St. Louis was in for a wild night at Battleground, with a number of highly-anticipated matches with huge implications for the future of not just the superstars involved but the WWE’s future in general. This night was a make-or-break night for a number of future stars as well as top stars looking to cement their legacy going forth. However, I think it’s fair to say that St. Louis wasn’t expect a night quite like this.
WWE Battleground proved a number of memorable moments along with planting the seeds for what we can expect to see at Summerslam, arguably their second biggest PPV of the year. This was a crucial night of the WWE and their talent, and the pressure were on the superstars and the writers to perform for this particular Battleground.
We began things with Sheamus vs Randy Orton, in a singles match which somehow stemmed from the two of them both being in the Money In The Bank ladder match. During this match, Michael Cole and JBL pointed out a number of times that “these two know each other very well.” This comment got me thinking because comments like these that Cole and JBL throw out there are really over done nowadays. Even if two guys had been feuding for three weeks, you’d have Cole going “these guys know each other so well,” after there’s been like one counter in a match. However, at least this match in general backed up what the commentators said about their history, because there was an incredible amount of counters during this match! It may be a small thing, but at least what the commentators said were being backed up in the ring!
Now it’s easy to lose interest in a match like this, because we’ve seen it time after time on RAW, SmackDown!, on PPVs ever since their first match at Royal Rumble 2010. Despite all of that, this was probably one of the better matches I’ve seen between these two during all of that time! It was surprisingly quick-paced despite their styles. The crowd took a while to get into it, but Orton did a great job at rallying his hometown crowd near the end of the match. Randy was well over with his hometown crowd and and they were going nuts as Randy was signalling for the RKO at the end. It was a decent match that was given enough time and Orton got the RKO for the win. It’s funny, people were telling me last night that there’s no way that WWE would have their Money In The Bank holder lose in their first PPV as the briefcase holder. But as I pointed out in my predictions last night, they do it a lot more often than you think! As I predicted last night, Sheamus lost just like so many before him. I’m sure Sheamus will eventually build himself back up, but losing to Orton clean doesn’t help his chances unless they continue into Summerslam with this program. However, good match regardless.
Next up was the WWE Tag Team Championship match between the Prime Time Players and the New Day. The crowd were into this one. New Day cut a decent promo about needing to lose in order to win. I figured with the New Day being represented by Big E and Kofi Kingston rather than Big E and Xaiver Woods that this match would have been a lot better than their match at Money In The Bank… I was wrong. It was a OK match, but there wasn’t anything special about it. The finish was the Prime Time Players overcoming the three-on-two situation with Xaiver Woods interfering and getting the pin to retain the tag titles. I didn’t like the finish to this because it made the New Day look so bad.
The storyline for this feud between the Prime Time Players and the New Day has been the numbers game catching up to Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, which has been costing them the tag titles. Eventually at Money In The Bank, with Kofi not there due to the MITB ladder match, they got a proper two-on-two match and won the titles. Here, there was the numbers game again and the Prime Time Players just beat them clean. Now if it was something like Xaiver botching the interference to lead to the pinfall, then I would have liked it even more. Because in this situation, the three-on-two handicap would have actually helped the PTP win the tag titles and it means the three-on-two storyline would have meant something and actually led to an interesting finish. But here, it didn’t lead to anything. The PTP just hit their finishes and pinned them. Xaiver Woods was just there to make little interferences here and there and make a lot of noise at ringside. It’s killing the New Day’s gimmick of ganging up on the other tag teams to dominate the division. They’re probably the most over group in the company, probably more than the PTP, and here they just lost clean. Other than, it was a OK match with just a lame finish for me. Others might think differently, but I just wanted them to stick with to the outnumbered storyline and have it lead to the finish of the match. However that did not happen.
Roman Reigns took on Bray Wyatt next. I was very fearful of how this match was going to finish. When Cole mentioned that Roman Reigns had not pinned or made anyone tap out since Bray Wyatt cost him the Money In The Bank contract, I felt sure that Reigns was going to win. I legitimately thought that Roman Reigns was going to beat Bray Wyatt clean here at Battleground, but thankfully I was wrong. I didn’t think much about this match. I saw a lot of people on a Wrestlezone article saying it was a good match, but I don’t really see it. I can’t say it was a bad match, because it certainty wasn’t. However, this was a very slow paced match and I thought it went a lot longer than it should have. A match like Wyatt vs Reigns shouldn’t really go 20 minutes, because it means Wyatt and Reigns having to drag out a lot of the spots and slowing down the pace of the match, and that’s what happened here. However, I did like the finish.
WWE had been teasing that Bray Wyatt had been getting into Roman Reigns’ head for the last five weeks. For the majority of the match, it didn’t seem like that storyline was being played out and it just seemed that Reigns was just acting as normal. However, they did incorporate it to the finish. Bray Wyatt got the chairs out and looked like he was going to use until Reigns knocked him down. Then Reigns himself got a hold of the chairs and threw them into the ring. I thought at this point that the ref was, for some reason, going to call for a DQ! There’s a lot of refs that just call for the DQ too early in the WWE and I legit thought Reigns throwing the chair in the ring was going to result in a DQ! Thankfully, it did not. But as the referee was distracted, a hooded man jumped Roman and hit a Superkick. I don’t know what it was like live, but on television we all saw who was underneath the hood right after he hit the move! But yet, the commentators were still pretending like they had no idea who was underneath the hood. That would be fine, but the man gave himself away by hitting one of his signature moves on Reigns. So surely, that would have given the commentators a heads up if this was real!
Bray followed the Super Kick up with a slam onto the apron and then hitting Sister Abigail for the pin. Again, it certainty wasn’t a bad match and there was a few decent spots in the middle. I liked the spot where Reigns no-sold a boot and going crazy, and walked straight into a clothesline from Wyatt. That I liked. It was OK match with a good finish. The hooded man was revealed to be Luke Harper, and he was back with Wyatt. Smart move by WWE to get Harper back with Wyatt as now he’s found himself some relevancy again in the company. I’m guessing Erick Rowan would have been with Wyatt as well had he not got injured. It’ll be interesting to see whether WWE just go with the two of them or if they’re going to bring in somebody else to join up with Wyatt.
Next up was a bonus match for the PPV. And for the first time in years, the bonus match actually felt like a legitimate BONUS to a PPV! It was the continuation of the “revolution” of the divas division in WWE. Stephanie McMahon announced that one member of each of the new factions in the divas storyline would be picked to compete in a triple threat match. It would be NXT Womens Championship Sasha Banks from Team B.A.D. against Brie Bella from the Bella Army and Charlotte from Paige’s group. This was a great divas match. Mostly, it was down to Charlotte and Banks. Brie Bella didn’t really get involved as much as the other two, which was probably for the best. Brie was really off her game in this match. I would like to point out that during the match, Brie attempted to pay homage to her husband Daniel Bryan by doing his multiple kicks spot to both Sasha and Charlotte. And I must say that these were some of the worst kicks I’ve ever seen delivered! I actually like Brie and she has improved in the last few years, but man she looked horrible here. Especially when in the ring with divas as talented like Sasha Banks and Charlotte, Brie looked so out-of-place and really couldn’t keep up.
The match itself was great regardless of Brie. However, there’s one more spot that I want to talk about. Sasha dropkicked Brie into the rest of the Bella Army and landed hard onto the floor as Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox could not catch Brie. Nikki and Alicia have both been wrestling for nearly a decade and even now, the two of them together were not able to catch Brie Bella coming down on top of them. Brie might have launched herself a bit too far off the dropkick but Nikki and Alicia should have been a lot further back in order to catch Brie. I was just shocked by how badly their attempts at catching Brie was and Brie couldn’t have gotten badly hurt from it. In the end, after a decent little exchange between Brie and Charlotte, Charlotte locked the Figure-Eight Leg Lock on Brie to make her tap out. Again, it was a great divas match. They got a decent amount of time to do some serious work. I’m very looking forward to seeing how this “revolution” develop.
Next was the third match between Kevin Owens and John Cena for the WWE United States Championship. This match was another great match between these two. In my opinion, this was not as good as the other two matches at Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank. However, it was still a fine bout. There was lot of the same stuff which we’ve seen before between these two. A lot of the same spots. However, I want to get straight to the finish of this match. Cena hit Owens with the AA off the top rope and Owens kicked out. Cena’s face sold that kick out really well. Because this finish has been used so many times by Cena to win big matches. However, Owens kicked out. At that moment, I felt Owens looked as strong as anyone else who has faced Cena. I thought that this was going to go down as a truly memorable match in WWE history and Owens was going to get the win. But what happens? Cena simply locks on the STF and makes him tap out.
I could not believe that this match ended like this. With the likes of Bray Wyatt and Rusev, there was always a lingering thought that Cena would win those feuds. Even though you believed in your heart in the past that Wyatt and Rusev were going to beat Cena at Wrestlemania, there was always a feeling that Cena was going to go over. And he did it both times. However, with this US title match between Owens and Cena, I truly believed that there was NO WAY that Cena was going to win. There’s a lot of “Cena haters” that were telling me that Cena was going to go over. I didn’t for ONE TIME believe them, because I believed that the WWE knew that Kevin Owens was something special. Owens dropped the NXT title which I believed meant that he would be committing to the main roster full-time. And to officially start his run, he’d beat Cena and win the US title. Having ALL the momentum in the world to just fly to the top of WWE. Turns out… I was wrong.
Here’s the thing, the stars have never been this well aligned for Owens to succeed. The stars were never THIS WELL ALIGNED! All he had to do was beat Cena and win the US title, as he was the right man at the right time to win this championship. In everyone’s mind, it was his time. But apparently… NOT EVERYONE. Someone in the back thought it was a great idea to kill off Owens’ momentum by having Cena MAKE OWENS TAP OUT! At least Bray Wyatt didn’t tap out to John Cena. At least Rusev simply passed out to John Cena. Not Kevin Owens! Oh no! After Cole and JBL talked about the will of Owens and made Owens sound like a billion dollars on commentary, Owens taps out to Cena. This makes Owens JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. The glass ceiling has never been more prominent as it was at Battleground. It’s now clear to me… you can only achieve this much success in WWE… but you MUST lose a feud to Cena. Just why?
I know wrestlers like Chris Jericho and Edge in the past have accused Cena of “burying” talent and putting himself over. However, I thought to myself that there was NO WAY that Cena would think him winning the feud against Owens was a good idea. I guarantee you, this can’t have been Cena’s idea. There’s one man in the WWE who thought that killing Owens momentum like this and Cena going over by making Owens tap out was a good idea but it just wasn’t. I think this match is the final acceptance by me that there is so little hope for future talent to become stars for one reason. And his name is John Cena.
Long time followers of the blog know what I actually LIKE John Cena. But when he’s booked to look like a bloody demi-god, how on earth will WWE be able to build up new talent when they can’t break the glass ceiling that is John Cena? This ending has infuriated me. Because now I finally realize, there’s little hope for the future of NXT in Vince McMahon’s WWE…
Now that’s out the way…
Before Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins, The Miz actually cut an awesome promo about Big Show and Ryback. The fans were actually really into his promo and Miz talked about not getting his Intercontinental title shot tonight until Big Show came out and KO’d him. Little filler segment just before the WWE World Title match.
So next was Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins. It’s a similar type of match to what we’ve seen Brock deliver in the last year. He delivered 13 suplexes and dominated things from the get-go. However, Seth looked pretty strong when taking the abuse. He took it to Lesnar a bit himself and looked great in doing it. After a slap of defiance from Seth, Brock hit the F5 and then… we here a gong go off and the lights go out…
IT WAS THE UNDERTAKER! Undertaker returned to do battle with Lesnar, the man who had broken his Wrestlemania streak. Undertaker delivered a low blow to the man and left Lesnar laying after a chokeslam and two tombstone pilderivers to win this particular battle. The match ended in a no contest.
Needless to say, I was not expecting this. Someone on Reddit apparently leaked Undertaker’s return but I never really believed it. However, this was an incredible way for him to do it. I just went on a tangent there about Vince McMahon, but you could tell he put a lot of thought into Undertaker’s return. Taker returning and hitting the low blow shocked a lot of people. People are still debating about whether Undertaker’s still a face or not, but I do believe that was the heel turn of the Undertaker right there. The all-mighty Undertaker shouldn’t really need to do the low blow but he did. That’s the ultimate sign of a heel turn, as he’s pulling off a desperate maneuver to win the fight with Brock Lesnar.
I loved this ending and to be fair, Seth Rollins looked good despite his beating by Brock. Seth slapped Lesnar back and fought back against Lesnar quite a bit. For a moment, I truly believed that Seth was actually going to turn face during this match. I thought it was going to be a Steve Austin-like face turn when he doesn’t give up. However, there’s still a chance that Seth could still turn face but it’ll be interesting to see if they do.
However, this ending was really well executed and the fans were going NUTS for it. Overall, this PPV was an OK PPV. There was certain decisions which I think didn’t work but there still a lot which I think payed off. I think this was a great prelude to Summerslam, and I’m excited to see what happens next with Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker!