2019 WWE Stomping Grounds predictions, card, matches, start time, location, date, PPV preview

WWE has largely struggled from a creative standpoint in the two months since WrestleMania 35, but Sunday's inaugural Stomping Grounds event should give everyone a bit of optimism, especially considering the go-home editions of both Raw and SmackDown Live this past week delivered. Now, Stomping Grounds has the opportunity close it all out with a solid showing on Sunday night in Tacoma, Washington, and then fans should be provided with a heightened sense of that optimism as the summer months kick into high gear. 

Stomping Grounds features a bit too many rematches and retreads coming out of the desert, but there is reason for anticipation based upon the cliffhanger of the open special guest referee spot in the universal championship match between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin that will likely close the show. Should the reveal prove to be Money in the Bank winner Brock Lesnar, there's potential for some fireworks in how the finish is booked.

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2019 Stomping Grounds predictions

Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese (c) vs. Drew Gulak vs. Akira Tozawa

Brian Campbell, Adam Silverstein, Jack Crosby: In hindsight, it feels like a disastrous decision to have pulled the title off of Buddy Murphy so soon considering WWE has yet to debut him on SmackDown Live. Either way, Nese's title reign has felt like nothing more than transitional, especially considering the dominant personalty of late on 205 Live has come in the form of newly re-signed Mike Kanellis. The sneaky pick here may be in giving Gulak a run at the strap considering how over he has gotten himself on the microphone and how perfectly contrasting his mat-based style is opposite the division's high flyers. Pick: Drew Gulak wins the title

The New Day vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

AS, BC: Having Owens and Zayn back on television has been great. Seeing them lose every week ... not so much. This is an opportunity to rectify that against a team in New Day that could lose every match for a month and not drop one iota in popularity. I don't think this match being on the card is necessary; in fact, I would have preferred it to be saved for Extreme Rules with a cool stipulation. But if you're going to run it, then an opportunity should be provided for the heels to get over and build some respectability again. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn win

JC: I have to offer up a separate prediction here of this match taking place early on the card -- as in quite possibly on the kickoff show. As such, Big E & Xavier Woods will pick up the victory on the heels here, though I'd expect Owens & Zayn to get their heat back in some former either immediately post-match or on television this week. There's still a story to let play out here with Big E and Owens now that the former is back in the fold full time. Pick: The New Day win

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Daniel Bryan & Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery

BC, AS, JC: Bryan has been nothing short of brilliant of late on the microphone, making this lopsided feud an entertaining one considering Heavy Machinery's goofball style fits perfectly into the ire of Bryan's persona. With that said, this isn't a feud that needs to last too long. It allows Otis and Tucker a chance to get attention and a cup of coffee on the title level, but nothing more. The heels win and move on to bigger and better things. Pick: Daniel Bryan & Rowan retain the titles 

United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet

JC, BC: Some may say that it's too early for Ricochet to claim a championship on the main roster, but for a special talent such as him, that unwritten rule must be ignored. He has some serious momentum going right now, and the best course of action is to keep him on a hot streak by picking up the United States title victory on Sunday. Yes, you hate to see Joe have to rebound from another disappointing loss yet again, but the fact is that he's proven time and time again that he can bounce back to prove a legitimate threat to someone else down the line. Pick: Ricochet wins the title

AS: While we are all fans of Ricochet, and I personally think he has a bright future on the main roster, it feels way to soon for him to even be getting this title opportunity, let alone for him to come away from this match with the United States championship. Ricochet would not be hurt with a loss here to Joe, while Joe getting a clean win over a face that draws a solid crowd reaction would do wonders for him. This match should be awesome either way, and if given time, could actually steal the show. The only question is whether it will get that time. I expect Joe to hold onto this title until Mysterio gets healthy and takes it off of him clean -- perhaps at SummerSlam. Pick: Samoa Joe retains the title 

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

AS, BC: Let me make something clear: McIntyre should have defeated Reigns at WrestleMania. Full stop. The storyline was in the palm of WWE's hands to have Reigns finally lose at a 'Mania (not counting the Seth Rollins cash in) in his first big match coming back from real-life leukemia. He could have fallen on hard times, lost a couple more big matches and worked his way back up over a nine-month stretch leading into 'Mania. Instead, Reigns won a horrible match with McIntyre for no good reason and here we are two months later with a rematch. It's time to rectify that situation and put McIntyre over. Unfortunately, this is a prediction and not a spot for me to just book the damn territory. And with WWE, even in matches he should lose, that's not what happens with Vince McMahon's prized superstar. Pick: Roman Reigns wins 

JC: McIntyre needs to win this match, plain and simple. It was a grave mistake to put Reigns over so cleanly back at WrestleMania, but with the summer storylines and characters developing, there's a chance on Sunday to correct that mistake. Paired as Shane McMahon's right-hand man, McIntyre has been portrayed as the killer he should have been all along as he's mowed through the roster. His character dropped off a bit there for a shoer while, but he's back on the fast track towards eventually earning his first world championship. That needs to take a monumental leap forward at Stomping Grounds with a clean victory over the face of the company. Pick: Drew McIntyre wins

SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

AS, BC, JC: The only thing worse than a Raw superstar competing for a SmackDown title would be a Raw superstar winning a SmackDown title. With Bayley having defeated Charlotte Flair via Money in the Bank cash-in to win the strap in the first place -- and following that up with a couple good promos, including a fantastic segment on Tuesday night -- Bayley is finally starting to look like a legitimate singles star again. Feeding her to Bliss simply to put the title back around her waist would be mind-numbingly bad booking. Bliss does not need a title to be over, whereas Bayley basically does considering how poorly she has been booked over the last few years -- including in her last feud against Bliss. There is little reason to change this title for a fifth time in the last four months. The question many have entering this match is whether Sasha Banks reappears to have Bayley's back (or turn on her) considering Nikki Cross is in Bliss' corner. I truly hope they save that for a bigger show than Stomping Grounds. Pick: Bayley retains the title 

Raw Women's Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans

BC, AS: Whether you agree that this feud has dragged on a bit too long without much in the way of new developments, Evans has continued to prove she's worthy of being presented as an elite talent. The command of her character continues to be impressive considering this is her debut angle on the main roster. That doesn't mean it's time to take the title off of Lynch, however. If and when Sasha Banks makes a return to the active roster, one could imagine a perfect SummerSlam feud between "The Boss" and "The Man" for the Raw women's title would be in the cards. Pick: Becky Lynch retains the title

JC: I'm well aware there's a good chance I could be 0-2 here as I also chose Evans to capture the Raw women's title from "The Man" at Money in the Bank. Regardless, I'm gonna ride with Evans at least one more time here. Her character has been presented as a big deal since her debut -- a much bigger deal than a lot of call-ups that have hit the main roster. A second consecutive title loss for Evans wouldn't permanently stall her career or anything, but it might be wise to strap her up for a bit, adding some more legitimacy to her push. Plus, these two have had an entertaining program thus far, so you have to wonder how much better it could be with Lynch being the one doing the chasing for a bit. Pick: Lacey Evans wins the title

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Steel Cage Match)

BC, JC: Not only has Kingston's surprising WWE championship reign produce an all-time great WrestleMania moment, his character has grown in the months that have followed with the strap. So even though the direction of the storytelling might suggest a Ziggler victory could be in order for Sunday, it's hard to imagine WWE steering away from such a good story surrounding Kingston as champion. Certainly give credit for Ziggler's promo ability and the manner in which he set the stage for this cage match through his work on Tuesday, but even without his New Day brethren by his side, it feels too early to see Kingston without the belt. Pick: Kofi Kingston retains the title

AS: They are going to have to take the title off Kingston at some point, and when you look at SmackDown right now, there is a dearth of top-level heels with Owens being the exception. The brand's best heel, Daniel Bryan, is currently in the tag team picture. So that leaves one of two options: Kingston loses the title to Ziggler or Owens ... or he holds it all the way until SmackDown debuts on Fox in October and drops it to Brock Lesnar. Better than WWE sticking with Kingston as champion for that long would be the company making him a two-time champ. That shows that the WrestleMania win was not just a gift to satisfy fans; it would instead establish that Kingston deserves to be in the main event picture. With Roman Reigns fighting other battles at this time and WresteMania 36 still a ways off, he can be the primary face challenger and champion for another handful of months. Make a change here, give Ziggler the credibility he badly needs, and make Kingston earn a rematch at SummerSlam. Pick: Dolph Ziggler wins the title 

Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin

BC: Consider this prediction an ambitious choice that puts largely unjustified faith in WWE's storytelling ability, but depending upon who the reveal is for the guest referee role in this match -- and really, nothing short of Brock Lesnar or Paul Heyman makes much sense to the story -- there's potential for WWE to send fans home with a polarizing reaction that breeds interest in seeing what happens on Monday. Giving Corbin a brief title win aided by outside interference could be a creative bridge toward having Lesnar cash in moments later as the broadcast goes off the air. The decision would certainly support Vince McMahon's preference that Lesnar be on top as marquee babyfaces give chase, and could set up for an interesting build to SummerSlam should both Rollins and Roman Reigns set their hopes on regaining the title as their friendship simultaneously dissolves. Pick: Baron Corbin wins the title; Brock Lesnar wins the title via cash in

JC, AS: All three of us here at CBS Sports seem to be in agreement that Lesnar will be the one serving as Corbin's hand-picked referee, though it'll be interesting to see how that is explained come match time; why would it make sense for Corbin to choose the Money in the Bank winner to just be hanging around in the event that he defeats Rollins to win the title? Nonetheless, I do have to stand on the side of my colleague Brian Campbell above in one regard: Lesnar will cash in that briefcase to close the show that's somewhat flown under the radar the past few weeks, though it'll be on his nemesis Rollins who will once again defeat Corbin. No steel chair will be able to save Rollins this time as, like it or not, Lesnar will become a three-time Raw universal champion. Pick: Seth Rollins retains the title; Brock Lesnar wins the title via cash in

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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