The WWE Pay Per View machine rolls on as Jinder Mahal defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match. What else does Smackdown have planned?
Smackdown Live builds itself as the land of opportunity, and there are some interesting new match-ups on Battleground. Mike Kinellis makes his big show debut against the ever entertaining Sami Zayn, and Baron Corbin takes on Shinsuke Nakamura after weeks of attacks. Then there’s John Cena making his return in a flag match with Rusev, and the Usos and The New Day write the next chapter in their rivalry. With new US Champion AJ Styles defending against Kevin Owens, and Mahal and Orton meeting in a Punjabi Prison match, it could be a good show. Here are my predictions.
Punjabi Prison Match for the WWE Championship
JINDER MAHAL (Champion) v RANDY ORTON
PREDICTION: Jinder Mahal. Summerslam is just around the corner now, and if the WWE are having any doubts about putting Mahal in a title match at their biggest event of the summer, they could pull the plug on Mahal now and go back to Orton as champ. However they had him win in Orton’s home town, so it seems they have some faith in him for now. And with John Cena back as a free agent able to pick and choose his opponents, I see the Maharajah taking on Mr Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect in the near future.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
THE USOS (Champions) v THE NEW DAY
Predictions: The Usos. These two teams had two thirds of a good match in their last outing, and The Usos are really hitting their stride with their new bad attitudes and simplified, more vicious in-ring work. Apart from the frankly rubbish rap battle, this is a feud that is bubbling away well, so probably a sneaky win for the Usos to set up a Summeslam match.
US Championship Match
AJ STYLES (Champion) v KEVIN OWENS
PREDICTION: AJ Styles. I get the feeling this feud has skipped a few steps, and we arrive at the end game, which is AJ Styles moving onto a big title match at Summerslam – possible against Nakamura. After winning the title at Madison Square Gardens, Styles makes his first defense here, and should win cleanly to set both of them on to new paths.
JOHN CENA (USA) v RUSEV (BULGARIA)
PREDICTION: John Cena. Strange things happen in wrestling. But John Cena losing, in his return match after proposing at Wrestlemania, in a flag match where he has evoked the Twin Towers, would one of the strangest.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA v BARON CORBIN
PREDICTION: Shinsuke Nakamura. This is a strange match to make for Smackdown Live. As Mr Money in the Bank, Corbin needs some building up to be bought as a World Championship threat, but Nakamura shouldn’t be losing to anyone at all. Perhaps Corbin to use the briefcase to cause a DQ, although Elias Sampson laying out Finn Balor on RAW last week means hopefully they go with something more creative. But why book a match where you have to work really hard to protect both men?
Fiveway Elimination Match to become Number 1 Contender for Woman’s Smackdown Championship
NATALYA v CHARLOTTE FLAIR v BECKY LYNCH v LANA v TAMINA
PREDICTION: Natalya. Naomi needs a heel challenger for Summerslam, someone to make her look good. And maybe they decide to give Natalya a proper title run. Hopefully this match will see the Smackdown women’s division start to find some direction, as they have been involved in multi-person matches for a long time now. Being an elimination match gives the chance to set up some feuds for them. Lynch and Flair both deserve better than trying to carry Tamina and Lana, but that’s all we have on Smackdown. Maybe the Mae Young Classic will bring some fresh blood. Or the Empress of Tomorrow might decide to trade in one title for another…
MIKE KINELLIS v SAMI ZAYN
PREDICTION: Mike Kanellis. Skipping NXT would suggest that WWE has some plans for the former Mike Bennett, which could see him get to a US Championship level. Personally, I don’t see the Power of Love gimmick going any higher than the midcard, but as Bobby Roode might say he’s a good hand, so expect him to feud with Tye Dillinger or Chad Gable next.
TYE DILLINGER v AIDEN ENGLISH
PREDICTION: Tye Dillinger. The Perfect 10 will get the crowd going with a nice win. I would write more… but WWE doesn’t care, why should I?
Battleground has the potential to be a good show. Styles v Owen could be great, and the Punjabi Prison will be entertaining, good or bad. And probably the comedic highlight of WWE this year has been Tyler Breeze & Fandango and their Fashion Files, and they will find out who has been attacking them and wrecking their offices, so it’s a must watch for me!
PREDICTION: Rowan and Harper. Sure they’ve broken up at least 3 times, but THIS time they’ll get it right with them as tough as nails brawlers. It would be great to see Authors of Pain get called up, but they are still learning.
There, one last prediction!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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