So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
Follow @Colohue for updates.
1. Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs Heavy Machinery (Smackdown Live Tag Team Championships Pre-show)
This is a guess for the pre-show by the way.
Heavy Machinery have had a good run of victories en route to Stomping Grounds – a storytelling device last used this time last year with the rise of Becky Lynch. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan and Rowan have mostly been focussed on doing as they’re told by Shane McMahon. With this in mind, the fresh newcomers picking up wins and sneaking up on the arrogant champions could well result in the titles changing hands.
The tag team fields on both brands are at best confused at the moment so it’s very hard to make predictions knowing literally anybody could be the next challenger. Logically, I would be looking at who could challenge Bryan and Rowan next but nobody is really being built in the tag divisions other than Heavy Machinery.
So why not?
Winner: Heavy Machinery
What If?: This is the moment for Bray Wyatt to retrieve his most devoted follower?
2. Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa (Cruiserweight Championship Pre-Show)
I always end up putting the Cruiserweight matches in the pre-show and I’m not happy about it.
As an only occasional 205 Live watcher, I’ve not seen enough to Tony Nese to really know what’s going on. Cruiserweight champions have gone viral by and large when you consider that Neville, Enzo and Buddy Murphy have all held the belt. Nese not so much unfortunately. That said, we have three prominent characters involved in this.
Nese, Gulak and Tozawa have been wrestling for 205 Live since the beginning of time. They’re established, talented and very creative. This is essentially the moment that announces the next generation of Cruiserweights. For me, Tozawa is an outlier in this particular match though.
Nese could do with a win to really enforce his title run and further develop his starpower. Gulak could use a win becaue his title win could not possibly be any more overdue. Tozawa seems unlikely to be the winner. This could go a lot of different ways.
Winner: Drew Gulak
What If?: This ends up being the match of the night?
3. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The New Day
If you’re going to open a show, open it with Big E’s voice.
Despite expecting so many heel wins already, the logical move is to make sure that Woods and Big E lose this match. Owens and Zayn could do with a few wins given that they’re essentially in the jobbing to the champs role. Also, it sets a precedent of doubt that Kofi Kingston might be losing the title later in the night.
What we do have and what can’t be taken away from this match is that we have four tremendous wrestlers competing in a match. This could be very, very good.
Winner: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
What If?: Dolph Ziggler gets involved to ensure that Kofi’s head isn’t in the game?
4. Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (Smackdown Live Women’s Championship)
This is another good little story that’s been going on in the background.
It’s been two years since the last Bliss vs Bayley feud and both women are in very different positions right now. When Bayley first stepped onto SmackDown Live, her arrival was met with scattered boos. On Tuesday night, there were open Bayley chants. This feud is working.
Two years ago we had This is your life. This time we had Moment of Bliss and that was far, far superior. The writing and the acting has come on so much.
Nikki Cross is undoubtedly a key player here but we can’t continue to burial of Bayley that Bliss has been a part of in the past. This has to be Bayley’s moment.
What If?: The double turn comes and Bayley turns heel without being a heel?
5. Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet (United States Championship)
This is Ricochet’s third title shot since arriving on the main roster; one more than Bray Wyatt.
The strength vs agility competition could be fantastic. Brock vs Styles, Bryan or Balor is a perfect example of that and both of these men are perfectly capable of putting on a tremendous show. This should also help Joe’s title run, which has been slowed down by a feud with Rey Mysterio beset with bad luck and injury.
Is it Ricochet’s time? I don’t think so, not yet. It’s possible that Ricochet will immediately get the push aimed for Mysterio but it makes more sense to me for Joe to now have a longer title run. Both men should look good coming out of the match but I wouldn’t predict a title change.
Winner: Samoa Joe
What If?: The match is this generation’s Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio?
6. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship Cage Match)
Both of WWE’s top champions are having great runs so far with a lot of defences and some tremendous performances that have really caught the support of the fans. I can’t see that changing now. Ziggler was an emergency replacement for a Kevin Owens who would not go to Saudi Arabia, meanwhile Ziggler’s moment has definitely passed at this point.
Ziggler is an easily recognised name who puts on good matches and sells brilliantly. His career is unquestionably winding up now though. With Summerslam coming up, this isn’t a feud that I expect to see continuing beyond tonight.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
What If?: Shane O’Mac gets involved, because we don’t see much of him, right?
7. Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans (Raw Women’s Championship)
Lacey Evans vs Charlotte Flair was a bad match, but the first Evans vs Lynch was actually quite good. It’s at least a positive thing that Evans has been in the ring in the build up this time. Last time around she’d had a Rumble appearance and a squash match in four months.
What we’ll see I’m not sure. Flair and Lynch are both talented ring generals; a point which isn’t made often enough. Not that Evans’ offence is a little more familiar, it should be easier to put together a good match and adapt on the fly. I’ll certainly give it a shot but I don’t think Evans is ready for a title reign.
Winner: Becky Lynch
What If?: Becky goes from Becky two belts to Becky no belts in two months?
8. Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
In a rematch from Wrestlemania, which we’ve already seen on WWE TV, Reigns will tangle with McIntyre. This continues to be very good for McIntyre due to the high level of exposure but as of yet these two haven’t been able to really create what they’re capable of.
Reigns won at Wrestlemania in his big feel good moment. Now, to stop the boos from creeping back, we need to stop with the big feel good moments. If Roman can go on a year long losing streak it will be the absolute best thing for him long term. It would be a big help for Drew to actually get a win at some point.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
What If?: Shane McMahon is accidentally destroyed by a spear and off TV for the next fifteen decades?
9. Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Universal Championship w/ Special Referee)
Logically, Paul Heyman should be the guest referee. Brock Lesnar is the only one who still has any real storyline in place to take on the role but I can’t imagine him actually doing any refereeing for even a second. Imagine him kneeling down to count a pinfall. It doesn’t work, does it?
Baron Corbin is now in his fifth year on the main roster. He gets great heat and delivers some very refined and unique offence. Is he ready to be a Universal champion? I don’t think so. I like the guy but he’s been so all over the place and his storylines have barely ever involved the pursuit of championships.
Let him chase another title for a little while and give him a good run of victories that he actually earns and that may change. The End of Days hasn’t been kicked out of. He’s entering his fifth year and his finisher still hasn’t been kicked out of. That is a tremendous achievement and I really hope Seth doesn’t spoil that.
Seth continues to get better and better, especially with his new, more aggressive attitude. Long may it continue.
Winner: Seth Rollins
What If?: The special guest referee is Jon Moxley?
I’ll see you for a live tweeting session of Stomping Grounds 2019.