WWE is presenting a brand-new pay-per-view event this Sunday in Stomping Grounds. (Hey, it’s better than Great Balls of Fire.) Unfortunately, most of the matchups on the card are re-runs of matches we’ve seen at WrestleMania, Money in the Bank or Super ShowDown recently. It’s a time honored tradition in WWE to remain in a holding pattern until July when the buildup to SummerSlam begins, but still, there should be some entertaining matches this Sunday. Let’s go down the card:
Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The fatal four way to determine the number one contender to Tony Nese’s Cruiserweight Championship ended in controversy, as Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak pinned one another at the same time. As a result, both men will get an opportunity at 205 Live‘s top prize this Sunday.
Patrick: Hey, I actually watched 205 Live this month! And I’m glad I did, as it’s low-key one of the best shows WWE produces. I’m a big fan of Gulak’s and would love to see him win there, but as is tradition, I’m going to predict the incumbent Cruiserweight Champion retains here.
Winner: Tony Nese
Jason: I don’t know if it’s good or bad that I care more about the 205 Live match than about 90% of the rest of the card, but this is one of the only things to look forward to on Sunday. I’m sort of with Pat here, as 205 really likes to give their champions lengthy title runs, but I’m going to call it for Gulak. Dude has been one of the best parts of the Cruiserweight division for the past several years, and unless they’re planning on running Kanellis/Nese at SummerSlam with the title change, then give the belt to Gulak, you cowards!
Winner: Drew Gulak (but, probably actually Tony Nese)
JJ: I feel guilty. I know a lot of wrestling fans, and of those nearly all who watch WWE are raving about 205 Live. I still haven’t found the time for it, but I promise one of these days I will. Thus, due to my complete inattention to the brand, I’m going to have to stick with the relatively new champ.
Winner: Tony Nese
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Otis and Tucker are the epitome of everything Daniel Bryan and his “Redwood” Rowan despise: they treat their careers as a joke, are more interested in having fun than effecting change, and they feast on the corpses of helpless animals. Bryan and Rowan look to teach Heavy Machinery, the entire SmackDown tag team division, and the entire planet a lesson this Sunday.
Patrick: I wish this feud had more thought and time put into it, because it’s actually a pretty perfect pairing. Daniel Bryan running down Heavy Machinery on commentary this week is something I need a lot more of in my life. Sadly, this match was announced just five days before the PPV, so it didn’t really get the time it deserved.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
Jason: Why are the Yolo county tag titles not on the line for this one? The Heavy boys are a gag team, and there’s nothing funny about the state of the tag team division at the moment. The Planet’s champions in a walk. Now where are the hemp tag belts?
Winners: Bryan and Rowan
JJ: When I initially looked about this match, I thought it might be Heavy Machinery’s time, but then I really thought about the storyline and realized how little has gone into it. Daniel Bryan absolutely dominates this team on the microphone (no surprise there), and is still one of the company’s biggest stars. This feud still feels far too early for someone of D-Bry’s standing to drop the title. That being said, I really enjoy Heavy Machinery and have no doubt that they’ll eventually wear the gold.
Winner: Daniel Bryan and Rowan
The New Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn may be on different brands, but they have been making liberal use of the Wild Card Rule to stay in each other’s business. Lately, that includes making The New Day’s life a living hell, as Kevin Owens eyes a future WWE Championship opportunity.
Patrick: I could see KO and Sami gaining an underhanded win here, especially since there’s almost no way Kofi is losing his match. I’m not sure what the plan is with KO and Sami (and not sure even WWE knows), but if they are to be taken seriously at all in their pursuits going forward, they need a win here.
Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Jason: Nice of the bookers to give the also-rans in a (shudder) Dolph Ziggler feud something to do on the show. KO and Sami couldn’t buy a win at this point, and now that Big E’s back, we’re just sitting around and waiting til they inevitably hit the Up-Up-Down-Down and send the quebecois back to their loving family and meaningful charity work. The jerks.
Winner: The New Day
JJ: I have no idea what the plan here is. This match was thrown together last minute, and only seems to be happening because they need to fill up the card. I really like both of these teams and fully expect this match to be one of the better we see on Sunday. But what’s the point? Sami and Kevin aren’t even on the same brand. Oh wait, my bad! That doesn’t matter whatsoever anymore.
Winner: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Because why not have the guys on two separate brands go over?
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet for the WWE United States Championship
Ricochet beat The Miz, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley in a grueling Fatal Five-Way match on Raw this week. His reward? A most likely equally grueling matchup against one of the nastiest competitors in all of WWE, Samoa Joe.
Patrick: I don’t see Ricochet coming away with the W here, but I am really excited for this matchup. It’s fresh, it’s different, and it’s about time Ricochet gets to show off his talents in a one on one match with the spotlight on him. Let’s just hope it’s longer than the Joe vs. Rey matches were.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Jason: The only match anyone really cares to see! I would love Ricochet to pull this out, but unless Rey Mysterio pops up to cost Joe the belt, I think Joe’s putting the high flyer to sleep. Ric will get his day, just preferably on a show people will actually be interested in watching. Till then, please let Joe win clean. I love both of these guys, but Joe probably needs this more.
Winner: Samoa Joe
JJ: This is the match I’m most looking forward to. I want Samoa Joe to lose, but not because I don’t like him. Quite the opposite — I think he deserves to be in the main event picture, but I don’t it’s his time just yet. Joe is too damn good to not have at least one run at the top, but in the meantime I’ll settle for watching him have a show stealing match with Ricochet. And sure, Ricochet needs to stop sending people videos of what he does in his private time, but that’s neither here nor there.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
In a WrestleMania rematch, Roman Reigns looks to put away Drew McIntyre one more time. The Scottish Psychopath has aligned himself with the so-called “Best in the World” Shane McMahon as of late, and have been making life a living hell for several members of the WWE roster. The two engaged in a heated brawl this week on Raw, but this Sunday, a winner will be decided at Stomping Grounds.
Patrick: It really pains me to see Drew McIntyre reduced to Shane McMahon’s lackey. However, WWE seems intent on sucking up as much time as possible with Shane, so at least being aligned with him means you get a lot of TV time. For that reason, and because Roman got the decisive win at Mania, I think Drew gets the dirty win here. …Actually, wait, I forgot one of my own rules: Never bet against Roman Reigns.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Jason: I don’t want to be a naysayer, but I feel like we have to come to grips with the fact that WWE’s Drew McIntyre is a bust. The company refuses to get behind him when he needs it, his promo work lately has been stuck on autopilot, and his matches just haven’t been setting the world on fire in any meaningful way. To paraphrase Jackie Chiles: This will be yet the latest in Drew’s many public disappointments.
Winner: Big Dog
JJ: I know one of WWE’s cardinal rules is you never bet against the Big Dog. And despite that, I’m going to. I can’t help myself with Drew McIntyre; I just want the guy to succeed so badly. He’s got all the tools to be a top guy: the look, the in-ring ability, and the mic work. Why in God’s name is this guy Shane McMahon’s lackey?! Regardless, I hope these two guys put on the incredible WrestleMania match we were all hoping for and never got.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa and Bayley have been engaging in a war of words the past few weeks, culminating in an impassioned speech by the SmackDown Women’s Champion this week on SmackDown. Bayley seems confident, but Alexa has an X-factor sitting ringside in Nikki Cross.
Patrick: As much as I like Alexa Bliss, I am finding Bayley as champion refreshing and don’t want to go back to the mini-Reign of Terror days when Alexa held the title scene hostage. It’s Bayley’s time to have a serious run with the Women’s Championship. Here’s hoping she gets it.
Jason: The worst thing they could do for Alexa or Nikki Cross is put the belt on Bliss. I want them as tag champs and a real redemption story for lil Lexi, not yet another go-around of “Alexa manipulates another woman to do her fighting for her.” Bayley should hold onto that thing till WWE actually lets Ember Moon (or Sonya Deville) have a damn match for once.
JJ: Alexa said something in her segment with Bayley on SmackDown that really struck me as true: Bayley peaked in NXT. Initially I didn’t agree with it, but then I really thought about it, and realized Bliss was right. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Bayley, but I feel like she hasn’t done the work she’s capable of since hitting the main roster. I hope this is the start of it.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Championship
Lacey Evans continues to be a thorn in The Man’s side, and has “curried favor” to find herself in another match for the Raw Women’s Championship. However, Becky is usually fired up enough, but after the Sassy Southern Belle cost Becky Two-Belts her second belt, she’s downright incensed. Can Evans survive this Sunday?
Patrick: God, this better be it for Lacey Evans in the title picture for now. Becky’s already been cooled off far too much since winning the titles at WrestleMania, and Lacey Evans just does not do it for me at all. There are far more talented, seasoned women wrestlers on the roster that should be in this spot.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Jason: I know I’m alone on this one, but I like Lacey Evans. I think she’s got a good look and story. Her wrestling’s average and her character isn’t rocking anyone’s world, but she’s a good hand. Not a champ though. Let’s stop pretending she’s a threat to the champ and move on to more interesting feuds for them both…oh who am I kidding, more interesting feuds for Lynch.
Winner: The Man
JJ: Please, for the love of God, get Lacey Evans away from the main event. I don’t like Lacey, and it’s not because she’s a good heel, it’s because she’s not very good at her job. What’s the appeal here? Good lord, she bores me to tears every single time she’s on my TV. She’s like the female version of Elias — we see the same tired gimmick week after week. There are far more deserving people for this opportunity. Let it END.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship (Steel Cage Match)
Dolph Ziggler believes that above all else, it should have been him. All the attention on Kofi Kingston, the WrestleMania Cinderella story, the WWE Championship…it should all be his. And he’s here to show the world why.
Patrick: I’m a proponent of Dolph Ziggler, but him cutting the same promo for the past month makes it hard to continue defending him. This feud has “filler” written all over it, as most things featuring Ziggler unfortunately do.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Jason: I KNOW I’m not alone on this one, but I’m done with Dolph Ziggler. Nic Nemeth as a person is all well and good, and should he decide to continue wrestling I really hope he goes journeyman. He had a time and place and that was 2013. He’s been essentially that same character ever since and WWE has made it clear that they aren’t going to invest in him beyond the midcard, so why should I? He’s like the Brooklyn Brawler of the main event scene. You already know how all his matches will play out. And promos will play out. And backstage segments will play out. Essentially, Dolph is just entirely too played out.
JJ: I like Dolph Ziggler and I always have. The guy has always been a workhorse and does a great job at making other people look really good. But let’s be real, Dolph’s window is closed. We know WWE isn’t going to ever invest in him as a main event guy. I didn’t even have to think about this one.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin for the Universal Championship (Special Guest Referee TBD)
Baron Corbin keeps getting opportunity after opportunity, and this Sunday he gets one more against Seth Rollins. This time, the odds are stacked even higher against The Beastslayer, as Baron Corbin promises a special guest referee. Rollins has beaten the holy hell out of anyone even considering taking the job, but no doubt The Lone Wolf will have something up his sleeve this Sunday.
Patrick: Can we please get Baron Corbin away from the Universal Championship picture? I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I think I’d rather Brock Lesnar cash in than see Baron f’n Corbin as Raw’s World Champion. Speaking of The Beast, I’m sure we’ll see some shenanigans here. But Seth Rollins can’t possibly lose at a pay-per-view named after him, right? *Looks up results of WWF Rock Bottom and WWF D-Generation X: In Your House* …sh*t.
Winner: Brock Lesnar via Money in the Bank cash-in
Jason: Corby’s losing this match, but it doesn’t mean Seth’s winning. I don’t think it’s time to give the belt to Lesnar yet, though when have I ever been right about these things? Still, I’m calling a Seth win, then he’s booking it the hell out of there…and probably right into a series of F5s….s--t, maybe Brock is winning….No, I said Seth, I’m sticking with it.
Winner: Seth Rollins…unless Brock is the ref…
JJ: Under normal circumstances it’d be really difficult to picture Baron Corbin as Universal Champion. With Brock Lesnar holding the briefcase it’s straight up impossible. I don’t know what they’re waiting for here, and I feel like I speak for everyone when I say that they need to get this cash in over with already.
Winner: Brock Lesnar via cash-in…sigh
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!
Do you love wrestling? Do you have strong opinions on AEW, WWE, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and the independent scene? Do you like to write about wrestling? Then we want you on our team. AIPT is currently recruiting wrestling writers. Apply to write for AIPT today!