Last week, the WWE last pay-per-view before the Raw and Smackdown live show split officially happens. This means that the WWE Superstars on the Raw side can only compete against other wrestlers who are contracted on Raw and Smackdown wrestlers can only fight against Smackdown wrestlers. This actually has a big impact on the WWE title hunt because it means that each and every title is locked down for that show! So, with a majority of the titles on the line on Battleground and most of the guys with title shots belong to different “brands,” this may be their last shot at getting whatever title they want!
But there are also other matches as well! So, let’s go look at Battleground and see if it’ll change the WWE Title landscape in any way!
Match #1: Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke
Dear Shane and Stephanie McMahon. I’m glad you drafted Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss to the main rosters. But you drafted Eva Marie and Carmella instead of Bayley? Are you kidding me? But I guess you realized your mistake when you heard the huge pop she got from the crowd when she was announced as Sasha Banks’ “mystery partner,” didn’t you?
The match itself was pretty good with Sasha and Bayley taking turns on getting beat up by Charlotte and Dana Brooke before managing to get the hot tag. There was one really scary moment during the match where Sasha Banks went for a hurracarrana on Charlotte but didn’t flip hard enough, which saw The Boss land on her head. Thankfully, it looked like it didn’t slow her down one bit!
The finish came after a scramble with Bayley taking out Dana Brooke with a baseball slide to the face, Charlotte smashing Bayley with a forearm. Charlotte then tried to attack a downed Sasha Banks but The Boss countered with a Bank Statement for the submission victory.
Overall, this was a rather action packed match that showed that the WWE’s Women’s Division is pretty deep. Even Dana Brooke, who was actually the worst wrestler in the match, managed to hold her own.
Rating: 8.0 of 10 scary hurracarranas
Match #2: The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family
I loved the buildup to this match as the idea of the normally happy-go-lucky Xavier Woods genuinely frightened by Bray Wyatt is actually good storytelling, which lent this match to be rather good storytelling wise but not exactly wrestling wise. Why I say the wrestling wasn’t that good is that it was mostly The Wyatts just beating on Kofi.
Things did get better during the final minutes of the match. With both Kofi and Big E incapacitated, Woods had to overcome his fear of Bray Wyatt and actually get a few good licks in! It was an exciting moment as the buildup to that moment was excellent. It culminated to a great showing for Woods. Unfortunately, it was all for naught as Bray Wyatt his Sister Abigail finishing move on Woods for the pinfall victory.
The match was actaully sub-par until Woods went all ballistic. Like I said, the wrestling wasn’t all that good but the story The New Day and The Wyatt Family told was great.
Rating: 7.0 of 10 scared Xavier Woods
Match #3: Zack Ryder vs Rusev (with Lana) for the WWE United States Championship
Not to downplay Zack Ryder as a wrestler but… is he really the best pick to take on Rusev? I mean, sure Zack Ryder is a decent wrestler but what can he do against a monster like Rusev?
To be fair, it looked like both Ryder and Rusev tried to make this look like a good match and it did show. But there was very little tension and I couldn’t really get into the match. Thankfully, it was pretty short with Rusev putting up his knees to block Ryder’s Elbro Drop off the top rope and then going for the Accolade for the submission victory.
Post-match, Mojo Rawley, who had just been brought up from NXT (earlier than Bayley, may I add) and Ryder’s tag team partner rushed to his partner’s aid and Rusev backed off because… Mojo’s hype was intimidating? Honestly, I didn’t understand it. Overall, a good match… for Raw or Smackdown and it definitely didn’t have pay-per-view heat.
Rating: 6.0 of 10 Hyped for Mojo Rawley?
Match #4: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
If there was any match that had the potential to steal the show, this was the one!
I have always been impressed with both Sami Zayn and Kevin Owen’s in-ring performances. They know how to give a good show and this was no different! Both competitors gave it their all as they both performed risky looking moves. There was one obvious botch move as Zayn tried to do a springboard moonsault to the outside but did not hit the top rope properly, leading to a nasty looking crash on the ring apron. However, both Zayn and Owens were able to adlib and add that botch to the match! Great work!
The finish came when Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Owens… but didn’t go for the pin. Instead, he set up Owens back in the corner to deliver a second Helluva Kick! The sweet taste of vengeance!
This was a fantastic match with both Zayn and Owens putting it on the line to give the fans an extremely awesome match! I do hope they don’t have matches against each other for a while, though. Let things simmer down a bit and give them the opportunity to face off against other people so they can have their new opponents shine as well!
Rating: 9.0 of 10 Helluva Kicks
Match #5: Becky Lynch vs Natalya
A women’s match I don’t care about that doesn’t feature the Bella Twins? I’m sorry but this feud between Becky Lynch and Natalya just doesn’t do anything for me. Becky Lynch is a fun in-ring performer if she can push the pace. However, the match was incredibly slow because Natalya controlled the pace with a lot of rest holds and posing for the crowd.
The finish came with Becky Lynch attempting to attack Natalya in the corner but the referee got in between them. Natalya took this opportunity to kick the legs from underneath Becky and then lock on the Hart’s ever-popular Sharpshooter for the submission victory.
The match was fine overall but it was just so hard to get into especially since it had to follow the excellent Zayn vs. Owens battle. It was slow and filled with rest holds, which didn’t suit Becky’s amazing rushdown pace. I think it would’ve been better if both ladies took a couple of more risks.
Rating: 4.0 of 10 *crickets chirping*
Match #6: Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund vs. The Miz w/ Maryse for the Intercontinental Championship
How can you make Darren Young great again when he was never great in the first place?
Anyway, this was a very basic match and something you could see on TV. There was nothing really exceptional about the match until you get to the very end. The wrestling was passable with nothing that would make you take notice of The Miz or Darren Young’s calibre as “sports entertainers.”
The match did become fun during the closing moments because everything was so awkward! The Miz tried to leave but Backlund blocked his way. This gave Young the time he needed to drag The A-Lister back into the ring. Maryse decided to confront Young’s life coach and slap him across the face. Backlund snaps and tried to rip his shirt off… but the suspenders kept on getting in the way! Maryse then… acted like Backlund hit her! Miz shoved Backlund to the floor and Young applied the Crossface Chicken Wing on the outside. Then the bell rang. What the heck just happened?
This was just an okay match but I totally enjoyed the closing moments because of how awful it was executed! It was like watching a movie that’s so bad it’s good!
Rating: 7.0 of 10 Bob Backlunds trying to take off his shirt
Match #7: John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
Is it just me or it is strange that a guy like John Cena teaming would team up with Enzo Amore and Big Cass? Thankfully, Enzo and Big Cass are great in the mic as they managed to hype up the crowd with a great promo. And it was more than just catchphrases! There were a lot of clever lines said, showing that there is a method to their madness! How you doin’?
They also can back their mic skills with great in-ring work as well! That’s not to say the other people in the match were slouches! Everyone did great and all of them had a chance to shine. The match was incredibly fun to watch and it was nice of Cena to sort of stand in the background for the majority of the fight so that new guys had a chance to show their stuff. It did get a little bit too crazy at times and there were some moments when things felt scripted but you would hardly notice these moments as things generally flowed together well.
Ultimately, however, it was Cena that got the the pinfall victory after nailing Styles with an AA off the second rope. Like I said, there were some spotty moments but this was an incredibly face paced match so there were bound to be a couple of hiccups. Still, very entertaining match!
Rating: 8.5 of 10 How you doin’s?
Interview #1: Chris Jericho interviews the returning Randy Orton.
I’m not a big fan of interviews being done during a pay-per-view event. These kind of things should happen during Raw and Smackdown and the WWE should fill in pay-per-views with matches. With this in mind, I didn’t have high hopes for this.
Well, I was half right. Things were pretty boring for the most part… until both Jericho and Orton went off script a bit. Orton created a new settlement called Viperville to compete with Lesnar’s Suplex City. And then Orton had the guts to hint at Lesnar’s possible use of performance enhancing drugs during an earlier UFC bout, to which Jericho commented that Orton will probably pay for that… backstage by Vince McMahon, perhaps? The way the interview ended was a classic Orton nailing an RKO but the lead up to it was priceless!
However, even though it was good due to Jericho’s comedic stylings, I still want a match as they could’ve done this on Raw or Smackdown.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 “was it now?”
Match #8: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Heavyweight Championship
The SHIELD returns… to try to kill each other! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
The bout started really slow but did try to tell a good story as Rollins tried to get Ambrose and Reigns to do the old SHIELD fist bump. But, when they got to around halfway in the match, things really shifted into gear. Soon, Dean and Rollins tried to team up to take out Reigns, which was fun because those two are mortal enemies! There were a lot of back and forth with Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns dishing out the damage with some rather creative spots.
The finish in particular was a great sequence of moments. Reigns shrugged off Rollins Turnbuckle Bomb and connected with a Superman punch, which he comboed into a spear. However, before Reigns could cover Rollins, Ambrose snuck in and hit the leader of the Roman Empire with Dirty Deeds for the pinfall victory.
This was a great match for the most part. While it did start out slow, it was never actually boring. Ambrose and Rollins were entertaining as usual and Reigns did his best to keep up with them. They also added a few throwback moments, such as the aforementioned SHIELD fist bump and Rollins hitting Ambrose with a chair, reminiscent of how the SHIELD dissolved in the first place. Really great match.
Rating: 8.0 of 10 SHIELD fistbumps
Overall rating for WWE Battleground (2016):
Color me surprised but I wholeheartedly enjoyed this year’s Battleground pay-per-view event. While there were a few lame duck matches like Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, there was not a single match that was truly awful. Most of the matches were exciting and entertaining and just a joy to watch. While I wouldn’t call it a must watch as no titles actually changed hands, the matches were excellent examples on why wrestling is just fun to watch.
Now, put Bayley on the main roster!
Rating: 8.0 of 10 Bayleys in an actual WWE pay-per-view event
What did you think of this year’s WWE Battleground event? Let me know in the comments section below!