Two weeks after Super Showdown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, WWE is putting on its first-ever Stomping Grounds event at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma Washington. Early reports of low ticket sales have clouded the event, likely because four out of the nine matches on the card are rematches from recent events. However, with the full card being announced & a strong RAW on Monday, sales have picked up for the event.
Below is a preview of each match on the card including what to watch for and predictions of how things may play out base upon recent booking. In the comments below, share your thoughts on the show and who you'd like to see as the special guest referee for the Universal Championship match.
WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Special Guest Referee: TBA
Baron Corbin was easily defeated by Rollins at Super Showdown but Corbin has been granted the power to select his own referee for this match. In the two weeks since Super Showdown, the constant threats from Baron Corbin, Paul Heyman, & Brock Lesnar have flipped a switch inside of Seth Rollins. Rollins has been assaulting Corbin and anyone on the WWE roster who could possibly become Corbin's pick for referee by beating them senseless with a steel chair. This behavior is reminiscent of Seth's first reign as WWE Champion except this time he doesn't have The Authority or J & J Security watching his back.
Seth Rollins isn't going to lose this match and Brock Lesnar will not show up in Tacoma, Washington. Paul Heyman might show up and there's likely to be shenanigans around the referee but Rollins will leave Stomping Grounds as the Universal Champion. What will be interesting to watch is if Seth's paranoia and lust for power overtakes him, as he realizes he has no friends watching his back anymore.
Seth Rollins via pinfall
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP (STEEL CAGE)
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been complaining since his return that he should be in Kofi's position. Dolph & Kofi had a good match at Super Showdown but the heat on this feud is cooling a bit. We know what Ziggler wants and why but we don't have a why for Kofi besides that being Champion allows him to visit Ghana. Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens were able to get a why out of Kofi but the #Heel Ziggler has only been able to state his wants. For this feud to continue, we need to see more depth that we're just not getting.
The match itself will be an athletic contest between two performers that have amazing ability and chemistry but without a great heel work, we're left not caring that much about the WWE Championship match. If Kofi is to remain champion, he needs to find that why with Ziggler or he needs a great heel to help us find more reasons to emotionally invest.
Kofi Kingston via escaping the cage
WWE RAW WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
In the third rematch on the card, Becky Lynch defends her title against Lacey Evans once again. Lacey has persistently pursued Becky but has yet to have success against The Man. Evans, although athletic, had a clunky match with Charlotte on RAW two weeks ago and looked a bit off in a street fight with Becky during the dark main event of RAW in Los Angeles.
Evans has all the tools but it's not her time yet. Becky will continue her reign as the top female star in WWE but she may be looking for a new challenger. Lynch has recently been drumming up a feud with Beth Phoenix on Twitter. It's unclear if she's bored with Lacey or just would much rather work against the Glamazon. Phoenix has been off television for the past month (outside of her broadcast duties in NXT) but very well could be the next challenger for The Man.
Becky Lynch via submission
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Coming off of yet another concussion, Alexa Bliss makes her return to singles competition against Bayley. The feud between these two has continued Bayley's evolution as she steps to the foreground of WWE's promotion as SmackDown makes the move to FOX.
Bayley has often been overshadowed by her former NXT classmates in her time on the main roster. This has been frustrating for Bayley fans but mirrors her rise in NXT. In NXT, Bayley was a fan who became a wrestler. She was in awe of every competitor she came in contact with and her opponents took advantage of her vulnerability until Bayley found the courage to stand up for herself. Since separating from her tag team with Sasha Banks, Bayley is finding that courage again.
Alexa always finds a way to tip the odds in her favor and this time she's using her newfound friendship with Nikki Cross to give her an advantage. Bliss and Nikki's chemistry on camera has been a pleasant surprise and will continue to Extreme Rules as will Bayley's championship reign.
Bayley via pinfall
WWE US CHAMPIONSHIP
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet
Samoa Joe has stepped up whenever WWE calls upon him for any feud. His presence is felt through the arena the moment he enters, his work in the ring and his work on the mic have also separated him from other performers. Joe finally has championship gold in WWE and he'll do anything he can to hold onto it.
Ricochet moved into the US Title picture replacing an injured Rey Mysterio. Ricochet got this opportunity by winning a 5-way elimination match on this past week's RAW in Los Angeles. Samoa Joe & Ricochet will have an amazing match at Stomping Grounds. Hopefully this is just the beginning and the two get to take this feud to another level at Extreme Rules.
Ricochet via disqualification
WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery
Daniel Bryan is arguably the best wrestler in the world right now. His ability to be a heel propelled the momentum of pure babyface characters he's faced like Ali & Kofi Kingston. Since losing his WWE Championship at WrestleMania to Kingston, Bryan shifted to the tag division allowing him to work with a completely new crop of WWE Superstars.
Since being called up to the main roster in January, Heavy Machinery haven't been given much story or character development outside of Otis Dozovic's pelvic thrusting and his caterpillar move. Heavy Machinery gives Daniel Bryan some new pure babyfaces to work with and this match will be a great test for both teams as they work to give us more reasons to cheer for Heavy Machinery. The question for Heavy Machinery is: will they follow the trajectory of Ali & Kofi Kingston after a program with Daniel Bryan or will they follow the career trajectory of Big Cass?
Daniel Bryan & Eric Rowan via submission
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
After simultaneously pinning one another in what may have been the best multi-man match in 205 Live history, Akira Tozawa & Drew Gulak both will get to challenge for Tony Nese's title. Tozawa, a former Cruiserweight Champion, continues to evolve while putting on fantastic matches with whoever he faces regardless of wrestling style. Drew Gulak has been spending a lot of time down at NXT working on NXT programming with Matt Riddle and Kushida while working behind the scenes and in the performance center with other Superstars as well.
Gulak and Tozawa last feuded in late 2017 with Tozawa getting the better of Gulak in the two month program. Gulak has also given Tony Nese some of his best matches in their previous meetings. Drew Gulak has never won the Cruiserweight Championship and it feels like this might finally be his time after coming close against Ali and his match with Cedric Alexander.
Drew Gulak via submission
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Since returning from his battle with Leukemia, Roman Reigns has been plagued by Drew McIntyre. Without his friends in the SHIELD to watch his back anymore, Reigns has been vulnerable to McIntyre's attacks.
McIntyre cost Reigns his match against Shane McMahon at Super Showdown. Since then, Roman has been featured in a way that fans have been hoping to see for years. No more weird jokes, just a bad ass who will overcome any obstacle in his way. Drew McIntyre has awoken the beast in Reigns and Roman will overcome this obstacle as he steps into his role as the new face of SmackDown with the entire WWE Universe supporting him.
Roman Reigns via pinfall
Big E and Xavier Woods vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
After Big E injured his knee two months ago, Kevin Owens stepped in as a temporary member of The New Day before betraying them to become the first challenger for Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship. Kevin has since reunited with his best friend (whom he has betrayed multiple times) Sami Zayn to continue to torment the now healthy New Day.
Things came to a head on RAW in Los Angeles when The New Day interrupted "The Kevin Owens Show" with Baron Corbin as special guest. The New Day used an unconscious EC3 in a referee costume to sanction a match between the groups.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via pinfall