Craig Wilson andJamie Lithgow.
As is the tradition, next weekend on the day of Battleground we will give our preview and predictions. But ahead of the brand split and with cast firmly towards next Sunday’s PPV, in today’s Sunday Sermon we wonder what chances Dean Ambrose has of leaving the event as champion.
Craig: In one week’s time a WWE PPV will be headlined by the former Shield members in a triple threat match for the title. In one corner you have the current champion Dean Ambrose, in another you have the recently returned from injury, former champion Seth Rollins and finally there is the currently suspended Roman Reigns. But who will leave Battleground with the title?
I’m still quite surprised that Roman Reigns dropped the gold to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, and that was before the even more surprising turn of events that saw Ambrose cash in and win the title.
Part of me think it’d be staggering if Roman Reigns, fresh from suspension, was to take home the gold but when you factor in how behind him Vince and the company is, it is a possibility. Or could it be Rollins? A very good champion previously that initially only lost it through injury. So, who will take home the gold next Sunday night? Will Ambrose retain or will we get a new WWE Champion?
Jamie: I too would not put it past WWE to just throw the belt straight back onto Roman Reigns. However, he did lose cleanly and decisively to Rollins at MITB. WWE just do not book their top guy like that. I could count on one hand the amount of times that has happened to Cena since becoming a top guy. There was no asterisk or caveat either, Rollins beat him fair and square. Surely that points to WWE transferring at least some eggs into Rollins’ basket, and that’s before we consider the guy who actually has the belt right now. Logic says no to Reigns winning, but WWE do have a habit of ignoring all logic.
Here’s an idea, maybe there is no winner at Battleground. Maybe they run a double pin angle and create two champions for their two separate brands? Maybe the finish of the match is akin to the match in NXT when Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe both made Baron Corbin tap out?
Craig: That would be an interesting thing to do. Quite like the late 90s when the WWE, and WCW, effectively used PPVs to hype TV. It would certainly get viewers for Raw on Monday and the first live Smackdown the following event. It feels like there needs to be more than just a draft to make Smackdown that big a deal. Don’t get me wrong, the draft is a big deal but is it really enough to turn viewers from not caring about Smackdown to caring about it?
Re who is leaving champion, I can’t help but also think that it would devalue the belt and, in some respects, hurt Rollins or Reigns if they were to win it. Don’t terribly like seeing a title being past about like that. But, as much as I like Dean Ambrose, and I am a huge fan, he does have an air of a transitional champion about him. Doesn’t he?
Jamie: If the plan is for Ambrose to be champ for a long time then they are certainly taking a different approach than with Reigns, which is fair enough when you think about. There was an air of inevitability around every title win from Reigns, and most fans did not like that. This time, however, Ambrose has come from nowhere to win the gold. There is an sense of him being a transitional champion, but maybe WWE are just going down a different road than the one they pushed Reigns down?
Speaking of Reigns, and this may be slightly off topic, but he will be returning as a heel, right? The entire dynamics around Ambrose’s cash-in leaves him with no choice really. The alternate finish at MITB would have been Reigns beating Rollins and Ambrose cashing-in on his friend, thus casting Ambrose as a heel – albeit one who would have been wildly cheered. WWE chose not to turn Ambrose heel, but surely the one big feud they have not run yet would be a full-on Reigns vs. Ambrose program? They had the chance with Ambrose and did not take it, so maybe Reigns will be the bad guy? If he is to transform into a heel then he would be the logical choice to do the job at Battleground, which would send him over the edge into full blown bad guy mode.
Craig: You are right regarding Ambrose, it is a bit of an underdog about him. Obviously by accident rather than design, the suspension of Reigns has created a bit of intrigue for the triple threat for the reason you’ve just mentioned, Jamie. We have no idea of his reaction to the MiTB result. It will be interesting, then, to see, if there’s much of a change in the Reigns character. There should be and you could also argue that there has to be.
Perhaps another injustice, well in Reigns’ eyes, could lead to that full blown heel turn. You could even couple it with a turn for The Usos – as we suggested in the recent Book or Cook – and have the trio running roughshod over everyone in their way. It’s certainly an option.
Jamie: In normal storytelling logic there is just no way that Roman Reigns can return and just be the same guy he was a month ago. He was defeated fair and square by his nemesis and now his best friend is wearing the belt he once wore. Then after that he was suspended from his job for taking a band substance. If this hasn’t pushed him over the edge then it shouldn’t take too much more to get the job done. If he does return as normal and doesn’t snap at Ambrose or try to murder Rollins then Roman Reigns can rightly be regarded as one of the dullest characters in wrestling history. I mean, JBL spent most of last year telling us he is “a hot head”, what kind of hot head would not be pissed at this situation, especially when fans will probably be on his case too?
It is because of the predicted change in Reigns’ character direction that I don’t think he’ll win the title. Losing will piss him off and turn him heel. As for Rollins, surely if he were in line for a long run as champ he would have kept hold of the title at MiTb and WWE would have kept Ambrose’s cash-in up their sleeve for later down the line. I fancy Ambrose’s chances, if the result is not double pin or controversy angle that is.
What do you think will happen in next Sunday’s Battlegroun main event and who do you expect to leave as champion? Leave your thoughts, as always, in the comments below.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.