been relegated to pre-show matches is a travesty. One of the greatest teams of all time, who can still go, are playing second fiddle to Golden Truth and Breezango in regards to TV time and build. Maybe they shouldn’t be winning the belts again, but they deserve better than pre-show matches.
12. Book The Wyatt Family to Destroy The New Day
This past Monday Night Raw saw the return of The Wyatt Family which coincided with a run-in with The New Day and there was a lot wrong with this. For one, interrupting the seriousness of The Wyatt Family with the comedy of The New Day doesn’t sound right and its execution was typical for both teams. And if this was done to foreshadow a match for the Tag Team Championships, then the best course of action for both teams would be for The Wyatt Family to finally win some gold in the WWE.
By that point, The New Day would’ve already broken the record for longest reigning Tag Team Championships, which would put them in the perfect position to put The Wyatts over. But it can’t be in just a competitive match up if the WWE wants to make The Wyatts look good, it would need to be mostly one sided. That way The Wyatt Family can regain their credibility as they move on to the next storyline.
11. Book a Falls Count Anywhere Match Between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
Assuming that these men will not be competing for the Intercontinental Championship, having a match between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will help to make their feud feel more important. However, another regular singles match would accomplish nothing as the two men have already competed in matches where DQs and count-outs still matter. So to build off of the backstage brawls and fight on the apron that occurred with the two men, booking a Falls Count Anywhere match would make their match a little more interesting.
If the goal is to keep intrigue and interest in the feud between Zayn and Owens, then this would work well for both men. It’s been a while since the WWE’s last Falls Count Anywhere match and the brawl that resulted from their match on Raw has already set the stage for the next match in the story of Zayn and Owens. Another great match on the PPV card is all fans can ask for, so WWE might as well comply. This will probably the end of this long lasting feud as both wrestlers may find themselves on different brands.
10. Have Apollo Crews Fight Another Veteran
The match between Apollo Crews and Sheamus, while not that interesting, did give Crews a big win against a former World Champion and main event level Superstar in Sheamus. With that being said, most people wouldn’t be interested in seeing another match with the two of them as it wouldn’t do much for either wrestler if they traded wins back and forth for months, so having Crews find another veteran to feud with would do wonders for Crews’ credibility.
Since Crews’ debut, his win-loss record, lack of promos, and overall booking seems to be setting him up to follow in the footsteps of Neville, who eventually earned the moniker amongst fans as “The Man that WWE Creative Forgot.” His recent win against Sheamus was a good first step, but it needs to be followed up on in order to build up Crews as a credible Superstar. Whether it’s Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho, or whoever is available, another fight with another veteran would help to build up Crews even more.
9. Find a New Opponent for Baron Corbin
Speaking of WWE Superstars who need new opponents, Baron Corbin needs a new opponent more than anyone else. Corbin’s feud with Dolph Ziggler has been going on since his debut and it honestly hasn’t gotten any better. Their interactions on TV make most people consider changing the channel, the matches were about as good as can be expected, and the storyline it’s based off of is nonexistent. And considering how low on the totem pole Ziggler is, it really made no sense for Corbin to be having competitive matches with a guy who loses all the time.
Now that the feud is seemingly over, the WWE should find another wrestler for Corbin to fight and soon. Unfortunately, that won’t be so simple as the majority of the babyfaces on the roster are currently involved with feuds right now. And of all the realistic options for Corbin to fight next, the best one seems to be Kane. He is the only available wrestler with some credibility, so it would help to elevate Corbin if he was having competitive matches with one half of The Brothers of Destruction rather than Ziggler. Corbin could also potentially fight Cesaro.
No wonder the WWE is looking for so many former veterans once the brand split begins, as depth seems to be a problem especially when it comes to putting New Era Superstars over.
8. Change the Commentators During the Show
The Brand Split is set to take place on July 19th, on the same day that SmackDown goes live. So in order to make this brand split feel a little more important, the WWE should consider changing the commentators half-way into the show or at least between matches involving Raw and SmackDown Superstars. One of the noticeable takeaways from the brand split was the switching out of commentators when Raw wrestlers where fighting and when SmackDown wrestlers were fighting. When a Raw match was being called, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross would do the talking whereas a SmackDown match would have Michael Cole and Taz.
In 2016, the only people who call matches on the main roster are JBL, Byron Saxton (barely), and Cole. With the brand split officially back by that point, it would be a nice change of pace to have the WWE change the commentary team either at the half-way point of the show or switching between SmackDown and Raw matches. Not only would it shake things up but it would provide us a break from the often generic commentary of JBL and Cole with the small quips from Saxton.
7. Have AJ Styles Win Again
With the feud between John Cena and AJ Styles set to continue, the WWE needs to establish AJ Styles’ credibility once again and this can only be done by defeating Cena with little to no help from The Club. Their first match ended rather anti-climactically as The Club attacked John Cena while the referee was down and got Styles the win. With their next encounter (likely) set for Battleground, most of the fans would probably like to move away from another mess of a finish by having Styles win a little more definitively.
Now if anyone remembers Cena’s feud with Kevin Owens, then the formula will most likely be that Cena will win the next two matches, but who benefits from that scenario? Though it would be easy for the WWE to just give Cena a win here and continue the feud later on, having Styles win now would make his inevitable loss a little less damaging. Whether it’s via a roll-up, a weapon shot, or some slight interference by The Club, Styles needs to win the next match to retain any sense of credibility going forward.
6. Have an Intercontinental Championship Match
Since The Miz was out of action shooting for the next instalment in The Marine series, the Intercontinental Championship was not defended at the Money in the Bank PPV and wasn’t really missed either thanks to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. However, this month there is no big match that can take away from Intercontinental Championship not being there, which means the title probably should be defended at Battleground.
With most of the MITB participants are currently occupied with other feuds, the next Intercontinental Championship match has literally a couple of options for the next title match. To avoid an oversaturation of multi-man title matches, the WWE could either have a title match with either Cesaro or Chris Jericho. With Chris Jericho, the nine-time Intercontinental Champion could add another notch to his Hall of Fame worthy resume and with Cesaro he would get another significant accomplishment in his career to build his credibility up. Either way, the WWE can’t lose if they choose either opponent for The Miz.
5. Book Titus to get Closer to beating Rusev
The feud between Titus O’Neil and Rusev seems to be continuing and unlike the feud with Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, this feud seems to be picking up steam. The inclusion of the family element into the feud has added a layer to the title match that wasn’t there initially. Since the WWE is not relying on the anti-American champion and the American challenger storyline anymore, this would provide a great opportunity for O’Neil to get closer to winning the United States Championship. Even if the goal isn’t to put the title on him at some point, having him get more exposure will only help to improve his character as well as Rusev’s.
However, a crucial proponent of their next encounter should be that O’Neil doesn’t get defeated as easily as he was in their previous match. If this feud is to progress, then O’Neil should be booked to get closer and closer, leading up to some type of payoff.
4. #1 Contender’s Match for the Women’s Division
On this past Raw, we saw the return of Sasha Banks as she attacked Charlotte and rose the title above her head. If this is to foreshadow a match between the two, then the WWE should hold off on the actual match and make a number one contender’s match for the Battleground PPV instead of another tag team match or title match. It would be easy for WWE to book a match between Banks and Charlotte for the Women’s Championship, but considering the likeliness of the title not changing hands on a C-level PPV, the WWE might as well wait for SummerSlam for a genuine one-on-one match between the two top women of the WWE’s Women’s Division.
With Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Paige, and Natalya all in the title hunt at some point, this would provide the WWE with the perfect opportunity to book a Fatal 4-Way elimination match for the WWE Women’s Championship. This way the WWE can give Banks some credibility heading into her long-awaited title match at the biggest PPV of the summer.
3. Make Dean Ambrose Look Credible
Aside from Dean Ambrose winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship this past week, the WWE’s booking of The Lunatic Fringe has been atrocious. During the summer of 2015, Ambrose was undoubtedly the hottest act on WWE television. However, with the WWE focusing so much attention on Roman Reigns, Ambrose fell to the way side after suffering loss after loss to big names outside of the midcard.
So with his first PPV title defense coming up, the WWE needs to book Ambrose to look like a credible champion. If the WWE changes the main event or doesn’t change it, the fact remains that Ambrose has suffered multiple losses to both of his former brothers in The Shield. And with that in mind, it’s important that Ambrose look credible in his title defense and not be made to look like a loser as he was in previous encounters. The WWE doesn’t have the best track record with Money in the Bank winners and title reigns, but this is as good a time as any to make Ambrose into the star the fans want him to be.
2. If Possible, Book Brock Lesnar to Interfere
The fact that this dream match between all three members of The Shield is potentially happening so early is a bit of a downside since most fans wanted the match to take place at WrestleMania, or SummerSlam at the very least. And whether Reigns will still be booked in the match or if they take him out of it as a means to punish him for violating the Wellness Policy, the fact remains that this match needs an epic finish. However, if WWE booked this match in mind to either delay it with some sort of interference or to build up the second match at SummerSlam, then there is only one superstar who could interfere and make it epic, The Beast Incarnate.
He’d be somewhat justified considering he has faced all three members of The Shield in one-on-one matches, so him interfering and setting up a Fatal 4-Way at SummerSlam would be a pretty big match. This all depends on Brock Lesnar’s condition following his UFC match with Mark Hunt on July 9th, but if he is ready then doing this could hold off on The Shield’s triple threat match while simultaneously giving us a match that is big in its own right.
1. Keep Roman Reigns in the Main Event
By now, most wrestling fans have heard of Roman Reigns’ being suspended for violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy. The details of the violation have not come out, however, some fans have expressed the opinion that the WWE should punish Reigns even further by taking him out of the match. And while delaying The Shield triple threat would be welcomed, the execution of this as a way to punish Reigns would be ridiculous.
For one, the story between The Shield is a bigger drawing point from their current stars than any other possible match in the WWE. The only way this could somewhat make sense is if Reigns and Seth Rollins have a one on one match at SummerSlam while Ambrose takes on Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by himself, but that wouldn’t be as exciting as a Fatal 4-Way. Second, if they take out Reigns then the feud will dissolve to yet another match between Ambrose and Rollins for the umpteenth time. Maybe some fans will like that idea, but a dream match would be a bigger drawing factor than the constant rematch spamming that WWE has become notorious for. This is Reigns’ first offense after all and to de-push him because of this wouldn’t do the storylines justice. If there is to be punishment, it can occur at a later date, but for now the WWE should just continue with their storyline.
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