WWE Battleground is a very good Pay-Per-View when it comes to the performers. The wrestlers are doing what they’re paid to do and doing it well. The matches rate from good to great, with not a dog in there. But the booking decisions continue to be short-sighted and schizophrenic. Let’s go through the card.
KING BARRETT def. R-TRUTH – Barrett got the upper hand on the court jester, and he gets his first PPV win since winning King of the Ring. Is he going to build on this, or is he going to go back to being Losing Streak Barrett? I’d bet on the latter.
RANDY ORTON def. SHEAMUS – This was held in St. Louis, so the hometown hero Randy Orton had the crowd behind him, and it was probably my favorite match these two have ever had. That said, where do these two go from here?
==Tag-Team Title Match==
PRIME TIME PLAYERS (c) def. BIG E & KOFI KINGSTON – The crowd ate this one up as well, which is a credit to all involved. Xavier Woods was hilarious on the outside, and Kofi and Darren had some high-flying exchanges that bought the “whoa”s. Not sure why PTP won. It seems like it’d be better to have New Day win and get chased by all the face teams rather than have PTP retain. What other heel teams are there? Ascension? Not ready.
CHARLOTTE def. BRIE BELLA & SASHA BANKS – I love that three NXT women have been called up to join the roster. The booking feels shoe-horned for the Divas division to have three three-women factions, but it means Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are mixing it up, so I’m all for that. This match had a lot of spots where Brie would be taken out so Charlotte and Sasha could show off their stuff. It was a good match but it feels like a first step for more exciting matches to come.
BRAY WYATT def. ROMAN REIGNS – Good match between these two. Crowd seemed to be more behind Wyatt than Reigns, which is a lingering problem for Reigns, trying to get the crowd back on his side ever since he was so loudly rejected for winning the Royal Rumble. I’m glad that Luke Harper is officially back with Bray, interfering to help Wyatt get the win. Now Roman & Dean can feud with Bray & Luke. And when Erick Rowan is healthy, who will join Roman & Dean as a third guy? It won’t be Seth.
==US Title Match==
JOHN CENA (c) def. KEVIN OWENS – Another great match. Another example of how well these two work together. Another example of Vince’s short-sighted booking. “Have John Cena win; we’ll figure everything else out after that.” The only guys whose careers have been helped by a John Cena feud are Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. Before that, you have to go back to Edge. Owens has lost twice in a row, and it looks like he’s going to feud with Cesaro while Cena turns his sights on Seth Rollins. So why keep the US belt on Cena if this is the next step? Wouldn’t an Owens/Cesaro feud be better with the US title on the line? And wouldn’t Cena be hungrier chasing the WWE title if he didn’t already have the US title around his waist?
One more pet peeve: Whenever his matches end with a victory, Cena always pops up full of energy as if he hasn’t just been through a grueling match. He doesn’t sell the effects of the match. It’s disrespectful to his co-workers when he does that.
==WWE World Heavyweight Title Match==
BROCK LESNAR and SETH ROLLINS (c) ends in No Contest – Brock put on another suplex show with Seth Rollins, throwing him around like a ragdoll, same as he did to Cena last year. Seth got some offense in, but mostly his job was to flop around when Lesnar hit 15 German suplexes on him. But when the lights went out and the Undertaker appeared, it was a great moment. Taker hit him with a chokeslam and a Tombstone piledriver, and now our SummerSlam main event is set.
1. The WWE seems determined to have Nikki Bella break AJ Lee’s record for longest title reign. This means the soonest Nikki would drop the title is September’s PPV: Night of Champions. So whatever they do with the Divas right now, Nikki’s going to prevail and escape with her title over and over. Now I expect her to be a little more cowardly in her defenses, and the chase is now more exciting with more credibles Divas chasing the belt. I feel positive about where the division is going, even if it means Nikki stays champion a couple more months.
2. In the next couple weeks on Raw, I’d have another Cena-Owens match for the US title, and then Owens wins thanks to Rollins’ interference. That would set up two more SummerSlam titles matches in Cena v. Rollins for the WWE title, and Owens v. Cesaro for the US title. It also looks like we’re going to get Roman & Dean v. Bray & Luke.
3. I’m liking the increasing rivalry between Summer Rae and Lana as we wait for both of their boyfriends to be healthy at the same time. I would think they want Dolph Ziggler v. Rusev to happen at SummerSlam, but they could use SS as Lana’s in-ring debut. Which begs the question: is she any good?
4. Daniel Bryan’s supposed to recovered by SS. Are they going to put him in a match?
5. Tough Enough has found a way to be worse than previous incarnations. Letting America vote on the bottom three has proven to keep some competitors that deserve to go home while others who should get more time are bounced. It bugged me this week when Patrick went home, a guy who clearly deserved to stay. The format of the 2011 season was fine; it’s just that Andy didn’t deserve to win it, and that was obvious to most viewers.
6. The WWE needs someone in Creative, someone backstage, SOMEONE who will stand up for the midcard. We keep hearing from guys who languished and finally leave the company how they kept having all their ideas ignored and shot down, but no better ideas are being implemented. It wouldn’t surprise me if WWE gets another bad quarterly report and they lay off another 6-7 workers, not because they’re not talented, but because no one will stick up for them. (Well, if Rosa left…) Why has Damien Sandow not had a match on Raw or SmackDown since May?
7. I remember when the Undertaker debuted in the WWF almost 25 years. He was instantly my favorite character, and while others have come and gone, he’s remained the constant, the guy I never get tired of. I’m glad he still looks like he can go, and it’s going to be weird when we have a WrestleMania where he doesn’t participate. But I’m sure he’ll be at WM32.