Playing Catch Up – My Thoughts On WWE Battleground 2016

Hey folks, I’m back once again with another wrestling review. As a reminder I’m trying to finally watch all of the WWE PPVs I’ve missed this year, and in turn am reviewing them all. This time around it’s Battleground 2016’s turn. I would give a spoiler warning but this PPV DID happen in July. If you’re like me and still hadn’t seen it yet, you’ve had long enough.

Oh and be warned, I was extremely tired when watching the vast majority of this PPV. So if there’s a spot that happened that I don’t mention, I probably just briefly fell asleep and missed it. So my bad I guess.

Quick Thoughts On The Pre-Show Match

Breezango vs. The Usos

Damn fine match. Both teams came out of this smelling like roses as far as I’m concerned. They really made it look like it could go either way. I like both teams so I didn’t mind The Usos losing. It was also interesting to see Breeze get the win clean. Like damn. I did not expect that. I mean sure it was a small package but he didn’t do any dirty tactics or whatever to set it up is my point.

Match Rating – Solid B-

Main Show

Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke

Fairly solid opening tag match. Thank God the crowd popped the way they did for Bayley or it totally would’ve ruined the whole thing. I mean they were expecting her anyway, but still. There was a botch or two here and there but nothing that really ruined the match. Granted Dana needs to just never attack someone with her hands when they’re on the mat. It just looks kind of awkward. Well, that and she usually misses by a mile and the camera angle doesn’t help. Wrestling punches are pretty much always shit though so I guess I can’t entirely blame her.

I must admit I’m kind of annoyed that Charlotte didn’t defend the title at this PPV considering there wasn’t a title defense at Money In The Bank, but the match was good enough to make up for it I guess. Plus Sasha & Bayley won, so that was also nice.

Match Rating – Solid C+ (Might seem a bit low but eh, as much as I liked it it was still fairly average)

The Wyatt Family vs. The New Day

The Wyatt Family won. The. Wyatt. Family. Won. No see I don’t think you heard me clearly enough. THE! WYATT! FAMILY! WON!

Match Rating – Solid A+ (THE FUCKING WYATT FAMILY ACTUALLY WON HOLY SHIT!)

WWE United States Championship match:
Rusev (champ) vs. Zack Ryder

I must admit, whilst I knew Ryder wasn’t gonna win, the WWE actually almost tricked me. Zack Ryder got to look pretty damn good in this match. Better than Titus got to look I’d argue, which is weird since Titus was more of a physical threat to Rusev. Even the commentators sold how Rusev seemed to be surprised Ryder was putting up this much of a fight. Hell they even had him almost break out of the Accolade, so Rusev had to basically rape the poor bastard just to make him tap out. Damn good stuff.

Match Rating – Solid B-

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

As good as this match was, and it was pretty great, I feel like this match being booked as their “final encounter” would’ve made more sense if one of them was actually drafted to SmackDown. Hell, they’ve even had a RAW match since so they’ve already gone back on the claim. Regardless this match was damn good. I was honestly shocked to see that apron brainbuster spot.

And yes, I did audibly say “BRAAAAAAAAAINBUSTAAAAAAAAH!” because of course I did. Shut up. Don’t judge me. Must admit I was also surprised that Sami actually won the match. But it did seem to take two Helluva Kicks to keep Owens down, so he didn’t really come out of this looking weak, which is nice.

Match Rating – Solid A+

Natalya vs. Becky Lynch

The crowd was kind of dead and damn am I tired so I probably missed certain things in this match, but overall I thought it was ok. Nattie working Becky’s leg for most of the match was cool, though of course there were moments where Becky kinda no sold the leg work to hit some of her moves which kinda bothered me, but not all that much.

Oh also, Natalya fucking won. Holy shit. Honestly didn’t see that coming. To me this legitimised her heel turn. If she’d just lost we would’ve got another tantrum thing post-match and her turning heel wouldn’t have had much of a pay off. So kudos to WWE on that.

Match Rating – Solid C+

WWE Intercontinental Championship match:
The Miz (champ) vs. Darren Young

This match was a lot more technical than I can honestly say I was expecting, which was a nice surprise really. I mean at points certain parts of the crowd tried to get a “boring” chant going, but I was fine with it. The finish was a bit of a mess though. Granted, it was cool to see Darren Young go apeshit for once and just drag Miz to the ground with a Cobra Clutch.

Apparently this was a “Double DQ” finish but I don’t see how. Maryse slaps Bob Backlund then claims Backlund hit her….I’m sorry but how do either of those scenarios result in a DQ for the people in the actual match? Maryse didn’t slap Darren and Bob never touched The Miz. A no contest I could understand since Darren goes apeshit but otherwise it’s just weird.

Match Rating – Solid C

John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club

Very solid secondary main event, and I’m also very glad to see WWE didn’t waste the second Cena/AJ singles match on a PPV like Battleground, because that would’ve been a dumb move in my opinion. Hell their first encounter being Money In The Bank was weird, but I guess it’s had enough big moments to be a PPV where that could make sense.

Regardless the match was pretty good. Enzo & Cass came out of this looking great, as did pretty much everyone else really. I also appreciated that both major fake-out finishes involved someone breaking up the pinfall, rather than AJ & Cena just kicking out of each others respective finishers. Team Cena winning didn’t bother me at all, but mainly because (as I said earlier), both teams came out of this looking great.

I am surprised the final decision involved both AJ & Cena though. I thought they’d have had AJ pin Enzo or Cass; or Cena pin Gallows or Anderson. Interesting way to go about it I guess.

Match Rating – Solid B+

Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
Dean Ambrose (champ) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

Fairly solid main event, though I really wish they’d saved this specific triple threat for WrestleMania. That said that might be why, as solid as this match was, they didn’t seem to entirely go all out for it. So that was smart. Giving us a taste now for something they can go all out on later.

Dean & Seth teaming up on Roman was kind of funny considering how much the crowd popped for it. That said it also made sense since he was the biggest guy in the match, so it had that going for it too. Though I feel Roman started to stir from that announce table Powerbomb a bit early.

The finish of Roman spearing Seth only for Dean to hit him with Dirty Deeds was about what I expected, and I’m honestly glad that’s the kind of finish they went with. Though I do wish Roman had either got his foot on the rope or Dean had broke up the pinfall when Seth hit Roman earlier with a Pedigree. Can’t win ’em all I guess.

I also generally liked that Dean retained, but mainly because I hate short title reigns. Shane & Bryan’s reaction to the win was honestly pretty funny too; just running around for a bit, and I think high fiving each other as they ran past each other. Good stuff.

Match Rating – Solid A-

Match Of The Night – Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Overall PPV Rating – Solid B+

Top to bottom this was the best PPV so far this year. And really? That about sums it up right there. Even if some matches were kind of iffy, nothing was really terrible and there was only one finish that kind of bothered me, but not enough to get me riled up. With that said, I have one more PPV left to cover before I can FINALLY get to Backlash.

As of writing this Backlash has indeed happened, but I was probably going to cover it the day after it happened anyway, so this works out. I will try to get my thoughts on SummerSlam done as soon as possible though. And with that, I’ll see you next time folks.

WWE Battleground Review

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(Fan poster created by deviantART user JoKeRWord)

Hello everyone. Since I haven’t gotten around to doing the article I intended to do next yet, that will have to wait. For now? It’s time for another written review of a WWE PPV!

Ah WWE Battleground. The second PPV in a row that the vast majority couldn’t care less about going in, purely because of, say it with me now, poor build up. Hell, as of late I’ve noticed a lot of people saying the WWE has basically been on rinse-repeat mode since SummerSlam, so there seems to be nothing but bad signs going in. However, despite all that, I will be giving this PPV an objective look. There has been plenty of PPVs I’ve seen where I had no/low expectations going in, and ended up actually feeling like I hadn’t wasted my time when it was all over. Was that the case this time? Well, let’s see shall we?

Oh, one last thing. This review is “late” simply because I did not watch the PPV as it happened. Like hell I was going to pay for this PPV, and streams are very untrustworthy these days. So, since I was tired already due to being up all night, I decided to go to sleep and watch the PPV when I woke up. With that out of the way, let’s get star-…wait a minute…

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What in the name of hell is that? No seriously, I am legitimately confused by this stage set up. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea? The PPV is called Battleground, where’s the tanks? Where’s the sand bags piled on top of each other to use as cover? Where’s the Army Jeeps? WHERE’S ANYTHING THAT WOULD FIT THE NAME OF THIS PPV? Don’t get me wrong, I know this is a stupid thing to complain about, but for some reason I just can’t help it. This is something you use for a generic PPV no one cares about or that doesn’t have an actual theme. Oh. Suddenly it all makes sense now. Actually wait, no it doesn’t. If WWE DON’T want us to think this is just a PPV we’ll most likely never see again and is just here to fill space it shouldn’t be occupying (considering we have another PPV in like, what, two weeks?), they could at least dress up the stage a bit better than four of those…things. We’re off to a pretty bad start now aren’t we?

Anyway, I should probably finally get started right? Right.

Street Fight for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. RVD w/ Ricardo Rodriquez – First off I want to say two things.

1. I will never buy that Lillian Garcia will ever be annoyed by being asked to announce someone in Spanish. Any time someone with even a somewhat Spanish sounding name comes out, she’ll accentuate the hell out of that name. So please, WWE, if you’d be so kind, STOP IT.
2. I refused to call this match by its actual name because its actual name is stupid. That and it doesn’t even appear to be a proper (even by WWE standards) ”hardcore match”, and as such I have called it a Street Fight, since that’s basically what it seems to be anyway

With that out of the way, onto the match itself. And wow, the fans seemed to be far too easily amused during this one. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good match, but I don’t think it deserved the “This is awesome” chants that happened a few times. The spots were alright, but for a match they kept referring to as a “hardcore match”, falls didn’t count outside of the ring and the only weapons we got were a chair, a ladder and a trash can. Doesn’t seem like much compared to some of the No DQ matches WWE has had this year. Ricardo getting involved to help RVD was a nice surprise I must say, you rarely see face managers do that for some reason. Can’t think of any times I’ve seen that anyway off the top of my head. The chair-aided Cross Armbreaker was a nice touch, but when that happened I honestly started questioning how long the match had been going. I know it was the show opener, but it really didn’t feel like it went long enough and felt pretty rushed in hindsight. In any case, Del Rio retains and it seems RVD is out of the title picture and possibly out of the WWE now from what I hear. That would explain the decisive win I guess.

Match rating: 6/10 – Not as good as their Night Of Champions match honestly, but not a terrible match. As I said, it felt rushed and wasn’t much of a “hardcore” match, which is odd considering the men involved. Probably not the best match to open with considering how it turned out. Axel/Kofi got the crowd more warmed up than this match did. Yes, I just said that.

The Great Khali & Santino w/ Hornswoggle vs. The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro) w/ Zeb Colter – A Khali match? Ugh, do I HAVE to watch this? Fine, fine, I’ll give it a chance.

*20 minutes of loading time later*

Ok yeah that was a waste of time. Some decent wrestling from everyone but Khali, but even then this match was extremely short and pretty boring. The only highlight was Cesaro using a Giant Swing on Khali. Guess that makes it the first ever literal Giant Swing. Huh. Anyway, Cesaro & Swagger win because somehow a Giant Swing is enough to beat Khali these days. What. Just. What. I like Cesaro, but that makes this match even worse. He won using a Giant Swing? HE WON! USING A GIANT! SWING!

“That could be the greatest finish in WWE” NO JBL! NO! BAD JBL! BAD! HE WON WITH A GIANT SWING!

Match rating: 3/10 – A FUCKING GIANT SWING!

Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth for the Intercontinental Championship – Not much to say about this match; it was pretty boring honestly. The crowd even started random chants they were so bored (including a JBL chant). The finish was abysmal in the sense it was so anti-climactic. I actually thought Truth was going to kick out to get the crowd going again. Axel retains, no one cares, and the commentators almost immediately shift their attention to talking about the pre-show (which I haven’t watched by the way). All in all an extremely mediocre match from two guys I’d expect more from when paired up.

Match Rating: 4/10 – Not even close to being as good as Kofi/Axel from Night Of Champions.

AJ Lee (c) w/ Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship – Ummmmm….the finish was sort of interesting? Tamina actually doing something was interesting? Yeah that’s all I got.

Match rating: 3/10 – Brie took that steel post like a champ though. Oh, and AJ retained by the way.

Goldust & Cody Rhodes w/ Dusty Rhodes vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) w/ Dean Ambrose – Ok. Wow. This match actually lived up to the hype and fan interest surrounding it. Despite knowing from the get go Goldust & Cody would win, this match still entertained the hell outta me; and I was legitimately invested in it the entire time. The crowd definitely helped, especially when they exploded for both Dusty hitting Ambrose with his belt buckle, and Cody winning the match. Not much else to say really. Oh wait, one more thing, Goldust with Darth Maul style face paint was amazing.

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Match rating: 9/10 – A great match with great emotion, and a great crowd response

Bray Wyatt w/ Eric Rowan & Luke Harper vs. Kofi Kingston – First things first. WWE, please stop using that stock “We’re here” clip before The Wyatt Family come out. It’s getting old, and we KNOW it’s the same damn thing. Stop it. That aside this was a pretty good little match for something that was basically thrown together at the last minute. Never thought I’d ever see a Crucifix Driver in WWE, and that exorcist thing Bray Wyatt did was creepy as fuck.

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Bray gets the win, of course, but thankfully Kofi gets a pretty damn good showing, instead of just getting steamrolled like I thought he might. Thank heavens for small miracles. Also, holy shit, that snap Sister Abigail came outta nowhere.

Match rating: 8/10 – Fairly short, but it didn’t feel rushed and was quite an enjoyable watch.

Ryback w/ Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk – You know, this match was surprisingly good. Not a fan of the finish, but still. I’m actually a fan of Ryback, and this may be the better of his encounters with CM Punk as far as matches go. Seems Punk decided to get revenge for that botched table spot from RAW two weeks ago though by busting Ryback’s jaw open with some shoot elbow strikes. Punk wins because of a low blow, taking advantage of an unintentional distraction Heyman causes. Now, my problem with the finish isn’t the fact that Punk (a face) won with dirty tactics. I mean, come on, it’s CM Punk, it makes sense. My issue is it makes Ryback look weaker than usual and he gains absolutely nothing with this loss.

I stand by my opinion that Ryback should’ve won this match, as it would’ve Punk more to work with leading into Hell In A Cell. There’ll most likely be a rematch anyway, but still, I doubt Ryback will win that rematch.

Match rating: 7/10 – Good effort from both guys, and even though I don’t really like the finish, at least it fits Punk’s character.

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship – Great showing from both guys, and guess what? I actually liked the finish. Well, if you can actually call it a finish. The match was never thrown out on-screen so I’m guessing it was still technically going when RAW started. Either way I actually enjoyed the entire match, and even having spoiled for myself the fact the show ended with a still vacant title, I honestly don’t care. Hell, I’m actually HAPPY it ended that way. Now we don’t have to worry about another Bryan reign being cut way too short again for the moment. Plus, this actually furthers two stories at once. All-in-all I honestly think it worked out for the best, and I would NOT change how that PPV ended.

Well, ok, that’s a lie. If I had to change one thing, I’d have them actually announce that the match has been ruled a no contest, rather than just ending like an episode of RAW or SmackDown as if that had been done already. Aside from that I’m quite content with the ending and the overall match.

Match Rating: 8/10 – Good performances, great crowd reaction, and an ending that left me (and probably ONLY me) satisfied.

Overall PPV Rating: 6/10 – Not the best PPV ever, but it’s worth at least one watch.

Match Of The Night: Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns – ‘Nuff said.

Final Thoughts: Overall this PPV evened out and turned out to be quite watchable. It started off fairly mediocre, but once it hit my MOTN, it managed to stay above the mediocre line for the rest of the show. You could almost say that match actually inspired the guys yet to compete and that’s why. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it. The low points however, good lord. Just, good lord. “A GIANT SWING” could become my version of “Bat Credit Card” if I don’t let it go right now, so I will. I’ll try to anyway. In any case, the good luckily outweighed the bad and this show turned out to be quite entertaining. Here’s hoping that trend continues with Hell In A Cell; despite the fact WWE only has two weeks to build up anything for it. I’ll see you guys next time. By the way, those things on/near the stage are still stupid.