The Green Room: Battleground- A Look At The Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Jul 19, 2014 - 9:08:25 PM
The Green Room:
Battleground- A Look At The Intercontinental
Championship Battle Royal
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to a very special edition of The Green Room.
My fellow main page columnists, Doc, Chrisss and Maverick, have each done a great job of hyping this Sunday’s Battleground Pay-Per-View. I was lucky enough to join the latter alongside his other Right Side Of The Pond hosts, fellow Main Pager Mazza and everyone's favourite drunken Irishman Randall
to plead my case to be a regular host to discuss one match in particular. Coincidentally, it is the one that features in the title of this column!
Just like last month’s Money In The Bank PPV, I would like to focus on one match only. These multi-man matches are fantastic to discuss as you don’t have to make yourself comfortable on either side of the fence.
This is Battleground, and you have twenty trenches to choose from.
It is unfortunate that during this past month of WWE programming, Bad News Barrett has had to vacate his Intercontinental Championship. His run was entertaining from both a character perspective and from an in-ring standpoint. Fortunately though, one of twenty men will be crowned the new Intercontinental Champion tomorrow night.
The confirmed appearance of Bad News Barrett has influenced some of my picks for this match, both in terms of the immediate and long-term interaction between both the former and new champion.
Though unlike last month when I based the winner of the Championship Ladder Match on the one-day-returning Bryan’s booking, I have tried not to let Barrett's appearance become the be-all and end-all of my predictions.
With that being said, we have twenty eager superstars who are ready to compete for one of the most sought-after prizes in the wrestling business. Let’s take a look at who may or may not be in contention for the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday.
Xavier Woods- Woods can’t even buy a win in NXT right now. If he can’t beat CJ Parker in NXT, I can’t see him surviving amongst the likes of former champions like Miz, Ziggler and Del Rio. He hasn’t really achieved much besides single-handedly ruining the WWE career of Brodus Clay, leaving The (former) Funkadactyls without a real reason to be called The Funkadactyls and giving Tensai no real reason to be in the ring anymore. The big man has since called time on his in-ring career. Oh, and he’s made R-Truth even more irrelevant than he had been ever since he lost the tag team titles with his last partner, Kofi Kingston. Way to ruin everything, Woods.
The Great Khali- It has been seven years since Khali was the World Heavyweight Champion. It has been almost six years since he turned into the “Punjabi Playboy”. Despite his brief switch to his old monster gimmick during his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it partnership with Jinder Mahal, Khali has mostly been comic relief for several years now. The Intercontinental Championship has long been seen as the “Worker’s Championship” and it would be a disgrace if they handed the title to a 41-year-old monster comedy face with weak knees who appears sporadically. I can’t see that happening.
Sin Cara- I think Hunico is great. I really do. Unfortunately, the Sin Cara character had ran out of steam before he was handed the baton. If the WWE want to reboot their attempts of finding the next big masked superstar, they have Kalisto down in NXT who is nine years younger and has been wowing the Full Sail audience with his moveset. Ironically, these two men have teamed together at recent live events. Furthermore, how odd of a segment would it be if Bad News Barrett has to present the title to Sin Cara. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.
Zack Ryder- This may not come as any surprise to any of you, but Zack Ryder hasn’t won a match on WWE television for eight months. Let’s think about it this way though. Zack Ryder has not won a match on Raw or Smackdown in NINETEEN months. And we’re expected to believe he has a chance of winning? Are you serious, bro?
Diego- Olé! That’s what he’s in this match for, so that the word “Olé!” can be screamed out loud. I hear that Vince McMahon loves that. His inclusion also allows a “comedy” moment when El Torito inevitably gets involved. Unless that includes Hornswoggle helping Heath Slater, I could care less for it. Sorry, the artist formerly known as Primo.
Heath Slater- In terms of personal enjoyment, I would LOVE Heath Slater to win. Let’s see, he would play air guitar with the title and he would call himself the greatest musical champion since the Honky Tonk Man. Hell, why not bring Honky back as his manager? It may not have worked for Rockabilly but with the Intercontinental Championship in the fray, held by a man who seems so committed to the gimmick, it might work this time. To those who claim that it would ruin the good work of building up the Intercontinental Championship, if Slater goes on a run of lucky victories and keeps building heat with some obnoxious heel promos, it would make for a great feud when Barrett returns to face his former Nexus stablemate. Those who clamour for a “legitimate” Intercontinental Champion would root for Barrett once he returned though both men have strong characters, combined with personal history, to make for a great feud. It’s a just shame that Heath Slater has been an afterthought for some time eh?
Titus O’Neil- Titus seemed like he was in line for a solo push around the time of the Prime Time Players split up. He was featured without his partner in a MizTV segment on RAW, and then almost immediately he beat down his partner Darren Young. He even received what sounded like a “super heel” theme from CF0$. He was winning too. Then the wins dried up. Then we heard less of his music, due to “jobber entrances”. Recently he has been teaming with Heath Slater in a tag team that has no real gimmick or explanation. In some ways, we can say the same thing about a potential Titus win this Sunday. I can’t explain it, and I sure as hell can’t see it happening. Unfortunately, Titus’ bark is bigger than his bite.
R-Truth- What’s up? R-Truth’s time in the spotlight. That's what is now up. He has most recently been teaming with Xavier Woods in a tag team that has seemingly lost all of their momentum since their feud with Brodus Clay. Unfortunately, at 42 years of age, and with no new R-Truth merchandise available on WWEShop anymore, I don’t think the WWE have any intention of putting the title on the rapper. Say it ain't so Jimmy.
The Middle Ground
Kofi Kingston- The WWE likes to alternate between making Kofi job, having him defeat Randy Orton, pairing him with a new tag team partner, providing him with a new marketing gimmick such as the Wildcat and giving him a midcard title reign. Could the latter happen this Sunday? Let’s see, he’s defeated Orton this year already, he’s jobbed here and there and he’s only just been paired with Big E these past two weeks. We’re clearly in the tag team phase. WWE are rolling with that.
Big E- Ah, the man with the name that still doesn’t sound right without a surname. The former “Langston” is also the previous Intercontinental Champion before Bad News Barrett. That’s why I’ve included him in this section. If the WWE wanted to, they could just press the reset button. As discussed above however, we seem to have a brand new partnership between Big E and Kofi. Well, the Wyatt Family are going to need tag teams to feud with once they win the gold this Sunday…
Rob Van Dam- RVD is what he is. There’s a chance that he could win the belt this Sunday because as seen in his recent match with Seth Rollins a couple of weeks ago, the guy can still go if he’s motivated enough. RVD as the Intercontinental Champion would provide some decent enough matches but I just don’t see what he could offer as the consistent victor of the division. There’s just no need to push Rob Van Dam with a title as he’s an old hand who already has enough credibility. If you were to give him the belt, he would have to retain in a number of matches against young eager talent, or he would be losing in non-title matches, tarnishing the championship’s reputation. I just can’t see the positives of RVD as the IC Champion. The WWE need to let him do what he does best and have him lose to put over talent, but have him pick up a big win here and there so that a win against him still means something, but please don’t make him the face of a division.
Alberto Del Rio- Do you remember last month when after jobbing for months, the WWE made Del Rio seem somewhat credible when they were forced to hold a ladder match for the vacated WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Oh good, because that booking is happening here too. With the rumours in the air that Del Rio has not signed a new contract, we probably won’t see a win for the Mexican. However, I did say this championship is known for the great workers who have held it. Del Rio vs. Cesaro, Ziggler and a returning Barrett might just be what’s best for business. I just can’t see his recent momentum being anything more than a red herring however.
Curtis Axel- As a recent former Intercontinental Champion, and as a former member of the Nexus, you might be able to find an argument behind Axel winning the gold. You might, however. I can’t bring myself to take this one further as he is in a perfectly decent tag team with Ryback and his last reign was rather forgettable.
Ryback- As for The Big Guy, again, he’s in a perfectly fine tag team. However, we can’t forget that Ryback was the subject of a huge monster face push a couple of years ago. If the WWE ever wanted to restart that, winning a 20-man battle royal and confronting the former champion, his former Nexus teammate, would be some way to kickstart the push again. There has been nothing to suggest that the WWE will do that however. We have most recently seen Rybaxel feuding with the Dust Brothers. I think after Sunday, with us more than likely having new heel tag team champions, we will still see that feud continuing as a secondary tag feud. Either that, or these two will go against fellow combatants Kofi Kingston and Big E. All hail the tag division revival of 2014!
The Front Runners
Cesaro- When I joined Maverick, Mazza and Randall on this week’s Right Side of the Pond to discuss this match, Cesaro was actually the joint favourite in our predictions. The recent dissolution from Heyman actually seemed to be one of the factors that confused my fellow Brits. I personally see it as a reason why Cesaro is a very probable choice. Whilst the Swiss Superman could have won the Intercontinental Championship alongside Heyman, I do think that the WWE are essentially replacing Heyman with the championship. I feel that they won’t have just dropped Paul Heyman for the sake of his partnership with Lesnar; the WWE are prepping Cesaro to go in a new direction that doesn’t require Paul. Actually, the burning question is whether Cesaro needed Paul Heyman anyway. He looked to be a breakout face after Wrestlemania, has the partnership stunted his development? If the WWE is going to rectify that, a win on Sunday will change everything. Besides, if the King of Swing was to win on Sunday, they could easily make Battle Royals his “thing” so to speak. Don’t consider the loss of Heyman a bad sign folks, consider it a potential change of pace.
Fandango- Surprised to see him here? I can’t help but feel that we can apply some of the same logic used for Cesaro to speculate about a Fandango title win. Ever since Fandango’s debut, he has made his entrance alongside a dancer. As we know, his most recent dancer Layla joined his former dancer Summer Rae in order to turn against the ballroom grappler. So why have the WWE taken away Fandango’s dance partners? Is he going to hold auditions? Will we see him reluctantly accept Emma as his new partner in choreography? Well here’s another option. Fandango is replacing his dance partners with gold. You can already picture him cutting promos about how the championship is the love of his life and looks so beautiful around his hips. He is also currently feuding with Dolph Ziggler, who has been lingering around the IC Title scene for quite some time. That feud could easily continue with the gold on the line.
Dolph Ziggler- Speaking of which. It’s Mr. Ziggles! Again, if you missed TRSOTP, please find the time to listen as Dolph’s stay in the doghouse was discussed. I only call it a “stay” as there is every reason to believe that Dolph may finally be back in contention for a title reign again. We’ve seen him have somewhat of a Smackdown exclusive mini-feud with Batista around Wrestlemania, he has had quite the series of Seth Rollins, and now he is being trusted with being associated with two potential valets! Ever since these tangles with the Authority, Ziggler has picked up a win here and there, most notably during his current feud with Fandango. I can’t help but feel that finally Dolph is being put back on some form of pedestal. Hopefully Ziggler will rise higher than Bad News Barrett’s former podium soon. Speaking of which, if the Show Off was able to pick up the win, we could see some more fantastic matches between Ziggler and Barrett once the Brit is healthy again. I’m all for that.
Sheamus- I’m going to keep my thoughts on Sheamus brief. He is the current United States Champion, and most recently, various commentary teams have been discussing the prospect of Sheamus becoming a unified champion. Whilst I don’t see it happening just yet, there has been talk that the WWE has just retired the big gold World Heavyweight Championship belt following what took place on Monday Night Raw between John Cena and Ric Flair. If the WWE is looking to shake things up regarding their championships, this could well be the time that they pull the trigger. Furthermore, imagine if the bout came down to Sheamus and Cesaro. Both men had recently won the two most important battle royals in quite some time. That would be a sight to see. Personally, I don’t see the WWE going down this route as they have put some great effort into establishing these two separate championships recently. The IC Title had its own tournament a few months back, and as mentioned, the US Championship was a battle royal prize. I can’t see the WWE undoing all of their great work, admittedly. Sorry fella!
Bo Dallas- Bolieve! Despite his comedic nature, Bo Dallas has just about as much chance of winning the Intercontinental Championship this Sunday as anyone. Actually, he has a better chance than most of these competitors. With Bad News Barrett in attendance, it would make sense for the man who has recently wished him a good recovery to now deliver the inspirational pep-talk to his face. Furthermore, the crowd would absolutely eat up a Bullhammer to Bo’s face. Put it this way, Barrett has been receiving some face pops for quite some time, and Dallas and Barrett actually had a potential feud aborted a year and a half ago. This time, they have both developed strong characters that would mesh perfectly in a feud that would provide us with a natural reason for a Barrett face turn. Bo Dallas is our adopted heel that we cannot help but be disgusted with whenever he attempts to inspire us. I know that Dallas is officially a heel but should we be booing this man? Barrett has been cheered for delivering some awful news to us. In a strange way, Bo Dallas could be the anti-Bad News Barrett in a feud that would have us cheering for the wrong man. It would be very much like the CM Punk-Jeff Hardy rivalry of 2009. We would have to wait months for the feud to physically take place but both men are capable of building hype with their contrasting, hilarious promo styles. In fact, all of this makes me choose Bo Dallas as my second-favourite. I wish I could in fact bolieve this time, but I think the WWE is set to crown THIS man, our new Intercontinental Champion…
The Miz- Ever since The Miz returned on the June 30th episode of Monday Night Raw, the Awesome One has appeared rejuvenated.
All credit goes to Mike Mizanin, he appears to be embracing this new twist in his character.
From announcing that he will not leave the WWE for so-called greater things until people appreciate his talent, to reading out a letter from Johnny “Vince” Russo, The Miz is nailing his gimmick right now.
Of course, like a true arrogant heel, he has picked up his fair share of enemies in the space of just a few weeks. For one week, at least, it appeared as if Chris Jericho was going to be a thorn in The Miz’s side. More recently, the United States Champion, Sheamus, has been in combat with the man behind the “Moneymaker”.
It is the second of these feuds which provides The Miz with one of three legitimate directions. With all of the talk behind a combined mid-card championship, would the WWE really let that take place at Battleground, with their summer supercard around the corner? With The Miz and Sheamus currently feuding, wouldn’t it make sense for The Miz to capture the Intercontinental Championship to allow such a unification to take place at Summerslam? I don’t believe the WWE will unify these championships, but even so, they could always give us a marquee champion vs. champion match. As a counter-argument, you could say that The Miz could easily feud with Sheamus over the United States championship instead, and I can’t really fault you there either.
So allow me to take this in a completely different direction.
With the Miz adopting some movie-star mannerisms ever since filming for The Marine 4 concluded, some might say that this new gimmick is a take on The Rock’s old Hollywood gimmick. You may be absolutely right, but it could also be a rib on a superstar that is set to return at some point this year.
Option B sees The Miz win the championship before feuding with Batista. We’ve seen it before with The Rock on the road to Wrestlemania 29, the WWE likes their cross-branded stars to hold championships. It brings them great publicity with every interview or appearance that the chosen superstar makes. There has been a lot of talk that Batista was somewhat promised a title run during Wrestlemania season. Would the Intercontinental Championship make a great consolation prize? The Intergalactic hero holding the Intercontinental gold may just sound like a movie storyline in itself.
I hate to admit it, but in this case The Miz would make the perfect transitional champion. I don’t think it’s what we need right now so immediately after the title was vacated, but if anything is going to get Batista some cheers and some gold, it’s a feud with the man who could easily be ribbing him right now. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see The Miz mock Guardians of the Galaxy à la Santino and The Condemned, to essentially build up to an Intercontinental Cross-Branded Media Wet Dream Championship match for the WWE. Yeah, that would be a nightmare to put on those replica belts that they sell on WWEShop.com
But wait! There’s a third! There’s always a Plan C.
I don’t want to flog a dead horse but here goes nothing. Barrett is presenting the Championship. He has been receiving face pops. Miz has returned in a role which finally confirms that he is a heel. Miz doesn’t want his “Moneymaker” face to be touched. Barrett’s finisher targets the face.
You can see where this is going.
It is because of those three potential directions that I officially choose The Miz as the victor of the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal.
To say that I’m hyped for this match is an understatement. When I set out to write this column, I wouldn’t have imagined that it would be a 3000+ word piece on just one match. Yet that is exactly why we should be excited. These multi-man matches contain a million possibilities, even if some are slimmer than a Slim Jim.
This match is the complete opposite to the highly predictable main event. Whilst we are provided with four potential options for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, there have been several leaked forms of media that suggest there is only one winner. Here, we have around twenty, six, or one, depending on which way you look at it.
Whilst I am picking The Miz for this match, and I don’t necessarily bolieve in Mr. Dallas this time, I do hope that you still #boleaf and continue to leave your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you all.
Let battle commence.
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