The build-up to WWE Battleground has been excellent and suddenly Sunday's pay-per-view seems like a pivotal event, rather than a brief rest stop on the road to next month's SummerSlam. Not only is Brock Lesnar getting his first title shot since losing the belt (without getting pinned, mind you) at WrestleMania, but rumors are swirling that the Undertaker might be making a surprise return during Battleground.
Beyond a potential Dead Man sighting, there are lots of reasons to look forward to Sunday night's event. Let us count the ways.
Please note that due to Ryback's injury, it's possible that the former Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match will now be Big Show vs. The Miz one-on-one. It's also entirely possible that matches like Cesaro vs. Rusev or Nikki Bella vs. Paige may be added to the card at the last minute. But let's talk about the matches we know will DEFINITELY be part of the show.
Kickoff Match for the crown: King Barrett vs. R-Truth
What am I looking at here? King Barrett (née Bad News Barrett, née Wade Barrett) won the title of "king" by winning the King of the Ring tournament back in April. Lately, R-Truth has been parading around with a homemade crown and cape and carrying a plunger, fancying himself to be "King What's Up" based on a handful of victories over Barrett. Now this match at Battleground will officially be for the crown and the right for the winner to cal themselves "king."
Why you should care: R-Truth has been endlessly entertaining in this feud. But beyond that, a match to actually win the kingship is a legitimate throwback to the early-1990s WWF, where the title of "king" passed from Harley Race to Haku to "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to Randy Savage. Winning a monarchy via in-ring fighting? That's just good, pure pro wrestling right there.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
What am I looking at here? Sheamus, the pale fellow with the Zoidberg hair, is the current Mr. Money in the Bank, which means he has a briefcase he can cash in at any time for a guaranteed WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match. The lanky gentleman with the tattoos is Randy Orton. They have some history, but they're sort of just fighting because they have nothing better to do.
Why you should care: These guys are both tremendously good at pro wrestling, but there's just something anti-compelling about the two of them fighting one another. Hopefully this match will be an opportunity to buck that trend and leave us all pleasantly surprised.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
What am I looking at here? Bray Wyatt is a creepy Bayou preacher who believes he's more deserving of adulation and attention than the WWE's next golden child, Roman Reigns. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what this feud is about.
Why you should care: Wyatt has managed to really get under Reigns' skin as of late and has repeatedly caused the previously unflappable Roman to become thoroughly ... uh ... flapped. Reigns has shown some real animosity so far in this feud and he could really bring the thunder in this match. There's something extra-scary and impactful about a too-cool-for-school handsome prince threatening to cut the crap and just put a hurting on someone.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Prime Time Players (c) vs. The New Day
What am I looking at here? The Prime Time Players are entering their first pay-per-view defense of their tag team titles against the team from which they wrested them. (Literally!) The New Day, meanwhile, become more desperate and more maniacally positive with every setback. They continue to clap, but they appear to be getting dangerously close to snapping as well.
Why you should care: Two of the most entertaining tag teams in a while are the crown jewel of a division that keeps threatening to be rejuvenated. All five of the men in these two teams are super entertaining and we likely won't be tired of this feud for several more months. So let's keep enjoying it now!
WWE United States Championship Match: John Cena (c) vs. Kevin Owens
What am I looking at here? John Cena lost to Kevin Owns without the title in the line and then barely won a rematch last month. Owens is desperate to take the U.S. title away from Cena, but complicating matters are Rusev and Cesaro, both of whom Owens has run afoul of in recent weeks, keeping them from potentially taking the title from Cena.
Why you should care: Cena vs. Owens is the hottest feud of the past few months, perhaps of the year. They're going to attempt to tear the house down once again at Battleground, but to do that on a card with Brock Lesnar will require them to pull out all the stops. They'll have no problem doing that. And Rusev and Cesaro may very well make their presence felt, which means this match could set up for an ULTRA MEGA blow-off match at SummerSlam. As long as everything is great leading up to the finish, I think we'll all be super okay with that.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
What am I looking at here? Brock Lesnar is a terrifying sandwich monster who lives in the woods and spends his free time fighting bears with his anvil meathands. Seth Rollins is a scumbag who stole the world title and manipulated his friends into trying to fight Brock "Meatlord" Lesnar for him. Now all his friends are injured and gone and he's all on his own, desperate to prove himself to the entire world.
Why you should care: Any match with Brock Lesnar in it transcends pro wrestling and becomes an actual event. To complicate matters, you have Undertaker potentially returning to insert himself and confront Lesnar (the man who broke his unbreakable WrestleMania streak). At this point, it seems only Undertaker intervention can save Rollins from Brock Lesnar's pastrami-fueled nightmare rage, but it's also possible that Rollins could stun the entire world and do it on his own. It's also possible that Brock could take back his title!
I truly do not know what's going to happen in a world title match. As always, unpredictability in professional wrestling is always the best. Sit back and enjoy it, because this main event promises to be a wonderfully wild ride.
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