This month it's the PPV no one cares about whatsoever, WWE's newest show, Stomping Grounds! Fuck does that even mean, anyway? "Stomping grounds" is an expression about someone returning to their old familiar haunts. So like, in WWE's case a PPV at Madison Square Garden might apply. They haven't done a televised show there in forever but it used to be their home arena, so you could say they're returning to their old "stomping grounds." But this show is at the Tacoma Dome, where I'm pretty sure WWE has never before held a PPV. So where does the expression "stomping grounds" fit in? Does Vince think anymore before deciding on things? Why not just keep the name Battleground?
Regardless of stupid monikers, I probably won't even watch this show aside from one or two matches (it'll be the first non-Saudi WWE PPV since Battleground 2017 that I haven't watched from start to finish), because there's almost nothing of interest. The top four matches are all repeats from either WrestleMania, Money in the Bank or Super ShowDown and none of them were good the first time. And WWE wonders why this show isn't close to sold out (meanwhile AEW's All Out was full within fifteen minutes, with about 100,000 more fans still wanting tickets). I've said it before, but 1998 Vince McMahon would be laughing with pity at the sad old fool he'd eventually become. WWE's product hasn't felt this irrelevant and tired since probably mid-1995, when it was running on Diesel fumes. It took about 18 months of Nitro kicking its ass for Vince to really shake things up. Problem is I don't think the 73-year-old Vince has it in him to admit his product needs a drastic overhaul, plus at this point most of the money he's making is guaranteed, irrespective of record-low ratings. For now that is...
Anyway, let's get started on this shitshow. Gotta be one of the least interesting PPV lineups they've ever put together.
Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa
Well it's another cruiserweight match that will be entertaining but which no one will react to. And this will probably get bumped to the pre-show. I'm not sure what WWE needs to do to make anyone give a shit about their cruisers. It's literally just a buncha guys with no star power. The division needs to be centered around one or two top dudes, but in order to build up to that 205 Live needs people to tune in and care about them. It's a Catch 22. Contrast this with NJPW's Jr. division, spearheaded currently by Will Ospreay, who's one of the hottest stars in the business right now. WWE needs to find its Will Ospreay - maybe put Ricochet on 205 Live part-time, make him the champion, but also feature him on RAW and SD against the heavyweights so he becomes a crossover star? Anyway, I'll stick with Nese to retain here.
Pick: Nese keeps the strap
The New Day vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match was just thrown together, followed by Owens and Zayn losing two 2/3 Falls matches in two straight falls. So yeah, that makes me give a shit about this match. Technically this should be good but like most of the product I've been given zero reason to care.
Pick: Owens & Zayn were made to look like total geeks this week so they're winning here. 50-50.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Daniel Bryan & Erick Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery
Bryan will do his damndest to make this match good but HM aren't great and Rowan is nowhere near the talent Luke Harper is (Why the fuck isn't Harper being used??). No reason to change the titles here, which means they probably will. But I'll stick with Team Beardy. Wait, both teams have beards? Team Flannel then.
Pick: Bryan & Rowan retain
US Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet
Here's the one match I'm actually interested in. Joe and Ricochet could easily steal this show if given time. Easily. Thus, they'll probably get seven minutes. But let's hope common sense prevails and they have a helluva contest. Ricochet should win the title here since people are into him and he's unique and WWE desperately needs unique stars that people are into.
Pick: Ric wins the US Title
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Holy jeez, do I not care about this. These guys had the most forgettable of midcard matches at WrestleMania, neither guy came off like a big deal at all, and I most certainly don't need to see this again. Plus, and here's the worst part, Roman Reigns got pinned two weeks ago by Shane McMahon. Roman. Reigns. Got pinned. By Shane. McMahon. Remember those four years Vince was trying to make Roman the lord-god-king of the WWE Universe, face of the company, indestructible, badass, superhero, John Cena 2.0? Yeah. He booked that guy to lose to his 50-year-old non-wrestler son. There is no defending that move, ever. Roman's relevance as a top star is, like WWE's relevance overall, dead as fucking Dillinger.
Pick: Roman wins to get back a shred of cred
Smackdown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Did I wander into 2017? We saw this exact feud the first time Bayley won the belt and she got stomped on in favor of making Alexa a big star. And Bayley never fully recovered from it. These two are okay together but there are so many stronger challengers at this point, particularly in light of Alexa's concussion issues. Putting the belt on her again would be a mistake at this point.
Pick: Bayley needs to retain here
RAW Women's Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans
Yet another formerly white-hot star WWE is fucking up with poor match choices. We saw this already, it stunk, we don't need to see it again. Give Becky a real opponent, for the love of fuck. Lacey is still green as Hulk and has no business being on the main roster yet, let alone challenging for the title. WWE has yet to fill the gaping hole left by Ronda Rousey as Becky's foil. Figure it out, a-holes.
Pick: Becky retains
WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Speaking of weak challengers, the long-irrelevant Dolph is getting a second shot against Kofi, this time in an overused gimmick match. Super. Kofi is in the same boat as Becky. Guy's super popular but the shine is fading because of lame choices of opponents. Technically this match will be fine but no one is frothing at the mouth to see Kofi vs. Dolph again.
Pick: Kofi retains
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
Sweet fucking Christ. Yeah, let's double down on one of the most ill-advised main event pushes in the company's history. Baron Corbin is the top heel on RAW. Say that sentence to yourself and let the reality of it sink in. At a time when WWE's programming is putting up the worst ratings they've ever seen, Baron Corbin is the top heel on the show. Even a guy as accomplished as Seth Rollins can't make this feud work. Oh, and the big hook is that there's a surprise guest referee in this match. I'm gonna guess Brock Lesnar shows up toward the end, puts on a ref shirt, and screws Seth somehow. Maybe beats up both guys and then cashes in the briefcase. I dunno. It happened last year in the Roman-Strowman Hell in a Cell match, minus the cash-in. That's what WWE does. Ratings in the toilet? Throw Brock out there! Fuck this company.
Pick: Brock fucks everything up
Yup, that's the lineup we're working with. If this doesn't end up the worst WWE PPV of the year aside from the Saudi shows (I refuse to ever watch another show emanating from there), I certainly don't wanna see what tops it. Why aren't Asuka and Kairi challenging the IIconics on this stupid show? That would at least be an exciting title change. My condolences to anyone who sits through this whole thing.
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