Five Reasons To Watch WWE Battleground
This Sunday night sees the final WWE pay-per-view before the brand split comes into play, as Raw and Smackdown will have their exclusive brand special events and will likely join up for the big four shows: Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Summerslam and Wrestlemania.
Admittedly, Battleground's match-card on paper doesn't look to be as strong as last month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but there is plenty of intrigue as to what will go down before Raw and Smackdown go their separate ways.
It's always a struggle for the folks in the UK staying up until 4am to watch a bit of wrestling, but here are five reasons to watch WWE Battleground this Sunday.
Who will be Sasha Banks' mystery partner?
For the second pay-per-view in a row, the WWE Women's Championship isn't on the line and instead we have a tag-team match as Charlotte and Dana Brooke will take on 'the Boss' Sasha Banks and a partner of her choosing.
There's always interest in these type of scenarios, with fans working out all the possibilities as to who will be the mystery partner.
Oh hello! :raising_hand: I found a partner for #WWEBattleground it wasn't difficult to find someone who hates y'all @MsCharlotteWWE @DanaBrookeWWE
- $asha Bank$ (@SashaBanksWWE) July 23, 2016
The obvious option would be Bayley. The NXT superstar was not called-up in Tuesday's WWE Draft, much to everyone's surprise and frustration. But we could potentially see the arrival of Bayley on the main roster on Sunday, if she is the Woman chosen by Sasha Banks - the two have had some incredible bouts together in NXT.
Both Alicia Fox and Naomi have been off TV for a while, so one of them could be Sasha's partner.
Don't rule out the possibility of someone like Lita or Trish Stratus getting back in the ring on Sunday, though.
The Club's last match as a team?
A regular part of the WWE Draft is the disbanding of tag-teams and factions - the Dudley Boyz and APA are two of the many strong units who were split up in previous brand splits.
Tuesday's Draft saw AJ Styles head to Smackdown, while his allies from the Club, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were picked by Raw. It's certainly a strange move to split the Club up when they were just hitting their stride and gaining some real momentum.
Their match at Battleground against John Cena and Enzo and Cass could well be their last together in WWE. Also, Cena isn't on the same brand as his teammates for Battleground, so who knows what they will serve up on Sunday.
However, fortunately Cena and Styles are on the same brand, so we will surely see another singles match between them down the line.
The return of Randy Orton
The Viper Randy Orton returns at Battleground and will be the special guest for Chris Jericho's 'Highlight Reel' talk-show. Orton, a 12-time WWE Champion, has been sidelined since November courtesy of a shoulder injury and will be chomping at the bit to dish out some punishment.
He has the not so privileged opportunity of stepping in the ring with 'The Beast Incarnate' Brock at Summerslam, in what is a dream match.
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But his first appearance back in WWE will be a verbal altercation with Chris Jericho and it may well end in an RKO out of nowhere.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn look to settle things for what could be the final time
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have a long and storied history which has seen them fight against and alongside each other all around the world before WWE came calling. It's a 15-year rivalry that can be visited at any time.
Zayn got the spotlight on him first in NXT when he finally claimed the NXT Championship in 2015, but his success didn't last long as his former best friend Owens stabbed him in the back, took the title from him and put him on the shelf for some time.
The hatred and bitterness between the two is there to see and they constantly deliver, anything they do is must-see.
Fans have been completely invested in the long story brewing and both Owens and Zayn look to put it all to bed on Sunday. The two have not stopped brawling ever since Sami Zayn returned from injury and we can expect plenty of thumping fists and forearms at Battleground.
It's being billed as the final meeting between the two, but they are both on the Raw brand so you would expect their paths to cross again at some point. The events at Battleground may put the rivalry on hold for a brief while before they tussle it out again in a world title program.
The dream match: All three members of the Shield compete in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship
July 24 will see perhaps the most anticipated triple threat match in WWE history, as all three members of the Shield, the most dominant faction in recent years, compete in the main event for the WWE Championship.
Two years on from the implosion of the Shield, WWE Champion Dean Ambrose defends his illustrious title against his former brothers Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, who returns after a 30-day suspension for violating the wellness policy.
Ambrose won the title at Money in the Bank a month ago, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and ensuring that all three members of the Shield held the most coveted prize in sports entertainment/pro wrestling on the same night.
Ever since the Shield came into WWE, their quest was takeover the industry and even though they have gone their separate ways, Sunday's main event is perfect evidence of what an impact Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins have made.
Reigns and Rollins tussled it on Raw a few weeks back for the right to become the No.1 contender, but both men were counted out and the match ended in a non-finish. Champion Ambrose made it clear that he has no qualms fighting both men and so the dream match was set in stall.
There are all sorts of questions going into this historic match: Who will reign supreme? What sort of condition will Roman Reigns be in after his suspension? How will the outcome of this match affect the brand extension?
All of these questions will likely be answered on Sunday evening, where the former Shield members look to change the game once more.
Words by Josh Lawless
Battleground is available LIVE on Sky Sports Box Office and WWE Network this Sunday night, July 24th at 1am.
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