There was a lot of questions heading into Battleground this year. Which Shield member would hoist the belt? Where would the WWE Championship end up, Raw or Smackdown? Could Darren Young be great again? Luckily for us, Battleground answered all of those questions and gave us some damn good matches too. As is tradition, let’s run down the card match-by-match.
Why Isn’t the Women’s Belt Being Defended?
Reasons, that’s why. Thanks to some meh storytelling, the opening PPV match is a women’s tag pitting Charlotte and Dana Brooke against Sasha Banks and her mystery partner. I always prefer that belts are defended at PPV’s but I’ll forgive this one for the following reason.
Hot damn, Bayley! It was incredible to see Bayley finally debut on the main roster, and she deservedly got the biggest pop of the night. The four wrestled a fast paced and well put together match that was a perfect opener for the show. Dana is pretty useless in the ring, but Sasha and Bayley managed to hide her shortcomings well. In the end Sasha submitted Charlotte for the win! See you two at Summerslam.
The Wyatt Family took on The New Day in a six man non-title tag match. Again with belts not being defended. Seeing all three members of New Day in one match is a great reminder that Xavier Woods should wrestle more, because he’s excellent. The match itself was usual tag far, but there was some great storytelling of Woods resisting the urge to succumb to Bray Wyatt, but then losing anyways. Great to see The Wyatt’s get a strong send off before they are separated in the draft.
Next up Rusev defended his U.S Title against Zack Ryder. Ryder earned a shot at Rusev by beating Sheamus (poor Sheamo) and Rusev has been blowing him off. The match is quite short, but both men get their licks in and Ryder plays an excellent babyface. Eventually he gets caught in the Accolade, but almost manages to break out before being submitted. Then duckarse Mojo Rawley makes a run in for some reason. He gets in the ring and starts yelling at Rusev, who blows him off. It was a good match overall, but Mojo can fuck off.
Match of the Night, Turn Back Now
Being billed as their final battle(bullshit), Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens faced off again. Now I can’t do this match justice, it’s a genuine contender for match of the year. Incredible pace with both guys getting their moves in and moving effortlessly from spot to spot. The match also had great storytelling and psychology throughout. Sami kayfabe re-injuring his shoulder and Owens targeting it. Sami got to hit a Brainbuster on the apron that looked incredible. The match concluded with an amazing finishing sequence of Sami hitting the Helluva Kick and catching Owens, before propping him back up to hit a second for the won. Go watch this match. Now.
Women With Large Arms
Becky and Natalya are feuding. That’s about all you need to know about this one. From a technical standpoint this wasn’t a bad match, but Nattie is a terrible heel and it just makes everything about the match feel fake. Eventually Natalya won clean for some reason. I don’t get this match or this feud.
Make Titus Great Again
Look guys, I won’t sugarcoat this. Darren Young sucks. He does. That being said, the idea behind pairing Young and Bob Backlund is an intriguing one, but it’s pretty poorly executed. Also the slogan is wrong. You can’t make Darren Young great again, he was never great beforehand. I do like that Young adopted Backlund’s amateur wrestling style, but he’s pretty shit at it. The match was a clumsy affair with lots of chain wrestling. Eventually Maryse slaps Backlund, then Miz pushed Backlund, then Young slaps on a submission outside the ring, then the bell rings. There was no ten count, and neither man did anything to get disqualified. What an awful finish.
4G vs The Club
Holy shit Enzo Amore. John Cena is teaming with Enzo and Cass to take on The Club. The faces are out first and Enzo cuts the best promo of his career. It’s the stuff of magic, go seek it out! Cass gets a few good lines in as well, it’s all just tremendous. The match itself is a pretty good six man tag, but it’s clear that Enzo was the breakout star. He got several big spots and a great moment in the ring with Anderson and Gallows. Even though Cena pinned AJ (to set up a rubber match), it’s pretty clear that the focus of the match was to elevate Enzo and Cass and mission fucking accomplished.
Drink it In Maaaaannnnnnnn
Jericho had a returning Randy Orton on the Highlight Reel. Orton is an awful babyface and cuts a Cena style promo that doesn’t go over well. The only thing that saves this segment is how incredible Y2J is as a heel. Way after overstaying his welcome, Orton finally hits an RKO so we can move on.
Brother vs Brother vs Brother, Brother
Onto the main event! Yes the match we all thought would main event a Wrestlemania, here at a B PPV. This match had the largest story implications, with Dean Ambrose holding the title and being drafted to Smackdown, and Rollins and Reigns going to Raw. Seth and Dean are both well over, and Roman gets nuclear X-Pac heat coming back from his suspension. The match has a slow start but does it ever kick into gear later. With the crowd firmly behind anyone who isn’t Roman, Dean and Seth routinely gang up on Roman and get big pops for it. They even do a Shield powerbomb through an announce table that gets massive cheers. Plenty of great spots and a few good near falls that really play off of the uncertainty of who would win. Ultimately Dean breaks up Roman’s cover on Seth with a Dirty Deeds for the clean win! Roman got pinned clean again! Don’t do drugs kids. A great conclusion to a great match that was the best possible booking decision that could have been made. The entire Smackdown roster gets in the ring to celebrate with Ambrose to see us out.
Should You Care?
Yep. This was hands down the best main roster PPV of the year, and easily the best Battleground ever. Just about every match was a fun watch, Owens and Zayn had an all time classic, and a main event that was pretty damn good. It’s definitely worth a watch just to see that WWE sometimes do things right. What did you think of Battleground? Sound off below!