Who do you suspect will be Sasha Banks’ partner Sunday?
Riley Kontek: It’s got to be Bayley. She was not drafted, which is what left open this mystery spot. Bayley is the most over female on the roster, with the exception of Sasha Banks. And by the way, I know WWE did not want to completely raid the NXT roster, but having them draft Alexa Bliss, Carmella and Mojo Rawley over people like Bayley, Shinsuke Nakamura and others was overly suspicious. They could have taken three other better wrestlers in Bliss, Carmella and Rawley’s place.
Daniel DeMarco: My highest hopes suspect Bayley. If it’s not, WWE is setting up the mystery partner for failure, because everyone wants it to be Bayley and will be unsatisfied by anyone else, barring the return of a legend. There is just no logical reason for WWE to have kept it a mystery this whole time without it being someone WWE knows will get a huge response. And in that regard, only Bayley makes sense. With the choices WWE has been making though, who even knows anymore? It is almost pointless to even try to guess. I mean, WWE thought it was a good idea to draft Mojo Rawley and Nia Jax.
Joseph Nardone: I am going to go with Bayley. I know the idea is that she is being held off to closer to the fall, but if it is anyone on the main roster it will be met with disappointment. We already saw her team with Becky Lynch, one of the Divas era women wouldn’t make any sense, and even if this turns out to be a one-off for Bayley until late August, it would provide NXT some good exposure in a time it needs it.
After all, the roster was just ravaged by the brand-extension. Having “NXT Bayley” on a main roster WWE Network Special would go a long way in helping to bring more eyeballs to the product.
Travis Wakeman: When the match was first announced, I thought for sure it would be Bayley. But WWE kept her in NXT. Now I feel it will be Nia Jax. Though she’s competed as a heel and it doesn’t make as much sense to pair her with Sasha from that standpoint, it’s a good way to introduce her to a new audience. Putting Sasha and Nia over the champion in a tag match would be a good way to accomplish a few things. First, It would make Nia look strong in her Raw debut. Second, it would be a nice way to continue the feud between Sasha and Charlotte. Third, Charlotte could lose the match, but Dana Brooke could take the fall, allowing Charlotte to not look as weak.
Between the US and Intercontinental Championship, which challenger has the better chance of pulling off the upset?
RK: I would say Darren Young has the better chance, though I don’t see Young or Zack Ryder winning this Sunday. The best either one is going to do is earn a disqualification, earning them another shot down the line. However, Young is on Raw and Miz is on SmackDown. That feud will be over. Rusev is on Raw and Ryder is on SmackDown. That feud will be over too. Expect no title changes in the midcard.
DD: Darren Young
WWE spent months doing vignettes between him and Bob Backlund, and then finally brought him back to the ring within the last few weeks, giving him a string of wins. Now, his wins have all been flukes or funky finishes, but that’s just the kind of stuff WWE likes to do before giving an underdog a big win. Plus, when you consider his opponent compared to Zack Ryder’s, Miz is a lot more expendable as a champion than Rusev. Taking the title off Rusev now would be a mistake. Whereas taking the title off Miz is not that big of a deal, though Young admittedly does the belt no favors in the event he wins it.
JN: The WWE seems to really want to push Darren Young. I am totally for that, too. While Ryder is over and is a talent who should get more regular run, his gimmick is stale. Young’s is fresher and he has the backing of Bob Backlund, who is somehow still incredibly over in 2016.
I don’t see either guy actually winning, but if I had a gun to my head and had to pick, it would be Young.
TW: Darren Young definitely does. The pairing with Bob Backlund has reinvented Young, but I really think that neither of the titles change hands for one simple reason: Young and The Miz were put on separate brands, as were Zack Ryder and Rusev. That means that if either Ryder or Young wins, their show would have both belts. So, I think that either both of them lose or both of them win, a really far-fetched scenario. Imagining Ryder defeating Rusev seems completely out of the realm of possibilities, and I could see Young winning because of his renewed push, so I’ll go with him for that reason.
By the end of Battleground, _________ will be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
RK: Dean Ambrose. I think he has seen success as the champion thus far and I expect the WWE to run with his popularity. Roman Reigns will not be the champion, as he should not be rewarded for failing a drug test. Seth Rollins has a chance to win the title, based on losing in his singles match on SmackDown and his placement on Raw. So, I wouldn’t be shocked if Rollins won this, but I expect to see Ambrose with the title for at least a few more defenses.
DD: Dean Ambrose.
WWE just got done splitting the brands, and all evidence points to the reintroduction of two separate titles. And given Ambrose is the only one in the match on SmackDown, he will likely stay champ, and the finish will be something wacky that creates controversy between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns equally deserving another title shot or something along those lines. Then that will set up the two of them to compete separately on the Raw brand to determine that brand’s inaugural champion.
The situation is an incredibly messy one, and it could go many different ways. I can almost equally see Ambrose losing to Rollins and Reigns simultaneously, such as with a double-pin, setting the two winners up to determine a title, and then Ambrose falling out of the title picture altogether and SmackDown’s John Cena and AJ Styles being the two on that brand to determine a new champion. This brand split has just thrown so much into the air, and Vince McMahon’s incessant mind-changing only adds to that fact.
JN: Seth Rollins, but in a way that has an incredibly odd finish. So much so, in fact, that it helps to bring back the second world title.
How the WWE goes about doing that is anybody’s guess, as it already did the double-pin on Monday Night Raw, but it would make sense to have an iffy finish here. Plus, honestly, I don’t think anyone thinks Dean Ambrose carrying the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to SmackDown does the brand any good, as he would likely drop that to AJ Styles or John Cena in quick fashion anyway.
Not to mention that the Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns angle can continue to play out on Raw.
TW: I think it goes back to Seth Rollins so that Raw can have the World title. With Roman Reigns on that show, they could start the feud back up between those two and perhaps have them square off at SummerSlam. With Raw being the 3-hour show, it makes more sense for the belt to be over there. WWE will eventually need to decide if the World champion is going to work both shows, or if they’ll go back to having two main champions, as it did with the first split.