Best For Business: The Big Push For WWE Battleground, Predictions For Sunday's PPV
Welcome to the very first edition of Best For Business, my new weekly column presented exclusively at WrestlingInc. After three years at 411Mania, I'm psyched to bring both my writing and my radio show (The Greg DeMarco Show) to the site for you to enjoy. Or hate. The choice is yours!
WWE Battleground: The Final Push
Monday's WWE Raw offering, in my opinion, finally provided the push for WWE Battleground that the prior two had been lacking. And since it's easy math, we realize that means we just had a three week build to this pay-per-view, one that seems destined to draw a lower-than-normal buy rate. Don't fear, the event will still turn a profit—but don't expect this to be a point of pride on a future quarterly financial results conference call.
CM Punk vs. Ryback saw, in my opinion, the strongest build of the already established matches during Raw. That's largely due to the amazing chemistry between Paul Heyman and CM Punk, Paul Heyman and Ryback, Paul Heyman and the audience…pretty much Paul Heyman and anyone! Sure, Curtis Axel is played off as an afterthought in this feud, but Axel basically is an afterthought in the WWE these days. Their interactions were great on this show, and the last time I was this excited about a Ryback match was, ironically enough, the last time he faced CM Punk on pay-per-view (October 2012's Hell in a Cell).
A big element has been added to the Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match over the past two weeks, and unfortunately it's not named "WWE Championship." Rather, it's named Brie Bella. I don't believe Brie's involvement is "best for business," (see what I did there) but it was inevitable. Brie is on the WWE's E! Total Divas reality show, and her relationship with Daniel Bryan has been a large focus of the program. Combine that with their recent engagement, and her inclusion in this storyline was a given. But the WWE Championship—the one Triple H "held in abeyance" because it's so important to him, hasn't been focused on enough since the Raw after Night of Champions. The fans care far more about Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton than they do the WWE Championship, which is really a double edged sword. The feud has mega-heat behind it, but the most important and prestigious championship in all of professional wrestling isn't even important enough to be a prop right now.
WWE elected to keep the participants in the Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam match separate on Raw, and I found it to be an effective decision. One thing you'll learn about me is that I view the World Heavyweight Championship as a secondary title—almost tertiary when there's a red briefcase holder running around. This period of abeyance would have been the perfect opportunity to position "Big Goldie" as an equal world title again, but that's apparently not in the cards. However, I was surprisingly intrigued by the non-traditional build used on Raw. Alberto Del Rio continued to show the same fire he's shown since regaining the title from Dolph Ziggler, a rarity for the modern day WWE's booking of heel champions. And Rob Van Dam's time backstage with Renee Young, and their viewing of RVD's YouTube video, has me suddenly thinking their Hardcore Rules match will steal the show on Sunday.
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