It’s time to predict the Battleground pay per view.  Tonight and tomorrow, other staff should be chiming in with their thoughts as well.

If you’ve followed along with my live Raw coverage over the past couple weeks, you know how I feel about this pay per view.  I think there will be some good action, but all in all the build to this event has been terrible.  I expect this will be WWE’s lowest buyrate of the year.  WWE looks to be using this event to build to Hell in a Cell at the end of the month.  I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.

With that aside, here’s my predictions!

Pre-Show:

Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow

This one feels completely random to me.  I’m not sure why these two men are squaring off, nor am I sure what is even at stake.  Sandow is on a losing streak ever since winning Money in the Bank, and Ziggler has been among the men standing alongside Daniel Bryan as he battles the “Corporation 2.0” and on a downward spiral of his own as a result.

Given that WWE is traditionally putting the faces over in these pre-show matches to give viewers reason to buy the pay per view, I see Ziggler picking up the win here.

Winner -  Dolph Ziggler

Main Card:

Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt

This is a recent addition to the card.  Over the past two shows (Raw and Smackdown of the past week), Wyatt has cut some creepy promos following Kofi’s matches.  Wyatt and his family haven’t attacked Kofi, but the tone of his promos makes it feel like Kofi is “next” on their list.

I am glad to see that Bray has some direction, even if it isn’t quite clear what that direction is yet.  I think we get an entertaining match, but Bray goes over with possibly some interference from the Family.

Winner – Bray Wyatt

Curtis Axel ( c) w/Paul Heyman vs. R-Truth; WWE Intercontinental Championship

Truth won the right to face Axel by beating him on Raw (albeit with a little distraction courtesy CM Punk).  That is exactly all of the back-story these two men have.  Is it time to consider moving the belt off of Curtis Axel?  This title run hasn’t exactly been all that stellar for the young Heyman Guy.

I would think that perhaps it’s not quite time to move the title, but this story isn’t going to be quite over.  Look for Axel to retain, but continue to work with Truth in hopes of getting him more over as a heel.

Winner – Curtis Axel

AJ ( c) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella); WWE Divas Championship

It’s the latest chapter of AJ vs. the cast of Total Divas. This time, AJ draws the newly engaged Brie Bella, who will be marrying Daniel Bryan at some point in the future.

 Creatively speaking, they just haven’t built any animosity between these two.  They really tried on Friday night on Smackdown, but the crowd just didn’t react to this whatsoever.  Brie isn’t getting any sort of reaction as a face as it was crickets on Raw Monday night.

In the end, I think this will be the moment where the title changes hands, if only to aid the sagging numbers of Total Divas on E! in time for the second half of their season.

Winner – Brie Bella

Goldust and Cody Rhodes (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield (w/Dean Ambrose); if Cody and Goldust win, they get their jobs, if they lose they are banned and Dusty loses his job at NXT

WWE did a good job of setting this up.  Through the process of a couple weeks, Cody lost to Randy Orton and lost his job.  Goldust lost in his attempt to get Cody’s job back and Dusty was forced to choose but instead got knocked out by Big Show.  In the family summit segment though, Triple H offered “one more chance” by having Cody and Goldust face The Shield.  The Shield administered a beatdown on the trio after that verbal segment.

Booking 101 tells me that this is the night that Cody Rhodes gets his job back in WWE.  I do have some mild doubt, but in the end I think this ends up being the first cracks in the foundation of “Corporation 2.0” and The Shield ends up taking a loss here.

Winner – Cody Rhodes and Goldust

Alberto Del Rio (c ) vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez); World Heavyweight Championship fought under Battleground Hardcore Rules

This is RVD’s specialty through the years – he loves hardcore matches.  Can Del Rio work that style?  We’ve seen him have success against others in matches like this, so he can work the hardcore match.

Reports are swirling that RVD’s contract is worked in such a way that he is on short-term runs with the company.  We all know Rob values his downtime.  With those real life reports on my mind, I find it hard to switch the title here.  There is of course that one lingering possibility of Damien Sandow cashing in, but I just don’t think it’s time for that yet.

This will entertain those who enjoy the hardcore rules, but Del Rio is just a little tougher on this night.

Winner – Alberto Del Rio

CM Punk vs. Ryback (w/Paul Heyman)

Ryback got proposed to on Monday night.  The proposal never became official, but one can only assume that Ryback became the newest Paul Heyman Guy.  By far and away this is the match that has received the best build of all the matches on this card.

Heyman has cut good promos throughout this build, as has Punk.  The one thing that I think they could run into a problem with is the shallowness of the current Ryback character.   Can they go longer than one match with him?  Will the story stay as good as it is if they try to?  Hard to say, but it is possible.

I think at some point it’s possible that Punk sees Lesnar again – maybe at Wrestlemania 30.  But in the meantime, look for Punk to get the better of Ryback…in three weeks at Hell in a Cell.

Winner - Ryback

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton; WWE Championship, title “in abeyance”

I was really hoping at SummerSlam we would get that marquee moment of Daniel Bryan picking up the WWE Championship and getting a run with it.  Unfortunately, Triple H and Co. spoiled that moment for us.  He hand-delivered the title to Randy Orton, but Daniel Bryan took it back at Night of Champions.  This time, Triple H yanked it from him with a “fast count” official in Scott Armstrong.

Am I supposed to care if Daniel Bryan wins it a third time, only to have it pulled again?

I think these two can have a great match.  But the story surrounding their match has fallen off.  It showed promise in the beginning, but Orton’s focus over the last couple shows has been more about flirting with Brie Bella than it has been about winning back the title.  Bryan has focused on winning the title, but he doesn’t show a real fire about what’s been happening to him.

In this one, I expect something to happen that causes this to go one more match at Hell in a Cell.  Look for some sort of shenanigans.  Maybe a Vince McMahon return?  Something is going to go on and the title stays vacant for three more weeks.  Bold, I know…but I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around anything else at the moment that makes sense.

Winner – Daniel Bryan, but due to circumstances the title will remain vacant.

Agree?  Disagree?  Comment below!  And be looking for other predictions from the staff throughout the weekend.  We'll have live coverage starting with the pre-show at 7:30PM EST here on Ring-Rap.com.