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.

Life In The Carpool Lane (WWE Fastlane 2016 Review)

Hey everyone. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a wrestling review, and my video “reviews” are usually way too long-winded for their own good. So, here’s the compromise. I’m doing written wrestling PPV reviews again! Thus, these are my thoughts on WWE Fastlane 2016.

As usual my standards were honestly set pretty low going into this one. There was at least one or two matches I was looking forward to that I knew were happening. But that’s about it. Speaking of which.

Kickoff Match
2/3 Falls match for the US Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (c)

So, I’m just going to go ahead and say this match was great. At least I thought so. The two guys had me on the edge of my seat near the end for some of those near falls. But the main point I want to bring up, and the only thing that bugged me about this match is……WHY WAS THIS THE FUCKING PRE-SHOW MATCH? I mean, are you fucking kidding me? What the hell WWE? ARE YOU HIGH?! This was at the very least a match you open a PPV proper with, NOT A MATCH YOU RELEGATE TO THE PRE-SHOW!

*Ahem* Anyway, I could honestly keep bitching about it but I’d be here for a while. In any case, great match, dumb decision to put it on the pre-show. If I had anything nice to say about that decision, it’s kind of a backhanded compliment. That being I figure the only way this match would’ve had 15 minutes or so would’ve been if it was on the pre-show.

Side note: Who the fuck is that new-ish commentator that was actually calling the action during this match? This is the first time I can remember hearing this guy, and he’s already a better commentator than literally every other commentator WWE has right now. Pair this guy with Regal and fire everyone else. You’ll save a lot of money WWE.

Winner – Kalisto (1st and 3rd falls)
Match Rating – Solid A+ (Mainly to spite WWE for putting this on the FUCKING PRE-SHOW ARGH!)

PPV proper
Opening match: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Tamina Snuka & Naomi

At first I was honestly annoyed that this was the PPV opener, and I still honestly am, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like this match. In fact, this was a pretty good women’s tag match for WWE. Tamina & Naomi actually gel pretty well as a team, which is nice to see. It also helped to sell the “actual team vs. two singles people team” dynamic they were trying to push.

Not much else to say about this match. Damn good effort by all the women involved, especially considering the iffy reputation women’s tag matches in WWE usually have. Though please, give Naomi a new finisher. The Rear View is fucking stupid.

Winners – Sash & Becks (Let’s see if anyone gets that joke)
Match Rating – Solid A-

Intercontinental Championship match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens (c)

Like the match before this one, I wasn’t aware this match was happening. That said this did still turn out to be a pretty good match. I would say great, but honestly the first 5-10 minutes were kind of meh. I mean, sure, maybe Owens was doing the Orton technique of “nothing but rest holds” to piss off the crowd intentionally (in fact I’m almost certain that was the case), but it still rang a little hollow because that time frame just ended up being kinda boring.

And of course, as soon as the action picks up and gets interesting, we get a “this is awesome” chant. Which honestly I don’t think was deserved, and the fans in attendance were just easy as fuck to please. Personally my reaction was “Ok now I give a shit” not “WOW AMAZING 10/10!” but hey, that’s just me. Overall the match was pretty good, and even though I thought WWE were gonna make Owens cheat to win. Nope. He won clean. Can honestly say I’m surprised. Guess this feud isn’t going any further.

Winner (and still IC Champ) – Kevin Owens
Match Rating – Solid B+ (Would be higher but the mediocre first half brings the score down)

6-Man Tag Team match – Ryback, Kane & Big Show vs. Luke Harper, Eric Rowan & Braun Strowman

Not a horrible match, but the Wyatt Family lost so, you know what? l don’t give a shit. Fuck you WWE.

Winners – The Team That Should’ve Lost
Rating – Solid Z- (yes that rating doesn’t exist but fuck you I hate WWE that much over this)

Diva’s Championship match – Brie “My Husband’s Retirement Helped My Career” Bella vs. Charlotte (c)

I’m gonna be honest with you. I tried sitting through the video package, then realised they were just using Daniel Bryan’s retirement and Nikki Bella’s injury to emotionally manipulate us into liking Brie. Most people don’t give a shit about either one of the Bella Twins. Me? Nikki has warmed on me since she’s improved so her injury sucks. Bryan retiring also sucks. But what sucks more is trying to make us care about Brie because the other two people in her life with some actual talent are both broken.

Then I tried watching the match itself. Only to give up when they bring up Brie is wearing Bryan’s WrestleMania XXX kickpads. Fuck off. Because I only watched the ending and the match highlights I can’t say whether or not the match was good or bad, so I won’t give this a rating. But fuck you WWE. Fuck you for exploiting this shit to make us like someone. That’d be like if The Rock died and you exploited it to make more people like Roman Reigns. Hell, it’s like when Eddie Guerrero died and you used it to push Rey Mysterio to the World Heavyweight Championship.

Note that I am blaming WWE for this, not Brie herself. But she isn’t exactly an innocent party since she’s going along for the ride without complaint. But still. Fuck WWE for that. If Brie needs this to get over then that really shows how little of a shit people actually give about her.

Winner – Charlotte

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Not much I can really say about this match without going in circles, so I’ll say this much. This was a damn fine match. Considering the shape he seemed to be in, Jericho put on a good show, and even attempted a Tiger Driver/Tiger Bomb (pending which you prefer) at one point. It got reversed but the point is he broke out a move he doesn’t do anymore. It was either that or he was going for that double under-hook backbreaker thing. But I assume Tiger Driver.

AJ was great and, without trying to sound insulting, carried the match. The Pele kick he hit on Jericho when Jericho was on the top turnbuckle was cool because I honestly didn’t expect him to reach far enough to connect. But he did, thankfully. Overall this was a good match as I said. The fans were dead for the entrances, but they picked up and cheered for both when the match itself started. So that kind of made up for it.

Only issue I have is the match actually seemed a tad too drawn out. Though that may just be me being tired as I write this……also because I’m kinda distracting myself as I write this. It’s definitely one of those things anyway.

Winner – AJ Styles
Match Rating – Solid A-

The “We Realised We Had A Lot Of Time To Fill So Fuck It, Here’s Another Match” match – R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel

So yeah. This was a thing. Not a bad match but extremely short. If nothing else I give them credit for at least continuing the story between Goldust & R-Truth. By doing that the match seemed slightly less like a pre-main event filler match. It still was though.

Winner – Curtis Axel
Match Rating – Solid C+ (Didn’t have time to be anything great, but it was at least decent)

Main Event for the spot at WrestleMania because we made the Rumble match for the title, so now we have to do this even though you know Reigns is winning – Dean “I’m here to take the fall” Ambrose vs. Brock “Why Am I Even Here?” Lesnar vs. Roman “I’m Obviously Winning This Thing” Reigns

As you can tell I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this match. And to a point I was justified in that. Lesnar spammed suplexes as usual, but luckily WWE got that bullshit out of the way early to allow for an actual match to happen when Dean & Reigns would take Lesnar out of the equation. To be honest any time Brock was getting attacked was a highlight for me. That’s how much I fucking hate this run Brock has had.

In a way this match is very reminiscent of the Rollins/Cena/Brock triple threat from the Rumble last year. If only for how Brock gets taken out for most of it so we can have an actual match. Though Dean/Reigns wasn’t as good as Rollins/Cena. That said the stuff with them facing off did hold my interest, so they have that going for them. I already knew thanks to spoilers that Roman was winning but, come on, of course he was gonna win.

One thing I didn’t forsee was how exactly Lesnar would be neutralised. I had expected the Wyatt Family to come out and decimate Lesnar, probably carrying him backstage or something too. But that didn’t happen. Thanks to RAW results I know why, but yeah. Honestly I’m kind of glad about that whole thing cause now Bray doesn’t have to suffer being squashed by Lesnar……….but on the other hand, now Dean does. Well, I guess you can’t win ’em all. Which at this point might as well be Dean or Bray’s motto.

In conclusion, as I said, this match wasn’t exactly bad, and any time Brock was laid out was great, but overall the match was still only just “good”, which isn’t really good enough for a PPV MAIN EVENT! But I digress. They did the best they could with the situation at hand, and we all knew Reigns was gonna win so who even cares?

Winner – Roman Reigns
Match Rating – Solid B+. Would be lower or higher, but the predictability and Lesnar’s inclusion knocked it down a few pegs, and Lesnar getting put through two tables and smashed with a chair brings it back up a bit.

Overall PPV Rating – Solid B+ (Not going by an averages or anything, just going with what I feel it deserves)

Final Thoughts

So. Was this PPV crap? Honestly I’d say no, it wasn’t crap. Was it great? I wouldn’t say that either. The best word I can think of right now is……..decent. This PPV was decent. We’re on the fucking road to WrestleMania and all I can come up with is “decent”. How sad is that?

And honestly I’m gonna leave it at that. I could go on about how I think Triple H should’ve had a title defense on the PPV as a random short match against a midcarder to give a guy some exposure, but I’ll leave it at a mention so I don’t make this any longer. And with that, I’ll see you guys in April for what is shaping up to be a very mediocre WrestleMania. 

Prove me wrong WWE. Prove. Me. Wrong.