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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

John Cena beats Rusev at WWE Battleground as Jinder Mahal denies Randy Orton to retain title in Punjabi Prison Match

New Day to win tag titles and AJ Styles retains US Championship in other predictions ahead of Sunday's show.

Randy Orton will miss out on regaining the WWE title at Battleground.
Randy Orton will miss out on regaining the WWE title at Battleground.

WWE's latest Network Special, Battleground, takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday. Ahead of the event, which is filled with matches featuring WWE Superstars from the SmackDown brand, here are the predictions on what will happen.

Jinder Mahal to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match

A gimmick match that no-one remembers fondly, a one-dimensional champion up against a challenger who has floundered as a baby face in his current run.

The omens for this are not good. Mahal, in fairness has done solid work as champion, but his character is painfully out of date for 2017, and it is hard to see how far he can go with the currently booking.

Orton has phoned it in since turning on Bray Wyatt in March, and he desperately needs to either re-find his passion for the business, or have an urgent character change as the RKO finisher is quite frankly the only reason he is over with fans these days.

Mahal to retain, hopefully to end this drab feud, and hopefully he can find a better opponent for SummerSlam.

John Cena to win a flag match against Rusev

One of the more predictable matches on the card. No way Cena, in his first singles match since his return to action, is losing here, with SummerSlam next month.

It is a shame that Rusev, who could be so good as a high profile heel, will again lose any chance of momentum following his recovery from injury.

Cena will win, but hopefully Rusev is not completely buried on the way to building up the 16-time world champion ahead of a likely high profile match next month.

AJ Styles to retain the United States Championship against Kevin Owens

It was a major surprise that Styles won the US title from Owens at a house show in New York, and that likely telegraphs the result here.

Given Styles has not triumphed in a big match on a network special since WrestleMania 33 a clean win over Owens will build him and the US title up ahead of SummerSlam.

It is not clear where Owens goes from here, but he is so good in the ring and on the microphone that he can absorb a loss here and be fine.

The New Day to win the SmackDown tag team titles against the Usos

Arguably the hardest match on the card to call. Usos have been superb as champions, but it is hard to see who they feud with next if they retain here.

A New Day victory will at least open the possibility of a third match between the teams at SummerSlam, and given the amount of merchandise they shift, another title run for the popular trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods is probably a good thing for the WWE so that is where they will go.

Charlotte Flair to win a fatal five-way against Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Lana to become No 1 contender for the SmackDown Women's Championship

Yet again the focus on a SmackDown network special is on who will challenge Naomi for the title, rather than a title match with the champion.

This has to be Flair's match. The clean loss on Tuesday to Lynch only confirmed it as a way of keeping the Lass Kicker strong, considering she will not be winning on Sunday.

There is no way Flair is not in the title picture at SummerSlam and the victory here sets up Naomi v Charlotte in New York.

Shinsuke Nakamura to beat Baron Corbin in a singles match

This is a hard one to call as both men could do with a win.

Nakamura is super over with fans, but has yet to really find his place on the roster since beating Dolph Ziggler.

The philosophy is normally that the Money in the Bank briefcase holder loses a lot before cashing in, but Corbin is not established enough yet to be taken serious as a champion now, and losing more matches will not improve that any further.

Nakamura probably does get the win here, but the WWE have to be careful with Corbin and making him more creditable going forward if they do what him to have a successful cash in.

Tye Dillinger to beat Aidan English in a singles match

A throw-away match for the pre-show most likely. Dillinger is excellent in the ring, but has been barely used since coming to SmackDown, but he will win comfortably here.

WWE Battleground is on the WWE Network, which is available through OSN, with the action beginning at 3am UAE time.