John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Stomping Grounds preview. Stomping Grounds is a PPV name? Yes, it really is. They have been using the tagline saying the show is about kicking ass and taking names, which is a classic phrase from movies and other things over the years. There are nine matches advertised with a one hour Kickoff Show at 6pmET/3pmPT and then the main show starts at 7pmET/4pmPT with an expected run time of about four hours. When it comes to WWE shows, you never really know how long it’s going to last. As always, you can watch the show live on Sunday night on WWE Network or watch it on demand.
The lineup is okay, but not great. I think they are missing a clear main event match because I could see Rollins/Corbin, Kingston/Ziggler or even Reigns/McIntyre as the last match, but none of them really stand out to me. There are also too many matches on this card that are rematches from shows like Super Showdown (which was bad), Money in the Bank and even WrestleMania over two months ago. Due to all of the rematches, the WWE product has become very stale although I think both Raw and Smackdown were better in their go-home shows this week.
I don’t think the card will be full of bad matches. I feel like we’ll get several good matches (around three stars out of five in my ratings system), but nothing will really stand out from the pack. I hope Joe vs. Ricochet does, but I don’t know if they will get enough time to do that. With no storyline that really stands out as being great and no matches that stick out as being special, it’s tough to be that excited about Stomping Grounds.
Joining me for the preview are Mike Holland and Matthew J. Douglas.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)
Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Mike: I’ve been fine with Tony Nese’s run as Cruiserweight champeen at this point, as a change needed to be made with Buddy Murphy heading to the main roster, but it’s been rather uninspired thus far. Nese’s in-ring work, like the bulk of the division, is without question largely excellent, but in terms of generating a true character and presentation that will achieve some level of notoriety, we are a long way from Murphy or Jack Gallagher. It’s nothing against Tony, per se, but either of the challengers would look better sporting the gold.
Tozawa has already had a couple of bites at this particular apple, though I completely acknowledge his ridiculous less-than-a-week reign as the Cruisers’ top dog was unfitting a man of his talents. It is the underappreciated Drew Gulak, though, who deserves a run with this belt. Gulak has been quietly stellar during his entire 205 Live tenure, whether it’s PowerPoint presentations or introducing his mat-based techniques to a more high flying roster. (What can I say, I’m a sucker for good mat wrestling. There’s a reason Dean Malenko is Top 5 in my world.) It’s high time for Drew to get the rub for a change.
Winner (and NEW Cruiserweight Champion): Drew Gulak
Matthew: I feel bad because I know that there are great matches happening on 205 Live pretty much every week, and that the fellas on that brand do pretty inspired work, but I simply don’t have enough time to consume all the content the WWE keeps pumping out every week. Which brings me to this match. I know nothing about this rivalry or lack thereof. I know nothing about how this came together, where the story may be headed, or who I’d like to see win. Yet still, I know this match will probably rock.
Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Tony Nese (because optimistically I’m imagining he’s been a solid Champion and should get to extend his run)
John: I’m glad that they are doing a triple threat because they have done singles matches so many times on PPVs that they feel repetitive. Gulak has done well of late and I think he has adapted to the WWE style well. Tozawa is a lot of fun to watch, as is Nese. Since Nese has held the title for over two months now, I think a title change is possible. I’m going with Gulak for the win just because I feel like they need to change it up. He can beat Tozawa to win, which can lead to Nese trying to win back his title and they can build up other contenders. They should have a good match, but as we know with Cruiserweight Title matches, the crowds don’t get into them that much due to 205 Live not being a big show.
Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Drew Gulak
The New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Mike: It’s been a parlor game of some renown determining which names jump ship from WWE to AEW ahead of their prime time TV debut this fall, but Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn would appear to be two guys who might want to at least think about it given their booking of late. Zayn, in particular, has borne the brunt of creative’s ill will, returning from injury to flounder about with ridiculous Q&A promos with very little to report about aside from offhand remarks about, you guessed it, AEW. It seems no matter what chapter of Sami’s main roster WWE career you turn to, you’ll find the pages a sad tale indeed.
It is for that reason I’m very torn about this match, which frankly feels like filler to me. The easy answer would be to take New Day to coast to a win, because the Canadian buddies just don’t do a lot of that pretty much ever. I’m hoping against hope that doesn’t happen here, not only because O&Z deserve better but also because showing some potential fractures in the stalwart TND relationship would add a dimension to Kofi’s title reign that has been sorely lacking.
Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Matthew: You know what I hate? The Wild Card rule. I only bring it up here because when the Superstar Shakeup occurred, I was kind of interested in seeing where Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens would end up independent of one another. Their stories have been so intertwined in the WWE, it was almost refreshing to imagine what each could do, now that they were on different brands and not bound together. Then this stupid Wild Card rule, and after what feels like minimal time apart, Kevin and Sami are attached at the hip once more. I guess the WWE can’t give the pairing a rest… and truth be told what else would they be doing?
All four guys in this match can go, and if given some time, I’m sure they can tell a pretty rad story. As a New Day sycophant, I must support my boys.
Winners: The New Day (because they rock of course)
John: It feels like Owens and Zayn have lost every match in the past three months. I know they haven’t, but I’m just saying that there’s been a lot of losing for them. That’s because there are babyface champions like Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston right now, so WWE feels like they need heels to put them over constantly, which is the role that Owens and Zayn have filled. Owens could be contending for the WWE Title again, but he didn’t want to go to Saudi Arabia for Super Showdown and that’s why Ziggler was brought back to be in that spot.
This match could be a way to give Woods and Big E a win to set them up as future Tag Team Title contenders, likely on Smackdown although it’s not like the brand split is enforced anymore. I’ll go with Owens and Zayn because they need it more.
Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis)
Mike: No matter what other nightmares have occurred weekly on WWE programming, one thing we’ve been able to count on as solid entertainment is, of course, Daniel Bryan. While Bryan’s tag team reign with Rowan hasn’t come close to reaching the heights of his WWE Title tenure, mostly due to the simple fact that they continue to leave him off of major cards or stuck in neutral on the pre-show, it’s been enjoyable nonetheless.
You could do worse for opponents than the very likable duo of Heavy Machinery, although the build for this (as with many matches on this questionable card) has been lacking to say the least. I think this has the makings of a great feud, since Tucker and Otis are the epitome of what Bryan’s excellent promos rail against. We just aren’t there yet. Heavy Machinery are more than capable of winning here, as they’ve been booked relatively strongly against generally lame opposition, but I’m unconvinced the time is right to take the straps off D-Bry and friend just yet. The tag scene on SmackDown specifically has been relatively uninspired, so here’s hoping this kicks off a series of matches to get things cooking.
Winners (and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): Daniel Bryan and Rowan
Matthew: I’m not really that into Heavy Machinery. Sorry. They just don’t really do much for me as a viewer. I kind of tune out when they come out and start checking my phone. Did you know how many scandals are happening on Love Island in the UK right now? I didn’t until Otis and Tucker hit the ring and I went down a google rabbit hole that led me to write-ups on said scandalous behaviour.
Where was I? Oh yes, they have a Tag Team Title match this Sunday. For reasons I don’t remember (must’ve zoned out). I don’t expect or want them to win. Keep the belts on the Planet’s Greatest Tag Team because there are far more interesting routes to go in the Tag Team Division going forward. Maybe a feud with Heart and Soul (the should be Tag Team of Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander).
Winners and Still Smackdown Tag Team Champions: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (because I can’t imagine Tucker and Otis with the Belts)
John: The tag team division on Smackdown is so thin right now that Heavy Machinery were basically put into this spot instead of having them beat other teams to earn the title shot. Yes, they did beat a couple of no name guys recently, but that’s hardly a credible win to build a team up. I think this will be one of those matches where Heavy Machinery comes close to winning several times, the crowd will get behind them (the fans really do like them), but they will come up short.
I’m okay with Daniel Bryan being a tag team wrestler for now, but he has been the best performer in the company since his heel turn last November. I want to see more of the “Planet’s Champion” this year. Don’t keep him in a tag team for too long. Bryan should be wrestling in main events. I guess the positive of being in a tag team is it won’t wear him down physically. Anyway, I expect Bryan and Rowan to retain while WWE hopefully builds up other tag teams (or uses this loss to keep building Heavy Machinery) to challenge them.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
Mike: I’m not necessarily against Lacey Evans being booked with another opportunity to unseat Becky Lynch, mainly because Evans has shown enough in her promos to keep me passably entertained. I wish I could say the same for Becky, but sadly without Ronda Rousey to belittle on social media, the shine has begun to wear a bit. I shudder to think that a bit of that could be due to her now highly public relationship with Seth Rollins, because badass Becky was a thing at some point, wasn’t it? This seems like Becky Lite, with a mushy relationship and much less intensity and pizzazz.
Evans already had a chance at Becky’s belt, though that encounter was overshadowed by Lynch competing in another title bout the very same night. So now WWE creative is left with the unenviable Sophie’s Choice of either having the promising Evans drop another match to the champ or Becky Two-Belts becoming Becky Nil-Belts. There is no question all of this could be leading to a surprise Lacey victory, but for my money I don’t see it happening here. Lynch’s second title drop should be more of a moment in my view.
Winner (and STILL Raw Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch
Matthew: This feud is still going? I’m legitimately stunned. I mean I could have sworn it was definitively shown that Becky was the better woman and was moving onto the next thing. I guess not and we are getting another round in this soon to be storied rivalry. I imagine we’ll one day tell our grandkids about how lucky we were to see the second high profile match between Becky and Lacey at Stomping Grounds (I hope that read as sarcastic, because as sarcastic as it probably reads, I assure you it is dripping with even more sarcasm).
Winner and Still Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch (because duh)
John: When Becky became “Becky Two Belts” at WrestleMania, my expectation was that she would lose the Smackdown Women’s Title first while holding onto the Raw Women’s Title longer. That’s what happened although I didn’t expect her to lose the SD Women’s Title in her first PPV title defense. Now that Lynch is mainly a Raw wrestler, I think it’s smart to keep the title on her long term. Plus, Evans is still green in a lot of ways even though WWE obviously likes her background as a US Marine and she’s got the tall, blonde look that Vince McMahon likes a lot. That match that Evans had with Charlotte Flair was awful while reminding us that Evans still has to improve. If they want to put the title on Evans later in the year then that’s fine, but I think it’s too soon to do it now.
Winner: Becky Lynch
United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet
Mike: We finally get to a match I am excited to see, both due to the fact that it’s a fresh pairing and also because both of the combatants can really get it done inside the squared circle. The entire Samoa Joe/Rey Mysterio thing has left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth, and while there can always be a legitimate creative reason for things being booked the way they are, I am starting to truly feel like Joe is just another monster made elsewhere being booked to oblivion by the oblivious. We’ll give him the US Title, sure, but every time there is a chance to take a major step forward we’ll backslide a bit to remind everyone he’s not our guy.
Ricochet is dazzling to watch, and as we’ve said a million times seemingly in these previews, another sterling example of what happens when someone with buzz gets called up. Following his odd pairing with Aleister Black, Ricochet is now free to pursue a solo career in the big dance and hopefully get some more eyeballs on his amazing offense. Does that begin with a title win here? I wouldn’t have an issue with it, but I can’t see them stop/starting Joe as champion yet again so soon. I hope not, anyway.
Winner (and STILL United States Champion): Samoa Joe
Matthew: This match came together pretty much a couple days ago. So there isn’t much to say as far as a rivalry. I’m hoping this can kickstart something longterm between these two superstars, because both are in dire need of a program they can sink their teeth into. Ricochet is a great replacement for Rey too, because of the high octane offence both bring to their bouts and their abilities to sell for Joe as diminutive heroes.
Both of these guys are incredible performers and I pray they are given the time to do something special here that gets us all interested in the next time they go head to head.
Winner and New United States Champion: Ricochet (because I have too many titles being retained on this show, so hoping for at least one switch)
John: This is one of my favorite matches on the card because it’s fresh and a lot of the show is full of rematches. I believe I wrote in the last Raw Deal review I did that they should build Ricochet up and have him win the US Title at SummerSlam. As I thought about it a bit more while writing this preview, my opinion has changed. I think they should do the title change right here, then continue the feud for another one or two PPVs and have Ricochet retain the title. The push of Ricochet is important. Get the title on him right here. Plus, Joe losing the US Title means that he can be pushed as a top heel going after the Universal Title again, which is where he should be. I hope they get close to 15 minutes to have a great match. Let this be a breakout performance for Ricochet on the main roster.
Winner and New United States Champion: Ricochet
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross)
Mike: If enthusiasm exists for another Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss contest, I’m “blissfully” unaware of it. (See what I did there?) This match bothers me from the get-go, starting with the point that Bayley is the Smackdown Women’s Champion and is defending against a competitor from the Raw roster. I get that people can show up on different shows every week, blah blah blah, but this stuff is getting so Mad Libs fill-in-the-blank scratch and sniff silly that it’s time to hoist the Brand Split up on its own petard and end the damn thing.
Rant over, most likely. The build going into this match is the presence of Nikki Cross, who appears to be aligned with Bliss following some silly Babysitter’s Club writing. I think Cross is a bit of a swerve here, as she is presented as unstable at best and will likely be more than happy to turn on Bliss and feud with her when things fall apart here. Sasha Banks may very well appear here, but to be completely honest I’d prefer she didn’t. This is Bayley’s moment, finally, and she’s doing well. Let’s not upset the apple cart and walk back her reign so soon.
Winner (and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion): Bayley
Matthew: I’ve always been a fan of Bayley. I think her ring work is underrated and that her character’s potential has often gone unrealized. I was thrilled when she became Smackdown Women’s Champion, and I’ve been really into her work since getting the title. Alexa has been on a bit of a strange run of late. Not really wrestling, returning, then not wrestling again. She had moments where she was kind of playing a hero, but then finds herself a heel again. I had thought they were building her and Nikki up for the Tag Titles, so this match and feud caught me a little off guard.
That said I really enjoyed their segment to build up this match on Smackdown. There was some pretty cool story stuff in there and it got me interested in seeing these two characters settle it in the ring.
Winner and Still Smackdown Women’s Champion: Bayley (because it means a lot to see her conquer her past pitfalls and evolve as a character and performer)
John: Their segment on the last Smackdown prior to Stomping Grounds was very good. Alexa’s gimmick as the “girl that likes coffee” is lame, but once she’s allowed to cut loose in a promo, she’s awesome and I like watching her. The fact that Bliss is a Raw wrestler getting a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Title is lame too although it’s a reminder of why we should not take this “Wild Card Rule” seriously when WWE chooses to ignore their own rules. Anyway, I think Bliss is just an opponent for Bayley to beat because Bliss won their feud in the past, so when you have Bayley get the win here, it shows that Bayley has improved. That’s the story they should tell. I think the finish will be something where Alexa wants Nikki to try to cheat for her, Nikki is reluctant to do it or fails at it and Bayley capitalizes to win.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon)
Mike: Ugh, ugh and double ugh. I hate everything about this putrid stink of a match, from the involvement of the supremely irritating Shane McMahon to the reminder that WWE already had the opportunity to book Drew McIntyre over Roman Reigns CLEAN in a way that made sense at WrestleMania and predictably blew it. McIntyre and Reigns as a feud is more than fine with me, but Shane McMahon’s fingerprints over everything can take something good and turn it into horror in a hurry. McMahon of course pinned Reigns in Saudi Arabia (verboten for anyone else on the roster, fine for the issuance of the sainted grapefruits) and here we go again. Just stop with the insanity.
Out of duty to TJR and the reading audience, I am compelled to offer a prediction on this match. I don’t see Reigns losing two big matches in a row, but I also can’t see them having the same result as the last time with Reigns winning a relatively boring, slo-mo affair. So, two predictions for the price of none: Shane McMahon chicanery provides another opportunity to humble Roman, and I contemplate the void from the confines of the water closet.
Winner: Either McIntyre by DQ, or no-contest
Matthew: Who could care about this match? We have a professional lackey in Drew McIntyre taking on Roman Reigns for the umpteenth time, with an overexposed Shane McMahon thrown in for good measure. Is there any doubt that this match turns into chaotic scene involving Shane, The Revival, The Usos, The Miz and whoever else they can throw out there to make things seem unpredictable and crazy?
I don’t know how accurate reports of wrestlers being frustrated with Shane’s current push, but I can tell you that I am. It’s not so much what he’s doing but how much he’s doing. He’s all over these shows, in a way that is quite frankly a waste of my damn time as a viewer. And for all those that say I don’t have to watch, trust me, I skip out on a bunch of his segments. If I skipped out on any more, I could get through Raw and Smackdown in a breezy 45 minutes… combined. There are countless more interesting things that time could be spent on. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be talking about Roman and Drew.
Winner: Drew McIntyre (because of the chaotic schmozzy finish I can see coming a mile away)
John: This is a rematch from WrestleMania when Roman Reigns beat Drew McIntyre clean in about ten minutes. Two weeks ago, Reigns lost to Shane McMahon at Super Showdown in an average match thanks to McIntyre interfering. If Roman Reigns loses this match, that means it will be two straight PPV (if you want to call Super Showdown a PPV) losses for him in just over two weeks. McIntyre will likely have Shane in his corner for this match while guys like Elias and The Revival may be around too. It’s classic WWE booking to have the babyface deal with the corrupt boss, but the difference is this is not leading to more viewers or bigger crowds the way Austin-McMahon did twenty years ago.
I want Drew to be a main event heel. I just don’t think this feud is working that well due to Shane being too involved. I’m going with Reigns for the win and it might be a disqualification. I think if McIntyre goes over then it would be a way to set him up for a Universal Title shot soon. However, I have a tough time going against Reigns. The chances are good that it’s going to be a cheap finish rather than anything clean, so if Drew wins it will be cheap like Shane’s win over Roman. If Roman wins then he might get his ass kicked after the match by the heel group in order to keep them strong.
Winner Roman Reigns (It might be DQ.)
WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Mike: Unfortunately for this big title match, it doesn’t feel very fresh. This is ground we’ve covered many, many times before, and while both guys are more than talented, I can’t say I have a lot of enthusiasm going into this one. Perhaps that’s due to the reign of Kingston, whose various feuds since unseating Bryan for the title have been less than inspired. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of Ziggler, who is finally being utilized again but merely repeating the trope of “it should have been me” like some muscle-bound Tonya Harding. Or maybe it’s that the only wrinkle thinly disguised here is the presence of the steel cage, meant to add some foreboding for Kofi as it keeps his friends at bay but likely going to serve as the impetus for another bland and boring, current WWE-era cage match. In my WWE experience, the cage doesn’t work far more than it does. I’m okay with hauling it out for special occasions and special measures, but here it just feels tacked on because it is.
It’s not to say this bout is bad, as it’s reasonable enough. It just feels as reheated and uninteresting as most of the rest of this card. It’s pretty clear to me that Kofi is a stopgap champion, so the only real question is whether he hangs onto the belt until inevitably dropping it prior to Smackdown’s upcoming national exposure. For my money I would say he does. Ziggler is a credible enough champ, to be sure, but I see no reason to hand him the gold when the real story is going to be told down the line. I get the sense from Smackdown that everyone is biding their time for later. The unfortunate by-product of that way of thinking is that decent matches and competitors get lost in the shuffle. We could have had it so much better.
Winner (and STILL WWE Champion): Kofi Kingston
Matthew: I’ve loved the way that Kofi has been booked as Champion. He has plenty of strong wins under his belt and isn’t being made to look like a fluke or a joke. As somebody that dreamt of him becoming Champion, this is beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how things have been unfolding with him. He’s an awesome babyface Champion.
I’ve also really quite enjoyed this feud with Dolph. Dolph seems to have gone to the Triple H school of longwinded promo delivery, but the main point of him believing that it should have been him that found himself elevated into the main event of Wrestlemania works for me, because it makes sense for his character to feel that way about the situation. Now do I wish he had changed something about himself after being away for a while…yeah I do. But I guess I can’t always expect evolution or change to these characters.
I thought they were shortchanged on time in their first match (barely over 10 minutes I read, key word being read, because I wasn’t watching that show). Hopefully, they are given close to 20 to put on a show inside the steel cage. This Kofi run has been too good to be true and I have to actively convince myself that a shoe isn’t about to drop at any moment. I’m riding with my guy!
Winner and Still WWE Champion: Kofi Kingston (because I never want this magic to stop)
John: I think Ziggler is just a guy for Kingston to beat and there’s not much more to it than that. Ziggler was on a “WWE vacation” as he put it earlier in the year, he worked the Royal Rumble and was brought back for Super Showdown because Kevin Owens refused to work that show. I’m not sure who Kingston is going to feud with after this, but I would be shocked if Kingston were to lose the WWE Title in this match. They should have a pretty good match as usual, but WWE cage matches don’t excite me much. It’s not a gimmick that the average fan would consider a draw, plus we just saw Shane vs. Miz in a Steel Cage match last month.
A reason for WWE to take the WWE Title off Kingston is because Smackdown ratings are poor right now. The viewership numbers on Smackdown go down nearly every week (it was around 1.8 million this week) and they’re down about 20% of where they were at last year. If we’re going to praise the main champions when things are going well then the main champions will likely get some heat for when things are not going well. I like Kingston and I think booking him to win every match he’s had in the last couple of months is smart, but he might be losing that WWE Title soon. I don’t know if it’s going to be Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens or even Brock Lesnar. I sure hope it’s not going to be Shane McMahon. I just get the sense that Kingston’s run as WWE Champion might not last much longer.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Note: Corbin gets to pick the special referee, but no name has been announced yet.
Mike: This is a classic case of the stipulation being far more interesting than the match itself. That’s an especially bad sign when it’s for the Universal Championship, ostensibly the promotion’s biggest deal. Seth Rollins has had a rather “meh” (to use the scientific vernacular) reign for me, meaning it’s been decent but without too many big moments. A lot of that has to do with WWE’s insistence to have Baron Corbin of all people be at the top of his challenger list. Whatever WWE’s fascination with Corbin is, it just needs to stop already. I have heard the arguments that he generates heat, and there’s no doubt he does. It’s just all the wrong kind for all the wrong reasons. Corbin doesn’t belong at the top of this card and he certainly doesn’t belong in the critical match on said card. It’s an exercise in annoyance and frustration.
I wouldn’t put much past Vinnie Mac’s booking, but I don’t see Corbin really having any chance winning here unless it’s to allow Lesnar to immediately cash in and beat him. I look at this more as Corbin trying and failing to outsmart Rollins while furthering the storyline of Lesnar cashing in the briefcase. (I’ve written recently about the whole briefcase fiasco, but it’s Waiting for Guffman at this point. In terms of him never arriving, not my enjoyment level.) This leaves the only real issue to concern ourselves with, that being who the special guest referee is, which incidentally is another angle that was supposed to have been resolved about seven shows before now.
The natural choice to me in that regard is Paul Heyman, who could easily manipulate Corbin into thinking he was stacking the deck while really allowing for his client to blindside Rollins and get the drop on him after his victory. Should it, in fact, be Heyman, I think Lesnar cashes in and wins the Universal Title back. If Brock appears on this show, it could only be to win the belt. I’m not really loving that result personally, but I think it closes the show with a bit of shock value which WWE can hope carries into their next couple weeks of programming. That’s likely the best they can do with a main event so questionable.
Winner (and STILL Universal Champion): Seth Rollins, but Lesnar cashes in and wins
Winner and New Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
Matthew: I can’t begin to try to care about this match. I don’t care about Baron Corbin vs. Seth Rollins. Seth caught fire last year but it’s all but extinguished for me now. I don’t find him or his character interesting or compelling. He’s rather ordinary. His matches can be phenomenal but as a personality, he bores me.
Do I need to explain why I’m not into Baron Corbin?
This match is not meant for me I suppose and thus I resolve not to lay my eyes on it. I wouldn’t watch it on a train. I wouldn’t watch it on a plane. I wouldn’t watch it with a normal referee. I wouldn’t watch if the official was Keanu Reeves. Who cares who is donning the hallowed striped shirt? Does it matter, even minimally? We all know how this story ends.
Winner and Still Universal Champion: Seth Rollins (because you really think they’d put the title on Corbin in this landscape?)
John: The special guest referee storyline is a way to differentiate it from their last match. I don’t mind having a surprise as a special referee either because Corbin’s a heel. Fans today get so mad about the Lesnar teased cash-in and things like Corbin not announcing his referee choice. Guess what? He’s a heel and heels are supposed to lie! I’ll never complain about a heel lying to me. That’s their role. I have no idea who the special guest referee will be. I’m not even going to guess.
I don’t think this is a very interesting matchup at all and I think WWE knows that too, which is why they did the special referee stipulation. I think Corbin is just a guy for Rollins to beat. The next PPV could be a multi-man or maybe they will try to get Drew McIntyre or Samoa Joe ready for Rollins. My feeling on Brock Lesnar is that he’ll become WWE Champion either at SummerSlam or the first Smackdown on Fox in October. I think Lesnar targeting Rollins is all a smokescreen to fool the fans, but I could be wrong on that. I’m just saying it’s a possibility.
Anyway, this should be a win for Rollins over Corbin, who needs to change his ring gear. The restaurant waiter look has got to go. I’m surprised Vince McMahon allows it. Their last match was fine, but I don’t think the crowd cares too much about it, nor do they think of Corbin as a credible threat to the Universal Title. Hopefully, a Rollins win here is the end of this feud.
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Mike: Samoa Joe/Ricochet. Not even close.
Matthew: I think the matches that have the best chance to deliver the goods are Kofi vs. Dolph and the Cruiserweight Title Match.
John: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet.
The Match I Care About The Least
Mike: Rollins/Corbin. Sad state of affairs.
Matthew: I hate to say it, but Rollins vs. Corbin.
John: Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans. I like Becky a lot, but it’s hard to be excited about Lacey Evans matches.
Mike: I’ll go Kingston/Ziggler in the cage. Should be competitive and the cage adds time.
Matthew: Roman vs. Drew.
John: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet.
Mike: Bryan/Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery. Big men don’t do long matches generally.
Matthew: Smackdown Tag Titles.
John: Bryan/Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery. I agree with the others that it shouldn’t be too long.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Mike: Sad to say I am going with a 3.5 here. Is this a special event or an episode of Raw? Even your doctor doesn’t know for sure.
Matthew: It’s a lowly 2.5 from me.
John: I’ll go with a 5.5 because as I said earlier, there’s enough talent on the card to deliver some good matches. I just don’t have high expectations for anything to really stand out. I also think the storylines are lacking, so that hurts the show as well.
John: I’ll be back with a review of Stomping Grounds on TJRWrestling.net live on Sunday night, so check it out during the show or after it’s over.
Mike – @DharmanRockwell
Matthew – @MJDP_GSE
John – @johnreport
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