The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of WrestlingINC.com or its staff.
There have been plenty of complaints headed into WWE Battleground: the build, the rematches, and the short three weeks since Night of Champions. So what do you do? Ever since I was a child, I heard the same cliché about complaining: don’t complain unless you can suggest a solution. Or something like that…
A WWE Battleground Alternative: The King of the Ring
WWE King of The Ring (hereby referred to as KOTR) is an event that many old school fans (like myself) hold near and dear to their heart. In its original form, the one-night, 8-man bracket offered a thrilling ride from start to finish. The WWE could have maximized their three weeks by building this tournament, along with a few other matches, for the early October pay-per-view.
Here is my proposed card:
Kickoff Match for the Divas Championship: AJ Lee (champion) vs. Brie Bella
It pains me to say this, but Brie Bella captures the Divas Championship?much like I expect at the actual early October pay-per-view, Battleground.
KOTR Quarterfinal Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Big E. Langston
In my fantasy booking scenario, Big E. picks up the win in an exciting opener. As I don’t have The Wyatt Family on the card, they can interject themselves at Kofi after this match is over.
KOTR Quarterfinal Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Antonio Cesaro
A potential show stealer early in the card, Ziggler bumps like a champ before hitting a Zig Zag out of nowhere for the exciting victory and a date with former foe Big E Langston in the first semifinal.
KOTR Quarterfinal Match: Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel vs. Santino Marella
I know what you’re thinking…Santino? Even though it’s fantasy, I try to be as realistic as possible. The WWE is pushing Santino at the moment, and this booking makes sense. And based on that push, I am calling for Santino to pick up the surprise win, via roll-up. Don’t worry, Axel gets his heat back when he successfully defends the Intercontinental Championship against Santino on the following Monday’s Raw.
KOTR Quarterfinal Match: United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz
Miz puts up a great fight, but the defacto leader of The Shield and reigning United States Champion advances to the semifinals with a clean pinfall victory over the former WWE Champion.
Non-Tournament Match: Daniel Bryan, CM Punk vs. Ryback & Randy Orton
It’d be very easy for Triple H to make a deal with Paul Heyman that creates the Ryback & Orton team, and Bryan & Punk are then easy opponents. When you only have three weeks, you have to keep it simple (stupid). Bryan gets the pinfall on Orton to continue the build to their blow-off at Hell in a Cell.
KOTR Semifinal Match: Big E Langston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Familiar match-ups aren’t new for the King of the Ring, and this would be an exciting return of their prior battles. Different ending?in fact, a Big Ending as Big E gets the surprise win over Dolph and advances to the finals.
KOTR Semifinal Match: Santino Marella vs. Dean Ambrose
No Milan Miracle in Buffalo as Dean Ambrose overcomes a game Santino Marella, scoring another clean victory.
Non-Tournament Match: Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield’s Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
The same build as WWE Battleground, as this is the most intriguing match on that card. I’d imagine things go just as planned, where Cody & Goldie pick up the win and keep the entire family employed.
KOTR Final Match: Big E Langston vs. Dean Ambrose
Big E is the type heel that garners support from the fans, and The Shield is always over. I’d actually prefer to see Langston vs. either Reigns or Rollins, but I have to try to stick to as closely to the current-day WWE as possible. Ambrose is the future of the company, and the current United States Champion. He’s involved in the company’s top angle, and he doesn’t need a win here. Big E Langston survives Ambrose’s onslaught (including some brutal heel work when the referee is down) to become the 2013 King of the Ring.
World Heavyweight Championship, Hardcore Rules: Alberto Del Rio (champion) vs. Rob Van Dam
Since this is my fantasy booking, I’m sticking with my actual Battleground prediction (reprinted ahead). Rob Van Dam captures the World Heavyweight Championship following a Van Terminator. His reign (and current WWE contract) are short lived, as Damien Sandow cashes in his Money In The Bank briefcase to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, obtaining a new personal ring announcer in the process. Damien and Ricardo Rodriguez stand tall on the stage to close the pay-per-view broadcast.
My main concern with this card is it having 10 matches on the pay-per-view broadcast. But this show is 180 minutes long, and with some good timing and an upbeat pace, this can be achieved. The angles that need to happen?The Rhodes Family winning their jobs back and RVD beating Alberto Del Rio?take place, we get a rare World Heavyweight Championship match in the main event, and a star is born in Big E Langston. We’re already building Hell in a Cell with the mid-show tag team match, and the WWE even gets their E! Total Divas footage as part of the kickoff show. If you don’t like having the Divas Champion in the Kickoff Match, one of the first round matches can be swapped out.
Moving forward from this card, I’d actually have Triple H campaign for Big E Langston to join his cause, leading to a “What will Big E do?” storyline that makes him out to be a big deal. Either direction can make him a bigger star, with a feud with Big Show following his decision. Don’t like Big E Langston as King? Swap him with Antonio Cesaro, he was my second choice.
You might say this sounds like a glorified Raw, and that may be true. But that sounds better than what I’m hearing about Battleground! In comparison, I believe that this three week build would have provided plenty of time to prepare us for a 2013 edition of the King of the Ring?and that’s best for business!
Official (and bold) WWE Battleground Predictions
Moving forward, you can expect a special edition of Best For Business the Friday before each pay-per-view. It will feature my pay-per-view predictions, as well as my thoughts on the build and any expected aftermath. I already did that in Tuesday’s B4B, so I’ll reprint it here. Missed Tuesday’s edition? Then see it here, for the first time!
Hardcore Rules for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (champion) vs. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam pulls off a crowd pleasing victory, capturing this first World Heavyweight Championship. This might seem to contradict the speculation that RVD is taking some time off, as well as the always expected Ricardo Rodriguez heel turn. It shouldn’t. I’m also predicting a Damien Sandow Money In The Bank cash-in, and a victory that sees the revelation of a new personal ring-announcer for the savior of the unwashed masses.
Divas Championship: AJ Lee (champion) vs. Brie Bella
AJ Lee is a great choice for Divas champion, but she has no competition in the division. Meanwhile, there’s a Divas’ reality show just begging for a champion. What better Diva to serve in that role than the one who is getting engaged on the program itself, Brie Bella. Brie Bella wins the Divas Championship, possibly even using Daniel Bryan’s LeBell Lock in the process.
Kickoff Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
In another moment of self-disclosure, I’m in my 30’s?which means I remember a time when the thought of a “Kickoff Match” brought about terrifying memories of the AWA Team Challenge Series. But I digress. This match could go one of three ways. The face in Dolph Ziggler could sell like crazy and go over in the end, making the online viewing audience happy and possibly snagging a few more pay-per-view buys. Or, Damien Sandow could steal a victory from the hands of “The Showoff,” cutting a promo to tease his potential Money In The Bank cash-in. However, Sandow walking away in the middle of the match could lead to the same thing, and would be smart?which his character is. Out of my three potential ending two involve a Ziggler win. Dolph Ziggler wins the Kickoff Match.
Yes, of my first three pay-per-view predictions, the Kickoff Match is the same length of the other two matches combined.
The Shield of Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Of course, the stipulations around this match are that if The Rhodes Brothers win, they both get jobs in the WWE, and dear old dad Dusty Rhodes can keep his position as a trainer in the WWE Performance Center. A Rhodes’ loss and all three family members are gone from the company for good. For good, in wrestling terms, is usually good for at least a month! There’s no indication that the championships are at stake here, and Dusty will be in the corner with his sons. I see Dusty taking a Dean Ambrose bullet for his boys, allowing Cody Rhodes & Goldust to pick up the big win, securing their spots on the active roster.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
If you’ve been listening to The Greg DeMarco Show, and since I’m new here you may not have, you know that I fully expect the WWE to book CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman inside Hell In A Cell later this month. It’s a nice payoff for this chapter in the Punk-Heyman saga, and another way for the WWE to use its famed structure in a blood-free era. That can be accomplished so many ways, but the path of least resistance is for CM Punk to fall to Ryback thanks to outside interference.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (championship held in abeyance)
No, the WWE Championship hasn’t been as big of a focus as it should be over the past three weeks. But in the three weeks from Battleground to Night of Champions, that will change. The Triple H/Stephanie McMahon manipulation of the roster is setting up to come to a chaotic head, and it think that peak happens on Sunday and bleeds over into Monday. I suspect some outside interference in favor of Randy Orton to bring out several key roster members (Dolph Ziggler, The Usos, Cody Rhodes) in favor of Daniel Bryan, leading to a chaotic brawl that ends the show and leaves us with a no contest?no winner, no WWE Champion. That allows the WWE to properly build the championship match at Hell In A Cell, where Daniel Bryan likely finally walks away WWE Champion, starting a competitive rivalry with CM Punk that can carry us until the Royal Rumble (Randy Orton can then focus on Cody Rhodes, if you’re wondering).
And in all honesty, a no-contest is the right call?it’s best for business.
There are plenty of complaints about WWE Battleground. It’s important to remember that the internet fans comprise about 25% of the WWE audience. Decisions like this?bringing back the extra fall pay-per-view?aren’t for us. They’re money making decisions that the casual fans, 75% of the audience?aren’t complaining about. They’re just looking for a night with friends to enjoy some wrestling. They don’t care about The Big Show’s formerly iron-clad contract, or the fact that Randy Orton once terrorized Stephanie McMahon. They just want to enjoy wrestling. We could learn a lot from those casual fans.
Watch out for news about The Greg DeMarco Show, soon to be presented exclusively at WrestlingInc.com. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the show, myself, cohost Patrick O’Dowd, former WWE/NXT Diva (and current Shine Wrestling star) Su Yung and Florida based independent manager/announcer Heather Lynn on Sunday after WWE Battleground for our post-PPV reaction show. Listen here and call-in at 760-888-5749 to share your thoughts at 11 pm eastern Sunday night!