WWE Battleground Review
Last night WWE kicked off a new era with their Battleground pay per view, the first show after the new brand split, and the show was a really interesting start to a new era in the WWE. Shane and Stephanie McMahon were looking to bring the best possible product.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke
The night started off with some action in the women’s division featuring Women’s Champion Charlotte teaming up with Dana Brooke, taking on “The Boss” Sasha Banks teaming up with former NXT Women’s Champion Bayley. I don’t think Bayley was expecting to make her main roster debut in a tag team match with her long time rival Sasha Banks, almost a year removed from their match-of-the-year worthy contest at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. But, in the name of battle, your greatest enemy can also be your greatest ally. The match started off pretty sharp; all these women looked very good together in the ring. Great showing from Bayley as well; she definitely looks like she belongs in the spotlight of the WWE. However, the jury is still out on Dana Brooke for me. I still don’t think she’s quite ready for the main roster; she has the look and presence, but her in ring stuff isn’t really to the level of Charlotte or Sasha. But then again, Roman Reigns is the face of the company right? Overall great start, and the finish was really strong–having the champion submit to her potential challenger like that is a good sign of things to come in this rivalry.
The Wyatt Family vs. The New Day
The WWE Tag Team Champions faced their biggest challenge to date when they went against The Wyatt Family, and all of the positivity in the world was not enough to get them through this. The match was definitely dream match calibre if you think about the top teams in the WWE right now, and who needed this win more. The Wyatt’s did, especially with Braun Strowman getting separated in the draft. It’s something I have been saying for a year now: if The Wyatt’s are going to be taken seriously as this entity that invokes fear in their opponents, they need to knock off the big dogs, and not just knock them off but decisively. Therefore, Bray, Braun, and Erik Rowan needed and deserved this victory.
I really enjoyed the dark twist the storyline took with that fight at the Wyatt Compound, and how it seemed like Xavier Woods was being consumed by the bewitching power of Bray Wyatt. This was well done and it made both teams look good in the long run. The finish was strong; that spill Big E took on the outside was cringe worthy, but all in all very good program from both teams. In the end, the New Day are still your WWE World Tag Team Champions (swing your hips as you read that last sentence… it’s fun I promise).
United States Championship: Rusev(c) vs. Zack Ryder
Rusev looked to crush the competition and retain his United States Championship against Zack Ryder, and he did just that. But Ryder did not go down without a fight. This was a good showing from Zack Ryder; he was able so show some of his talent, and display why can be a role player on the midcard scene. Meanwhile Rusev hit another stellar performance as well, and his new version of the accolade just looks painful every time he does it. I wonder if he uses it on Lana in real life?
Anyway, after the match was over we saw the debut of NXT’s Mojo Rawley–you know the stay hype guy. I mean nothing against him, but his character seems like he should be on The Real World, or something on MTV. And Rusev just walked away like he was intimidated; what was that? I don’t really want to see the Hype Bros get back together either, just let “Long Island Iced Z” fly solo for a while.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
This match stole the show. These two men showed the WWE Universe what a true wrestling match is. From the reaction of the crowd, to the chemistry in the ring, it was definitely a spectacular match. I felt like I was watching an indy match; with that said, there was its share of miscues. That moonsault off the top rope could have been severe, and that brainbuster on the apron… but I see they were just playing it safe with that one.
I really enjoyed this match, and let’s be honest people, this rivalry will never end. The internet does not want it to. This is WWE’s new Austin vs. Rock; they will brawl and fight until the end of time, whether Sami Zayn puts the lucha mask back on, or KO wrestles in tights again, it will never end. These guys will be in a WrestleMania main event in the next year, and hopefully there are ladders and package piledrivers involved.
John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club
This was also a great part of the show, and was the true coming out party of Enzo Amore. I mean coming from a true fan of hip hop, his promos are amazing. It’s like watching Kanye West the way he commands the crowd’s attention like that; it was just so organic and he is so over, it is bananas. Even to the point where John Cena and Big Cass had to acknowledge how effortless he makes it look. The match itself was good as well. It had the feeling of a six man tag main event we would see on Monday Night Raw, but cranked up a couple notches. I enjoyed the ending, even though I didn’t see the convenience of Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment off the second rope… but hey it’s John Cena. I keep my complaints about him to a minimum.
As far as The Club is concerned, they will be separated due to the draft, so it didn’t seem logical to have them win this match and I’m glad they didn’t. Now with that said, since they lost Anderson and Gallows, they should just throw AJ to the curb either. Have AJ represent The Club on SmackDown, and have Anderson & Gallows represent on Raw. And now with Finn Balor joining Raw, the possibilities are endless.
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
It is very rare that you see two solid women’s matches on a pay per view, and that just speaks volumes about the women on the roster who have been working hard to make it that way. Becky Lynch had a solid outing in this match, but this was all Nattie. I love what she is doing with her character, how she is reinventing herself. It kind of reminds me of when Owen Hart turned on Bret Hart, and was just really showing how great he was; I see a lot of that in Natalya. I wish the match went a little longer and Becky got to hit more of her moves, but the story was still told pretty well in this one. I can see them going at it one more time before SummerSlam.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz(c) vs. Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund
Now for starters, I will admit I didn’t have high hopes for this match. Also the logic of Miz losing the belt isn’t the right move right now, and I like what Darren Young is doing.. and who doesn’t love Bob Backlund? But, what the hell was that finish?! It almost seemed like that shove to Maryse was not supposed to happen… almost like that finish was not supposed to happen. Not a good way for both men to go out. I’m really hopefully there is a rematch somewhere down the line.
Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with Randy Orton
It was Good seeing Randy Orton return. He looked like he was in good shape and refreshed, like he was happy to be back. And him going back and forth with Jericho was very entertaining. As a huge Jericho fan, I love heel Jericho; even in his entrance, giving us a little 1998 Lionheart Chris Jericho glimpse. I was waiting for a Lenny Lane reference from JBL, but it didn’t happen.
Just real classic Jericho being the best in the world at what he does, and Randy Orton showing us why we missed and love the guy. Orton is such a nice guy, he even gave Jericho a free trip to “Viperville” courtesy of an RKO–no enhancements needed of course. Welcome back Randy.
WWE Championship: Dean Ambrose(c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
Very solid triple threat match from these three. I will cut Roman some slack on this one; he absolutely brought it. He does have a really impressive tendency to perform well in big match situations. Seth definitely showed a commanding presence in this match, taking control in a lot of the match. If you ask me, I say the former members of the shield gave us the dream match we were hoping for; I mean there’s still a lot left on the table for them in the future of course, but this was a good start.
But even though I cut Roman some slack, he still has a lot to overcome. WWE can’t brand him as this goody-two-shoes, clean-cut guy anymore; he has to change his image. We see glimpses of it, and Vince McMahon needs to pull the trigger and let this guy loose already. He can’t be a believable good guy if you just hand him opportunity after opportunity. And another note: his ‘Superman Punch” is really not as effective as they are making it out to be, because in reality if Superman punched me in the face, I wouldn’t have a face anymore. Unless, you are trying to tell the story that Seth Rollins is immune to a superman punch, like he is Batman in an armored suit or something… that would be really cool. Anyway, if you make Roman Reigns change his attitude, people might warm up to him and not boo him out of the building. Let him be him… that is all.
Overall, WWE Battleground was a success. Solid card, solid performances, but a lot of room for improvement. Stephanie and Shane have something brewing, and this new era should be interesting.
This pay per view gets an official That Geek Show 8/10. Keep up the good work WWE.
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