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Battleground stumbled after a hot start, and after it's conclusion, it looks like an extremely forgettable show. WWE basically threw this PPV away in hopes of building up Summerslam next month. WWE should never have a throw-away PPV, because the fundamental idea is that people are PAYING to see something worthwhile, and if they don't get that, they might not pay again. Let's get to the action.
Honestly not a lot could be said about this match. The meat of the match felt like a glorified tag team match between Kane and Orton taking on Cena and Reigns. It was a pretty short main event, and Cena won in the most predictable fashion possible, an almost identical finish to his victory last month at Money in the Bank.
The problem with the match, other than the predictable finish, is that the match and the angle leading into the match, didn't seem to contain a ton of creative effort. The Authority doesn't like John Cena, so they make him defend the title in a Fatal Four-Way against two company men and Roman Reigns. Cena and Reigns butt heads, but eventually, Cena overcomes the "odds" and retains the championship. It feels like the storylines for the match took 15 seconds to come up with. Wrestling is never going to supply literature for the ages, but when the undercard is kind of dry, WWE needs to make sure that their stuff on top is hot and interesting, and that wasn't the case tonight.
Bray Wyatt vs Chris Jericho ***3/4 (3.75 stars)
A good match with a really, surprising finish. Not only did Chris Jericho pick up the victory, but he did as clean and as decisively as possible. Wyatt and Jericho are almost definitely going to work with each other again, but it was an interesting choice to have Jericho win cleanly via a Codebreaker right in the middle of the ring.
Bray has been getting the short end of the stick over the last few months. After being bulldozed by John Cena for months, he really needs to re-establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. With Jericho, someone who is notorious for putting younger talents over as he cuts back on his dates, it seemed like a logical step to have him put Wyatt over. However, the decision was made to have Jericho beat Wyatt on PPV to score the first real big blow in their feud.
Now, I would bet the house that Wyatt picks up a win at Summerslam, but Wyatt's character seems to rely on his ability to position himself as a viable threat to his competitors. If Wyatt is talking about having the whole world in his hands, how much of that is really worth anything if he is losing every match? Will a win at Summerslam be big enough to make fans forget about 5 months of losses?
The match itself was really solid. Wyatt has established himself as someone who is never going to be able to carry a lesser opponent to a really good match, but when he is allowed to work with a really good ring general (Jericho, Bryan, Punk) he has shown the abilty to have some really solid contests. For their first big match together, they clicked really well (although, who doesn't Jericho click with?) and delivered a nice back and forth contest, even if it had a puzzling finish.
WWE World Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs Harper and Rowan ****1/2 (4.5 stars)
WWE is pretty short on tag teams. They broke up the Prime Time Players for no real reason, they broke up The Real Americans, they completely sidetracked the Rhodes Brothers with what so far appears to be nonsense, hell, even 3MB is no more. However, two of the tag teams that they do have, and the teams that have recently been featured the most prominently, have been really, really good lately.
The match they had tonight was an improvement on what were already pretty good matches. By having it be 2 out of 3 falls, both teams were able to get more screen time and allowed to do a lot more in the ring, as they had to come up with three separate pinfalls. Both the Usos and Harper and Rowan have clicked really well as tag teams, and so far each one of their matches has been a real treat to watch, with the 2 out of 3 falls match being the best of the bunch.
The result of the match doesn't really trouble me much. The fact of the matter is that Rowan and Harper don't really need to be champions to be scary, and The Usos are a really solid face tag team. Not only was the in-ring action nice and tight, but the match felt like it actually MATTERED. Both teams got a substantial amount of support from the crowd and they were hot for all of the falls and near-falls during the match. We should be grateful that WWE has actually put the thought into constructing a drawn-out tag-team match that really felt like an important contest.
Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal *** (3 stars)
The battle royal, or as it should be more accurately marketed as "Kofi Kingston almost gets eliminated 10,000 times while Dolph Ziggler sells the moves of his less-talented colleagues," was a pretty entertaining match. Like all battle royals, despite the fact that it was filled with roughly 20 guys, only 5 guys actually had a realistic chance of winning the match. With that being said, they came up with some exciting spots and kept the match and the crowd pretty hot for a majority of its duration. Kingston still manages to come up with all sorts of new stuff, this time relying on his "friend" Big E to help him stay alive. Who cares if no aspect of actual friendship has been displayed other than the fact that both men happen to be black? It was still a pretty cool spot. Miz winning it might help him, and it will hopefully get Dolph Ziggler (or D f'n Z) out of his awful spot in the Layla/Fandango/Summer Rae love triangle.
Diva's Championship Match: AJ vs Paige ** (2 stars)
Not a whole lot to this match, other than the fact that AJ beat Paige pretty cleanly in the middle of the ring. WWE might have something with Paige and AJ facing off, but I felt like more could be accomplished in the future if AJ had won this match with a tricky roll-up or something other than hitting a finishing move on Paige. Now with a clean, 1,2,3, victory, it looks more and more like Paige's win the night after Wrestlemania was a fluke, which I doubt is what they want it to look like.
Jack Swagger vs Rusev ** (2 stars)
A match that played out just like Rusev's matches with Big E, with the exception that Swagger got in a little more offense than Big E managed to do. The finish was pretty weak, and it seemed like something that could have easily been done on Raw. The point of the match was to get people interested in the return match at Summerslam, which is fine for Raw, but kind of lame when it takes place on a show that people PAID to see already.
Now that we have done all the matches, let me get to the crux of my problem with this show; and that is that most of it felt like it could have been done on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Looking back on it, Battleground was clearly a show that was clearly designed to hype up Summerslam. Typical wrestling booking and promoting indicates that you use the TV shows to generate interest for the PPVs. You wouldn't use the PPVs to generate interest in other PPVs, because why would I accept the fact that I PAID to see something that only hyped up something else that I have to PAY for?
This was never made more evident than the fact that Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins didn't take place tonight. Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins was arguably the most anticipated match on the card, and the fact that it didn't take place is incredibly disappointing. What WWE said tonight was that Battleground wasn't worthy of this match, and that they needed to save it for Summerslam. If that was the case, then why advertise the match to take place tonight? It was a bait and switch and the fans should be outraged. What we got tonight was Ambrose beating up Rollins multiple times, which was really the same thing we have been seeing on Raw for the last two months. If WWE loses business because of this, they 100% deserve to do so.
Battleground was a show that really felt like an episode of Raw, which is a colossal disappointment when you consider that this is supposed to be an event that is intended for people to PAY TO SEE. There really wasn't a lot of storyline advancement, no titles changed hands outside of the vacated Intercontinental Championship, and overall it was a pretty much a very long plug for the WWE Network and Summerslam.